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FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
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Dime Novel and Popular Literature
The Portland Transcript
Dime Novel and Popular Literature
The Portland Transcript
The Portland transcript, v. XIV, no. 27, Saturday, October 19, 1850.
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The Portland transcript, v. XIV, no. 27, Saturday, October 19, 1850.
8 November 2019
Portland [Me.] : Gould & Elwell
Dime Novels and Popular Literature
The Two ravens : a story of the eighteenth century.
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4 Hortland Cranscrint. Y GOULD & ELWELL, B Office 77 Middle, near Corner of Exchange St. One Dollar for Eight Months, in advance TERMS: $1,50 PER YEAR, AN INDEPENDENT FAMILY JOURNAL OF LITERATURE, NEWS, BCe os VOLUME XIV. POETRY, LONG I LOVED HER, Tioved her when the anny Tight youth was on her bro Tteesmed that nought could ever harm ‘A loveliness 50 fuir. I loved her when, in afer yenrs One ray of joy impart, The rose upon that funny check, saw must S001 °*Twas marked by earth s seotroding care To early pass away. Tloved her when that marble brow cold in Death’s embrac When the sweet stnile could play’ no more on her angel face. m1 “8 That we shall meet in Heaven above, Where friends no more are riven. A STERLING TALE, THETWO RAVENS. “A STORY OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. HAPTER I. _ » On a winter evening, in the year 1742, two old women were crossing the port of Marseilles, in a ferry-boat, to reach. the Rue St. Laurent, in which they ‘lived. The weather was bad; jacold breeze whistled amidst the thousand rig- ‘\gings of the ships, and tossed about the lanterns, “CT mtich threw their faint light along the quay. Thése two women concealed their heads bee ‘neath the hoods of their cloaks, and warm their hands alternately over a little horn Tan: tern, the reddish light of which lent to. their faves a sinister appearance. The boatman row- ed with all bis might, and was humming in a rather frightened tone, as though to overcome an impression of involuntary awe; it was only at rare intervals that he ventured. to steal a glance at the two black figures seated before him. : - Neither: of these three persons uttered a word during their passage from Rive Neuve- quay to the Fort St. Jean. When arrived there, the ferry-man jumped out of his boat, and having made it fast, remained silent and motionless, not daring to offer his callous hand to the two passengers; however, they got down on the quay without any assistance. «JIere, Master Tounin,” ‘said one of the old dames, offering him two sous for their Passage. «No,” replied he, “you'd better give it to- morrow to some poor person.” «So you find yourself rich enough to row for bitter tone of ‘voice ; “your poor father was not so proud, and never worked for nothing.— Tis charity began at home ; ; and. , Was, indeed, no indifferent boon to bis family.’ “I ain’t richer than he was” replied the boatman; “but, by Notre Dame dela Garde, T can do this charity without going to bed hun- gry to-night.” «Then do the charity yourself, Master . Tou- nin, it will bring you better luck,” said the ‘old dame, frowning, as she handed him the money, «Stand back !” exclaimed he, with anger and fright ; «your money would bring me ill luck! I won't have it, take it back! Tis the money ofthe dead!” | «Oh I” said the dame,passionately, «take care * we don’t soon earn what will do alms, by sew- ing you up in your winding sheet!” ‘At this threat the boatman trembled and grew pale; but soon taking courage, hg, walk- ed to the woman and, raising his hand, exclaim. d— «Old witch! servant of the devil! you shan’t touch me either dead or alive !” So terrified were the two women that the; were about to retire at once; but Master Tou- nin placed himself before them, and continued insulting and threatening them, At this junc- pleasure’s sake, do you 2” asked the other, in a}, PORTLAND, SATURDAY, OCTOBER. 19, ture, a young nian, who pi proceeded from the deserted quay,heard the noise of the voices,and, having disengaged his arm from his cloak, put his hand to the hilt of his sword, and advanced to see what caused the quarrel. “Ab! my good gentleman !”. exclaimed the two dames together, “deliver me from this man, who insults us, and will not let us return home quietly.” , «Master,” said the young ,man, “you are wrong to insult’ and frighten defenceless wo- men; only for your costume I would have ta- ken you for a robber, and have treated you ac- cordingly.” «My lord,” said Tounin, who saw at’ once that he was, addressing one of the nobility, «these women are furious against me because I won't have their money. «I can hardly believe it,” replied the young man. «It’s quite true,” said one of the dames vex- edly: «Master Tounin scorned us and refused to be paid, as ifour money were not as good as any |” «Ay, to be sure! Tha money of the dead !” interrapted Tounin. «My lord, don’t you know them?* They are old witches, who commune with evil spirits. To-morrow I'll take a branch of blessed holly to my rudder, lest some misfor- tune might befall me for having rowed them over this evening.” Having said this much, and sneered at the women, he kicked away .the two sous. which they had thrown at his, feet, and Jumped back into his boat. «What does this mean !” said the young man, rather astonished ; «this fellow must be mad. Why does he think you will bring bimill luck !” «Good heavens! I don’t know, mon bon gen- tilkomme. “We have never done harm to any body, said the old dame ,stooping to lock for the money. . OQ, dear me! how fortunate it was ou came to our assistance !” , «May the lord protect you!” said the other. «Mercy on us! the lantern is out, and it is_as dark as pitch !.. We must never again venture out so late, there are so many’ bad characters going about here during the night.” The young man felt compassion for these two women, as they drew close together, and. cast around affrighted looks. «I see you are afraid to walle by yourselves ; well, then, I'll accompany you. «Ieaven bless you,” exclaimed they, togeth- 2 @ 7 ‘At that time there stood at the entrance of the Rue St. Laurent a small and miserable looking honse ; this was the dwelling of the two dames. " Whilst the one opened the door with her latch-key, the other, turning to the young man, and making him a very humble eurtsy, said— «My good gentleman, be so good ‘as to tell us your name, and we shall never forget you in our prayers,” «My name is the Chevalier Gaspard, de Gre- oulx; and now, as you are safe at ‘home, I wish ou good night.” Ie went away rapidly, and the two sisters, from the threshold of their door, followed him with a friendly gaze to. the very turning of the street. Both had started on hearing bis name, but they .said . nothing, and soon entered their OSC. On the ground floor was a spacious chamber; to behold its antique chimney, would have grat- ified the curiosity of an amateur.» It was rich- ly sculptured, and had a handsome mantlepicce, supported by two small doric columns | The walls were covered with oak wainscotting ; but these were the remains of a luxury’ more than a hundred years old. The future: was of a more modern style, but plain and rather scan- ty. A single bed, hung with green curtains, suf- ficed for the two sisters; it was evident that few friends visited them, as they had no, other chairs than those on which they sat by the fire- * ° 1850. place. A large pr press of walnut “wood, a sort “of dresser, on which were exhibited’ a dozen of half’ broken plates, and an old fashioned table with carved legs, and gilded - ornaments, were the sole furniture of this room, which served ‘at the same time,as bed-chamber, parlor,. and drawing room. The other parts of the house were left unfurnished, being inhabited by . the many rats which were heard tripping along the floor. ¢ Things had been thus for more than thirty years. The poorest fisherman of the neighbor- hood, although, perhaps, paying a higher rent, and living with his family in a smal!, smoky but, having but a single paneless. window, would not have consented to’ inhabit this miserable house, even had he got it rent-free. The two women, ‘who lived therein alone, were well known ia Marseilles, where they bad arrived fifty years previously } never had any one questioned their honesty or respectability ; yet, people entertained towards them sentiments of terror, and even repulsion. At the time of their arrival, being destitute of means, having no friends to assist them, and knowing no other mode of earning their living, they. became nurse tenders ; their intelligence and activity, the attention they paid to their patients, secured them introductions into the most respectable families ; no sooner was t).:re a patient in town, than these two old da:aes were immediately sent for.» In fact, tey witnessed the deaths of all the respec Iv rich people of Marseilles who had di the last. half cet Tiaving grown they had lately Leen obliged to give up‘thei former occupation, and were, then, required only to wake the dead, and put them in the shroud. People, when seeing them entering a house, knew at once that death had halted there; whenever they. were sent for, they al- ways came neatly dressed in black serge; their air was grave, and they held a taper in their hand. To any one that beheld their everlast- ing mourning, their thin faces, and livid com. plexions, their tall and slender figures, there was something appalling . and; gloomy; the common people, who so easily! describe their impressions by energetic words, had given them the sobriquet of “The Ravens,” and by degrees their real names, Suzanne and Berthe, were forgotten, and every one called them like those irds of sinister omen. On their return home that evening, they sat abstractedly at the half-extingnisbed fire, and Berthe said, in a moved tone of voice— «Did you hear, Suzanne; this young, gentil- homme’s name is Gaspard de Greoulx «Well !—what is that to us?” replied Su- san, with a movement of her head, expressive of indifference. There was a moment of silence. “Berthe, having lighted a little fire, put on the table some bread, a jug of water, and some fruit... It was then the middle of, Ember week, and the two pious sisters kept strictly all fast days. «I don’t think we shall. pass this: night at home, sister,” said Berthe; «the bells are ring- ing for a death at St. Laurent’s Church.” Their gloomy tolling mingled with the w! ling of the wind through the lofty chimney— Berthe blessed herself and muttered a prayer. - Having partaken of their evening repast, the more heartily, as they bad taken but acup of coffee in the morning, Sazanne said to her si: is s oe «Come, let us’ hasten to bed, for it seldom happens that we have a good night’s rest.” «I'd rather stay up a little longer,” replied Berthe; «I don’t feel the least sleepy ; what it is, to be sure, to lose the habit of going to bed! Come, Suzanne, sit beside me and warm your- self.” ~ Berthe puta small log on the fire, and both sisters sat close ts each other; and their coun- tenances expressed their delight, as they in- dulged in these moments of comfortable lazi- ness. . _ “Isn’t it a blessing to have a home of our own, specially, old as we are ?” said Suzanne ; «for we are any thing but young now; 3 you are advancing in years, and Tam four’ years older than you 2 I think its nigh time for us to en- joy some repose after our aborious life.” «Surely 1 would have no objection,” said Berthe; «but I could not give up industrious babits entirely and quite suddenly; and we ought todo so only by degrees; don’t you think I am right, sister ?” «Unfortunately our business goes or increas- ing; Idon’t remember having had at avy time so many cases; it’s really frightful yo There was another pause ; and then Berthe said, after a moment of reflection— «By the bye, sister, what did you do with » ” that letter we received this morning? ‘No doubt it encloses the draft for five hundred livres for Emilie’s board and expenses of this y 3 S ba «Ay, you are right,” said Suzanne, hastily searching her pockets; “here itis; it is welll did not lose it.” Berthe, having snuffed the candle, and put on her spectacles, broke the seal, unfolded the letter, and read, in her trembling voice— - “BARCELONA, January 6th, 1742 «“Mesdemoiselles—I am sorry to have to in-" form you of the death of M. G. de Lescale, the proprietor of a French warehouse in this town; Se, ittook place yesterday evening; a few hours oa previous, I was sent for,and he entrusted to me statement of bis affairsas also his Jast instruc- os, The unfo:turate* geutleman bad been for along time in difficulties, in consequence of a loss of fifty thousand livres he experienced by abankruptey. He diedinsolvent. Hitherto he had been able to provide for the expenses of his only daughter, by forwarding you every year a sum of five bundred livres; but now, owing to these misfortunes, the young lady will be left without any resource ; therefore her fa~ ther’s last wish was, that I should recommend her to your kindly protection. : As I a norant of her address, Tbeg you will announce to her this melancholy news. © To cone'wle, I entreat you not to forget my departed triend in your prayers; and I remain, mesdemoiselles, your most * humble and devoted servant, “«Francios Lrepace.” : «This is bad news,” sighed Berthe, dropping * the letter; “poor M. de Lescale never bad luck in any thing; a vessel laden with relics — would have sunk, had he been on board! I, . foretold his ill-luck when we assisted his Foor wife in her last moments.” f «We must have masses offered for bim.” But, tell me, sister, what shall we do with Emilie 2” *wWe have not the means of leaving her in the convent; and even if we had, it’s not there she should be now. She must dy as we have done; she must earn her brea First, I think, we ought to take her with u: Suzanne nodded. assent, and said, after « moment's reflection— «It strikes me that the girl might very well be of assistance tous; while one ‘of us will rest, she'll go and‘wake with the other. Maybe at first she'll feel sTepugnant ta. touch corpses, bat she will sooa.get over it. a “They have brought her up asa lady at the Visitation Convent,” said Berthe. «Query, will she accustom herself’ to what we'll want her-to do ?” ullow could it be otherwise? They won’t keep her for nothing at:The Visitation,’ and if she wished to be a nun, she would require a dowry.. When once she has left the convent,” what would be her lot if we abandoned her ?—— Her father was right to rely on us, to be sur we won't leave her homeless, but she will vere tainly have to work as we do, and earn her dei- ly support.” «To-morrow we'll go and hear mass at the Visitation and afterwards speak to the prioress,”” said Berthe, picking up the letter, “O, dear ), dear | the Poor child has no idea of the tie/ NUMBER 27.0 - fare mee SEO pang TT oe 77 Cm a ae meee . at