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[Julia Kavanagh was the descendant of two ancient Irish families, and her father, Mr. Morgan Kavanagh, was known as the author of some curious works upon the source and science of languages. She was born at Thurles in 1824, but at an early age she accompanied her parents to London. A lengthened residence in France during her girlhood enabled her to give those graphic descriptions of French life and character in which she so greatly excelled. In her twentieth year she returned to London, and adopted literature as a profession. Her work, The Three Paths, a Story for Young People, appeared in 1847; Madeleine, a Tale of Auvergne, followed in 1848; Women in France during the Eighteenth Century next appeared. About 1853 she revisited France, and travelled through Switzerland and Italy, the result of a prolonged tour being the publication in 1858 of A Summer and Winter in the Two Sicilies. In 1862 French Women of Letters appeared, and met with such a favourable reception as to induce the author to publish in the following year English Women of Letters, as a companion to her former work. Of the novels which flowed from her prolific pen, we may name: Grace Lee, Rachel Gray, Beatrice, Sibyl's Second Love, Dora, Adèle, and Queen Mab. She wrote also an interesting work entitled Women of Christianity. All Miss Kavanagh's books have passed through several editions, and most of them have been republished in America, where she was a favourite. In a writer so voluminous we must expect a certain amount of inequality; but it can be said with truth that her French tales are exquisite,-true to life, delicate in expression, simple, and at the same time refined in style and thoroughly pure in tone. "Her writing," remarks Mr. Charles Wood, from whose interesting sketch in the Athenæum we take most of our statement, "was quiet and simple in style, but pure and chaste, and characterized by the same high- | toned thought and morality that was part of the author's own nature." Nathalie, the volume from which our extract is given, is one of the best stories of French life probably ever written by an English hand. The hero, a man of strong will, of deep but controlled emotions, and of a high sense of honour, is
well painted, though he has a little too much of that unpleasant sternness, and that discourteous self-assertion, with which too frequently female novelists delight to endow their favourites. The picture of the affectionate, warm-hearted heroine is without a blot. For several years before her death Miss Kavanagh had been in poor health, and she died suddenly on the morning of the 28th of October, 1877, at Nice, where she had resided for some years with her mother. Forget-meNots is the appropriate title of her last work, published after her death in 1878.]
[Nathalie and Rose are sisters. Rose has been for years a confirmed invalid, and at the period when the extract opens is close upon death. Nathalie, on the other hand, has been rejected by the stern and not altogether reasonable lover who is Miss Kavanagh's hero. The contrast between the spiritual-minded sister and the earthly but delightful Nathalie is beautifully brought out in the passage.]
A few days before her end they sat together in their little room, where Rose had of late remained almost exclusively. It was a calm autumn evening, full of serenity and repose. The tower of the old abbey rose in dark and distinct outlines on the blue sky; the colony of rooks cawed and wheeled round it in circling flight, before they settled down to their night's rest. Beyond the abbey extended the abandoned cloisters, and the lonely churchyard, with low gray tomb-stones sunk into the earth, and a few dark cypresses, rising tall and motionless, in the stillness of evening. The sun had set, but a rosy flush still lingered in the west, blending softly with shades of vapoury gray, which melted in their turn into the deepening blue of the upper sky.
"It will be fine to-morrow," said Rose. She was leaning back in her chair, which faced the window. Her look was fastened on the sky; her countenance was calm. Nathalie
sat near her, looking at her sister, and holding | everything; we can therefore talk quite one of her hands within her own. frankly; and there is a question I have long "How do you know it will be fine to- wished to ask you;-what will you do when I morrow?" she asked. am gone?"
"God knows," answered Nathalie, in a low tone.
"Will you stay here with my poor aunt, who has so great a horror of being left alone with Désirée?"
"Look at those red streaks in the sky. Besides, the air is so clear and still. Listen, and you will hear the lowing of the distant cattle. How faint it sounds! The herds are coming back from pasture. Yes, it will surely be fine to-morrow."
The heart of Nathalie grew sad within her. She had seldom or ever heard her sister allude to the beauties of nature before her illness, but since then, the dying girl seemed to love such themes. The freshness of the summer mornings, the warmth and life of fervid noonday, the fading loveliness of eve, were for ever haunting her sick-bed. Although Rose knew well her state, and never expressed the least regret for life, Nathalie sometimes feared her sister was not quite so resigned as she had first thought her to be. When Rose spoke thus of what would so soon be lost to her for ever, the young girl gently endeavoured to divert her thoughts. She now observed,—
Nathalie shook her head.
"You will not," pursued Rose, "and I cannot blame you; it were indeed a living death. But what will you do, my poor child?" "Trust to Providence."
There was a pause.
"It is strange," at length said Rose, "but it seems to m if you did not speak with your usual frankness. Answer me truly-have you any plan settled in your own mind?”
She bent forward as she spoke to look at her sister, whose troubled and averted look confirmed her suspicion.
"What is it, Nathalie?" she gravely asked. You talk of settled plan-I have none, Rose, but when Mademoiselle Dantin called the other day, she asked me if I would return to her school after the vacation." "Did you consent?"
"No, I did not."
"Madame Lavigne wishes to know whether there is anything you would like to-night?”
"She is very kind, but I wish for nothing. Look at that large, brilliant star, Nathalie. Does it not seem to rise slowly before us, as if it knew of its own beauty? Is there not something of the spirit of life in its light, so tremulous and yet so clear?"
"It is very beautiful," answered Nathalie; "but I fear you will take cold, Rose." She rose to close the window as she spoke.
"Do not,” replied Rose, arresting her with her pale thin hand; "there is no chillness in the air, and the sight of all this beauty does me good."
Nathalie resumed her seat. There was a and vindictive." brief silence.
"You may close the window now," at length said Rose.
"But you do know," gravely replied Rose, "and knowing, should not seek to deceive me.” Nathalie did not answer. Her sister continued, "You see that I am well aware of
But you wish for it. Why so?"
"It is as good a place as another, and she has offered me an increase of salary."
Rose looked at her fixedly.
"And these," she said at length, "these are your motives for going back to that school, so near that house which was once to have been yours? Oh, Nathalie! do you think me blind? Do you think me unable to read your heart and its enduring resentment? Oh! you are indeed a true daughter of the South-proud
A flush rose to Nathalie's brow.
"Yes, Rose," she said, with subdued vehemence, "you speak truly; I feel it is my
"The room is almost dark; shall I get a mother's southern blood, and hers only, that light?" flows in my veins. And in the south, if we know how to love, we also know how to hate. He once said I had energy enough for the feeling. I will show him he was a prophet. He said he would be years away: do not believe it, Rose; do not believe it. He will
"Not yet. My poor aunt being blind herself, cannot endure others to have light burning. I do not wish to vex her for the little while I have yet to live."
Nathalie turned her head away.
"Oh! Rose," she said, at length, "why speak return soon, perchance; soon enough, at least, thus? You cannot know."
for my purpose. He shall see me the dependant of a tyrannical mistress, and he shall say to himself that he might have spared me that fate, for which I care not, but which, if what his aunt has told me be true, it will grieve and
torment him to see.
We cannot be so near without meeting; I shall neither seek nor avoid it, but I know that it will be so. He took one last look when we parted; I was pale and sorrow-stricken then; but I am not so now; pride has come to my aid, and when we meet again there will be enough left for regret, in the beauty that once pleased his eye. He will suffer, I know he will; let him; I, too, have suffered. He will feel that though thus ever near, we are for ever separated; let him; I, too, have felt it. There will arise in his heart a ceaseless regret for something lost; an unavailing wish that the past might be effaced. Let the regret and desire rise; I, too, have known them."
"He cannot, he cannot," vehemently replied the young girl; "he cannot be so. Indifferent! I defy him."
Her brow was knit, her looks fixed, her lips were firmly compressed, and for awhile her pale face lit up with something of the deadly beauty given to the Medusa.
"You see, Rose,” she resumed, more calmly, "that I am, as you say, vindictive; but mine is the passive vengeance of mere feeling." "What becomes of your vengeance, if he is Others, less known, less tried, more happy, indifferent and cold?" asked Rose.
according to human weakness, accomplish humble duties, and follow only the cool, shady paths of life. They toil and suffer, too, but the pure halo of a divine peace is around them
"And if he repents? if he asks you to for- still. To a third class, whom the Almighty give the past?" knows as less gifted to act, less fit to soothe the woes and cares of others, another fate is given. Theirs,” she added, and her voice grew tremulous and low, "is to pass through life in
Rose looked at her with gentle serious- the vain longing for doing better things; in stagnant quietness when the soul's passion is action; their sacrifice is that of will, and they, too, have their reward, and enter at last into the end and consummation of all things-God."
"My poor child," she said, "can you indeed hold those feelings, whilst living, as you do, in the very sight and presence of death. Look at me; think of what I am, of what I shall be ere long, and confess that the feelings of your heart belong to the perishable, not to the divine, part of your nature. You have received your sorrow as a curse, and it was sent only as a chastening trial."
"He will not do so, Rose; but if he did I should refuse him, as inexorably as ever he uttered refusal."
"Oh! Rose, give me your faith," sadly replied Nathalie, "and I will forswear my feelings, and confess that my fate is just. But how can I, when see you so good, so meek, so noble, condemned from childhood to passive sufferings? I was rebellious, but you, Rose, needed no trial. What has your wasted youth led to?"
were not in vain; the inward and still unknown strife was not in vain; not even the dreams of my youth or the sorrows of your love have been vain. We are linked to one another, here below, by a chain so fine, that mortal eye can never see it; so strong, that mortal strength can never break it. If the sorrow we have known has given us a more kindly feeling towards the suffering; if it has only drawn forth one gentle word more, can it be said to have been in vain?"
"Oh! Rose," gloomily said Nathalie, "life is more than a duty, at that rate; it is an eternal sacrifice.”
"And why not?" asked Rose, with a kindly look; "why not? Yes, a sacrifice. There are many paths; the goal is one. Some-they are happy-are called upon to struggle for truth and right, in the sight of God and man; to endure the weariness, the burning heat of the noonday sun, until the evening's well-earned rest is won at length. Oh! great and glorious is their fate a fate angels might envy.
"Nathalie,” she said very earnestly, "know this: none, no, none have ever suffered in vain. The silent tears which the lonely night beheld
"And is this," she asked, looking at her sister, "the reward promised to virtue?”
"And why should virtue seek a reward?” returned the inexorable Rose. "Above all, why should it hope for what was never promised an earthly reward? Who first invented that sinful lie? Crosses, sorrows, and untold agonies of spirit, these are its proper rewards; let it seek none other. But you
Rose laid her hand lightly on her sister's look half-terrified. My child, do not misunderstand me. All is not misery: there is joy in the brave endurance of sorrow; there is happiness in adoration, not in the cold lipworship, but in the fervent adoration of the
But though the soul of Rose, long purified by faith, could rise thus high, that of Nathalie, darkened by earthly shadows, could not follow.
silent heart; and there is a divine peace in prayer. For what is prayer? Communion with God and humanity: with the great Being whose infinitude is beyond mortal comprehension; with the frail finite creatures who suffer here below in their narrow space. I can see you pity me; but when I have known all these feelings, is it possible I should think myself quite unhappy?"
"Do you regret life?" asked Nathalie. "No; that were difficult," replied Rose, with a touch of sadness; "nature is weak, and, according to her, I have not been quite happy. But my sorrows have led to this much good: that though I am young and see the light of life fading from me fast, I fear not death. Can the solitary lamp which burned unheeded through the long and weary night, see with terror the dawn which tells the coming of a purer day? We hear of the shadow of the valley of death; we should hear of the shadow of the valley of life; for life is indeed a gloomy valley, full of doubt, and still shrouded in dark mists. We descend into it we know not how; obscurity and dismay beset the path we must tread; we journey we know not whither, unless through faith; but as we ascend the air becomes more pure, the sky more clear; and when we stand on the crowning rock, light reigns above, and darkness at our feet."
She spoke with fervent earnestness.
"I envy you your living faith," said Nathalie, eyeing her mournfully; "I am not happy, I feel as if I should never again be happy in this life; but I would not leave the dark valley yet, and my whole soul would sink with terror at the prospect of death.”
"But you shall not die yet, my poor child," affectionately said Rose, turning towards her sister with a faint smile; “it is natural for you to feel thus. The flesh is weak in youth. Faith comes with sorrowing years, and when we leave its early hours behind us, life grows less dear. Oh! why at any age is death made so very awful? Why were the scythe, the skeleton, the grim visage, given as attributes to this gentle deliverer? I would have him an angel, calm, pitying, and sad, but beautiful, and no king of terrors. A deliverer he is, for does he not sever the subtle yet heavy chain which links the spirit to the flesh, life to clay? Nathalie, do you remember that passage in the service of the mass, when, after the Hosanna has been sung, the choir raise their voices and sing: Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini -Blessed be he who cometh in the name of the Lord.' From my earliest years these words
produced a strange impression on me. child I wondered what glorious messenger from heaven was thus solemnly greeted by those of earth. I thought of winged angels visiting patriarchs of the desert; of spirits in white robes with diadems made of the eternal stars. Oh, Nathalie! even such a pure messenger is death to me now. He comes, the bearer of glorious tidings, the herald of the Eternal, and I too say, 'Blessed be he who cometh in the name of the Lord.""
Rose bowed her head and uttered the last words in a low tone as if it were something inward, and not mere external sense, that spoke within her. The moon had risen from behind the abbey-tower, and now threw its pale ray on her calm features and bending profile. As she sat there, in an attitude of monumental stillness, Nathalie gazed on her with an awe which is not that we feel for the dying or the dead. Rose belonged to neither; the barque was not yet bearing her away over that dark flood which leads to the better land; but she stood on the very brink of the breaking waves, and her clear glance seemed already to behold the unknown shore beyond. It was this awed Nathalie. To her that other world, of which Rose spoke so calmly, was shrouded in mists. She believed, but human faith is weak, and she had too long made her home among the dreams and hopes of earth, not to dread bidding them a last farewell.
Three days after this Rose died.
It was a calm twilight; she had laid down on her bed to rest awhile; Nathalie sat at the foot of her couch; an unconquerable sadness had been over her since the morning, when Rose had given a strange lingering look at the rising sun, and then turned away with something like sudden pain. Towards evening Nathalie had said to her,
"Do look at that beautiful sunset." "No," replied her sister, in a low tone, "it is better not;" and she steadily kept her look averted until the last golden gleam had faded away from the walls of the little room. Then she turned and looked at the gray sky, and smiled-perchance at this last victory. It was soon after this that she lay down; she felt drowsy, she said, and wearied, sleep would do her good. She spoke for a few minutes more to her sister, then slowly fell asleep. She woke no more, and Nathalie never knew at what moment, whilst she watched there by her sister, sleep had ceased, and death begun.
"She is sleeping," whispered Désirée, when
Nathalie, at length alarmed, called her up; | fallen on the quiet Rose, she hid her face in "she was always quiet-very quiet, Made- her hands, and wept by that bed of death. moiselle Nathalie; one never heard her about Like a shadow Rose had moved through the place, she is a very quiet girl.” life, and like a shadow she noiselessly passed But when she saw what sort of a repose had away from it when her time was come.
RICHARD DALTON WILLIAMS.
BORN 1822-DIED 1862.
Richard Dalton Williams was one of the young recruits which the Nation drew into its ranks in the exciting days when O'Connell's agitation, after it had reached its zenith, was about to perish before a more ardent and daring movement. Early in 1842 appeared in the newly-started paper the "Lament for Owen Roe." This was the first poem which came from the pen of Thomas Davis. A few months later the Nation published the "Munster War Song." This was the first contribution of Williams.
as the old; Martin was convicted and transported, so was O'Doherty; but against Williams the crown failed to obtain a conviction.
Williams resumed for a while his medical studies, taking his diploma in Edinburgh; but, like so many others, he felt such deep disappointment at the failure of the movement of 1848 that he longed for another land and different surroundings. In 1851 he emigrated to America, and after a while settled down in New Orleans as a medical man. After this came two flittings, his last residence being Thibodeaux in Louisiana. Here he was when the great American civil war broke out. He took advantage of the occasion to write the "Song of the Irish-American Regiments," in which the old rebel sentiments were expressed in stirring verse. While his pen thus retained its full vigour, Williams himself had begun to decay; consumption had seized hold of his
At the moment when he wrote this spiritstirring appeal Williams was still a schoolboy. He was born in Dublin; the date of his birth is uncertain, but the one usually assigned is the 8th of October, 1822. At an early age he was removed to Grenanstown, near the Devil's Bit, one of the most romantic spots in Tipperary. He was first sent to school to St. Stanislaus College, Tullabeg; and after-frame, and on July 5, 1862, he died. A touchwards to Carlow College. It was while a pupil at the latter place that he wrote the poem in the Nation already referred to. His school-boy days over, he went to Dublin to prepare for the medical profession. In his leisure hours he amused himself by writing a series of poems full of grotesque humour under the title The Misadventures of a Medical Student. These verses may be read still with keen delight, but much of their point is lost owing to the ephemeral character of many of the allusions. Though the revolutionary tempest was passing over Dublin, Williams managed to pursue his studies with considerable diligence; but at last the time came when he could no longer escape from the maelstrom. On May 26, 1848, Mitchel was convicted, and on the following day his paper, the United Irishman, was suppressed. New revolutionary journals at once rose to fill the vacant place; John Martin started the Irish Felon; and Williams, with his friend Kevin Izod O'Doherty, established the Irish Tribune. Of course the new journals went the same way
ing incident followed. His resting-place had been marked by nothing better than a rude deal board bearing his name and the date of his death. Shortly after his death some companies of Irish-American soldiers happened to pass through the locality; and, resolving that the spot of a countryman so gifted and so faithful should be properly marked, raised by subscription a monument of Carrara marble, inscribed with a brief but eloquent epitaph.
The poems of Williams have been issued in a collected form by the proprietors of the Nation, in whose early pages his nom de plume of "Shamrock" was so well known.
I rambled away, on a festival day,
From vanity, glare, and noise,
In solitude's holy joys,
By the lonely cliffs, whence the white gull starts,