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way to the court of Leontes, discovered the old shepherd and his son, who were wandering about to see what could be seen, little dreaming to encounter the exasperated king, from whose vengeance they considered themselves secure. He ordered them to be seized :-the poor wretches trembled, wept, prayed, kissed the earth, and in their confusion every sentence they spoke was a contradiction to that which they had spoken before, while Bohemia, enraged, stamped, foamed, and threatened them with death in every shape. They were conducted to the court, and the king's transports of rage being restrained by the sight of Leontes, the friend and beloved companion of his early days, the two culprits were questioned with more mildness; and the old man then disclosed the manner in which he had found the child, who had been brought up as his daughter, produced the box which contained the full testimonials of her birth, the mantle and jewels of Hermione, and also letters in the well known hand writing of Antigonus, whose death, and the wreck of the ship which bore him from Sicilia, were all“ confirmations-strong as proofs of holy writ,” that this beautiful image of Hermione was Hermione's daughter, and heir to the Sicilian throne.
Imagination may picture, but tongue or pen would fail to describe, the ecstasy which filled each breast, when the lovely Perdita was clasped to the bosom of her enraptured father, as also to that of Polixenes, who presented her to his son, and prayed the heavens to shower down blessings on them. The faithful Paulina gazed upon the Princess, caught her in her arms, thanked the gods that the oracle was at length fulfilled-in restoring the lost infant ;--and then again she wept at the sad recital of her husband's dreadful death. It was a noble combat between joy and sorrow, which marked the
erful mind of the exalted Paulina.
When the first transports of joy were over, Perdita Begged to be conducted to the tomb of her mother, at that sacred shrime to offer her thanksgivings to the gods for this blessed restoration : “ Would you: not rather see the statue of your excellent mother, Princess ? (inquired Paulina.) I have a statue of the Queen just finished, the performance of many years, and but even now completed by the rare Italian master Julio Romano.”
Perdita was delighted at the thought, Leontes no less so-and they immediately proceeded to a retired house belonging to Paulina, where, since the death of Hermione, few had been permitted to enter.
While the royal visitors, attended by their courtiers, proceeded in all due pomp to the house of Paulina, the happy Polidor and his aged father were under the directions of the master of the wardrobe, by whose care they were soon decorated in the first style of magnificence. Considering themselves as born gentlemen—"born any time within the last half hour, they were strutting through the streets, full of their own importance, to join their “royal kindred,”
when they were addressed hy Autolicus with all due humility,who solicited their future favours and protesfion, which they n.ost readily granted; and Polidor promised he would do for him every thing he wished, twear for hiin every thing he desired, because as he was now a born gentleman, and akin to royalty, he might say or swear any thing he pleased, and who should gainsay him ?
Paulina conducted her visitors to a chapel behind her liouse, where drawing back a sable eurtain, she presented to view a statue so exquisitely wrought that it appeared inspired with life and animation, and so striking a resemblance of Hermione, that Leontes stood amazed, and Perdita was lost in' admiration, at this beautiful semblance of her departed mother, whose hand she would have kissed, but that Paulina forbade her, saying“the statue was but newly fixed, the colours not dry.' Leontes, when his first sürprise was over, and his mingled sensations of pain and pleasure had vented themselves, burst out into exclamations of wonder at the sculptor's art, which thus could personate the lise, and was rushing to embrace the beauteous statue of his loved, his murdered Queen-but he was also prevented by Paulina, who begged him to control his feelings.
Good my Lord, forbear :
With oily painting.–Shall I draw the curtain ? *.* “Oh, not these twenty years—(exclaimed Leontes) -I could gaze upon that beauteous form for ever.
“ And I too (said tlre weeping Perdita). I could gaze until my eye-strings cracked with very weariness. Beseech you, lady, let me behold her longer."
“Either forbear, and quit the chapel (said Paulina), or prepare you for more amazement. If you have spirits, sir, to bear it, I'll make the statue move, and take you by the hand; but you perchance may think I am assisted by wicked powers."
Leontes told her he was prepared to look upon all she could undertake to do, for it was as casy to make the statue speak as move.
Paulina then commanded that music should sound -when instantly the solemn peal of the organ reverberated through the arched roof, while all present stood in breathless anxiety to know where this awful ceremony would end ! Presently the statue began to snove from its recumbent posture, and the eye before fixed on vacancy rested on Leontes. With a slow and majestic step she descended from the lofty pedestal, and presented her hand to Leontes; he grasped it eagerly—it was warm, and glowing ! He embraced the beauteous form-it returned the pressure and Leontes started back in terror and amazement !
Speak, dearest lady—said the faithful Paulina) -convince them that you live ! and you, sweet paid, kneel and pray your mother's blessing Look, dear madam ! best Hermione, look ; behold our Per-.. dita is found."
Perdita rushed to her mother's feet, and grasping her hand, devoured it with kisses. Hermione gazed on her with delight, and folding her to her enraptured heart, entreated to know how she had been preserved —where lived and how restored to her father's court ; but Paulina checked her eager inquiries, lest she should agitate her mind too powerfully : for so much joy after so much sorrow was a trial of strength both mental and bodily. Again the full swelling organ sounded; but now it sounded notes of joy and triumph, accompanied by the loud peal of human voices which were raised to heaven in gratitude for this miraculous preservation.
Hermione, between her husband and daughter, was conducted to the court amid the acclamations of the multitudes who, having heard the joyful tidings, were flocking from every quarter of the city to greet their new found Queen and Princess.
When Paulina had announced to Leontes the death of Hermione, she had no idea that she was asserting
a falsehood. The semblance of death was so strong that all who saw gave credence to it. Paulina never left her mistress night or day, and it was during her midnight watch that a faint sigh met her ear. She was alarmed,—but stifling her terrors, she exerted her utmost resolution, supposing the sainted spirit of her departed mistress was hovering near, to give some dear commission to her charge. She advanced near the coffin ; another and a deeper sigh was is'sued ; she put her hand upon the cheek, and on the lips, where some faint touch of warmth was apparent. Paulina, without calling any one to her assistance, summoned all her
presence of mind; and, by various medicinal applications, succeeded in bringing back the vital warmth of existence.
When Hermione was sufficiently recovered to enter into conversation, it was agreed between them that till the oracle was fulfilled, and her lost child restored, she should be considered as dead. By the contrivance of Paulina, a fictitious funeral took place, while, in the dead of night, slie conveyed the Queen to her own house, where in secret she had ever since resided, till this blissful boil, which had restored her at once to her husband and her child-her friends, her subjects, and her throne.
Swee: liope had lure: her op from day to day,