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A SEQUEL TO

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MAUDE BOLINGBROKE.

CHAPTER III.

Aude and her companion travelled over several counties before they could decide upon their place of residence. At length they fixed upon a lovely village called Thorncliff, situated on the banks of the Severn, in Worcestershire. A neat little cottage, offering every comfort and many luxuries, was to be let; and Margarita lost no time in securing it, as it appeared a suitable abode for her invalid friend. A few hours sufficed to settle their plans, and to domesticate them in the “Willow Cottage;” for so the dwelling was called, from the number of willow trees which grew in the adjoining garden and meadow ; and this cottage they took for the next three months; Margarita having superintended the disposal of their luggage, and some trifling alterations in the arrangement of the furniture in their pleasant habitation.

It was Saturday evening before the fatigues of the journev were entirely overcome; but on that evening, immediately after tea, Margarita laid aside her netting, and begged Maude to take at least a short walk before sunset. Maude willingly complied, and in a few minutes the two friends were traversing the principal street of the village. Various Saturday occupations were still going forward; the walks of the little gardens before the different cottages were being swept; and a few idle matrons were hurriedly cleansing their abodes—idle! certainly ; because all works of domestic purification ought to be effected before the evening of the last day of the week. At last the friends turned down a short lane, which led them directly to the church; an ancient, moss-grown structure, standing in the midst of a well-kept and picturesque-looking burying-ground. Maude and Margarita found, that the churchyard gate was open; and as the evening was warm, they were glad to sit down and rest upon the roots of a noble beech-tree, which spread the shade of its luxuriant foliage far over the grassy graves beneath. It was a brilliant evening, and the shining river looked clear as crystal in the calm soft sunlight. The thick woods which fringed its course were in full leaf, and displayed every lovely tint of emerald, from the dark green of the elm, to the bright verdant hue of the cassia.; and far beyond the river and the woods lay a beautiful tr;ict of country consisting of diversified hill and dale, stretching away in the distance, until the Inst hill seemed actually bounded by the serene evening sky.

Opposite to the church stood a pretty rectory, its white walls almost mantled by ivy, clematis, and other creeping plants. Maude stood for some minutes admiring the exquisite beauty of the scene; for though she bad gazed on many a lovely landscape, many a glorious view of nature, during her Continental tour, she still felt the soft, fresh, and soultouching beauty of her own fair England. But tears soon dimmed her eyes, as her thoughts reverted to a mountain-churchyard far away. She gazed upon the gentle flowers whose petals were now closing over the velvet turf of these lowly graves; and she remembered that the auricula and the deep blue gentianella were even then blooming over the quiet resting-place of her beloved Annie. Margarita perceived her sadness, and she well knew the cause of those sudden tears ; for alas! they were no less frequent than sudden ; and she took the arm of her sorrowing friend, and led her from the churchyard.

Not far from the rectory stood a pretty rustic dwelling, surrounded by a well-cultivated garden. The latter object particularly attracted the attention of Margarita, for it presented a splendid collection of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. She recollected that they stood in need of a further supply of the two last mentioned articles; and while they stood debating whether persons so apparently respectable as the inhabitants of this cottage must be deemed, might not be offended by an offer to buy their commodities, they saw a very pleasant-looking woman issue from the rectory, and approach the garden-gate. Maude and Margarita still stood doubting whether or not they should proceed. Summoning all their courage, they signified their wishes; and in answer to Margarita’s inquiries, they were told, that fruit and vegetables were not generally sold, but that they might be so accommodated, as they appeared to be strangers, and could not possibly know where things of this nature were to be procured. The complaisant mistress of the domain then offered seats in the wide porch of her neat abode; and while her husband and eldest daughter gathered pease, strawberries, and a choice bouquet,

she brought her knitting, and sat down, chatting with her visitors most volubly.

The church being the most prominent object in the visible landscape, naturally became the first subject of conversation. Maude and Margarita were both desirous to know who was the pastor, and what doctrines he preached. The mistress of the pretty dwelling seemed quite able and willing to give every information on this subject, and in answer to Maude’s questions she replied—

“Our own rector, Ma’am, is a Mr. Mordaunt, and a very nice sort of man he is; but he has changed duties with a Mr. Manningford, whose own church is by the sea-side, somewhere down in Devonshire, they say; and we like this Mr. Manningford very much. He has been here only three weeks, but he is to stay two months longer, and then Mr. Mordaunt will come back again, and Mr. Manningford will return to his own people; they must miss him very much, I am sure. I suppose you will hear him, ladies, to-morrow, for you do not look like the meeting-people; and I am quite certain you will be pleased; and then he has such a pretty young wife, and such a beautiful baby; and she (I mean Mrs. Manningford) goes about every day to the schools, and comes into the cottages, and talks to us poor people just as if we were gentlefolks like herself.”

Much more did the good woman say, and much more would she have added, had not her auditors obliged her to conclude, by taking their departure ; Maude feeling extremely anxious to hear Mr. Manningford preach on the following morning.

The Sunday morning arose, bright and cloudless, and when Margarita threw open the casement, the scent of flowers, and the sweet notes of the summer-birds were borne upon the soft gentle breeze. An air of calm repose seemed shed over the rich foliage of the thick woods, the green sunny meadows, and the broad glassy surface of the Severn. Margarita was reminded of the placid beauty of her beloved Alpine home. She remembered how tranquilly fair the lake, the forests, and the mighty mountains had appeared, in the quiet, holy hours of summer Sabbaths. That cherished home was no longer hers; strangers dwelt there; another pastor ministered in the gray sanctuary; other hands tended and gathered the flowers which once were her pride and delight; the solemn sunset hour threw its deep shade over the quiet churchyard, where slept the mortal remains of the gentle Annie and the venerable pastor, and other feet trod that green turf, and other hearts sighed over the departed ones who slept so peacefully beneath. Something like sadness rested on Margarita’s usually cheerful countenance, while these reminiscences of the past, stole over her mind, but the cloud was soon dispelled.

“Our rest is not here,” she thought; “earthly homes, however cherished and beloved, pass away, but the Christian should not bitterly mourn over the decay of his brightest hopes, since he has laid up for him an inheritance that can never fade.”

The sound of the church-clock roused Margarita from her somewhat melancholy reverie, and she hastened to prepare breakfast. Maude was quite well enough to accompany her friend, and at the appointed time they were traversing the flower-wreathed shady lanes which led to the church.

It was yet early when they reached the sacred edifice, and comparatively few persons were assembled, and the Sunday-school children were being arranged in the seats appointed for them. Maude and Margarita, as strangers, were placed in one of the best pews, and exactly facing that appropriated to the minister and his family. After some time, when the bustle of placing the schools was over, a lady entered the clergyman’s pew; and Maude, inasmuch as she doubted not that this was the Mrs. Manningford of whom she had heard so much the preceding evening, regarded her with some degree of interest. The lady in question was most simply dressed; nevertheless, her appearance was entirely that of a gentlewoman. She wore slight mourning, and her close straw bonnet was very neatly trimmed with white ribbon. Her face was not visible until the service commenced, for she did not raise her head till her husband took his place in the reading-desk; and then, when she rose, and her countenance fully appeared, Maude perfectly started with astonishment, and turned her bewildered gaze on Margarita, who was extremely puzzled to account for the expression of surprise which was so visibly depicted on her friend’s features. Again, Maude looked; that beautifully fair complexion, that delicate rose-tint, those deep, earnest, blue eyes, and those fair brown ringlets, where had she seen them before? The pastor’s wife was inexpressibly lovely, and Maude felt, that her form and features were perfectly familiar to her. The service proceeded; the Venite commenced, and yet Maude, who really felt the importance and valued the privilege of the sacred duty in which she was engaged, could not confine her thoughts and her attention ; rove they would, to all the varied scenes of her long tour, for somewhere, she was assured, she had seen and known her fair fellowworshipper. At length the truth flashed across her mind, the lady was like Sophia Milwood, with this difference, that Sophia had looked younger

SEW SERIES.—NO. XXVI. H

and more thoughtless; but the faultless features, the violet-coloured eves, the palely-golden tresses, were precisely similar. Could it possibly be her sister? for Sophia had mentioned a sister who had resided all her life in Ireland. But then how could a Milwood be a Protestant, and moreover the wife of a Protestant clergyman?

Instantly, the gloomy walls of the Winchester convent arose to Maude’s imagination in frowning array. Once more she seemed to walk with her lovely friend, on the velvet greensward of the fair garden, and once again, the gentle form of Annie was before her, all bright and smiling, as in her early days of peace and happiness; and remembrances, too, of Mrs. Burnett and of Mrs. Durant, came crowding up in her mind so rapidly, that it was long ere she remembered how far she had wandered in heart, from the words which her lips had mechanically uttered; and it was only by a very strong effort that she could succeed in relinquishing this train of thought, and in turning her attention exclusively to the service of the day. Never before had Maude felt so forcibly the beauty of that sweet prayer at the close of our truly scriptural liturgy. “”We humbly beseech thee, O Father! mercifully to look upon our infirmities ;” &c, for never before had she felt her infirmities more keenly than on that morning, when, kneeling in the house of prayer, she endeavoured to give her heart to praise and supplication, but found that, in spite of herself, that foolish wandering heart would be dwelling on other objects and other thoughts. During the service, Maude was rather startled to perceive, that, from time to time, Mrs. Manningford looked at her with a glance which betokened more than common curiosity; evidently with deep interest. It was apparent, that Maude’s countenance awakened inx her mind some deep-sealed recollection, though, like her, she could not exactly recall the circumstances which rendered the features of the stranger so familiar. It would indeed have been no marvel, had Maude not been recognized by her own sister. A few months of suffering had wrought an indescribable change. Those who had seen the tall stately form, the majestic mien, the brilliant complexion, and the thick raven tresses of the haughty Maude Bolingbroke, would scarcely have recognized her in the slender figure, the pale, colourless cheek and lip, of the being who now sat in Thorncliff Church, attired in the deepest mourning; her once jetty ringlets being simply parted from off her pale forehead; thinned, and prematurely mingled with silver. During the afternoon, Maude explained the cause of her disquietude to Margarita, but to the latter, Sophia Milwood was of course unknown.

The hour for evening service arrived, and Mrs. Manningford was again in her pew, and Maude felt perfectly convinced that she must be the sister, or at least a verj near relative, of Sophia Milwood. Of course her curiosity was strongly excited, but no one in the village knew anything more of Mrs. Manningford, than that she was a very beautiful, kind-hearted, and pious lady.

It was on the following Wednesday that Maude set out for a solitary walk, leaving Margarita at home busily occupied in writing letters to Madame de Marlier. Maude was returning to the cottage, and had just reached the rectory, when a nursemaid came from the house, carrying in her arms a lovely infant about a year old. The little one had bright blue eyes and flaxen hair, acd she was crowing with delight at the gambols of a frisky lap-dog, which ran before her. Maude stopped the maid, to inquire whose child this lovely little one might be; and as might be expected, the girl replied that it was Mrs. Manuingford’s little daughter. Now, though Maude had a very strong objection to the very general practice of praising the beauty of little children, whether they really call forth admiration or not, she could not avoid saying, “What a lovely child!”

The young nursemaid seemed pleased by the notice taken of her charge, and she hastened to convey the information that Miss Sophia (for so she called the fair babe,) was as good as she was lovely, and could already say many words, and almost stand alone.

How strange, thought Maude, that Mrs. Manningford should call her child Sophia; and she repeated the name aloud almost unconscious of an auditor.

“Yes, Ma’am, Sophia she was christened,” remarked the girl; “It is my mistress’s own name.”

Maude would have given much to ask what had been the maiden name of that mistress, but she felt unwilling to do anything which might appear like impertinent and unwarranted curiosity. Surely there must be some link between Mrs. Manningford and my Winchester friend, thought Maude; and then she asked if this little one were an only child.

“Yes, Ma’am,” replied the nurse, “and I have nursed her ever since she was born; she will be twelvemonths old next week.”

Strongly as prudence and propriety forbad that Maude should obtain further information from a servant, she could not help asking, “If Mrs. Manningford had ever lived at Winchester?”

The girl did not know, but she had heard her mistress speak of Winchester: so Maude bade her farewell, more excited and dissatisfied than ever; and when, a few minutes afterwards, she encountered Mrs. Manningford herself, both ladies gazed at each other very earnestly.

Several days passed on, and again Maude strolled out alone. It was a bright evening, and the day had been extremely warm; and after a little deliberation, Maude bent her steps towards the banks of the river. The glassy waves were as placid as the serene sky above, and no sound broke the stillness of the evening hour, save the ripple of the water, aud the sweet song of the birds. Maude sat down on a fallen tree, and fell into a long fit of musing. She was tired, too, by her walk; and during the day, her spirits had been more than ordinarily depressed. Settled once more in her native country, Annie seemed to be doubly missed; and a sense of earthly desolation, which all Margarita’s kind gentleness could not dispel, oppressed her with a feeling of indescribable gloom.

After a time, a lady might be seen slowly advancing along the banks of the river; and as she drew nearer, Maude saw that it was no other than Mrs. Manningford. Her heart beat as the lady stopped, evidently intending to accost her.

“I ought to apologize for intrusion,” she began, in a very sweet voice ; “but may I venture to ask whether you are not a stranger in the village? Pray excuse this very unceremonious introduction: as the wife of the clergyman for the time being, I feel called upon to be on speaking terms with every one in the place.”

There was no mistaking that voice, that clear, musical, well-known voice. Maude gazed in a state of utter bewilderment; it was Sophia Milwood; she whom Maude had pictured as despoiled of her sunny brown ringlets, and long since the vowed inmate of a cloister.

For some moments, both ladies were too much agitated to speak ; at length Maude burst into tears, and Sophia was scarcely able to restrain her agitation. The two friends seated themselves on a mossy bank, and it was long ere Maude was sufficiently calm to hint her astonishment at finding Sophia the wife of a Protestant clergyman.

“It is too long a tale for this evening, dear Maude,” replied Sophia, in answer to her observation; ” you must come to us; oh, how delighted my husband will be, that I have really found the Maude Bolingbroke of whom I have often talked to him. But I am not surprised that I failed, at first, to recognize y°n, Maude; for you are so much, so very much altered, and that lady who was with you on Sunday—I am sure that is not Miss Lindsay. Where is your sister? your sweet sister Annie?

Maude could not answer; a thrill of agony shook her trembling frame, and she became deadly pale.

Sophia glanced at her mourning-dress, and the truth flashed across her mind. Tears came into her clear blue eyes; for she had long thought of Annie with affection, and she felt deeply for the bereaved sister, who now sat beside her, tearless indeed, but with that expression of mental suffering, which incapacitates the mind from dwelling on any object but that from which it is suffering torture. Sophia saw this, and most fully she sympathized with her unhappy friend. She felt sure that Maude was no longer a Papist, but little did she know the burden of grief and self-accusation which weighed down the bursting heart of that sorrowing mourner.

CHAPTER IV. Before the shades of evening fell, Sophia had led her long-lost friend to the rectory; had introduced her to her husband; and, finally, had heard from Maude the particulars of her sad history, from the time of her departure from Winchester.

“Sweet Annie;’ said Sophia, when Maude had ceased to speak, “it were wrong to grieve for her. Even in my own dark hours of error, when I knew your gentle sister as an enemy to the false religion which I then professed, I was won to admire such Protestantism as hers; and never from that time have I witnessed such meekness combined with such holy boldness; such a freedom from everything worldly or selfish; and, above all, such calm, heavenly peace, as evidently marked her character; and now that she is gone, dear Maude, we know that she is safe with that Saviour whom she loved so much. It is very clear, that times of tribulation for the Church of Christ are at hand; a whirlwind of sorrows seems to be gradually but surely rising; and the time may come, when you and I, Maude, may think of that quiet restingplace in the fair valley of Verdenthal where our beloved Annie sleeps in peace, and may rejoice that she is there, safe from all the storms at whose fury we tremble, and may thank God, who hath taken her away from the evil to come.”

It was a sweet consolation to Maude to hear Sophia speak thus of her departed sister; and while they spoke of by-gone days, and Mr. Manuingford joined in the conversation, time flew so rapidly, that the church-clock struck ten before Maude remembered Margarita, and the alarm she must necessarily feel at her protracted absence. She rose to go, and Mr. Manningford accompanied her to the cottage, where they found Margarita in a state of extreme anxiety. Mr. Manningford himself explained to Mademoiselle Ridot the cause of her friend’s unexpected detention; and after engaging them both to spend the next day at the rectory, he took his departure, leaving Maude to detail to Margarita the adventures of the evening. Early the next morning Mrs. Manningford received her welcome visitors, and after a short walk through the garden, Maude recurred^ to the subject which had occupied her mind throughout the preceding night.

“Does not this remind you of our garden stroll at Winchester ?” she said.

“It does, indeed, dear Maude. Ah! at our last parting, in that pleasant arbour of clematis, how little did we think of the circumstances of our meeting again ; then, we were both bigoted Romanists; at least in heart you were so, and I was so, by profession, as well as by conviction. Now, I trust, we are Protestants, not only in name, but Protestants fully convinced of the error of the doctrines which we have abjured; and, as I humbly hope, joined unto the Church of Christ, in an everlasting union. But, Maude, you have recounted your own tale; do you not feel curious to know what could have led me to renounce the system in which I was so carefully educated; the system, in which I so firmly and uncompromisingly believed, and which I loved so well, that I would gladly have laid_ down my life for the honour and glory of Romanism?

“Indeed, Sophia,” returned Maude, ” I have thought of little else since we parted. My own escape was indeed wonderful; and I owe it to His almighty power, and infinite mercy, who willeth not the death of a sinner, that I am not now the deluded inmate of a convent-cell ; but I do long to hear, my dear Sophia, what could have led you to turn away from all which you had previously considered, so far as religion is concerned, as the only truth and reality in existence.”

Sophia proposed a return to the house, ere she commenced her narrative; and when she, and Maude, and Margarita, were seated with their needlework, by the open drawing-room window, she began to recount all that had happened to herself, since she had parted with Maude at Winchester.

“You well know, dearest Maude,” said Sophia, ” the state of my mind, when you and I were friends at the convent. At that time I should have turned away with horror and indignation from any one who had dared to hint, that I might at some future time become a Protestant. When you were gone, I missed you extremely ; your frequent visits had been a relief amid the monotonous round of our duties; and when I knew that you would come no more, I felt that I should indeed greatly miss the little excitement, which the anticipation of seeing you almost daily had inspired. For some time I did not attempt to analyze my own feelings; indeed, I never thought of any other source of my dulness, than that I felt grieved at parting with you; but at length the idea flashed upon me, that I was actually rebelling against my holy vocation, which had forbidden the cherishing of anything like exclusive human affection. I was shocked by this idea; and I struggled hard to overcome my depression and listlessness; and for a little while I succeeded; but before the tints of autumn tinged our garden trees, I was again unhappy; again craving after I knew not what. None knew the conflicting emotions thus aroused in my breast; none even entertained a suspicion of them. It was indeed remarked by several inmates of the convent, how much graver Sophia Mil wood had become ; but my gravity was attributed to the near approach of the season at which my noviciate would commence; no one ever dreamed that unwillingness to become a novice, was one source of my sedate thoughtfulness. Autumn had nearly passed away, the flowers had all disappeared, save a few lingering roses, and some sober, unassuming Michaelmas daisies, when I received a letter from an aunt of mine, who lived in Devonshire, desiring me to spend the Christmas vacation with her; and to defer the ceremony of taking the white veil till early in the ensuing spring. To the utter astonishment of my convent friends, I received this invitation with rapture, and I began my preparations for the journey with so much alacrity, that I felt that many looked upon me with a suspicious eye. Bit1; the day arrived; the carriage stood at the door of my gloomy prison-house! and I bade my companions what I then thought a temporary adieu; but never have I seen them since. The next day brought me to my aunt’s residence. I had not seen her for many years, not since my childhood; and my recollections respecting her were very indistinct, yet I remembered that she was kind, and extremely gentle in her manner. The cottage which she inhabited was situated in one of the loveliest spots of that lovely county, Devonshire. The little mansion itself was completely mantled with roses, jessamine, clematis, woodbine, and other graceful climbing plants. The garden in which it stood was spacious, and like a fairy-land; the turf was so soft and green; the flowers, too, bloomed with a luxuriance very unusual in winter; what it must have been in summer, I could scarcely imagine. The valley which stretched below was thickly wooded, and skirted by gray rocks; while, at a greater distance, lay the clear waters of the British Channel, sparkling in the bright sunbeams of a serene December noon. After the one, long, dismal scene on which I had for so many years gazed, how glorious did all this appear! I thought that I had never before seen the sky so cloudless ; so deeply, beautifully blue; never had I seen such flowers; there were roses, which, as if in mockery of the season, clustered round the verandah; their soft, pink leaves glowing in the clear sunshine; and the evergreens so richly green; holly, with its shining glossy leaves and coral wreath; the dark, solemr yew, with its soft, scarlet, waxlike berries ; and the luxuriant lauristinus, with graceful clusters of flowers, so pearly, so waxen, and so pure; all these things made the place, in my eyes, a paradise. But I forgot all external beauties, when I found myself seated in my aunt’s comfortable drawing-room, and partaking of an excellent repast after my long journey.

“My aunt Catherine, who has now been a widow for many years, was, like myself, educated in a convent, and destined to the veil; but circumstances wrought a change in her plans, and she married. She has two daughters, Kate and Clara; and she is, and has been for manv years, devoted to literary pursuits. I hope you will, before long, see my beloved aunt, for, Maude, you and Mademoiselle Ridot must return with us into Devonshire; but I must say a word in description of her. She is just fifty years of age; and she has the loveliest face I ever saw; nay, do not smile, Mademoiselle Margarita; it is as possible for a woman of fifty to be lovely, as it is for a belle of twenty, though not exactly in the same way. Aunt Catherine has not a single good feature; and her hair is as white, Margarita, as the snow-wreath on your own mountains; and moreover, she wears a close, old-fashioned cap, trimmed with white ribbons.”

Margarita laughed outright at this description of a beauty, and observed, ” I suppose the loveliness of which you speak lies in her character and her intellect.”

“Her character,” replied Sophia, “is indeed loveliness itself; and her intellect is of the first order; but she possesses also external attractions: I refer to you, Arthur, for a confirmation of my statement.”

Mr. Manningford declared, that his wife did not speak from mere prepossession or partiality; “but,” he continued, “you had better leave this point to be decided when we all meet at Rock Cottage.”

“Well, I will continue my story ;” said Sophia. “I was introduced

to my cousins; and Kate won my affections before I had been ten minutes in her company. The evening came. Oh! how well I remember that long, happy evening, so different from those which I had been accustomed to spend! We worked, and read, and talked, until Aunt Catherine and Kate remembered that it was an imperative duty to write some letters for the next day’s post. I sat on the sofa, professing to read, but in reality I was gazing at my aunt and my cousins, and thinking how I should like to live with them always; and the remembrance of the gloomy convent caused a shudder to run through my frame. My aunt was busily occupied with her pen; but sometimes she stopped to make a few remarks, or to think ; and I could not but admire the deeply intellectual, but equally gentle and loving expression of her eyes, as she raised them from the paper, sometimes to speak to myself, and sometimes to fix them, full of thought and feeling, on her daughter, who sat opposite to her, writing a letter. Kate is not much like her mother; but she has the same sweetness of expression, the same lovely smile, and there is something in her soft, dark eyes, which always reminds me of your dear sister Annie. While I gazed upon her countenance I could not at first comprehend what caused its beauty, but I soon felt that it was the simplicity, the gentleness, and the purity which dwelt in her heart, and shone forth in her calm, happy face. Clara is a really beautiful girl; she was rather timid, and that evening she did not address me, but I saw her steal frequent kind glances towards me, from beneath her long, silken eyelashes, while she sat writing at a separate table. The letters were soon directed, sealed, and ready for posting, and we were summoned to supper; during which meal, we chatted cheerfully, and I gave my aunt many details of my convent life. Sometimes I thought she looked sad, and I determined to confide to her my repugnance to take the veil, and to beg her to advise me, as to the step which I ought to take in this matter. Soon after supper the striking of the clock reminded my aunt that it was time for prayers. I saw Kate look at me, then at her mamma; and Clara hesitatingly said, ‘ Will Sophia come?’ Oh surely, I said, I am not at all tired now; and I felt quite puzzled at the anxiety evidently manifested by both sisters. We adjourned to the dining-room, and while the domestics were assembling, I remarked that my aunt’s gentle countenance had assumed rather an uneasy expression, but it soon subsided, and she began to read. With astonishment, which you, Maude, can understand better than 1 can describe, I heard Mrs. Milwood commence the eighth chapter of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. I listened to

every word, at first with wonder, then with admiration, and finally with deep delight; and at the concluding verses, ‘Who shall separate us from the love of God,’ I could scarcely refrain from expressing my joy and surprise. A prayer followed, not such as I had been accustomed to hear at evening prayers; a mere form, rapidly repeated in the Latin language; but the genuine expression of fervent petitions to God for blessings, both spiritual and temporal, entreated through the merits of Jesus Christ our only Saviour, and concluding with the Lord’s Prayer, and the apostolic blessing, all in English, and uttered in a tone of deep and earnest devotion. I rose from my knees, scarcely knowing what to think : I believe that I prayed then for the first time in my life; for I really felt that I needed Divine guidance, and the words of the prayer forcibly expressed this want, and besought the aid of the Holy Spirit; and I felt impelled to join in these petitions, not only in word but in heart also.

“We returned to the drawing-room, and for a few minutes no one spoke. At length Kate broke the silence, by inquiring at what time we retired in the convent? this led to a long conversation about monastic rules, and presently my aunt said, ‘Sophia, my love, tell me truly, do you love the mode of life which you have hitherto practised, better than any other you have seen?’

“I coloured deeply, and answered, ‘Indeed, aunt, I have seen but little, out of the convent; I can hardly tell; I will think about it; I intended to talk with you on this subject before my departure from hence.’

“I saw Kate’s open countenance glow with pleasure, as I said this, and Clara forgot her shyness, and exclaimed, ‘ Oh! Sophia, if you do not like your convent-life, stay always with us.’

“I made no answer, and soon the subject appeared to be dropped; but I was anxious to ask about the prayers, so different, and, it seemed to me, so preferable to all which I had ever heard before; and after a pause, I said,

“‘ Aunt, I never heard before those prayers that you used to-night. Are they Roman Catholic prayers?’

“‘ They are Catholic prayers, dear Sophia,’ replied Aunt Catharine, ‘but they are not Romish prayers. I have long since ceased to use Such. I am no longer a Roman Catholic; it is some years since I became a Protestant.’

“I was electrified! I knew that my uncle, my father’s only brother, had abjured the errors of Popery very soon after his marriage; but I had always heard his wife spoken of as a devoted Romanist. At that moment it occurred to me, that I had either heard or dreamed that Kate and Clara were brought up Protestants, according to their father’s dying instructions. I was shocked, nay, more! I was grieved, when I heard my aunt thus calmly proclaim her apostacy; for, although I had begun to demur as to the perfect happiness enjoyed by the religieuses, 1 had not a doubt on the verity of that doctrine which excluded from salvation all who are not within the pale of the Roman Catholic Church.

“My aunt and cousins saw that I looked pained; and the former said, ‘You are tired to-night, dear Sophia; you had better go to rest now, and to-monow we will talk again on this interesting subject;’ and she kindly wished me good-night, while Kate went with me to my chamber, to see if everything were provided for my comfort.

“‘ Clara and you are Protestants ? is it not so?’ I asked.

“‘ Yes, we are both Protestants, we have always been so;’ replied Kate; ‘but you will not love us the less for that, will you, dear

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“‘ Oh, no,’ I answered, energetically, for I felt already that it would be totally impossible for any one to live with Kate and her mamma, and not love them. Of Clara I did not know so much, but I could not help admiring her lovely face, and comparing it to the fresh-glowing roses which mantled the verandah. Kate left me after kissing me affectionately, and I was alone.

“The first thing I thought of, was the chapter I had heard read: seeing a Bible on the table, I took it up, and, after much searching, I found the part I wanted; three times I read it through, every word; and surely, He, whose blessed Word I held in my hand, caused the eyes of my understanding to be opened, so that the Scriptures became indeed a lamp unto my hitherto erring feet, and a light on my dreary path. I prayed that I might understand what I read ; and though I did not omit my customary formula, yet, when I lay down on my bed, I once more recurred to till that I had heard; and again and again I entreated the Lord earnestly, that I might be taught by His Holy Spirit to comprehend these things. It was to me a new, but an intensely happy feeling, to ask for advice and comfort from the Great Omnipotent God; and feel assured that all that was humbly asked through Christ, would be given; and while I was thus musing I fell asleep.”

( To be continued.)

The Knickerbocker; Or, New-York Monthly Magazine, Volume 17 (Google Books)

REGENT-STREET has no historic interest, even less than our Chesnutstreet. It has less variety, too, of buildings and pursuits than your Broadway, and bears no comparison with the Boulevards in this respect. Its great beauty consists in its company; in its animated display of equipages, in its well-dressed and elegant multitudes. In these particulars, it has no rival in the universal history of streets.

I like fashionable streets. In walking in them, one feels, for the time being, a refined antipathy to low life. If shabby in apparel, one sneaks instinctively into some place of meaner resort. The inclination to be decent is, I believe, one of the strongest of the human mind. Pliny informs us that the drowned ladies of his time were always found .# their faces; their strongest feeling being, in the last struggles of life, the becoming. Poets have given their heroes, even those not very delicately brought up, such as Julius Caesar, the same sentiment. One might reason much, if careless about squandering time, of the advantages to be drawn from these human feelings; say the statesman, of his power, through the means of fine streets and gardens, and other places of public resort, of making the upper classes instrumental in refining that part which, from neglect or scorn, or from want of observation, is continually falling into slovenly and immoral habits; and of the good effects which the frequency of such places, and a more familiar intercourse of the different orders, might have in lessening pride on the one hand, and on the other the vicious emulation produced by an excessively important and exclusive gentility. The south and Picadilly end of this street meet you with a curve, having on each side a colonnade and roof over a wide pavement, which is called the Quadrant; a kind of eddy, that receives the sediment of the street of a rainy day, and affords shelter to those who have none elsewhere. This Quadrant continues in a tangent due north, and terminates at a mile distant, in Regent’s Park. I mounted the gentle ascent, and stood where Oxford-street pours in its multitudes, east and west, mixed with the elegant world from Grosvenor and Berkley squares, and the other fashionable districts. Here the grand scene suddenly explodes. One used only to the laconic simplicity of our Schuylkill, on reaching this spot, stands agape with astonishment; and at the end of an hour you will see him gaping there still. One becomes fatigued, however, with the general prospect, at length, and begins to analyze, and look into the details. Equipages do not present themselves in a single form, but in a most agreeable and picturesque variety. Now it is a gorgeous and massive chariot—the king’s ; cream-colored horses, sturdy and large, two postillions, mounted footmen, and lancers, front and rear, in scarlet livery; now it is a tiny coach, light as Queen Mab’s, when she trots over ladies noses in a dream, driven by a woman in the full blaze of English beauty, with ponys a little bigger than Venus’ doves; now it is a high-mounted barouche, rich with emblazonry, displaying its group of gallants and noble dames, overlooking the prospect; or a modest box, an earl’s arms upon the pannels, and at a foot only from the pavement, to accommodate old age and the gout. Now and then you see a two-wheeled vehicle, burnished with the precious metals, and a single horse, and inside a single gentleman, white-gloved, and the jetty reins reposing gracefully on the left hand and grasped in the right, rattling over the pavement, and going nowhere with infinite speed — passing sometimes over a man’s body without his knowing it. This is a tilbury. The little man in sky-blue, silver-laced, who swings in the rear of it like the tail of a kite, whose shorts, and fairtops, high-buttoned jacket, silver shoulder-knots, and bushy hair curled over his varnished cap, give an air of the pompous, excessively genteel. This is a tygar—an individual not yet known in America, and therefore the more deserving of notice. Little he must be, from the nature of his functions; and leanness being inadmissible in a gentleman’s household, therefore little and plump. He is suspected of being sometimes of the gentler sex. Doubtful. He is intrusted with his master’s private affairs, and minus plaisirs, and is required to be of wonderful secrecy and fidelity. Why called a ‘tygar,” I omit to inquire. It is not granted mortals to know all things. He who sits imminent in front, of graver aspect, and sturdier frame, wearing a broad brim, and coat with the majesty of many folds and

capes, and a wig, making the coach-box dispute important looks with the wool-sack; this august personage is the coachman. Driving gives to the human countenance a cast of gravity. There is the idea of holding the reins, and sense of important functions. One may be charged with a duchess, and a long line of ancestors, or it may be, with the destinies of the three kingdoms; one may drive perhaps the prime minister. Indeed, the dignity of this office has been recognized in all ages. Automedon was one of Homer’s notabilities. In England some of the noblest blood seats itself occasionally upon the coach-box. In Jehu’s time they made kings of drivers, and often in ours they make drivers of kings; and this incognito brings a general respect; as when the gods travelled in mortal disguises, a poor devil was treated with fat geese and other civilities, through fear it might be Jove, or some other stroller from the skies. The plump little man astride the leading horse, like a pair of compasses; his face the full moon, in a powdered wig; his livery silver upon a black, yellow, or blue ground; the arms of “our house’ emblazoned upon his left sleeve, and a bouquet at his button-hole, is the postillion. Above all things, if you presume to drive into Regentstreet, let your footman be tall, and perfect in shape, a study for a statuary. Let his coat be of a glaring color, rustling in gold or silver, his vest plush, the sky-blue lining reflecting upon the bright polish of his countenance. His hair must be powdered and frizzled into ringlets, and he must wear a laced hat, and silk hose of the drifted snow. Two of these must swing in your rear, and one more on days of parade; each holding on great occasions a mace, glittering with the precious metals, obliquely over the tail of your chariot. If a great lady does sometimes take a fancy for her footman, in England, as we read in the romances, it has its apologies. This elegant individual is chosen also in Paris upon the same principles; but there he is plumed, which yet adds to the procerity of his figure ; he is more airy too, and elastic, and steps upon the tail of a coach like ‘feathered Mercury.” If with these principal figures, footmen, coachmen, and postillions, you imagine a graceful and magnificent chariot, its pannels blazing with crests and arms, and filled with a group of ladies and their cavaliers, and drawn by six horses of fine rounded and tapering forms, and skins of the dove, and burnished with rich trappings, you will have before you one of the prettiest objects ever presented to the human fancy; one which Homer’s muse would not have disdained to describe. Of these footmen there are in London enough to found a colony, about thirty thousand. They have, too, their several ranks, conferred by personal merits, and the dignity of the employers; he who bears the long staff, announces his master, and delivers messages, being of a more graceful mien and polished phrase. And the pride of place of the footman is quite as great as that of the patron. To see a pair of broad shoulders, fit to do good service at the plough, thrown away in this manner upon the tail of a coach, at first inspires one with contempt for the individual. But after all, what matter whether you step behind a coach, or get into it, if happy in your lot Not the least beautiful images of the picture are the mounted ladies and gentlemen. All the variety of noble steeds for which the English are so noted, are seen here caparisoned richly, and mounted by the best riders of the world. Horsemanship may be considered as an English virtue par eminence. Fanny Kemble, who used to scamper up Chesnut-street, the oafs with mouths wide enough to swallow her and the horse, including spurs and martingale, for her riding qualities (these only) would be here unnoticed. Fifty ladies are now in view, who would leap you a five-bar gate, and come in at the death. As for the Englishman, he is a kind of centaur, and seems to be a part of the horse; other nations look as if they mightfall off. In fine arts, and in literary and military glory, the French may dispute perhaps the palm with this island; but on horseback, the Englishman leaves the world at his heels. The London merchant is often rich enough to imitate, and even outdo, the splendor of the nobles; and parades his magnificence so presumptuously in all the public places, that the latter are driven to hunt distinction in the opposite direction. It is common enough to see a lord, with the blood of twenty generations in his veins, mounted in simple garb upon a nag, followed by his footman upon a full-blooded steed, in all the pomp of liveried greatness. I forgot to say that an American citizen, of Philadelphia, is seen daily riding up Regentstreet, with a hauteur that ill-befits the freedom of our state. The street margins have each a broad walk, paved with square flags, and each covered with a full stream of pedestrians. About ’93, a gentleman used to appear abroad with a toupée, and two curls on each ear, and a chapeau under the arm; and to be properly frizzed and coiffed was the affair of two or three hours. To reduce this exuberance of dress, was one of the achievements of the French revolution; and more modern reform continues to trench upon the elegancies of life daily. Each class, however, still continues, upon the continent, to move quietly in its separate sphere, and retains a peculiar mode of dress; but in England, no employment disqualifying anyone from being a gentleman, pretension breaks up and confuses the orders; and the very uniformity makes the laws of fashion more absolute; for neatness of fit, and the genteel air, is all that is left to distinguish the master from the valet. Also in nations which only copy, and do not invent, there will be less diversity. A Parisian fashion is always a little less fashionable in Paris than in foreign countries. Upon the Boulevards, the Philadelphia Quaker, the German, with his triangular hat and tiewig, the trowsered Turk, and Christian razeed to the quick, all pass by unnoticed. Upon Regent-street, any abrupt departure from the simple, uniform mode, is a subject of observation, and with the low-bred, sometimes, of insult. Such uniformity is much less remarkable in America, from the constant emigration of foreigners, and the greater love for French fashions. As ‘gentleman’ in London implies entire exemption from business, the pretenders are on the strain to disguise professional habits. The cockney, aping the exquisite, carries awkwardly his snowy glove between finger and thumb, and an inch of immaculate cambric looks out from his pocket; and the artist of the ballet walks toes-in, to conceal the dancing-master. All affect to seem natural; but efforts to conceal are discoveries, and the affectations flash in the eyes of the adept, in spite of the supereminent Stultz. An English gentleman is a right neat personage, having no gold nor silver ornaments, nor open-worked

embroidery, nor any attempts at finery. All is appropriate neatness. The coat does not draw away the attention from the wearer, who in fact is the principal part of the concern. Paris is the proper region of ladies’ dress, but a Frenchman is magnificent only in his robe de chambre of damask, with arabesques of divers colors upon an emerald ground: out of this, he is entitled to no sort of commendation.

The English are anti-paganist: whiskers are not permitted to spread upon a British subject lower than the ear; and they repudiate moustaches altogether. A Spanish nobleman, however, moustached and whiskered to the eyes, is quite ‘the go’ in the very fashionable circles. Their travellers often ridicule your women’s dressing on the street; their own smutty and fuliginous atmosphere making such a custom inconvenient in London. The Frenchwomen, too, run about undressed in their filthy streets in the same manner. But whatever be the streets, I like the English custom in this. Women should be relieved, on ordinary occasions, from the inquisition of the toilet. One is favorably disposed to a beauty that can stand en déshabille. Beauty gains by contrasts, and after all, is more dangerous in a well-ordered neglige, than in the extremest fashion. A woman is never dressed, who is dressed always.

HERE Mercury—who would believe it!—stepped down from the top of the East India House, Leadenhall-street, and leaving Britannia to shift for herself, presented himself at my side as escort, and now standing upon the sunny brow of the hill, where the grand scene at fashionable hours of parade opens upon the view in its brightest 6clat, and unseen, we looked out upon the passing world. This one, upon a slow drive, his ambrosial curls dishevelled in the breeze, his august visage toward the firmament due vertically, who now kindly surveys the heavens, that with his vast self compared are but an atom, and now peruses his goodly frame and well-turned legs, incomprehensible, and marvels how nature could create such fair proportions, such decencies of limb, is the London fop. Think of his dressing himself in this manner in cold blood, and riding out, regardless of consequences ! He opes his lips: let us listen! “Tom, do you ‘ear?—I say, Tom, you’ll drive on slowly. I walk. A gentleman’s figure is lost in a coach:’— and he lets himself down softly upon the pavement. She who now alights, is the beautiful and fashionable Heavens! Mercury, did you ever see such a transcendent little foot! ‘Hush | If you run into raptures in this way with a foot, what are you to do with the whole woman’ Such gracility of waist!—such jauntiness of figure! If I were a god, like you, I would take her under my special divinity. And did you see how, with three bounds, like a light wood-nymph, with an ease and grace, and as it were, without the least intention — ‘Yes, and you will see how this prettiest little leg and foot of London will contrive, without the least intention, to show themselves presently in getting again into the carriage. The difference between male and female foppery is, that the lady does not fall in love with herself. It was from a proper knowledge of human nature, that Ovid

made Hyacinth, and not his sister, die of this kind of affection. Your American dandy is but the miscarriage of a London exquisite. The perfection of the character is to be sought for in Paris, yet the Englishman is quaint and singular. A fop is the effect of excessive refinement. Nature has made no kind of excellence easy to mortals; and it is downright presumption in your ultra-marine ignorance yet to attempt the character at all. In London we have many shades of the same. Now here is one not unworthy your attention, of the parvenu breed. He makes presents to himself from a great lady, and shows them about; and exhibits the billets of his laundress as letters from people of quality. He multiplies a duchess into fifty, and lives a whole season on a duke’s dinner. “They are so horribly stupid at Almacks, he begins to be fatigued; felt no inclination, last night, but was prevailed on to go by the pretty Ambassadress of Couldn’t refuse.’ This, to whom he now gives the tip of his little finger, is an intimate acquaintance just returned from abroad, after a year’s absence. ‘How—a’—you? How—a’—they in Rome This is very neat; horribly disagreeable vests they make in London | Heard you were in town. Did n’t see you yesterday at the levée.’ ‘Devil you didn’t! Where were your eyes! I saw you. (Neither of them were there.) Tom, do you know I am fallen furiously in love with the Countess ! I am; and that I visit her every evening” — I do.’ And now he ducked his head to a great lord who passed, to show lookers-on the dignity of his acquaintance; and now he examines his legs, and talks of the intellectual faculties. This one, who blows the dust from his sleeve, is keeping up appearances. He has just undergone the refreshing process of changing his linen; he has put on a clean shirt, and feels queer in it. “Why, Job, how lean you are growing !’ ‘Dissipation dissipation I begin to think hot suppers and wines are unwholesome ; and then the sleepless nights;’ (yawns.) This one ‘passes the warm season at Brighton, or Cheltenham,’ or other watering-places — in his back parlor. Here is one who has the flavor of gentility, and though not come of a good house, actually lives with dukes and duchesses. “I am your shadow, my lord. I’ll follow.’ Great men, and especially women, , though they hate flatterers, cannot dispense with the flattery. This is a young man of promise; has travelled; sings in a duet, is good at a rubber, writes or makes sketches in albums, shapes a hat, matches a color with a complexion, to a nicety; is an obsequious attendant upon the ladies, in the absence of nobler gallants. He understands dumb show, the most difficult part of acting; is a good listener; knows by looking in a lady’s face whether she would rather talk or be talked to. He has, as you see, fashionable limbs, much better than philosophy. How often, alas! after graduating in the university, does one owe his fortune to a good leg! This man is not unhappy; he has, on the contrary, a pleasure in his sycophancy, as great perhaps as a pious person in his religious devotions. One of the natural bumps of the human skull is veneration. Pride, you see, has a curious effect upon the nervous system; elevating the chin, sometimes turning up the nose, and giving a strange toss to the head. This is my Lady > too conscious of Threadneedle-street. She is asserting her dignity, and fears to be suspected of a lower rank. A higher bred person knows nothing of such apprehensions, and walks as she pleases. ‘Who is this, do you think, who turns his back upon the commons with a lordly contempt, with almost the stride of a kangaroo, looking over his shoulder, as if afraid some one might take improper liberties with his shadow o’ A royal duke at least. “A royal fiddle-stick! He is the duke’s footman o’ I will just call your attention to this one, with lack-lustre eye, who sits in the barouche by his mamma. He is come of a noble house, is naturally stupid, and the intentions of nature have been carried out by education. His father was illustrious, and died, and the mother is unhappy over this only son, as an eagle who has hatched an owl. He has been chummed and crammed at Eton and Oxford, and does not yet know the Latin for a goose. He has danced till there are no more pumps in London, yet walks a clown as distinctly as Venus ever walked a goddess. He has been scolded into an apoplexy for deficiencies, and wears, as you see, an apologetic face, as if making excuses for the stupidity of its owner. . . . And this one—he was born, I think, in a Newgate cell; wrote history, from which he made a romance, and dramatized it. He is now a chief justice, and will die a lord. Step aside, and let pass this lady and her poodle. Tell me, most learned Hermes, why the London and Paris ladies love dogs so much better than children; and why this canine appetite has not extended to the United States. “Women have been addicted to dogs in all ages and in all countries, and the inclination will come upon your women with greater refinement. I remember that St. Clemens preached a sermon, yet extant, against ladies’ poodles, at Alexandria. A woman has a natural bias toward nursing, and give her a lap-dog, she will not want to nurse any thing else. You will observe that they who indulge much in this passion, never marry: so that dogs are in some degree the cause of old maids.” THE cloud here suddenly separated, and mixing in its kindred vapors, we stood forth purified in the open air, at Very’s, with keen appetites, and the hour six. I like the European dinner hour. An English lady now dresses for dinner at the hour her great grandmother used to undress to go to bed. Henry IV. used to dine at twelve; Louis a Great at two, and the hour of dinner has regularly advanced with every new degree of national refinement. We stepped in. This is the only house in London that bears some resemblance to the French restaurant. And this is a little unfrenchified. The woman at the contoir is left out. Son of Maia, what soup do you prefer Your Greek custom of having the meals served by the most beautiful male and female slaves, was worthy the elegant Greeks. The Romans were your imitators in this, as in most other things, giving vast prices for beautiful slaves to fill this office. “They imitated a still higher authority. We were served in

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heaven by Hebé and Ganymede, and I myself officiated in important entertainments.’ Your Roman and Greek custom (a little Burgundy after your soup) of not admitting women at their tables, was detestable. The English — and we of course — have followed this mode partially, driving out the women with the dessert and sweetmeats. Those decent London monasteries, the club-houses, will accomplish the rest. In a country whose richest tables exclude women, any high degree of enjoyment and refinement is not to be expected. Seventeen thousand is the average number of dinners devoured annually at a single club-house, the Athenaeum. It is from this practice that intemperance is more frequent at a London than at a Parisian meal. It is for the same reason there is so much less vivacity at a London than a Parisian evening party. Why, an Englishman is as stupid after dinner as “An anaconda who has swallowed a horse And the rider. Your ancient custom of healths, in which one drank part of the cup, and gave the rest to his friend, was sometimes exceptionable. ‘And sometimes delightful, as Dido’s health to the Trojan. You had the choice of the lips you would drink to.” Why was it you offered in sacrifice the tongues of the animals slaughtered for the feast ! “To intimate that the language of the feast was for the gods only ; not to be divulged among mortals.’ In our country we have them salted for the tea-table : (you will like a little of this poulet a la crapaudine ; the flavor is racy and delicate.) In many respects, the art of dining has been improved by the moderns. The Greeks imposed ceremonies upon their entertainments not in accordance with their usual good taste. Not only had they places of honor, but a master of the feast, a part of whose duty it was to compel each guest to drink his portion. How much better the French, who remove the sense of authority almost entirely; the host even mixing undistinguishably with the guests, lest his presence should impose upon their liberty. In Homer’s time, there was not only a first seat, but the largest share of meat; and the fullest cup was given to the highest rank; and we may infer, by the way Joseph helped Benjamin, that the Jews had the same custom. The English, who are the last people in Europe to introduce ease into their social intercourse, have retained these Greek absurdities, adding some of their own, which we, their faithful imitators, have transferred to the new world. Some philosophers have thought the monkies a part of our species; and nothing seems so much to induce such a belief, as the readiness with which men ape one another’s ridiculous practices. The Chinese custom of dining out yourself when you have company, is more reasonable. If any place requires to be unfettered of restraint, in a special manner, it is the festive board. A stranger at an English or American table feels like a young miss during the first days of her corsets. At a French table you are easy as the uncinctured graces.

The dinner being discussed, with many long digressions upon cookery and politics, away we hied again into the street, where the gas-lights had taken up their office for the night. The blind man’s staff went tap-tap by the wayside, the duke’s chariot rattled upon the pavement, and the beggar’s benediction died away amidst the hum of the many noises. There is nothing here like the galaxy of shops of the Palais Royal, whose cafés tempt you with sumptuous refreshments, and richest gems glitter in all the hues of India and Peru; where superb frocks recommend themselves in the most seductive attitudes, the little shoe, silk stocking, and graceful garter, lurking behind, upon legs natural as life. But sometimes a shop flashes upon your view, of surpassing richness and beauty. Here is one all window, like a face all eyes, exhibiting shawls from the precious pastures of Cashmere; their labels gold and azure, burnished with the gas, a part of the decoration. Here too are stores of French novelties, and fashions; mantillas, mantillettes, mouseline unie et brochet; and miliners and mantuamakers seeking reputation under French names; transformed like Roderick Random’s faithful Strap, who became on his continental travels “Monsieur D’Estrappe.” Mrs. Duke is ‘Madame le Duc,’ and ‘Madame de Trottville’ was once Mrs. Trotter. The rest are lodging-houses, without fashionable notoriety.

In Paris, a great man may live in a little poking alley, and be a great man nevertheless. I have visited many a member of the Institute au 4”, in a chamber ten feet by eight. A street in America is a substitute for merit. Who in Girard-street, at eight hundred dollars, presumes to associate with the front on Chesnut, at twelve hundred Here is a clear, undisputed gentility of four hundred dollars per annum ! London is even more nice in this respect. To lodge east of Regent-street, would spoil the best blood of England. When you step into your carriage, put out your head and say loudly and distinctly, ‘Drive to St. James’ Place,” or Grosvenor, Portland, and Belgrave squares. It will inspire the coachman and lookers-on with an exalted opinion of your respectability: for after all, coachmen are but men.

“I HAVE now shown you Regent-street in its prettiest varieties. A pity it is such streets are not to be expected from the radical and levelling spirit of a republic.’ Why you are the most impudent god I was ever acquainted with ! You must be hen-pecked by your new bride, to disunite from republicanism any kind of refinement. You, who at Athens passed the morning in listening to Pericles in the Senate, strolled after dinner with Phidias to the Parthenon, went to a new piece of Sophocles in the evening, and to complete the day, supped at midnight with Aspasia. We now réentered the Quadrant. Sancta Veronica! what infinite girls’ . Not more leaves fall upon the plains of the Apallachian, nipped by the first frosts. Why they count of these same London Cyprians eighty thousand “Eighty thousand ‘ And why think you this extravagant!—you who have ten thousand at New-York’s The half of ours, too, are driven to this dishonor by extreme poverty, and yours y

Mercury, which of those stars is your mother o

“She at the side of Merope, who is a little dimmer than the rest, being the only one of the seven sisters who espoused a mortal.’

Here the Cyllenian god, his feathered cap in his hand, took a civil leave, and mounting astride of a moonbeam, resumed his station at the side of Britannia, upon the East India House. . . . Good night!

Godey’s magazine. v.22-23 1841. 2

Godey’s magazine. v.22-23 1841.

THE WIDOW’S STORY. 253

Written for the Lady’s Book.

THE WIDOW’S STORY.

IY ». b II ELTON MACKENZIE, Lb D.

A dull day is doubly dull in the country. Such a in the daily history of all true Britons. You may day had we, and as dullness is an epidemic of the remember how poor Byron wrote of mind, the guests were ennuye. Books lay upon the Thal ^ rf ^ |oul_tho eiane,.Ml ,.

table, but no one felt disposed to read them. I he

harp was out of tune, even had any one been inclined We should have been in despair, if, while all felt tho to draw music from its strings. The artist’s port- dullness and none made the effort to dissipate it, folio was there, and, for the first time, its treasures Julian Tressilian had not entered the room with his were unheeded. The sparkling wit of the novelist lady. Despite the heat of the day, they had been had evaporated, like the sparkle of yesterday’s cham- wandering by the river-side, and came home without pagne, and he reclined in listless lassitude on the sofa, having been smitten by a coup de soleil, but with The major was drowsy or musing — perhaps he was their spirits invigorated by the beauties of the visible planning a campaign against the widow’s heart! The creation around them. Love was theirs — the tried poet stood at the window, watching the blue heavy and the enduring; years which rolled on made it only clouds which sailed on at a minimum of speed. The more strong and beautiful, even as time, which, with ladies sate ” in solemn silence,” engaged in some of strong pinion, brushes away the gay flowers of the the nicknackeries on which the fair sex delight to garden, does but lend new strength and beauty to the waste their time and ingenuity, for a lady may be as oak of the forest. Happy they, who, amid the crush- industrious as possible over what can be of no pos- ing cares of life, can retain the brightness of its ro. sible use! The very lap-dog lay in the sunshine, mance; to whom years do but bring maturity of affec- and, as the newspapers have it, lazily ” sank into the tion, and who, while they partake of all the common arms of Morpheus.” Nor was there much difference delights which the Real affords to the right-hearted, out of doors. The day was oppressively hot — not a drink, with as free a spirit as of yore, from the ever- wandering zephyr whispered through the leafy trees, sparkling fountain of the Ideal. The river rolled on with a quiet, sleepy murmur. ” You are all bitten by the scorpion — ennui,” said Tho hum of the bees, the shrill cry of the grasshop- Tressilian ; ” and nothing is worse than the disease, per, the monotonous cawing of the rooks, the tink- if you yield to it — nothing more easily cured, if you ling of the sheep-bells in the distance, and now and will. It needs but an effort to shake off the mental then the far off ” cuckno, cuckno” of the harbinger incubus. If all of you were to die this moment, the of summer, were the only sounds abroad. All seemed verdict might be — ‘ died from want of excitement !’ the essence of a dreamy state of physical and natural Play, walk, read, dance — even have a game at blind inaction. In a word, the spirit of ennui was the man’s buff, in preference to being as if you were in. presiding deity of the scene — the evil genius of the habitants of the Castle of Indolence. Nay, if mere day! bodily exercise seem a remedy as bad as the disease,

How much unlike the rural mirth of yesterday, try mental excitement. I propose — as the porter when innocent enjoyment had a thousand voices— did, in the Arabian nights, before the three Calen- when pleasure shed, many a delight from her starry dars narrated their adventures — that, as Lady Mor- diadom — when the cheek of beauty borrowed new ton has heard our stories, she now be requested to charms from the flush of joy — when the lip, which contribute a sketch by herself; and, if it be not too before was silent, became eloquent from the delicious much to ask, of herself.”

excitement of unexpected ecstacies — when bright. The motion was laughingly seconded by Lady eyed hope scattered her flowers so profusely, that Tressilian, and ” carried by acclamation.” some of them fell, like pleasant balm, upon the hearts After some pretty protestations of inability, which of the sorrowing — when the blood ran through the went for nothing, Lady Morton complied, with the veins with a quicker flow than in the every day trans- most natural-looking hesitation I ever saw. actions of life — when the joy-crowned goblet of de- Premising that she is a lively, agreeable woman, light passed round from lip to lip, and the nectarious with hair as dark as the ebon hue of the raven’s draught gladdened the heart without maddening the wing, a quick, intelligent glance from eyes as dark senses; the same scenes — and yet how different the and soft as a fawn’s, and pretty coral lips half con- feeling ! The genius loci was wanting ! There was cealing as white teeth as ever woman delighted to as much difference between yesterday’s pleasures and show — that her countenance, although what no one to-day’s dullness, as between the ocean bearing on its could decidedly call handsome, is strikingly spiritu- bosom a thousand richly freighted argosies, which a elle, and sometimes is lighted by expression into a fresh breeze was sending in triumph to their destined bright and intellectual loveliness — that her voice is ports, and the calm lake without a single breath to sweet as the song of the nightingale — that her very crisp its surface or ruffle its smoothness. Oh, who laugh is musical as the clear chime of silver bells — that has a heart to feel, but would prefer even a and that her years are yet in the bloom of life, it chance of peril on the ocean, to the weary calmness may readily be imagined that the announcement of of the lake ! her promise to tell a tale, and a true one — for the

It warned some hours to dinner, that grand epoch promise once given, we all agreed that herself should

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254 THE WIDOW’S STORY.

be the heroine — was sufficient to draw the poet from the window, the novelist from his reverie, the artist from his semi-slumber, and to dissipate the drowsi ness or the meditations of the gallant major.

We soon formed into a group around Lady Mor ton, and after an inconsiderable pause, in which the lively story-teller seemed to be collecting her remem brances, she thus commenced, to as attentive an audience as ever were spell-bound by the combined attraction of grace, youth and genius.

” Story ! I have none. I can boast of no hair breadth ‘scapes — I have no adventures to amaze or amuse you. I have been a stay-at-home traveller all my days ; I have led a calm, quiet, lady-like life, and have nothing — positively nothing worth my telling or your listening to.

” Besides, think of the disadvantage you take me at ! Every one else has told a tale, and mine, after all of yours, cannot fail to be, as poor Desdemona says, a ‘ most lame and impotent conclusion.’ You must absolve me from my promise, and I will dance, sing, play — do any thing else you wish to amuse you. Instead of dissipating ennui, I shall increase it.

” You shake your heads and hold me to my word. Well, be yours the penalty. Bear witness, one and all, that I gave you full and fair warning.

” So, if you must have a story, and, worse than all, a true one, I shall inflict upon you an aneedote, like Othello, ‘ of my whole course of love.’ Let me again advise you to be wise in time; it is but dull, dry, matter-of-fact — no mystery, no horrors, nothing ex- traordinary, and only barely tinged with romance. — Well, if I must proceed, I must!

” Fifteen years ago, I was just fifteen years old ; it seems but as yesterday. My father was a true Yorkshire squite, and had a tolerable estate. He was an honest, true-hearted, wilful-minded country gentleman, burthened or blessed with a family of daughters, whose number equalled that of the muses. How earnestly he longed for a son I but longing went for nothing, and he had made up his mind at last, to bear the disappointment with all proper patience. I do not think that he lamented the want of a male heir oftener than ten times a day.

” My father belonged to the old school ; that is, he was fond of field sports, fond of the bottle, and so fond of his family honour, that, although he might dispose of his estate as he pleased — it not being entailed — he had resolved to leave it to Sir Edward Morton, the head of the house. So attached was he to the ‘ glorious constitution,’ that, somewhat to the detriment of his own, it was his constant and time- honoured custom, night after night, to stand by it — when, truth to say, his libations to the rosy god had left him scarcely able to stand by any thing else.

u On the whole, he merited to be classed among your ‘ good sort of men.’ Your six-bottle men — your mighty Nimrods — your thorough John Bull gentlemen, who killed their own mutton and bottled their own wines, have nearly all passed away, and it is doubtful whether, in the main, they are any very great loss. But it is a pity that, in losing this class, we seem to have lost their genuine hospitality also. There are exceptions — so Sir Julian need not fancy that I mean any thing personal respecting Tressilian Court — but the open house and the open-hearted hospitality of our English gentry seem to be almost departed, and succeeded by cold ceremony.

” All this is a sad digression — let me return to my father. He lived happily enough among his friends, and the only care that ever flitted by him — save the perpetual regret that he had not a son — was that, as life was short, he could scarcely hope to see hia nine daughters married before he died. But my mother was quite an sdept in matrimonial tactics, (I think she must have been a match maker by intuition, for, as she lived far from the London marriage marts, she did not learn from example,) so that, year after year, a daughter was sent into connubial currency.

” Heaven and herself only knew how tins was accomplished. No fortunes were paid down or promised — it was known that my father would leave his estate to the head of the family, perhaps because he did not want it — and it certainly was not the beauty of my sisters that got them wedded into the best families in the country ; for I may say, and that without any very extraordinary vanity, that I, plain as I am, was by far the best looking of the lot !”

Here her ladyship made a momentary pause ; per haps it was to take breath, perhaps to give an invol untary glance at the fair reflection of herself in a splendid mirror opposite the ottoman on which ahe lounged. Her auditors saw the glance, and her cheek glowed as she saw that they did; probably, too, the unmistakeable look of admiration which the major earnestly bestowed upon her, drew up that conscious rose-tint. At the moment she really looked beauti ful, and knew it also ; so she was in a capacity to forgive that glance of admiration. When was there a woman really angry at homage rendered to her charms ?

A playful smile — a wave of that pretty hand — a shake of that head, which threw back her clustering wealth of curls, as if the wind were playing through their tendril-like beauty — and then the fair dame re sumed her story.

u Nay — not a word! I see what you would say, so spare your compliments. But it is a truth, that my sisters were not at all distingue for beauty. They were pretty well accomplished, as accomplish ments went at that time. They could draw a litde, play a little, dance a great deal, and were most nota ble housekeepers. You smile — let me tell you that this last is a first-rate advantage in the country. A woman so endowed, although portionless, is a prize in a country household. She sees that domestic matters are properly done, and if she bring no for tune, at least she prevents her husband’s being wasted in her department.

” How it happened is of little moment now, but it is certain that my sisters, to use a proper and con ventional phrase, all are ‘ settled’ and exceedingly well off. I have had a more stirring life — I have moved in higher circles — I have been stanzaed as a beauty — I have been quoted as a wit, (mind, I use the words that others used, for I dislike your wits and am little of a beauty,) — I have been as happy as most women in my station — but I question whether, after all, my enjoyments — society, fashion, flattery, literature — have been sounder or heartier than theirs. Yet they live in what I may call a state of human vegetation. The same dull routine of employments — the same homely and household pursuits — the same unintellectual society — the same sort of stupid hus bands, whose highest ambition is to breed cattle for

THE WIDOW’S STORY. 255

the agricultural association, or carry a rate in the parish vestry, or dine with the county member, or serve at the assizes on the grand jury — the same sort of bullet-headed children, with rough locks and ruddy faces — the same petty jealousies — the same hum-drum objects have formed the doom of my wedded sisters, and in that doom they have been happy. It is ex tremely well that we have not all the same tastes — such a life as theirs would kill me in a week.

” Well, eight of my father’s daughters were taken off his hands — you see I can use the true market phrase — before I was fifteen. I was the ninth, and the youngest by some years. When all the rest had been thus disposed of, literally to the best bidders, I was yet such a child in years and mind, that matri mony was a goal to which, for some time at least, my steps were not to be directed. Perhaps, as I was the beauty of the family — mind, I only use the word comparatively — I was kept on hands a little longer, in the hope of being more advantageously disposed of! Perhaps my youth would have been no great impediment to my ‘ settlement in life,’ — how conve nient are the terms! — but my mother died suddenly, and I was sent to a fashionable boarding school at Derby, until ‘ further orders.’

” We knew very little more of the relative to whom my father intended leaving the estate, than that he was very eccentric, very rich, and very old. On the formal announcement of my mother’s death, he sent a letter of condolence, written in very courteous terms, requesting particular information respecting our domestic affairs, and intimating a desire that, connected in blood as we were, we should also be connected in friendship.

” In his usually frank and hearty manner, my father replied that it should not be his fault, if a friendship were not formed and fostered. From this followed such an interchange of compliments, that, some six months after the correspondence commenced, Sir Edward Morton invited my father to visit him at his sent in Yorkshire.

” The visit was paid, and each father must have loudly sounded the praises of his child, for they agreed that the estates should be united by the bond matrimonial. I was fluttered and flattered at receiv ing a notification that I was to proceed forthwith to Morton Hall, where my father still remained. I had a sort of suspicion that something in the marriage line was on the tapis, for my father’s recent letters had been brimful with praises of Mr. Henry Morton, the only child of his host. The praises must have all been upon hearsay, for young Morton was then on the Continent.

” I was received at Morton Hall as if I were Sir Edward’s daughter, instead of his guest. Our sex, I believe, are like children, and have a sort of free- masonry, by which we see when we are likely to be come favourites; and I knew at once that I was on the high road to the old baronet’s heart. He was so kind, so considerate, so generous, that I must have been cold indeed, if I did not seek to repay him by all the attentions in my power.

” Soon after my arrival, I was sitmmoned to a a cabinet council in the library, where, after a preli minary oration of half an hour, my father informed me that Sir Edward Morton and himself had agreed that Henry Morton should marry me, and it was ex pected the arrangement would be a pleasant one for both parties. Sir Edward said that it gave him great

delight to see that my disposition was exactly similar to that of his dear son, and this gave him assurance that the union would be a happy one. The gentle men quite forgot that neither party had yet seen the other. But a family compact of this nature, does not include much regard for the feelings or affections, it is simply an affair of business, and not an affair of the heart !

” My memory is a good one, yet I forget what reply I gave to this matrimonial proposal. Perhaps I gave none — perhaps none was expected. At any rate, the affair was looked upon as fixed, and I was sent back to school loaded with presents.

” A few months after, I was suddenly summoned home: my father was on his death-bed, and his youngest and dearest daughter arrived in time to re ceive his blessing and see him die. As a man, he was a negative character in life ; but he was a kind parent, and the tears I shed for him were neither few nor unmerited.

“On his will being opened.it appeared that he had annually laid by a considerable sum from his income, and this unexpected accumulation, divided among my sisters, was some consolation to them for the remain ing provisions of the will, which stated that, by mu tual agreement between Sir Edward Morton and my father, it had been determined that Henry Morton should become the husband of Isabella Carlisle ; that he should tender me his band within one year after his father’s death, and that in case either party de clined to make or accept such offer matrimonial, the united estates were to become the sole property of the other. If the refusal came from the gentleman, he was to be cut off with an annuity of JC300 a year— if from me, I was to have only one-third of that sum as my yearly income. There were other provisions, one of which strictly prohibited either party from adding any thing to the income of the other. All this, would have been of little use in a mere will, for it is evident that my father could not control the manner in which Sir Edward Morton might wish to dispose of his property, but it appeared that there was a bond between them, in which, under immense for feitures, the compact was confirmed. Very soon after this, Sir Edward Morton also died, and his ‘ last will and testament’ was found to correspond in these essential points with that of my father. They had taken care to fence their wishes by all the law could render most binding. The union of the estates was an important matter — of the union of hearts, they had no thought!

Here then was I, at the age of sixteen, a condi tional heiress and conditionally fiance ! Sir Henry Morton soon returned to England, and was little pleased to find on what conditions the paternal estates had been bequeathed to him. You would hardly blame him fur taking legal advice upon his father’s will. I am little of a lawyer, and cannot well explain bow it was, but I believe that some short time before he quitted England, on his continental tour, he had joined in what is called ‘docking the entail,’ which gave his father a power to alienate the property as he pleased. Poor Sir Henry was heart-sick to find himself in this dilemma. He did not attempt to con ceal his chagrin. To increase it, came the legal opinion that his father’s will was a document which nothing could justly impugn !

” Did he dislike me ? No. He had never seen me, scarcely knew, until now, that such a being was in

256 THE WIDOW’S STORY.

existence. But he had romantic feelings, was of an imaginative turn of mind, and possessed very acute sensibility. It is no wonder, then, that he had a horror of being obliged to marry * per order.’ He did not attempt to disguise his feelings, and, through one kind friend or another, I was not long left in ignorance of their unlover like nature. Nay, it was told me that he intended to decline my hand. What an affront ! — not to let me have the pleasure of re fusing him. I confess that I was not very much displeased with this report of the young baronet’s spirit : — I think I should have heartily despised him, had he made up his mind, as some of the sex would have done, to take the estates, with myself as the incumbrance ; but from the moment I heard that he vowed he would see me only once, to tell me that he would not wed me, he grew rapidly in my esteem.

” The singular provisions of the two wills were no secret, and the little brunette who had been for twelve months at Madame le Plasir’s, without attracting the slightest attention, suddenly became ‘ the observed of all observers’ in Derby. It was discovered that I bad bright eyes — that my figure was graceful — that my manners were exquisite — in a word, that I was an heiress ! Such attentions as I was now paid might have turned a wiser head or an older heart than mine. But, although I was scarcely ‘ sweet seventeen,’ I was suspicious of this novel kindness, — these new friends, — and of my altered situation. Young as I was, I was singularly suspicious of flattery; therefore, though beaux smiled at me in All Saints’ Church, and bowed to me at St. Alkmund’s, I had sufficient sense to prize their attentions at the proper value and I walked on, like Jeptha’s daughter — poor thing ! — and Queen Elizabeth,

‘ la maiden meditation, fancy free!’

” As flies hover round the honey-comb, so do ad mirers around an heiress. A dashing, handsome, im pudent fortune-hunter formed the resolution to height en the disgust which had been excited in Sir Henry Morton’s mind by the absolute command to marry me. A man of the world was Captain Adolphus Fre derick Smith, and he possessed talents and address sufficient to render his success with both parties far from problematical. He contrived to become intimate with Sir Henry, and really being a pleasant and well- informed man, the acquaintance soon ripened into friendship. Poor Sir Henry had a lonely time of it at Morton-Hall, and the prospect of giving up a fine estate, or keeping it with the burthen of a wife not of his own choosing, was not likely to render him too happy. The gallant Captain soon became so neces sary to him, as a relief from his own sombre thoughts, that in a week or two he was quite domesticated at the Hall. The Baronet did not conceal his vexed thoughts from his new friend, and I since learned that this Job’s comforter did not draw my character in too flattering terms. At all events, he neglected no opportunity of heightening the feeling against me, and almost persuaded the poor Baronet, that on £300 without me, he could live far happier than on a yearly income of £14,000 burthened with me! I believe that Captain Adolphus Frederick Smith took good care not to commit himself by saying any thing directly against me ; but he was an insinuating man ! I was a dowdy by implication — a dullard and a pedant without being actually named as such. Captain Smith dealt out his , speechless obloquy’ with admirable

discretion, and I suspect that ignorance and ugliness were the slightest imperfections attributed to me.

” Marian Smith, only sister to the adventurer, offi ciated as semi-governess in Madame de Plaisir’s , Es tablishment for Young Ladies.’ She was a clever, shrewd, showy girl, who owned to nine-and-twenty, and was exactly the materiel out of which might rea dily be made a knowing intriguante in love or poli tics. Some time previous to my becoming an heiress, she had taken a fancy to me, and treated me with a kindness which made me grateful, as it was a novelty at school. When, from the mere nobody I had been, Fortune elevated me into somebody, with high pos sessions and yet higher expectations, every one seem ed anxious to distinguish me ; but, somewhat haugh tily I fear, I turned a deaf ear to their blandishments, and my only intimate school-friend was Marian Smith, who had been kind to me when no interested motives could have influenced her. Accordingly, we were Da mon and Pythias in petticoats ! So, when her brother formed the plan of getting my hand and my acres, she was one of the best instruments he could employ.

” He could not have had a more able confederate She played her cards well, and held the honours in her own hand. She had all the arts of a practised tactician. What a tool she would have made, in former days, in the hands of the Jesuits ! She glided into my confidence, extolling the virtues of her bro ther, in the most quiet, unsuspicious way, comment ing, with well dissembled commiseration, on the horrid necessity of marrying whether I loved the man or not, and losing no opportunity of letting fall insi nuations against my intended. All this was done with such an apparent sincerity, such a deep wish for my happiness, that the most watchful suspicion would have been thrown off its guard. It readily imposed on me, who neither knew guile nor thought that others could practise it.

” What wonder if all this had much of its intended effect ? I was already rather predisposed against Sir Henry, on account of the peculiar circumstances in which we were relatively placed, and certain dark hints as to his excesses on the Continent were not quite unwelcome to me, as they tended to justify, to my own mind, the prejudice I had taken against him. The soil was exactly suited to the seed, and my dear Marian Smith was a cunning cultivator !

” Her brother sometimes came to Derby, to pay ‘ a flying visit’ to his sister, and when she inquired after Sir Henry, in my hearing, his chief reply was the significant ‘ shrug and sigh,’ which in their very silence, spoke Encyclopedias.

” I had half made up my mind to refuse the hand of Sir Henry; but the Smiths had no wish that such should be the issue of the adventure. To throw the rejection upon him, would require very little trouble; this done, the gallant Captain resolved to gain my hand, and (what he must have coveted as much) my broad lands besides. It is very probable that success would have crowned all this scheming, had not a slight incident completely changed the current of events.

” You may remember that the provisions of the double will made it imperative that Sir Henry Morton should wed me or refuse me, within twelve months after his father’s death. That period had now very nearly elapsed, and my guardians — plain, sensible, matter-of-fact people — who had no doubt that the ‘ very eligible union’ would take place, withdrew me

THE WIDOW’S STORY.

from school, thinking iliat Sir Henry might not ex actly wish to woo his future bride under the surssil. lance of a bevy of ‘ bread and butter misses’ of a boarding school. They came to remove me, and the announcement came on me so very suddenly that dear Miss Smith being accidentally out of the way, I had no opportunity of taking counsel with her, and, in the hurry of removal, I quite forgot to write to her.

” My uncle, to whose house I went, was a plain spoken gentleman, who made my journey most mise rable by a series of jokes upon my coming ‘ change of situation.’ Protestations— even tears were in vain ; he put down every thing with ‘ a little modesty, very natural to your situation, and becomes you exceed ingly !’ I never was so tormented, before.

” Fortunately for me, my aunt was of a different character. She had mixed with the world, and knew what a strange riddle is a woman’s heart. Afier some little hesitation, I told her of my distinct and firm resolution never to marry Sir Henry Morton.

” She was a woman of thoughtful kindness, and looked at events with a desire to find out their causes. With admirable tact, she succeeded in learning how my prejudices against Sir Henry had been fostered. ‘ It is well,’ said she, with a smile, * that this danger ous Miss Smith is separated from you now. I know, from authority indisputable, that her brother has been acting the same part by Sir Henry. It is not difficult to surmise the motives for this double game.’ I pro tested, of course, against all suspicions ; my aunt was too polite not to listen to my warm vindication of Miss Smith, but I could easily see that she remained incre dulous. Must I confess it, my defence of Marian Smith did not quite satisfy myself!

” It now wanted only six weeks of the expiration of the year, and I began to cherish the hope that Sir Henry would not come to demand my hand. I ven tured to hint as much to my aunt, and her answer set all my spirits in a flutter. ‘ Sir Henry doss come. He will be at your cousin’s next week, so make up your mind to be ” wooed, and married, and a’,” with as little delay as possible.’

” I do not know what impulse prompted me, but such as it was, its weight was irresistible. I inter rupted her with — ‘ I have never seen Sir Henry ; let me judge of him, myself unknown. I have promised to spend a week with my cousin, let me go when Sir Henry is there. It may be a wild fancy, but I would like to play the part of Miss Hardeastle, for once. My cousin, I am sure, will readily join in the plot.’

” ‘ Oh, I see,’ said my aunt, ‘ you would Stoop to Conquer. The thought is romantic enough — but if the execution fails you are lost. However, something nay be risked, where much is to be gained. Let it be so, if you will. I must only trust that you will be discreet, and perform with eclat .”

” We drove to my cousin’s, next day. She was delighted to enter into our plot, and arranged so well that, except from my own imprudence, scarcely any chance of discovery was left. This was easily ma naged, as Sir Henry had expressly stipulated, that, being in indifferent health and spirits, his visit was to be so strictly private that no guests were to meet, no visitors to see him.

” He visited Oatlands, therefore, without the re motest idea of seeing me there. He knew that I was i” the neighbourhood. His friend, Captain Adolphus Frederick Smith, with more delicacy than usual, did not accompany him — indeed, he was not invited!

” Ashamed — deeply ashamed of my own credulity, and very distrustful of Marian Smith’s motives, was I when I saw the Baronet. He was about threc-ar.d- twenty, tall and slight in figure, with the air of a man of fashion, and that innate gentleness of manner which, after all, is peculiar to gentle blood. When I looked at his handsome features — his expressive and melancholy eyes — his fine forehead, with its whiteness strikingly relieved by the dark hair which waved over it — I confess that, like Bob Acres’ cou rage, my prejudice ‘ oozed out at my fingers’ ends.’ He was just such a person as the quick and budding fancy of seventeen might love as a man or deify as a hero !

” How awfully had he been slandered ! His intel lectual attainments surpassed those of every one with whom I had ever conversed. His knowledge of books had been corrected and aided by his knowledge of life. Travel had not been thrown away upon him. It may not, with me, have been love at first aight ; but I fancy he awakened something very like it.

” Sir Henry Morton’s personal attractions, con siderable as they were, formed the very least of his merits. His melancholy mien — the thoughtfulness that brooded on his pale cheek and in the dark beau ty of his eye — the gentleness, the tenderness of his manner — the mournful sweetness of his low, sad voice — the eloquence of his impassioned words — all combined to make him rather too interesting an ac quaintance.

” We soon became friends. His melancholy some times brightened into a smile, as he listened to the wild and girlish sullies which fell from my lips; for, I know not how, while my actual spirits were at zero, my seeming spirits were as high as fever-heat. We walked together — we conversed together — until at last, the AubIi on his cheek, and the flashing of his eye, and the deepening tenderness of his voice, when we were together and alone, made me suspect that my task was over. I had conquered my own idle prejudices — I trusted now, that I had conquered his

” At last, it was time for me to return, for only two days remained of the fatal year. As the time passed on, Sir Henry had sunk deeper and deeper into gloom, which my presence served but to increase, and yet he was uneasy and unhappy when I was absent.

” I had been introduced to him as a portionless and friendless orphan. Another day, and he would see me in my own character. But how would the change affect him? Would he think lightly of the deception, or would his delicacy shrink from the folly which had sought to make his heart the object of an experiment. With such conflicting doubts, I was almost as much disturbed as himself.

“The crisis came. I was sitting alone in the drawing-room, when Sir Henry entered. He took his seat by my side, as usual, and both were silent for a time. At last, he spoke :

, You leave us, Isabella. You will leave many regrets behind you. I must be pardoned — but before you go, let me tell you how much I love you- N«y, shrink not ! — Your colour changes and you tremble. Are you indeed so angry with me that you will not speak? Pity me, if you cannot forgive.’

” He took my hand and — and I did not withdraw it. One moment’s pause — he looked into my eyes — he saw them filled with tears — his lip was on my burning, blushing check, and I knew — how. exquisite

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the knowledge — that this was love, the ardent and

the true !

” Trembling — blushing — panting — filled with new and delicious sensations, which seemed to crowd the happy feelings of years into that one concentrated moment of delight, I withdrew myself from his em- brace. We were both silent, once again ; but I felt it now was my turn to speak.

” ‘ I can forgive — let us both forget this weakness. To you it can matter little what becomes of me in after life. You will think of me yet, it may be, as one who has amused your idle hours — whose youth may have been her greatest, her only charm. You will forget the friendless orphan, and it is right that you should forget her. Remember, Sir Henry, that you are betrothed. Leave these scenes, where you have forgotten your duty to the dead and your claims on the living, and become, even as your father willed, the husband of one who, far better than myself, has a claim on your affection.’

” ‘ By Heaven !’ he exclaimed, ‘ this will drive me mad. What right had my father to dispose of my hand — how could he fathom the depth of my feelings? No, beloved, let my betrothed, as you call her, take the broad lands that my fathers won at the point of the sword, in the olden days — let the heir of a thou sand years live without wealth, but cherish his pure and first affection as kindly nature dictates. I cannot marry the woman whom I do not love. When the tyrant of ancient days chained the living body to the dead corpse, the union was not more unnatural than that w hich, from the grave, my father would make between hearts which cannot love each other. No, better to die than be party to such an union !’

” He spoke with so much eager vehemence, that I could perceive his mind to be firmly resolved. I could not resist inquiring into the causes of his dislike to the marriage.

” * And is it,’ I said, ‘ only to the manner of this union, as a family compact, in which your heart was not consulted, or to the lady herself, that you object V

” ‘ To both : — my faith plighted without my know ledge — without my consent : this, of itself, would create a spirit of opposition. But the lady — ‘

‘”What of her?’

” ‘ Not much, dearest — only she is as unlike you as possible. If she were not vain and pedantic — at once a coquette and a blue stocking — I could easily forgive her want of personal attractions. But you change colour — perhaps you know Miss Carlisle ?’

‘ * I do, indeed,’ said I, with some bitterness, for although I had expected much, I did not look to have my character drawn in such colours. ‘ I do know her, as well as I know myself.’

” ‘ I am sorry then,’ said he, ‘ that I have spoken thus warmly.’

” ‘ Oh ! it is no matter,’ said 1, ‘ you have drawn her portrait, no doubt, but the shadows predominate. It is somewhat curious, though, that she should have heard not much better of you.’

” ‘ Of me V he inquired, with evident astonishment.

*’ , Yes, that you were a roue in morals — a pre tender in fashion — a clown in manners — and, to crown all, a gambler.’

” ‘ There seems,’ said he, with an air of the great est vexation, ‘there seems to be some strange mis take here. I abhor gambling. I am any thing but a roue : and for my manners, fashion, and attainments they are as you see.’

” He drew himself up, with some stateliness, and paused, as if expecting me to reply. 1 kept silence, and he resumed —

” ‘ What I heard of the lady, I fear is no more than the truth. My informant — ”

” ‘ Was Captain Smith, whose sister daintily drew your character for Miss Carlisle — so it is likely that the misrepresentation has been mutual.’

” ‘ If I thought so — ”

” ‘ You would throw yourself at Miss Carlisle’s feet — become her prcux chevalier for life — and for get the world of protestations you have made me, just now ?”

” ‘ No,’ said he, with a smile, ‘ my resolution is taken, and my only dread now is that I may uncon sciously give pain to one on whom it should not fall. 1 shall see her to-morrow, resign all claim to her hand, and then, if you can wed a man of broken for tunes, my fate is in your bands— my happiness — my life. Isabella ! you cannot, you must not refuse me.’

” My answer was brief — for I was so much affect ed by this proof of the sincerity of his afiection, that I scarcely dared trust myself to speak : —

” ‘ It may be well for all parties, that I decline all answer until to-morrow. See Miss Carlisle, and if you then reject her hand, or rather, if you still decline to offer yours for her acceptance — for, after all, the refusal may come from her — I will — ”

” ‘ Be mine ? Is it so V — But I checked his rap tures, for I heard the carriage wheels. I merely said, ‘ I am going to Miss Carlisle now, and shall hope to see you to-morrow !’ — In five minutes, I was on my way to my own house.

” I reached home late, and found my kind aunt there before me. Pleading fatigue, I hurried to my bed-room, and left her, with curiosity ungratified, quite unconscious of the issue of my experiment.

” The next day was to bring me joy or sorrow. I was pretty confident as to the result — though, at times, knowing how fastidious Sir Henry’s feelings were, a doubt would chill my heart, that he might be disgusted with the Jinesse I had used. But hearts were trumps, and who would not play the bold game?

” My room of audience was the library, and (to keep up my character of a baa bleu,) maps, books, mathematical instruments, were scattered on the ta bles. The floor was strewn with ‘ learned lumber’ from the shelves — a pair of globes were on the table immediately before my seat — in short, the whole apartment was in a state of literary litter; well cal culated to strengthen the impression that I was what well-informed men must hate — a vain, pedantic fe male.

” Sir Henry came — I knew the sound of his foot fall, as he paced down the passage. He was an nounced, and I rose to receive him. A sudden pause before he entered — a slight start as he caught a glimpse of my figure. I had taken care to bave the window curtains drawn, so that in the indistinct light, and the distance at which he sat, it was impossible to distinguish my features.

” Our tete-a-tete was coldly formal. A few sen tences from him — a few monosyllables from me. At last, taking courage, he stated in a most respectful manner that, after due consideration, he had resolved to decline presenting himself as a suitor for my band. He apologized for what he called his ‘ insensibility to my merits,’ but frankly said that his heart w as not his own to offer. He would thus, it was true, abandon

THE WIDOW’S STORY. 253

Written for the Lady’s Book.

THE WIDOW’S STORY.

IY ». b II ELTON MACKENZIE, Lb D.

A dull day is doubly dull in the country. Such a in the daily history of all true Britons. You may day had we, and as dullness is an epidemic of the remember how poor Byron wrote of mind, the guests were ennuye. Books lay upon the Thal ^ rf ^ |oul_tho eiane,.Ml ,.

table, but no one felt disposed to read them. I he

harp was out of tune, even had any one been inclined We should have been in despair, if, while all felt tho to draw music from its strings. The artist’s port- dullness and none made the effort to dissipate it, folio was there, and, for the first time, its treasures Julian Tressilian had not entered the room with his were unheeded. The sparkling wit of the novelist lady. Despite the heat of the day, they had been had evaporated, like the sparkle of yesterday’s cham- wandering by the river-side, and came home without pagne, and he reclined in listless lassitude on the sofa, having been smitten by a coup de soleil, but with The major was drowsy or musing — perhaps he was their spirits invigorated by the beauties of the visible planning a campaign against the widow’s heart! The creation around them. Love was theirs — the tried poet stood at the window, watching the blue heavy and the enduring; years which rolled on made it only clouds which sailed on at a minimum of speed. The more strong and beautiful, even as time, which, with ladies sate ” in solemn silence,” engaged in some of strong pinion, brushes away the gay flowers of the the nicknackeries on which the fair sex delight to garden, does but lend new strength and beauty to the waste their time and ingenuity, for a lady may be as oak of the forest. Happy they, who, amid the crush- industrious as possible over what can be of no pos- ing cares of life, can retain the brightness of its ro. sible use! The very lap-dog lay in the sunshine, mance; to whom years do but bring maturity of affec- and, as the newspapers have it, lazily ” sank into the tion, and who, while they partake of all the common arms of Morpheus.” Nor was there much difference delights which the Real affords to the right-hearted, out of doors. The day was oppressively hot — not a drink, with as free a spirit as of yore, from the ever- wandering zephyr whispered through the leafy trees, sparkling fountain of the Ideal. The river rolled on with a quiet, sleepy murmur. ” You are all bitten by the scorpion — ennui,” said Tho hum of the bees, the shrill cry of the grasshop- Tressilian ; ” and nothing is worse than the disease, per, the monotonous cawing of the rooks, the tink- if you yield to it — nothing more easily cured, if you ling of the sheep-bells in the distance, and now and will. It needs but an effort to shake off the mental then the far off ” cuckno, cuckno” of the harbinger incubus. If all of you were to die this moment, the of summer, were the only sounds abroad. All seemed verdict might be — ‘ died from want of excitement !’ the essence of a dreamy state of physical and natural Play, walk, read, dance — even have a game at blind inaction. In a word, the spirit of ennui was the man’s buff, in preference to being as if you were in. presiding deity of the scene — the evil genius of the habitants of the Castle of Indolence. Nay, if mere day! bodily exercise seem a remedy as bad as the disease,

How much unlike the rural mirth of yesterday, try mental excitement. I propose — as the porter when innocent enjoyment had a thousand voices— did, in the Arabian nights, before the three Calen- when pleasure shed, many a delight from her starry dars narrated their adventures — that, as Lady Mor- diadom — when the cheek of beauty borrowed new ton has heard our stories, she now be requested to charms from the flush of joy — when the lip, which contribute a sketch by herself; and, if it be not too before was silent, became eloquent from the delicious much to ask, of herself.”

excitement of unexpected ecstacies — when bright. The motion was laughingly seconded by Lady eyed hope scattered her flowers so profusely, that Tressilian, and ” carried by acclamation.” some of them fell, like pleasant balm, upon the hearts After some pretty protestations of inability, which of the sorrowing — when the blood ran through the went for nothing, Lady Morton complied, with the veins with a quicker flow than in the every day trans- most natural-looking hesitation I ever saw. actions of life — when the joy-crowned goblet of de- Premising that she is a lively, agreeable woman, light passed round from lip to lip, and the nectarious with hair as dark as the ebon hue of the raven’s draught gladdened the heart without maddening the wing, a quick, intelligent glance from eyes as dark senses; the same scenes — and yet how different the and soft as a fawn’s, and pretty coral lips half con- feeling ! The genius loci was wanting ! There was cealing as white teeth as ever woman delighted to as much difference between yesterday’s pleasures and show — that her countenance, although what no one to-day’s dullness, as between the ocean bearing on its could decidedly call handsome, is strikingly spiritu- bosom a thousand richly freighted argosies, which a elle, and sometimes is lighted by expression into a fresh breeze was sending in triumph to their destined bright and intellectual loveliness — that her voice is ports, and the calm lake without a single breath to sweet as the song of the nightingale — that her very crisp its surface or ruffle its smoothness. Oh, who laugh is musical as the clear chime of silver bells — that has a heart to feel, but would prefer even a and that her years are yet in the bloom of life, it chance of peril on the ocean, to the weary calmness may readily be imagined that the announcement of of the lake ! her promise to tell a tale, and a true one — for the

It warned some hours to dinner, that grand epoch promise once given, we all agreed that herself should

vol. xxiii. — 22

254 THE WIDOW’S STORY.

be the heroine — was sufficient to draw the poet from the window, the novelist from his reverie, the artist from his semi-slumber, and to dissipate the drowsi ness or the meditations of the gallant major.

We soon formed into a group around Lady Mor ton, and after an inconsiderable pause, in which the lively story-teller seemed to be collecting her remem brances, she thus commenced, to as attentive an audience as ever were spell-bound by the combined attraction of grace, youth and genius.

” Story ! I have none. I can boast of no hair breadth ‘scapes — I have no adventures to amaze or amuse you. I have been a stay-at-home traveller all my days ; I have led a calm, quiet, lady-like life, and have nothing — positively nothing worth my telling or your listening to.

” Besides, think of the disadvantage you take me at ! Every one else has told a tale, and mine, after all of yours, cannot fail to be, as poor Desdemona says, a ‘ most lame and impotent conclusion.’ You must absolve me from my promise, and I will dance, sing, play — do any thing else you wish to amuse you. Instead of dissipating ennui, I shall increase it.

” You shake your heads and hold me to my word. Well, be yours the penalty. Bear witness, one and all, that I gave you full and fair warning.

” So, if you must have a story, and, worse than all, a true one, I shall inflict upon you an aneedote, like Othello, ‘ of my whole course of love.’ Let me again advise you to be wise in time; it is but dull, dry, matter-of-fact — no mystery, no horrors, nothing ex- traordinary, and only barely tinged with romance. — Well, if I must proceed, I must!

” Fifteen years ago, I was just fifteen years old ; it seems but as yesterday. My father was a true Yorkshire squite, and had a tolerable estate. He was an honest, true-hearted, wilful-minded country gentleman, burthened or blessed with a family of daughters, whose number equalled that of the muses. How earnestly he longed for a son I but longing went for nothing, and he had made up his mind at last, to bear the disappointment with all proper patience. I do not think that he lamented the want of a male heir oftener than ten times a day.

” My father belonged to the old school ; that is, he was fond of field sports, fond of the bottle, and so fond of his family honour, that, although he might dispose of his estate as he pleased — it not being entailed — he had resolved to leave it to Sir Edward Morton, the head of the house. So attached was he to the ‘ glorious constitution,’ that, somewhat to the detriment of his own, it was his constant and time- honoured custom, night after night, to stand by it — when, truth to say, his libations to the rosy god had left him scarcely able to stand by any thing else.

u On the whole, he merited to be classed among your ‘ good sort of men.’ Your six-bottle men — your mighty Nimrods — your thorough John Bull gentlemen, who killed their own mutton and bottled their own wines, have nearly all passed away, and it is doubtful whether, in the main, they are any very great loss. But it is a pity that, in losing this class, we seem to have lost their genuine hospitality also. There are exceptions — so Sir Julian need not fancy that I mean any thing personal respecting Tressilian Court — but the open house and the open-hearted hospitality of our English gentry seem to be almost departed, and succeeded by cold ceremony.

” All this is a sad digression — let me return to my father. He lived happily enough among his friends, and the only care that ever flitted by him — save the perpetual regret that he had not a son — was that, as life was short, he could scarcely hope to see hia nine daughters married before he died. But my mother was quite an sdept in matrimonial tactics, (I think she must have been a match maker by intuition, for, as she lived far from the London marriage marts, she did not learn from example,) so that, year after year, a daughter was sent into connubial currency.

” Heaven and herself only knew how tins was accomplished. No fortunes were paid down or promised — it was known that my father would leave his estate to the head of the family, perhaps because he did not want it — and it certainly was not the beauty of my sisters that got them wedded into the best families in the country ; for I may say, and that without any very extraordinary vanity, that I, plain as I am, was by far the best looking of the lot !”

Here her ladyship made a momentary pause ; per haps it was to take breath, perhaps to give an invol untary glance at the fair reflection of herself in a splendid mirror opposite the ottoman on which ahe lounged. Her auditors saw the glance, and her cheek glowed as she saw that they did; probably, too, the unmistakeable look of admiration which the major earnestly bestowed upon her, drew up that conscious rose-tint. At the moment she really looked beauti ful, and knew it also ; so she was in a capacity to forgive that glance of admiration. When was there a woman really angry at homage rendered to her charms ?

A playful smile — a wave of that pretty hand — a shake of that head, which threw back her clustering wealth of curls, as if the wind were playing through their tendril-like beauty — and then the fair dame re sumed her story.

u Nay — not a word! I see what you would say, so spare your compliments. But it is a truth, that my sisters were not at all distingue for beauty. They were pretty well accomplished, as accomplish ments went at that time. They could draw a litde, play a little, dance a great deal, and were most nota ble housekeepers. You smile — let me tell you that this last is a first-rate advantage in the country. A woman so endowed, although portionless, is a prize in a country household. She sees that domestic matters are properly done, and if she bring no for tune, at least she prevents her husband’s being wasted in her department.

” How it happened is of little moment now, but it is certain that my sisters, to use a proper and con ventional phrase, all are ‘ settled’ and exceedingly well off. I have had a more stirring life — I have moved in higher circles — I have been stanzaed as a beauty — I have been quoted as a wit, (mind, I use the words that others used, for I dislike your wits and am little of a beauty,) — I have been as happy as most women in my station — but I question whether, after all, my enjoyments — society, fashion, flattery, literature — have been sounder or heartier than theirs. Yet they live in what I may call a state of human vegetation. The same dull routine of employments — the same homely and household pursuits — the same unintellectual society — the same sort of stupid hus bands, whose highest ambition is to breed cattle for

THE WIDOW’S STORY. 255

the agricultural association, or carry a rate in the parish vestry, or dine with the county member, or serve at the assizes on the grand jury — the same sort of bullet-headed children, with rough locks and ruddy faces — the same petty jealousies — the same hum-drum objects have formed the doom of my wedded sisters, and in that doom they have been happy. It is ex tremely well that we have not all the same tastes — such a life as theirs would kill me in a week.

” Well, eight of my father’s daughters were taken off his hands — you see I can use the true market phrase — before I was fifteen. I was the ninth, and the youngest by some years. When all the rest had been thus disposed of, literally to the best bidders, I was yet such a child in years and mind, that matri mony was a goal to which, for some time at least, my steps were not to be directed. Perhaps, as I was the beauty of the family — mind, I only use the word comparatively — I was kept on hands a little longer, in the hope of being more advantageously disposed of! Perhaps my youth would have been no great impediment to my ‘ settlement in life,’ — how conve nient are the terms! — but my mother died suddenly, and I was sent to a fashionable boarding school at Derby, until ‘ further orders.’

” We knew very little more of the relative to whom my father intended leaving the estate, than that he was very eccentric, very rich, and very old. On the formal announcement of my mother’s death, he sent a letter of condolence, written in very courteous terms, requesting particular information respecting our domestic affairs, and intimating a desire that, connected in blood as we were, we should also be connected in friendship.

” In his usually frank and hearty manner, my father replied that it should not be his fault, if a friendship were not formed and fostered. From this followed such an interchange of compliments, that, some six months after the correspondence commenced, Sir Edward Morton invited my father to visit him at his sent in Yorkshire.

” The visit was paid, and each father must have loudly sounded the praises of his child, for they agreed that the estates should be united by the bond matrimonial. I was fluttered and flattered at receiv ing a notification that I was to proceed forthwith to Morton Hall, where my father still remained. I had a sort of suspicion that something in the marriage line was on the tapis, for my father’s recent letters had been brimful with praises of Mr. Henry Morton, the only child of his host. The praises must have all been upon hearsay, for young Morton was then on the Continent.

” I was received at Morton Hall as if I were Sir Edward’s daughter, instead of his guest. Our sex, I believe, are like children, and have a sort of free- masonry, by which we see when we are likely to be come favourites; and I knew at once that I was on the high road to the old baronet’s heart. He was so kind, so considerate, so generous, that I must have been cold indeed, if I did not seek to repay him by all the attentions in my power.

” Soon after my arrival, I was sitmmoned to a a cabinet council in the library, where, after a preli minary oration of half an hour, my father informed me that Sir Edward Morton and himself had agreed that Henry Morton should marry me, and it was ex pected the arrangement would be a pleasant one for both parties. Sir Edward said that it gave him great

delight to see that my disposition was exactly similar to that of his dear son, and this gave him assurance that the union would be a happy one. The gentle men quite forgot that neither party had yet seen the other. But a family compact of this nature, does not include much regard for the feelings or affections, it is simply an affair of business, and not an affair of the heart !

” My memory is a good one, yet I forget what reply I gave to this matrimonial proposal. Perhaps I gave none — perhaps none was expected. At any rate, the affair was looked upon as fixed, and I was sent back to school loaded with presents.

” A few months after, I was suddenly summoned home: my father was on his death-bed, and his youngest and dearest daughter arrived in time to re ceive his blessing and see him die. As a man, he was a negative character in life ; but he was a kind parent, and the tears I shed for him were neither few nor unmerited.

“On his will being opened.it appeared that he had annually laid by a considerable sum from his income, and this unexpected accumulation, divided among my sisters, was some consolation to them for the remain ing provisions of the will, which stated that, by mu tual agreement between Sir Edward Morton and my father, it had been determined that Henry Morton should become the husband of Isabella Carlisle ; that he should tender me his band within one year after his father’s death, and that in case either party de clined to make or accept such offer matrimonial, the united estates were to become the sole property of the other. If the refusal came from the gentleman, he was to be cut off with an annuity of JC300 a year— if from me, I was to have only one-third of that sum as my yearly income. There were other provisions, one of which strictly prohibited either party from adding any thing to the income of the other. All this, would have been of little use in a mere will, for it is evident that my father could not control the manner in which Sir Edward Morton might wish to dispose of his property, but it appeared that there was a bond between them, in which, under immense for feitures, the compact was confirmed. Very soon after this, Sir Edward Morton also died, and his ‘ last will and testament’ was found to correspond in these essential points with that of my father. They had taken care to fence their wishes by all the law could render most binding. The union of the estates was an important matter — of the union of hearts, they had no thought!

Here then was I, at the age of sixteen, a condi tional heiress and conditionally fiance ! Sir Henry Morton soon returned to England, and was little pleased to find on what conditions the paternal estates had been bequeathed to him. You would hardly blame him fur taking legal advice upon his father’s will. I am little of a lawyer, and cannot well explain bow it was, but I believe that some short time before he quitted England, on his continental tour, he had joined in what is called ‘docking the entail,’ which gave his father a power to alienate the property as he pleased. Poor Sir Henry was heart-sick to find himself in this dilemma. He did not attempt to con ceal his chagrin. To increase it, came the legal opinion that his father’s will was a document which nothing could justly impugn !

” Did he dislike me ? No. He had never seen me, scarcely knew, until now, that such a being was in

256 THE WIDOW’S STORY.

existence. But he had romantic feelings, was of an imaginative turn of mind, and possessed very acute sensibility. It is no wonder, then, that he had a horror of being obliged to marry * per order.’ He did not attempt to disguise his feelings, and, through one kind friend or another, I was not long left in ignorance of their unlover like nature. Nay, it was told me that he intended to decline my hand. What an affront ! — not to let me have the pleasure of re fusing him. I confess that I was not very much displeased with this report of the young baronet’s spirit : — I think I should have heartily despised him, had he made up his mind, as some of the sex would have done, to take the estates, with myself as the incumbrance ; but from the moment I heard that he vowed he would see me only once, to tell me that he would not wed me, he grew rapidly in my esteem.

” The singular provisions of the two wills were no secret, and the little brunette who had been for twelve months at Madame le Plasir’s, without attracting the slightest attention, suddenly became ‘ the observed of all observers’ in Derby. It was discovered that I bad bright eyes — that my figure was graceful — that my manners were exquisite — in a word, that I was an heiress ! Such attentions as I was now paid might have turned a wiser head or an older heart than mine. But, although I was scarcely ‘ sweet seventeen,’ I was suspicious of this novel kindness, — these new friends, — and of my altered situation. Young as I was, I was singularly suspicious of flattery; therefore, though beaux smiled at me in All Saints’ Church, and bowed to me at St. Alkmund’s, I had sufficient sense to prize their attentions at the proper value and I walked on, like Jeptha’s daughter — poor thing ! — and Queen Elizabeth,

‘ la maiden meditation, fancy free!’

” As flies hover round the honey-comb, so do ad mirers around an heiress. A dashing, handsome, im pudent fortune-hunter formed the resolution to height en the disgust which had been excited in Sir Henry Morton’s mind by the absolute command to marry me. A man of the world was Captain Adolphus Fre derick Smith, and he possessed talents and address sufficient to render his success with both parties far from problematical. He contrived to become intimate with Sir Henry, and really being a pleasant and well- informed man, the acquaintance soon ripened into friendship. Poor Sir Henry had a lonely time of it at Morton-Hall, and the prospect of giving up a fine estate, or keeping it with the burthen of a wife not of his own choosing, was not likely to render him too happy. The gallant Captain soon became so neces sary to him, as a relief from his own sombre thoughts, that in a week or two he was quite domesticated at the Hall. The Baronet did not conceal his vexed thoughts from his new friend, and I since learned that this Job’s comforter did not draw my character in too flattering terms. At all events, he neglected no opportunity of heightening the feeling against me, and almost persuaded the poor Baronet, that on £300 without me, he could live far happier than on a yearly income of £14,000 burthened with me! I believe that Captain Adolphus Frederick Smith took good care not to commit himself by saying any thing directly against me ; but he was an insinuating man ! I was a dowdy by implication — a dullard and a pedant without being actually named as such. Captain Smith dealt out his , speechless obloquy’ with admirable

discretion, and I suspect that ignorance and ugliness were the slightest imperfections attributed to me.

” Marian Smith, only sister to the adventurer, offi ciated as semi-governess in Madame de Plaisir’s , Es tablishment for Young Ladies.’ She was a clever, shrewd, showy girl, who owned to nine-and-twenty, and was exactly the materiel out of which might rea dily be made a knowing intriguante in love or poli tics. Some time previous to my becoming an heiress, she had taken a fancy to me, and treated me with a kindness which made me grateful, as it was a novelty at school. When, from the mere nobody I had been, Fortune elevated me into somebody, with high pos sessions and yet higher expectations, every one seem ed anxious to distinguish me ; but, somewhat haugh tily I fear, I turned a deaf ear to their blandishments, and my only intimate school-friend was Marian Smith, who had been kind to me when no interested motives could have influenced her. Accordingly, we were Da mon and Pythias in petticoats ! So, when her brother formed the plan of getting my hand and my acres, she was one of the best instruments he could employ.

” He could not have had a more able confederate She played her cards well, and held the honours in her own hand. She had all the arts of a practised tactician. What a tool she would have made, in former days, in the hands of the Jesuits ! She glided into my confidence, extolling the virtues of her bro ther, in the most quiet, unsuspicious way, comment ing, with well dissembled commiseration, on the horrid necessity of marrying whether I loved the man or not, and losing no opportunity of letting fall insi nuations against my intended. All this was done with such an apparent sincerity, such a deep wish for my happiness, that the most watchful suspicion would have been thrown off its guard. It readily imposed on me, who neither knew guile nor thought that others could practise it.

” What wonder if all this had much of its intended effect ? I was already rather predisposed against Sir Henry, on account of the peculiar circumstances in which we were relatively placed, and certain dark hints as to his excesses on the Continent were not quite unwelcome to me, as they tended to justify, to my own mind, the prejudice I had taken against him. The soil was exactly suited to the seed, and my dear Marian Smith was a cunning cultivator !

” Her brother sometimes came to Derby, to pay ‘ a flying visit’ to his sister, and when she inquired after Sir Henry, in my hearing, his chief reply was the significant ‘ shrug and sigh,’ which in their very silence, spoke Encyclopedias.

” I had half made up my mind to refuse the hand of Sir Henry; but the Smiths had no wish that such should be the issue of the adventure. To throw the rejection upon him, would require very little trouble; this done, the gallant Captain resolved to gain my hand, and (what he must have coveted as much) my broad lands besides. It is very probable that success would have crowned all this scheming, had not a slight incident completely changed the current of events.

” You may remember that the provisions of the double will made it imperative that Sir Henry Morton should wed me or refuse me, within twelve months after his father’s death. That period had now very nearly elapsed, and my guardians — plain, sensible, matter-of-fact people — who had no doubt that the ‘ very eligible union’ would take place, withdrew me

THE WIDOW’S STORY.

from school, thinking iliat Sir Henry might not ex actly wish to woo his future bride under the surssil. lance of a bevy of ‘ bread and butter misses’ of a boarding school. They came to remove me, and the announcement came on me so very suddenly that dear Miss Smith being accidentally out of the way, I had no opportunity of taking counsel with her, and, in the hurry of removal, I quite forgot to write to her.

” My uncle, to whose house I went, was a plain spoken gentleman, who made my journey most mise rable by a series of jokes upon my coming ‘ change of situation.’ Protestations— even tears were in vain ; he put down every thing with ‘ a little modesty, very natural to your situation, and becomes you exceed ingly !’ I never was so tormented, before.

” Fortunately for me, my aunt was of a different character. She had mixed with the world, and knew what a strange riddle is a woman’s heart. Afier some little hesitation, I told her of my distinct and firm resolution never to marry Sir Henry Morton.

” She was a woman of thoughtful kindness, and looked at events with a desire to find out their causes. With admirable tact, she succeeded in learning how my prejudices against Sir Henry had been fostered. ‘ It is well,’ said she, with a smile, * that this danger ous Miss Smith is separated from you now. I know, from authority indisputable, that her brother has been acting the same part by Sir Henry. It is not difficult to surmise the motives for this double game.’ I pro tested, of course, against all suspicions ; my aunt was too polite not to listen to my warm vindication of Miss Smith, but I could easily see that she remained incre dulous. Must I confess it, my defence of Marian Smith did not quite satisfy myself!

” It now wanted only six weeks of the expiration of the year, and I began to cherish the hope that Sir Henry would not come to demand my hand. I ven tured to hint as much to my aunt, and her answer set all my spirits in a flutter. ‘ Sir Henry doss come. He will be at your cousin’s next week, so make up your mind to be ” wooed, and married, and a’,” with as little delay as possible.’

” I do not know what impulse prompted me, but such as it was, its weight was irresistible. I inter rupted her with — ‘ I have never seen Sir Henry ; let me judge of him, myself unknown. I have promised to spend a week with my cousin, let me go when Sir Henry is there. It may be a wild fancy, but I would like to play the part of Miss Hardeastle, for once. My cousin, I am sure, will readily join in the plot.’

” ‘ Oh, I see,’ said my aunt, ‘ you would Stoop to Conquer. The thought is romantic enough — but if the execution fails you are lost. However, something nay be risked, where much is to be gained. Let it be so, if you will. I must only trust that you will be discreet, and perform with eclat .”

” We drove to my cousin’s, next day. She was delighted to enter into our plot, and arranged so well that, except from my own imprudence, scarcely any chance of discovery was left. This was easily ma naged, as Sir Henry had expressly stipulated, that, being in indifferent health and spirits, his visit was to be so strictly private that no guests were to meet, no visitors to see him.

” He visited Oatlands, therefore, without the re motest idea of seeing me there. He knew that I was i” the neighbourhood. His friend, Captain Adolphus Frederick Smith, with more delicacy than usual, did not accompany him — indeed, he was not invited!

” Ashamed — deeply ashamed of my own credulity, and very distrustful of Marian Smith’s motives, was I when I saw the Baronet. He was about threc-ar.d- twenty, tall and slight in figure, with the air of a man of fashion, and that innate gentleness of manner which, after all, is peculiar to gentle blood. When I looked at his handsome features — his expressive and melancholy eyes — his fine forehead, with its whiteness strikingly relieved by the dark hair which waved over it — I confess that, like Bob Acres’ cou rage, my prejudice ‘ oozed out at my fingers’ ends.’ He was just such a person as the quick and budding fancy of seventeen might love as a man or deify as a hero !

” How awfully had he been slandered ! His intel lectual attainments surpassed those of every one with whom I had ever conversed. His knowledge of books had been corrected and aided by his knowledge of life. Travel had not been thrown away upon him. It may not, with me, have been love at first aight ; but I fancy he awakened something very like it.

” Sir Henry Morton’s personal attractions, con siderable as they were, formed the very least of his merits. His melancholy mien — the thoughtfulness that brooded on his pale cheek and in the dark beau ty of his eye — the gentleness, the tenderness of his manner — the mournful sweetness of his low, sad voice — the eloquence of his impassioned words — all combined to make him rather too interesting an ac quaintance.

” We soon became friends. His melancholy some times brightened into a smile, as he listened to the wild and girlish sullies which fell from my lips; for, I know not how, while my actual spirits were at zero, my seeming spirits were as high as fever-heat. We walked together — we conversed together — until at last, the AubIi on his cheek, and the flashing of his eye, and the deepening tenderness of his voice, when we were together and alone, made me suspect that my task was over. I had conquered my own idle prejudices — I trusted now, that I had conquered his

” At last, it was time for me to return, for only two days remained of the fatal year. As the time passed on, Sir Henry had sunk deeper and deeper into gloom, which my presence served but to increase, and yet he was uneasy and unhappy when I was absent.

” I had been introduced to him as a portionless and friendless orphan. Another day, and he would see me in my own character. But how would the change affect him? Would he think lightly of the deception, or would his delicacy shrink from the folly which had sought to make his heart the object of an experiment. With such conflicting doubts, I was almost as much disturbed as himself.

“The crisis came. I was sitting alone in the drawing-room, when Sir Henry entered. He took his seat by my side, as usual, and both were silent for a time. At last, he spoke :

, You leave us, Isabella. You will leave many regrets behind you. I must be pardoned — but before you go, let me tell you how much I love you- N«y, shrink not ! — Your colour changes and you tremble. Are you indeed so angry with me that you will not speak? Pity me, if you cannot forgive.’

” He took my hand and — and I did not withdraw it. One moment’s pause — he looked into my eyes — he saw them filled with tears — his lip was on my burning, blushing check, and I knew — how. exquisite

22*

258 THE WIDOW’S STORY.

the knowledge — that this was love, the ardent and

the true !

” Trembling — blushing — panting — filled with new and delicious sensations, which seemed to crowd the happy feelings of years into that one concentrated moment of delight, I withdrew myself from his em- brace. We were both silent, once again ; but I felt it now was my turn to speak.

” ‘ I can forgive — let us both forget this weakness. To you it can matter little what becomes of me in after life. You will think of me yet, it may be, as one who has amused your idle hours — whose youth may have been her greatest, her only charm. You will forget the friendless orphan, and it is right that you should forget her. Remember, Sir Henry, that you are betrothed. Leave these scenes, where you have forgotten your duty to the dead and your claims on the living, and become, even as your father willed, the husband of one who, far better than myself, has a claim on your affection.’

” ‘ By Heaven !’ he exclaimed, ‘ this will drive me mad. What right had my father to dispose of my hand — how could he fathom the depth of my feelings? No, beloved, let my betrothed, as you call her, take the broad lands that my fathers won at the point of the sword, in the olden days — let the heir of a thou sand years live without wealth, but cherish his pure and first affection as kindly nature dictates. I cannot marry the woman whom I do not love. When the tyrant of ancient days chained the living body to the dead corpse, the union was not more unnatural than that w hich, from the grave, my father would make between hearts which cannot love each other. No, better to die than be party to such an union !’

” He spoke with so much eager vehemence, that I could perceive his mind to be firmly resolved. I could not resist inquiring into the causes of his dislike to the marriage.

” * And is it,’ I said, ‘ only to the manner of this union, as a family compact, in which your heart was not consulted, or to the lady herself, that you object V

” ‘ To both : — my faith plighted without my know ledge — without my consent : this, of itself, would create a spirit of opposition. But the lady — ‘

‘”What of her?’

” ‘ Not much, dearest — only she is as unlike you as possible. If she were not vain and pedantic — at once a coquette and a blue stocking — I could easily forgive her want of personal attractions. But you change colour — perhaps you know Miss Carlisle ?’

‘ * I do, indeed,’ said I, with some bitterness, for although I had expected much, I did not look to have my character drawn in such colours. ‘ I do know her, as well as I know myself.’

” ‘ I am sorry then,’ said he, ‘ that I have spoken thus warmly.’

” ‘ Oh ! it is no matter,’ said 1, ‘ you have drawn her portrait, no doubt, but the shadows predominate. It is somewhat curious, though, that she should have heard not much better of you.’

” ‘ Of me V he inquired, with evident astonishment.

*’ , Yes, that you were a roue in morals — a pre tender in fashion — a clown in manners — and, to crown all, a gambler.’

” ‘ There seems,’ said he, with an air of the great est vexation, ‘there seems to be some strange mis take here. I abhor gambling. I am any thing but a roue : and for my manners, fashion, and attainments they are as you see.’

” He drew himself up, with some stateliness, and paused, as if expecting me to reply. 1 kept silence, and he resumed —

” ‘ What I heard of the lady, I fear is no more than the truth. My informant — ”

” ‘ Was Captain Smith, whose sister daintily drew your character for Miss Carlisle — so it is likely that the misrepresentation has been mutual.’

” ‘ If I thought so — ”

” ‘ You would throw yourself at Miss Carlisle’s feet — become her prcux chevalier for life — and for get the world of protestations you have made me, just now ?”

” ‘ No,’ said he, with a smile, ‘ my resolution is taken, and my only dread now is that I may uncon sciously give pain to one on whom it should not fall. 1 shall see her to-morrow, resign all claim to her hand, and then, if you can wed a man of broken for tunes, my fate is in your bands— my happiness — my life. Isabella ! you cannot, you must not refuse me.’

” My answer was brief — for I was so much affect ed by this proof of the sincerity of his afiection, that I scarcely dared trust myself to speak : —

” ‘ It may be well for all parties, that I decline all answer until to-morrow. See Miss Carlisle, and if you then reject her hand, or rather, if you still decline to offer yours for her acceptance — for, after all, the refusal may come from her — I will — ”

” ‘ Be mine ? Is it so V — But I checked his rap tures, for I heard the carriage wheels. I merely said, ‘ I am going to Miss Carlisle now, and shall hope to see you to-morrow !’ — In five minutes, I was on my way to my own house.

” I reached home late, and found my kind aunt there before me. Pleading fatigue, I hurried to my bed-room, and left her, with curiosity ungratified, quite unconscious of the issue of my experiment.

” The next day was to bring me joy or sorrow. I was pretty confident as to the result — though, at times, knowing how fastidious Sir Henry’s feelings were, a doubt would chill my heart, that he might be disgusted with the Jinesse I had used. But hearts were trumps, and who would not play the bold game?

” My room of audience was the library, and (to keep up my character of a baa bleu,) maps, books, mathematical instruments, were scattered on the ta bles. The floor was strewn with ‘ learned lumber’ from the shelves — a pair of globes were on the table immediately before my seat — in short, the whole apartment was in a state of literary litter; well cal culated to strengthen the impression that I was what well-informed men must hate — a vain, pedantic fe male.

” Sir Henry came — I knew the sound of his foot fall, as he paced down the passage. He was an nounced, and I rose to receive him. A sudden pause before he entered — a slight start as he caught a glimpse of my figure. I had taken care to bave the window curtains drawn, so that in the indistinct light, and the distance at which he sat, it was impossible to distinguish my features.

” Our tete-a-tete was coldly formal. A few sen tences from him — a few monosyllables from me. At last, taking courage, he stated in a most respectful manner that, after due consideration, he had resolved to decline presenting himself as a suitor for my band. He apologized for what he called his ‘ insensibility to my merits,’ but frankly said that his heart w as not his own to offer. He would thus, it was true, abandon

LOCH LOMOND.

worldly fortune, but enough would be left for compe tence ; the world was open to him, to win wealth and fame by his talents, if such he had ; and at all events he was happy in the belief that he could persuade the object of his affection to share his lot, be it gloomy or bright.

” He made this declaration with such manly gen tleness — anxious to spare my feelings, while justify, ing his own — that, while thus resigning me, I felt I loved him more than ever — warmly as such a heart should be loved !

” My thoughts overpowered me. I grew faint, and sank back in my chair. Sir Henry hastily arose, took me in his arms, and supported me to the window. I revived at his touch. He threw up the blinds that I might have air, and the light fell full upon my face — could he trust his sight? He stood in amaze — was it but a dream ? At last, my smile told him all. He threw himself at my feet. — You may be sure he did not plead in vain.

” I spare you the detail of what followed. My

uncle had already taken the precaution of providing a special license — during my absence, my aunt had got me a bridal wardrobe, — there was my dear old friend, the vicar, ready to do his part — so, as all comedies, of life and love, end with a wedding, we were married that evening !

•’ Of the Smiths I never heard more — I never in quired after them. I have been happy as a wife, and never had cause to repent my experiment. Even yet, though years have elapsed since Sir Henry’s death, I cherish the pleasant memory of our happy love.

** Here ends my story. If it has been dull, remem ber that I warned you against expecting other from me.”

Our thanks followed. I am mistaken, indeed, if the story has not made a deep impression on the Major, for I observed him, at the tender scenes, brush away a tear from eyes all unaccustomed to ” the melting mood.”

Written for Uie Lady’s Book.

Godey’s Magazine, Volumes 22-23

Godey’s Magazine, Volumes 22-23

MR. AND S. WOODBR1DGE.

Written for the Lady’s Book.

MR. AND MRS. WOODBRIDGE. x story or Domstio Lire.

sY MISS LESLIE.

YART I.

The moming subsequent to their arrival in Phila delphia, Harvey Woodbridge proposed to his bride (a New York beauty, to whom he had recently been united, after a very short acquaintance) that she should accompany him to look at the new house he had taken previous to their marriage, and which he had delayed furnishing till the taste of his beloved Char lotte could be consulted as well as his own. Mean while they were staying at one of the principal board ing-houses of his native city.

Ten o’clock was the time finally appointed by the lady for this visit to their future residence : and her husband, after taking a melancholy leave (they had been married but seven days) departed to pass an hour at his place of business.

When he returned, Mr. Woodbridge sprang up stairs three steps at a time (we have just said he had been married only a week) and on entering their apartment he was saluted by his wife as she held out her watch to him, with — ” So, after all, you are ten minutes beyond the hour !”

” I acknowledge it, my dear love” — replied the husband — ” but I was detained by a western cus tomer to whom I have just made a very profitable sale.”

” Still” — persisted the bride, half pouting — ” people should always be punctual, and keep their appoint ments to the very minute.”

“And yet, my dearest Charlotte” — observed Wood- bridge, somewhat hesitatingly — ” I do not find you quite ready to go out with me.”

” Oh ! that is another thing” — replied the lady — ” one may be kept waiting without being ready.”

” That is strange logic, my love” — said Wood- bridge, smiling.

” I don’t know what you call logic” — answered the beautiful Charlotte. ” I learnt all my logic at Mrs. Fooltrap’s boarding-school, where we said a logic lesson twice a week. But I am sure ’tis much easier for a man to hurry with his bargaining than for a lady to hurry with her dressing; that is if she pays any regard to her appearance. I have been pondering for an hour about what I shall put on to go out this moming. I am sadly puzzled among all my new walking-dresses. There are my chaly, and my gros des Indes, and my peau-de-soie, and my foulard—”

” If you will tell me which is which” — interrupted Woodbridge — ” I will endeavour to assist you in your choice. But from its name (foulard, as you call it,) I do not imagine that last thing can be a very nice article.”

” What fools men are !” — exclaimed the lovely Charlotte. — ” Now that is the very prettiest of all my walking-dresses, let the name be what it will. I always did like foulard from the moment I first saw it at Stewart’s. I absolutely doat upon foulard, So that is the very thing I will wear, upon my first ap pearance in Chesnut street as Mrs. Harvey Wood- bridge.”

” Don’t” — said her husband, surveying the dress as she held it up — ” it looks like calico — ”

” Say don’t to me”— exclaimed the bride, threat eningly — ” calico, indeed ! — when it is a French silk at twelve shillings a yard — a dollar and a half as you foolishly say in Philadelphia.”

” Well, well” — replied Woodbridge, pacifyingly — ” wear whatever you please — it is of no consequence.”

” So then, you think it of no consequence how I am drest ! I dare say you would not grieve in the least if I were really to go out in a calico gown — I did suppose that perhaps you took some little interest in me.”

” I do indeed” — answered Woodbridge.

” You confess then that it is but little.”

” No — a very great interest, certainly — and you know that I do. But as to your dress, you, of course, must be the best judge. And to me you always look beautifully.”

” To you, but not to others — I suppose that is what you mean.”

” To every one” — replied the husband — ” I ob served this morning the glance of admiration that ran round the breakfast table as soon as you had taken your seat. That little cap with the yellow ribbon is remarkably becoming to yon.”

” So then, it was the cap and not myself that was admired !” — said the wife. — ” I am sure I am much obliged to the cap. Yellow ribbon, too ! — To call it yellow when it is the most delicate primrose. As if / would wear a yellow ribbon !”

” Indeed, my love” — answered Woodbridge — “you must forgive me if I am not au-fait to all the techni calities of a lady’s toilet. I acknowledge my igno rance with due humility.”

” You well may — I was absolutely ashamed of you one evening at our house in New York, when Mrs. Rouleau and the two Miss Quillings and Miss Bias- fold were present, and we were all enjoying our selves and discussing the last fashions. And thinking you ought to say something by way of joining in the conversation, you called my deep flounce a long tuck.”

” I’ll never do so again” — said Woodbridge, imi tating the tone of a delinquent school-boy.

The foulard silk was energetically put on ; the fair Charlotte pertinaciously insisting on hooking it up the back entirely herself: a herculean task which, in his heart of hearts, her husband was rather glad to be spared. And not knowing that spite gives strength, he stood amazed at the vigour and dexterity with which his lovely bride put her hands behind her and accomplished the feat. When it was done, she took a long survey of herself in the glass, and then turned round to her husband and made a low curtsey, saying — ” There now — you see me in my calico gown.”

Woodbridge uttered no reply : but he thought in his own mind — ” What a pity it is that beauties are so apt to be spoiled!” — He might have added — ” What a pity it is that men are so apt to spoil them.”

AND MRS. WOODBRIDGE.

At length, after much fixing and unfixing, and putting on and taking off the finishing articles of her attire (particularly half-a-dozen pair of tight-fitting new kid gloves, none of which were quite tight enough) her ignoramus of a husband again offending by calling her pelerine a cape and her scarf a neckeloth, and mistaking the flowers in her bonnet tor little roses when he ought to have known they were almond blossoms, Mrs. Harvey Woodbridge sullenly acknowledged herself ready to go out.

During their walk to the new house, our hero endeavoured to restore the good-humour of his bride by talking to her of the delightful life he anticipated when settled in a pleasant mansion of their own. But his glowing picture of domestic happiness elicited no reply ; her attention being all the time engaged by the superior attractions of numerous ribbons, laces, scarfa, shawls, trinkets, &c, displayed in the shop- windows, and of which, though she could now take only a passing glance, she mentally promised her self the enjoyment of making large purchases at her leisure.

They arrived at their future residence, a genteel and well-finished house of moderate size, where all was so bright new and clean, that it was impossible for the bride not to be pleased with its aspect, as her husband unlocked the doors and threw open the shutters of room after room. Mrs. Woodbridge re joiced particularly on observing that the ceilings of the parlours had centre circles for chandeliers, and she began to consider whether the chandeliers should be bronzed or gdt. She also began to talk of various splendid articles of furniture that would be necessary for the principal rooms. ” Mamma charged me” — said she — ” to have silk damask lounges and chair. cushions, and above all things not to be sparing in mirrors. She said she should hate to enter my par lours if the pier-glasses were not tall enough to reach from the floor to the ceiling ; and that she would never forgive me if my mantel-glasses did not cover the whole space of the wall above the chimney-pieces. She declared that she would never speak to me again if my centre-tables were not well supplied with all eons of elegant things, in silver, and china and co loured glass. And her last words were to remind me of getting a silver card basket, very wide at the top that the cards of the best visiters might be spread out to advantage. The pretty things on Mrs. Over- buy’s enamelled centre-table are said to have cost not less than five hundred dollars.” — ” Was it not her hushand that failed last week for the fourth time ?” — asked Woodbridge. — ” I believe he did” — replied Charlotte — ” but that is nothing. Almost every body’s hushand fails now. Mrs. Overbuy says |it is quite fashionable.” — ” In that respect, as in many others, I hope to continue unfashionable all my life” — re marked Woodbridge. — “That is so like pa'” — ob. served Charlotte. — ” He has the strangest dread of foiling ; though ma’ often tells him that most people seem to live much the better for it, and make a greater show than ever — at least after the first few weeks. And then pa’ begins to explain to her about falling, and breaking, and stopping payment, and debtors and creditors, and all that sort of thing. But •he cuts him short, and says she hates business talk. And so do I, for I am exactly like her.”

At this information Woodbridge felt as if ho was going to sigh ; but he looked at his bride, and, con soled himself with the reflection that he had certainly

married one of the most beautiful girls in America ; and therefore his sigh turned to a smile.

They had now descended to the lower story of the house. “Ah!” — exclaimed Charlotte — “the base ment, back and front, is entirely filled up with cellars. How very ridiculous !” — ” It does not seem so to me” — replied Woodbridge — ” this mode of building is very customary in Philadelphia.” — ” So much the worse” — answered the lady. — ” Now in New York nothing is more usual than to have a nice sitting- room down in the basement-story, just in front of the kitchen.” — “A sort of servants’ parlour, I suppose” — said her husband. ” It is certainly very considerate to allot to the domestics, when not at work, a com fortable place of retirement, removed from the heat, and slop and all the desagremens of a kitchen.”

” How foolishly you always talk” — exclaimed Mrs. Woodbridge. — ” As if we would give the basement- room to the servants ! No we use it ourselves. In ma’s family, as in hundreds of others all over New York, it is the place where we sit when we have no company, and where we always eat.”

” What ! — half under ground” — exclaimed Wood- bridge—” Really I should feel all the time as if I was living in a kitchen.”

” It is very wrong in you to say so,” replied the lady — ” and very unkind to say it to me, when we had a basement-room in our house in New York, and used it constantly. To be sure I’ve heard ma’ say she had some trouble in breaking pa’ into it — but he had to give up. Men have such foolish notions about almost every thing, that it is well when they have somebody to put their nonsense out of their heads.”

” I never saw you in that basement-room” — ob served Woodbridge.

” To be sure you did not. I do not say that it is the fashion for young ladies to receive their beaux in the basement room. But beaux and husbands are different things.”

” You are right” — murmured Woodbridge. — ” If always admitted behind the scenes, perhaps fewer beaux would be willing to take the character of hus bands.”

They now descended the lower staircase, and went to inspect the kitchen, which formed a part of what in Philadelphia is called the back-building. Wood- bridge pointed out to his wife its numerous conve niences ; upon which she told him that she was sorry to find he knew bo much about kitchens. They then took a survey of the chambere ; and on afterwards descending the stairs they came to a few steps branch ing off from the lower landing-place, and entered a door which admitted them into a narrow room in the back-building, directly over the kitchen. This room had short windows, a low ceiling, a small coal-grate, and was in every respect very plainly finished.

” This” — said Woodbridge — ” is the room I in tend for my library.”

” I did not know I had married a literary man” — said Charlotte, looking highly discomposed.

” I am not what is termed a literary man” — re plied her husband — ” I do not write, but I take much pleasure in reading. And it is my intention to have this room fitted up with book-shelves, and furnished with a library-table, a stuffed leather fauteuil, a read ing-lamp, and whatever else is necessary to make it comfortable.”

” Where then is to be our sitting room ? ”

4 MR. AND MRS. WOODBRIDGE.

“We can scat ourselves very well in either the back parlour or the front one. We will have a rock- ing-chair a piece, besides ottomans or sofas.”

” But where are we to eat our meals ?”

” In the back parlour, I think — unless you prefer the front.”

” I prefer neither. We never ate in a parlour at ma’s in spite of all pa’ could say. Down in the base ment story we were so snug, and so out of the way.”

” I have always been accustomed to eating quite above ground” — said Woodbridge — ” I am quite as much opposed to the burrowing system as you say your good rather was.”

“Oh! but he had to give up” — replied Charlotte.

” Which is more than I shall do” — answered her husband — looking very resolute. ” On this point my firmness is not to be shaken.”

” Nobody asks you to eat in the basement story” — said Charlotte — ” because there is none. But this little room in the back-building is the very thing for our common sitting-place — and also to use as a din ing-room.”

” We can dine far more agreeably in one of the parlours.”

” The parlours, indeed ! — suppose somebody should chance to come in and catch us at table, would not you be very much mortified ?”

” By no means — I hope I shall never have cause to be ashamed of my dinner.”

” You don’t know what may happen. After a trial of the expenses of housekeeping, we may find it ne cessary to economize. And whether or not, I can assure you I am not going to keep an extravagant table. Ma’ never did, in spite of pa’s murmurings.”

” Then we will economize in finery rather than in comfort” — said Woodbridge. ” I do not wish for an extravagant table, and I am not a gourmand: but there is no man that does not feel somewhat meanly when obliged, in his own house, to partake of a paltry or scanty dinner ; particularly when he knows that he can afford to have a good one.”

” That was just the way pa’ used to talk to ma’. He said that as the head of the house earned all the market-money — (only think of his calling himself the head of the house,) and gave out a liberal allowance of it, he had a right to expect, for himself and family, a well-supplied and inviting table. He had some old saying that he who was the bread-winner ought to have his bread as he liked it.”

” And in this opinion I think most husbands will coincide with Mr. Stapleford” — said the old gentle man’s son-in-law.

” There will be no use in that, unless their wives coincide also” — remarked the old gentleman’s daugh ter. ” However, to cut the matter short, whatever sort of table we may keep, this apartment must cer tainly be arranged for an eating-room.”

” But we really do not require it for that purpose” — replied her husband, with strange pertinacity — ” and I must positively have it for a library.”

” The truth is, dear Harvey” — said Charlotte, coax- ingly — ” I am afraid if I allow you a regular library, I shall lose too much of your society — think how lonely I shall be when you are away from me at your books. Even were I always to sit with you in the library, (as Mrs. Deadweight does with her husband,) it would be very hard for me to keep silent the whole time, according to her custom. And if, like Mrs.

Le Bore, I were to talk to you all the while you were reading, perhaps you might think it an inter ruption. Mrs. Duncely, who has had four husbands (two lawyers, one doctor, and a clergyman) all of whom spent as little time with her as they could, frequently told us that libraries were of no use but to part man and wife. Dear Harvey, it would break my heart to suppose that you could prefer any thing in the world to the company of your own Charlotte Augusta. So let us have this nice little place for our dining-room, and let us sit in it almost always. It will save the parlours so much.”

” Indeed my dear Charlotte, I do not intend to get any furniture for the parlours of so costly a descrip tion that we shall be afraid to use it.”

” What ! — are we not to have Saxony carpets, and silk curtains, and silk-covered lounges, and large glasses, and chandeliers, and beautiful mantel-lamps ; and above all, a’n’t we to have elegant things for the centre-table ?”

” My design” — answered Woodbridge—” is to fur nish the house throughout, as genteelly, and in as good taste as my circumstances will allow: bul al ways with regard to convenience rather than to show.”

” Then I know not how I can look ma’ in the face !”

” You may throw nil the blame on me, my love.”

” Pray, Mr. Harvey Woodbridge (if I may venture to ask) how will these plain, convenient, comfortable parlours look when we have a party?”

” I do not furnish my house for the occasional reception of a crowd of people, but for the every day use of you and myself, with a few chosen friends in whose frequent visits we can take pleasure.”

” If you mean frequent tea-visits, I can assure you, sir, I shall take no pleasure . in any such trouble and extravagance — with your few chosen friends, indeed ! when it is so much cheaper to have a large party once a year (as we always had at ma’s): asking every presentable person we knew, and every body to whom we owed an invitation; and making one expense serve for all. Though our yearly party was always an absolute squeeze, you cannot think how much we saved by it. — Pa’ called it saying grace over the whole barrel — some foolish idea that he got from Dr. Franklin.”

” For my part” — remarked Woodbridge — ” I hope I shall never be brought to regard social intercourse as a mere calculation of dollars and cents. I would rather, if necessary, save in something else than make economy the chief consideration in regulating the mode of entertaining my friends and acquaintances.”

” Then why do you object to saving our parlours by using them as little as possible ?”

” When our furniture wears out, or ceases to look comme il faut, I hope I shall be able to replace it with new articles, quite as good and perhaps better — particularly if we do not begin too extravagantly at first.”

” I suppose then your plan is to fit up these par. lours with in-grain carpets, maple-chairs, and black hair-cloth sofas : and instead of curtains, nothing but venitian blinds.”

” Not exactly — though young people, on com mencing married life in moderate circumstances, have been very happy with such furniture.”

“More fools they! — For my part, I should be ashamed to show my face to a morning visiter in

MR. AND MRS. WOODBRIDGE. 5

such paltry parlours. That sort of furniture is scarcely better than what I intend for this little upstairs sit ting-room.”

” If this little room is devoted to the purpose you talk of, we must there show our faces to each other.”

” Nonsense, Mr. Woodbridge ! — How can it pos sibly signify what feces married people show to each other ?”

” It signifies much — very much indeed.”

” To put an end to this foolery” — resumed the bride — ” I tell you once for all, Harvey Woodbridge, that I must and will have this very apartment for an eating-room, or a dining-room, or a sitting-room, or whatever you please to call it — to take our meals in without danger of being caught at them, and to stay in when I am not drest and do not wish to be seen.”

” The hiding-room I think would be the best name for it” — murmured Woodbridge.

“Only let us try it awhile” — persisted the fair Charlotte, softening her tone, and looking fondly at her liege-lord — ” think how happy we shall be in this sweet little retreat, where I will always keep a few flower-pots — you know I doat on flowers — imagine your dear Charlotte Augusta in a comfortable wrapper, seated on a nice calico sofa, and doing beautiful wor sted work : and yourself in a round jacket, lolling in a good wooden rocking chair either cane-coloured or green, with slippers on your feet, and a newspaper in your hand. We can have a shelf or two for a few select books. And of an evening, when I do not happen to be sleepy, you can read to mc in the Sum mer at Brighton, or the Winter in London, or Al- macks, or Santo Sebastiano. I have them all. Bro ther Jem bought them cheap at auction. But I never had time to get to the second volume of any of them. So we have all that pleasure to come. And I shall be delighted to have those sweet books read aloud to me by you. You will like them far better than those Scotch novels that people are always talking about.”

Woodbridge looked dubious. Finally, being tired of the controversy, he thought best to end it by say ing — ” Well, well — we’ll let this subject rest for the present.” — But he resolved in his own mind to hold out fur ever against it.

At their boarding-house dinner-table, Mrs. Wood- bridge informed a lady who sat opposite, that she was delighted with her new house ; and that it was a love of a place; particularly a snug little apartment in the back- building which Mr. Woodbridge had promised her for a sitting-room, to save the parlours, as they were to be furnished in very handsome style. Wood- bridge reddened at her pertinacity, and to divert the attention of those around him from a very voluble expose of what she called her plans, he began to talk to a gentleman on the other side of the table about the latest news from Europe.

From this day our heroine spoke of the little sit ting-room as a thing of course, without noticing any of the deprecatory lookings and sayings of her hus band- And she succeeded in teazing him into allow ing her to choose all the furniture of the house with out his assistance: guided only by the taste of one of the female boarders, Mrs. Squanderfield, a lady who bad been married about a twelvemonth, and after commencing house-keeping in magnificent style, her husband (whose affairs had been involved at the time of their marriage,) was obliged at the close of

the winter, to make an assignment for the benefit of his creditors ; and the tradesmen who had supplied it took back the unpaid furniture.

After her parlours had been fitted up in a very showy and expensive manner (not forgetting the cen tre-table and its multitude of costly baubles) Mrs. Woodbridge found that these two rooms had already absorbed so large a portion of the sum allotted by her husband for furnishing the whole house that it was necessary to economize greatly in all the other apartments: and to leave two chambers in the third story with nothing but the bare walls. This discre pancy was much regretted by Mr. Woodbridge, even after his wife had reminded him that these chambers could only have been used as spare bed-rooms, which in all probability would never be wanted as they did not intend keeping a hotel ; and that as to encouraging people to come and stay at her house (even her own relations) she should do no such expensive thing. — ” You may depend on it, my dear,” said she — on the day that they installed themselves in their new abode, ” I shall make you a very economical wife.”

And so she did, as far as comforts were concerned, aided and abetted by the advice of her friend Mrs. Squanderfield who counselled her in what to spend money ; and in what to save it she was guided by the precepts of Mrs. Pinchington, another inmate of the same boarding-house, a widow of moderate income, whose forte was the closest parsimony, and who had broken up her own establishment and gone to board ing ostensibly because she was lonely, but in reality because she could get no servant to live with her. The advice of these two counsellors never clashed, for Mrs. Squanderfield took cognizance of the dress and the parlour arrangements of her pupil, while Mrs. Pinchington directed the housewifery: and both of them found in our heroine an apt scholar.

We need not tell our readers that the fair bride carried her point with regard to the little apartment at the heed of the stairs, which she concluded to de signate as the dining-room, though they ate all their meals in it ; and it became in fact their regular abid ing-place, her husband finding all opposition fruitless, and finally yielding fur the sake of peace.

It took Mrs. Woodbridge a fortnight to recover from the fatigue of moving into their new house : and during this time she was denied to all visiters, and spent the day in a wrapper on the dining-room sofa, sometimes sleeping, and sometimes sitting up at a frame and working in worsted a square-faced lap- dog, with paws and tail also as square as cross-stitch could make them ; this remarkable animal most mira culously keeping his seat upon the perpendicular side of an upright green bank, with three red flowers growing on his right and three blue ones on the left. During the progress of this useful and ornamental piece of needle- work, the lady kept a resolute silence, rarely opening her lips except to check her husband for speaking to her, as it put her out in counting the threads. And if he attempted to read aloud, (even in Santo Sebastiano) she shortly desired him to desist, as it puzzled her head and caused her to confuse the proper number of stitches allotted to each of the various worsted shades. If he tried to interest her by a really amusing book of his own choice, she always went fast asleep, and on raising his eyes from the page he found himself reading to nothing. If, on the other hand, he wished to entertain himself by read ing in silence, he was generally interrupted by some

6 ANACREONTIC BALLAD.

thing like this, preluded by a deep sigh — ” Harvey you are not thinking now of your poor Charlotte Augusta — you never took up a book and read during the week you were courting me. Times are sadly altered now : but I suppose all wives must make up .their minds to be forgotten and neglected after the first fortnight. Don’t look so disagreeable : but if you really care any thing about me, come and wind this gold-coloured worsted — I want it for my dog’s collar.”

The fortnight of rest being over, Mrs. Woodbridge concluded to receive morning visiters and display to them her handsome parlours : which for two weeks were opened every day for that purpose during the usual hours of making calls. Also she availed her- self of the opportunity of wearing in turn twelve new and beautiful dresses, and twelve pelerines and collars equally new and beautiful.

Various parties were made for his bride by the families that knew Harvey Woodbridge, who was much liked throughout the circle in which he had visited : and for every party the bride found that she wanted some new and expensive articles of decoration, notwithstanding her very recent outfit ; she and her ma’ having taken care that the trousseau should in the number and costliness of its items be the admira tion of all New York, that is of the set of people among which the Staplefords were accustomed to revolve.

When the bridal parties were over, Woodbridge was very earnest that his wife should give one her self in return for the civilities she had received from his friends ; for though he had no fondness for parties he thought they should be reciprocated by those who went to them themselves, and who had the appliances and means of entertaining company in a house of their own and in the customary manner. To this pro posal our heroine pertinaciously objected, upon the ground that she was tired and worn out with parties, and saw no reason for incurring the expense and trouble of giving one herself.

” But” — said her husband — ” have you not often told me of your mother’s annual parties. Did she not give at least one every season ?”

” She never did any such thing” — replied Char lotte — ” till after / was old enough to come out. And she had as many invitations herself, before she began to give parties as she had afterwards. It makes no sort of difference. Ladies that dress well and look well, and therefore help to adorn the rooms are under no necessity of making a return (as you call it) even if they go to parties every night in the season. Then, if, besides being elegantly drest, they are belles and beauties (here she fixed her eyes on the glass) their presence gives an eclat which is a sufficient compen sation to their hostess.”

” But if they are not belles and beauties” — observ ed Woodbridge, a little mischievously.

” I don’t know what you are talking about !” — re plied the lady with a look of surprise.

” Well, well” — resumed the husband — ” argue as you will on this subject, you never can convince me that it is right first to lay ourselves under obligations, and then to hold back from returning them, when we have it amply in our power to do so.”

” I am glad to hear you are so rich a man. It was but last week you told me you could not afford to get me that case of emeralds I set my mind upon at Thibaut’s.”

” Neither I can. And excuse me for saying that I think you have already as many articles of jewel lery as the wife of a Market street merchant ought to possess.”

” Are the things you gave me on our wedding-day to last my life-time. Fashion changes in jewellery as well as in every thing else.”

” It cannot have changed much already, as but a few weeks have elapsed since that giorno feliee. How ever, let us say no more about jewels.”

” Oh ! yes — I know it is an irksome topic to hus bands and fathers and all that sort of thing. Pa’ was always disagreeable whenever Marquand’s bill was sent in.”

” To return to our former subject” — resumed Woodbridge — ” I positively cannot be satisfied, if after accepting in every instance the civilities of our friends, we Bhould meanly pass over our obligation of offering the usual return. I acknowledge that I do not like parties; but having in compliance with your wishes accompanied you to so many, we really must make the exertion of giving one ourselves.”

” If you disapprove of parties you ought not to have a party. I thought you were a man that always professed to act up to your principles.”

” I endeavour to do so. And one of my principles is to accept no favours without making a return as far as lies in my power. I disapprove of prodigality, but I hate meanness.”

” It is wicked to hate any thing. But married men get into such a violent way of talking. When pa’ did break out, he was awful. And then, instead of arguing the point, ma’ and I always quitted the room, and left him to himself. He soon cooled down when he found there was nobody to listen to him : and the next day he was glad enough to make his peace and give up.”

Woodbridge could endure no more, but hastily left the room himself : and Charlotte walked to the glass and arranged her curls, and altered the tie of her neck- ribbon ; and then sat down and worked at the ever lasting dog.

102 A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

Written for the Lady’s Book.

A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

sY MISS M . A. sROWNE, LIVERPOOL, ENG.

Every body knows that every English country vil- splendid black horse, Eblis, (that name sadly puzzled

lage has its great man — the Squire, the Vicar, or the the natives !) mixed medicines under the Doctor’s

Lord of the Manor, as the case may be. But most directions, and delivered the same at the houses of

villages have likewise a remarkable man, a person- the sick.

age not necessarily a member of any particular class His patients were the only society with which

of society. The remarkable man of Friarscroft was, Doctor Foster held any communication. He uni.

unquestionably, Dr. Foster. formly refused the squire’s invitations to dinner, the

Friarscroft is a small village situated at some dis- clergyman’s to supper, the old ladies’ to “tea and

tance from the metropolis. It lies in a quiet valley, turn out.” They persecuted him for a year or so, but

amidst well cultivated slopes, interspersed with patch- after that fhey let him alone. He never made any visas,

es of rich woodland, and really is a beautiful spot, save professional ones, and never undertook cases of

with its scattered white houses, its Elizabethan par- nerves or vapours, except to order a blister in the

sonage, and its tall graceful church-spire shooting up. one case, and a dose of rhubarb in the other, which

wards from a clump of dark yew trees. prescriptions were so effectual that a nervous or va-

About the middle of the irregular street stood the pourish subject was soon not to be found in his neigh-

Doctor’s house — an old fashioned edifice with pointed bourhood. But in cases of real suffering no one could

gables and white walls, thickly embowered in ivy, be kinder in manner, or more regular in attendance,

clematis, and honey-suckle. It stood near the road, than the Doctor, although it was always observed

just within a neat row of white palings, and its green that the poorer the patient, the more cheerfully were

door displayed a large brass plate, whereon the name the Doctor’s services given. He seemed to sofien

of Doctor Foster was engraved in very legible cha- towards the parish poor more than all, and his silence

racters. That door had a strange, unnatural appear- and sternness gave way as he listened to the detail

ance, amidst the rich tapestry of leaves and flowers. of their sufferings, and cheered them with the Ian-

The back part of the dwelling, however, had no guage of sympathy and consolation, such blemish. The transome windows looked out Of his skill nobody entertained a doubt, althongh

on a sloping garden, terraced after the fashion of for. some fanciful persons did once attempt to bring in a

mer days, and full of clipped yews and quaint flower rival in the person of Mr. Augustus Popjoy, a spruce

plots. It terminated in a smooth green declivity, Cockney. But after Mr. Popjoy had sojourned three

sloping to the border of a beautiful stream, which mortal months with Mrs. Bell, of the post-office,

here made a graceful bend, widening a little where without gaining further patronage than that of two

it swept from the covert of willows and alders which old maids and a pet lap-dog, he departed one morn-

nearly met over its current a little higher up. ing without beat of drum, leaving his landlady his

Here dwelt Doctor Foster — the only medical creditor for three months rent, hia two maiden cus-

practitioner in Friarscroft, or within some miles there- tomers minus a medical man and a beau, and poor

of. He was about the middle height, rather stout, Shock with a dose of medicine administered on the

and extremely muscular. His garments were always previous evening, which put a period to that amiable

of a by-gone fashion — that is to say, he wore knee quadruped’s existence in the course of the day. breeches, square-toed shoes, with large silver buckles, Doctor Foster’s house was no less singular than

an antiquated coat and waistcoat, and a huge black its master. It was filled from top to bottom with

wig. He was barely thirty when he first came to “curiosities,” as his housekeeper called them. There

Friarscroft, but even then he was similarly clad, and were birds of rare plumage crowding gla*s cases on

during his long residence there the difference of his every shelf. There were strange reptiles, preserved

age was only marked by the increasing rotundity of in spirits — cabinets of shells and -insects — instru-

his person, and the change his bushy eye-brows under- meats, of which the use could only be guessed — and,

went, from black to grizzled, from grizzled to white. above all, books in quantity so numerous, and in

His eyes were dark, quick, and intelligent, his fes- bulk so immense, that some of the ignorant did not tures well shaped, yet his countenance was by no fail to ascribe to Dr. Foster the character of a con- means prepossessing. There was something stern in jurer. But, besides these marvels, there was one his brow, heightened by an air of extreme reserve,” closet that excited the curiosity of every gossip in the and the close compression of lips, which seemed village — aye, and of some who were not gossips, too. shut as with a clasp. You were astonished when The Doctor repeatedly sate there late at night, and he spoke, almost startled ; and yet that deep, rich, though Mrs. Gage, the housekeeper, had listened sonorous voice was any thing but disagreeable. many a time on the stairs in the dead of night, and

On his first arrival in Friarscroft, his family con- applied her eye to the key-hole, she was as often sisted of an old woman, who acted as cook and baffled in her laudable pursuit of knowledge, by the housekeeper, a young gitl who assisted her, and a dead silence of the room, and the key-hole being boy, whose duties were compounded from those of stopped with the key, which was turned within, footman, groom, and journeyman, inasmuch as he She declared, however, that once she heard some- cleaned knives and shoes, looked after the Doctor’s body muttering low in the closet, and that another

A VILLAGE ROMANCE. 103

time her muter came suddenly out before she could slip away, and, as he locked the door behind him, cast on her a look which froze the very blood in her veins.

Darker and darker grew the surmises of the wor thy lieges of Friarscioft as to the contents of the closet. Could the Doctor be a body snatcher, and had he there concealed the mangled remains of a fellow creature? But, if so, from whence did the Doctor procure his ” subjects,” and how were they, conveyed unseen into his premises ? In a village watched by the Argus eyes of seven wakeful spin sters, and two ancient watchmen, it was next to im possible that such a thing could pass undetected. It was more likely that this mysterious closet was a receptacle for the skeletons and preparations, need ful in the Doctor’s profession — so said the more en lightened. It was most likely the Doctor was a wizard, and practised the black art in this secret chamber — so said the ignorant and superstitious. Each settled the question to his own fancy, and, the Doctor meanwhile went on in his daily course, as undisturbed as if there had never been any question about his concerns at all.

He had occupied his domicile in Friarseroft some §is or seven years when an incident occurred which •gain set his neighbours on the qui vine respecting his affairs. They had always been wondering about him since he came amongst them, but the circum stance to which I allude increased their curiosity to > degree that was almost unbearable.

It was a calm starry night in Autumn. All Fri- arscroft was wrapt in repose, and only one solitary light was seen gleaming from a window in the Doc tor’s house. Suddenly the sound of approaching wheels startled several of the inhabitants from their slumbers. It was too early for the arrival of the mail — too late for the return of any of the peaceful villagers from the county town. Nearer came the sound — the rattle of a carriage driven fast and furi ously.. Divers curious persons leaped from their beds, but before they could reach the windows of

their apartments the phenomenon had disappeared

It was only those who were fortunate enough to re side near the centre of the street, who had the satis faction of seeing the vehicle stop suddenly before Doctor Foster’s door, and of hearing his night-bell violently rung. The disturbance was occasioned by s chaise and four with lamps, and as soon as the steps were let down, on the opening of the Doctor’s door, a female figure bearing a large bundle ‘descend ed from the carriage and entered the house. Half an hour elapsed before the door re-opened — then the Doctor himself came forth, supporting the lady, whom he assisted into the carriage. He lingered an instant beside it — then bade the post boys drive on, ami the chaise was whirled rapidly out of sight. The Doctor stood gazing after it, quite unconscious what observing eyes were watching him from the opposite side of the street, and after musing, as it seemed, for some minutes, returned slowly to his house and closed the door.

A few additional circumstances transpired next day, through the medium of Mrs. Gage. She stated, that on hearing a noise in the house, on the previ ous night, she ventured to peep from her chamber, and saw her master conducting a lady into the mys terious closet. Not knowing what was going on, she thought it best to steal down stairs, and ” see if

she could hear what they were doing.” She heard the Doctor speaking very low and steadily, but she could not make out the words he said, except ” Lucy” and ” forgive.” And then she heard the lady sobbing as if her heart would break-, and entreating the Doctor to take care of somebody or other. On hearing them moving, as if they were coming out of the closet, she flew back to her room, and did not dare to look out again until she heard the carriage drive off. Her master went immediately to his room, but she heard him walking up and down all night as he always did when any thing vexed him. In the morning she was summoned to his dressing room, where he showed her a little girl of about two years old, who was sleeping on a sofa. He told her the child must be taken great care of, as it was the orphan of a very particular friend. Mrs. Gage ventured to inquire the infant’s name, and was told, somewhat sharply, she was to be called Miss Emily. Further the deponent knew not, and some might have imagined the whole story to be a figment of Mre. Gage’s active imagina tion, had she not held in her arms the lovely little child who was the heroine of her tale.

Of course Miss Emily was an object of no small interest. Various were the conjectures as to her pa rentage — strict was the scrutiny which her dress and features underwent. But there was nothing in the clear blue eyes — the fair childish face, and the sim ple white frock, which gave the desired information. ” Pity she was not a little older,” said every body, for she might then have remembered something which could have furnished a clue to the mystery ; but, unfortunately, the only words she could speak intelligibly were ” Mamma,” and ” Dash,” or, as she she pronounced it, ” Dass,” which latter name being applied by her to every spaniel she saw, it was con jectured she had left a favourite dog in her former home. As any attempts to penetrate this second mystery of the Doctor’s were found to be useless, they were soon given up, and the curiosity the child’s arrival had at first excited, was replaced by the kinder feelings of affectionate interest awakened by herself. She throve wonderfully under Mrs. Gage’s care, and made herself friends wherever she appeared, not more by the extreme beauty of her person, than by her affectionate disposition, and winning ways. A hap pier little child never existed. She seemed to have that rare gift — a perpetual fountain of joy within herself. She had that sweet and sunny nature which, ever bright itself, sheds gladness on all around it. She was happy at home or abroad ; happy in the Doc tor’s quiet garden, where she trotted about, singing her childish hymns — happy in her walks, her visits, her plays, with or without companions, and, perhaps, happiest of all in the society of a large rough-haired dog, procured by her guardian from some distance, and joyfully recognised as ” Dash” from the moment of his arrival.

For some time Doctor Foster displayed but few tokens of especial regard for the child so mysterious ly consigned to his charge, beyond exceeding care of her health, and an anxiety to heap upon her every species of childish finery that he could devise. But the aspect of affairs changed when Emily was trans formed from an infant into a lovely little girl of seven. The Doctor seemed suddenly smitten with the conviction that she would not always remain a child, and that it was incumbent on him to educate her — so her education commenced accordingly. She

104 A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

was no longer left to the care of Mrs. Gage, she was no longer permitted to spend hours in the fields, with Dash for her sole protector and companion. — She was now the alternate plaything and pupil of the Doctor, and her education his constant hobby. Read ing she had already learnt, she scarcely knew how, and Doctor Foster was surprised and delighted to discorer what rich veins of thought, and feeling, and imagination, were already opening in her mind. The fairy tales she had read were scarcely more fanciful than the fairy scenes she imagined, and now that the Doctor condescended to take an interest in her pur suits, her mind expanded rapidly, and her little heart warmed and gladdened under that genial sympathy. A music master was procured at considerable ex pense from the country town, and, with this excep tion, her guardian generally superintended her stu dies himself. He was an excellent linguist — a man of deep and varied information, and now the stores which had for years lain buried in his solitary mind, were brought to light for the benefit of his lovely and beloved ward. ” She is not like her mother, thank Heaven !” was his muttered expression, while gazing on her animated face and listening to her gay voice — ” She is not like her mother, as I feared, at first, she would have been !”

I have called my story a Romance, and, therefore, I ought to keep my mystery till near the end of its narration ; but I deem it better to quit the beaten ground of tale tellers in general, and hasten to an explanation of so much as may render the Doctor’s mutterings intelligible.

The mother of Emily was a most beautiful and accomplished woman — one who had in her youth been the object of much admiration, and of one affection as sincere as ever glowed in a human breast. She had been early betrothed to him who loved her so truly, but had deserted him when a suitor richer, more fashionable, and of higher rank, sued for her hand. That forsaken lover was Doctor Foster. It was to this circumstance that Friarscroft was in debted for its remarkable man. As soon as the first agony of his disappointment had subsided, he deter mined to leave his native place at once and for ever. He had no near relations living, except a sister, who was happily married to a worthy country Baronet. Independent of his profession he had a considerable property, and with this he retired to Friarscroft, a nook where he might spend the remainder of his life — ” the world forgetting, by the world forgot.”

The fair cause of his self-banishment fluttered on, for some time, the giddy denizen of a circle as heart less as herself. During her years of prosperity she became the mother of two sons, who both died in their infancy. But a darker day — an hour of retri bution — was at hand. The extravagance of herself and her husband, had already reduced their fortune to a trifle. Discontent, uneasiness, and discord, stole gradually into their home. The temper of Mrs. Les lie was not proof against her various vexations, and her health proved as fragile. Her husband grew weary of her and sought a refuge from his comfort less home, and pining wife, amidst all kinds of dissi pation. In the midst of all this gloom, the little Emily made her appearance, and, strange to say, awakened in the sore and crushed heart of her mo ther an affection with which she had never welcomed the infants born in her happier days. Mr. Leslie died soon after the birth of this child, and his widow strug

gled awhile to keep up some appearance of her former grandeur, amongst the fast fading splendours of her mansion. But her health was declining — her re sources nearly exhausted — and she was deeply in debt. Her proud spirit spurned the idea of returning to her own relations ; and her husband’s connections, who had always been averse to his marriage with her, quietly dropped her acquaintance. In this emer gency she resolved to entreat the aid of her slighted lover. It was a strange contradiction in that proud nature ! She, who scorned to apply to her own rela. tives in her distress, felt almost a pleasure in the thought of being obliged to him she had injured. — Perhaps she felt that there was something like expia- thin in the humiliation — or, perhaps, she felt that her most solid ground of reliance was in the sterling truth and kindness of his nature. Her plan was soon laid. She gathered together the little remnants of her property and her really valuable jewels, resolving to fly to the Continent. She left town suddenly, ac. companied only by her little girl. With that child she felt she was about to part for ever. She had deter mined to take her to Dr. Foster’s house, and entreat him to shelter and cherish her. She felt her days were numbered, and the thought of dying abroad and leaving her unprotected babe amongst strangers, was insupportable. We have seen the event. She did reach the Doctor’s residence, and at a much later hour than she had intended, in consequence of an accident on the road. The Doctor was shocked, astonished, grieved, and, at first refused to accept the guardianship of the infant. But there was one argu ment which he felt to be irresistible. ” I am dying,” said the mother, and she drew back the veil from her faded face ; “lam dying, and how can I leave ray only child, a stranger in a strange land ? Yet so must she be left — a wretched, unprotected orphan, if you refuse to receive her.”

Her haggard cheek with its hectic flush, the fear ful brightness of her hollow eye, the altered tone of her voice were indeed sadly corroborative of her as sertion that her death was near at hand. The Doc tor’s heart melted within him.

” Lucy Leslie,” he said, as he took her wasted hand in his — “you have sinned, but you have suffered — from my heart I freely forgive you the falsehood which has cast a shadow over my whole existence. Fear not for your child — she shall be well cared for. But remember, if at any future day you should be anxious to reclaim her, you will not be permitted to do so. She must be mine — wholly and entirely mine ; and no change of circumstance must ever induce you to attempt even to see her. This you must promise — solemnly promise— or I cannot grant your request.”

” I promise,” said Mrs. Leslie, her voice hall choked by sobs — ” It will not be long ere I shall be beyond the temptation of breaking my vow.”

Her foreboding was fulfilled — she died at Florence, about six months after Dr. Foster accepted the guardianship of her daughter. How religiously he kept his promise of protection we have already seen.

I must now entreat my readers to imagine an in terval of ten year*, during which Emily Leslie has been gradually changing from a sweet child into a lovely girl, from a lovely girl to a graceful, budding woman. She is ” little Miss Emily” no longer, but a fair, tall, intelligent maiden of seventeen.

It was a bright summer evening, and Emily Leslie

i

102 A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

Written for the Lady’s Book.

A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

sY MISS M . A. sROWNE, LIVERPOOL, ENG.

Every body knows that every English country vil- splendid black horse, Eblis, (that name sadly puzzled

lage has its great man — the Squire, the Vicar, or the the natives !) mixed medicines under the Doctor’s

Lord of the Manor, as the case may be. But most directions, and delivered the same at the houses of

villages have likewise a remarkable man, a person- the sick.

age not necessarily a member of any particular class His patients were the only society with which

of society. The remarkable man of Friarscroft was, Doctor Foster held any communication. He uni.

unquestionably, Dr. Foster. formly refused the squire’s invitations to dinner, the

Friarscroft is a small village situated at some dis- clergyman’s to supper, the old ladies’ to “tea and

tance from the metropolis. It lies in a quiet valley, turn out.” They persecuted him for a year or so, but

amidst well cultivated slopes, interspersed with patch- after that fhey let him alone. He never made any visas,

es of rich woodland, and really is a beautiful spot, save professional ones, and never undertook cases of

with its scattered white houses, its Elizabethan par- nerves or vapours, except to order a blister in the

sonage, and its tall graceful church-spire shooting up. one case, and a dose of rhubarb in the other, which

wards from a clump of dark yew trees. prescriptions were so effectual that a nervous or va-

About the middle of the irregular street stood the pourish subject was soon not to be found in his neigh-

Doctor’s house — an old fashioned edifice with pointed bourhood. But in cases of real suffering no one could

gables and white walls, thickly embowered in ivy, be kinder in manner, or more regular in attendance,

clematis, and honey-suckle. It stood near the road, than the Doctor, although it was always observed

just within a neat row of white palings, and its green that the poorer the patient, the more cheerfully were

door displayed a large brass plate, whereon the name the Doctor’s services given. He seemed to sofien

of Doctor Foster was engraved in very legible cha- towards the parish poor more than all, and his silence

racters. That door had a strange, unnatural appear- and sternness gave way as he listened to the detail

ance, amidst the rich tapestry of leaves and flowers. of their sufferings, and cheered them with the Ian-

The back part of the dwelling, however, had no guage of sympathy and consolation, such blemish. The transome windows looked out Of his skill nobody entertained a doubt, althongh

on a sloping garden, terraced after the fashion of for. some fanciful persons did once attempt to bring in a

mer days, and full of clipped yews and quaint flower rival in the person of Mr. Augustus Popjoy, a spruce

plots. It terminated in a smooth green declivity, Cockney. But after Mr. Popjoy had sojourned three

sloping to the border of a beautiful stream, which mortal months with Mrs. Bell, of the post-office,

here made a graceful bend, widening a little where without gaining further patronage than that of two

it swept from the covert of willows and alders which old maids and a pet lap-dog, he departed one morn-

nearly met over its current a little higher up. ing without beat of drum, leaving his landlady his

Here dwelt Doctor Foster — the only medical creditor for three months rent, hia two maiden cus-

practitioner in Friarscroft, or within some miles there- tomers minus a medical man and a beau, and poor

of. He was about the middle height, rather stout, Shock with a dose of medicine administered on the

and extremely muscular. His garments were always previous evening, which put a period to that amiable

of a by-gone fashion — that is to say, he wore knee quadruped’s existence in the course of the day. breeches, square-toed shoes, with large silver buckles, Doctor Foster’s house was no less singular than

an antiquated coat and waistcoat, and a huge black its master. It was filled from top to bottom with

wig. He was barely thirty when he first came to “curiosities,” as his housekeeper called them. There

Friarscroft, but even then he was similarly clad, and were birds of rare plumage crowding gla*s cases on

during his long residence there the difference of his every shelf. There were strange reptiles, preserved

age was only marked by the increasing rotundity of in spirits — cabinets of shells and -insects — instru-

his person, and the change his bushy eye-brows under- meats, of which the use could only be guessed — and,

went, from black to grizzled, from grizzled to white. above all, books in quantity so numerous, and in

His eyes were dark, quick, and intelligent, his fes- bulk so immense, that some of the ignorant did not tures well shaped, yet his countenance was by no fail to ascribe to Dr. Foster the character of a con- means prepossessing. There was something stern in jurer. But, besides these marvels, there was one his brow, heightened by an air of extreme reserve,” closet that excited the curiosity of every gossip in the and the close compression of lips, which seemed village — aye, and of some who were not gossips, too. shut as with a clasp. You were astonished when The Doctor repeatedly sate there late at night, and he spoke, almost startled ; and yet that deep, rich, though Mrs. Gage, the housekeeper, had listened sonorous voice was any thing but disagreeable. many a time on the stairs in the dead of night, and

On his first arrival in Friarscroft, his family con- applied her eye to the key-hole, she was as often sisted of an old woman, who acted as cook and baffled in her laudable pursuit of knowledge, by the housekeeper, a young gitl who assisted her, and a dead silence of the room, and the key-hole being boy, whose duties were compounded from those of stopped with the key, which was turned within, footman, groom, and journeyman, inasmuch as he She declared, however, that once she heard some- cleaned knives and shoes, looked after the Doctor’s body muttering low in the closet, and that another

A VILLAGE ROMANCE. 103

time her muter came suddenly out before she could slip away, and, as he locked the door behind him, cast on her a look which froze the very blood in her veins.

Darker and darker grew the surmises of the wor thy lieges of Friarscioft as to the contents of the closet. Could the Doctor be a body snatcher, and had he there concealed the mangled remains of a fellow creature? But, if so, from whence did the Doctor procure his ” subjects,” and how were they, conveyed unseen into his premises ? In a village watched by the Argus eyes of seven wakeful spin sters, and two ancient watchmen, it was next to im possible that such a thing could pass undetected. It was more likely that this mysterious closet was a receptacle for the skeletons and preparations, need ful in the Doctor’s profession — so said the more en lightened. It was most likely the Doctor was a wizard, and practised the black art in this secret chamber — so said the ignorant and superstitious. Each settled the question to his own fancy, and, the Doctor meanwhile went on in his daily course, as undisturbed as if there had never been any question about his concerns at all.

He had occupied his domicile in Friarseroft some §is or seven years when an incident occurred which •gain set his neighbours on the qui vine respecting his affairs. They had always been wondering about him since he came amongst them, but the circum stance to which I allude increased their curiosity to > degree that was almost unbearable.

It was a calm starry night in Autumn. All Fri- arscroft was wrapt in repose, and only one solitary light was seen gleaming from a window in the Doc tor’s house. Suddenly the sound of approaching wheels startled several of the inhabitants from their slumbers. It was too early for the arrival of the mail — too late for the return of any of the peaceful villagers from the county town. Nearer came the sound — the rattle of a carriage driven fast and furi ously.. Divers curious persons leaped from their beds, but before they could reach the windows of

their apartments the phenomenon had disappeared

It was only those who were fortunate enough to re side near the centre of the street, who had the satis faction of seeing the vehicle stop suddenly before Doctor Foster’s door, and of hearing his night-bell violently rung. The disturbance was occasioned by s chaise and four with lamps, and as soon as the steps were let down, on the opening of the Doctor’s door, a female figure bearing a large bundle ‘descend ed from the carriage and entered the house. Half an hour elapsed before the door re-opened — then the Doctor himself came forth, supporting the lady, whom he assisted into the carriage. He lingered an instant beside it — then bade the post boys drive on, ami the chaise was whirled rapidly out of sight. The Doctor stood gazing after it, quite unconscious what observing eyes were watching him from the opposite side of the street, and after musing, as it seemed, for some minutes, returned slowly to his house and closed the door.

A few additional circumstances transpired next day, through the medium of Mrs. Gage. She stated, that on hearing a noise in the house, on the previ ous night, she ventured to peep from her chamber, and saw her master conducting a lady into the mys terious closet. Not knowing what was going on, she thought it best to steal down stairs, and ” see if

she could hear what they were doing.” She heard the Doctor speaking very low and steadily, but she could not make out the words he said, except ” Lucy” and ” forgive.” And then she heard the lady sobbing as if her heart would break-, and entreating the Doctor to take care of somebody or other. On hearing them moving, as if they were coming out of the closet, she flew back to her room, and did not dare to look out again until she heard the carriage drive off. Her master went immediately to his room, but she heard him walking up and down all night as he always did when any thing vexed him. In the morning she was summoned to his dressing room, where he showed her a little girl of about two years old, who was sleeping on a sofa. He told her the child must be taken great care of, as it was the orphan of a very particular friend. Mrs. Gage ventured to inquire the infant’s name, and was told, somewhat sharply, she was to be called Miss Emily. Further the deponent knew not, and some might have imagined the whole story to be a figment of Mre. Gage’s active imagina tion, had she not held in her arms the lovely little child who was the heroine of her tale.

Of course Miss Emily was an object of no small interest. Various were the conjectures as to her pa rentage — strict was the scrutiny which her dress and features underwent. But there was nothing in the clear blue eyes — the fair childish face, and the sim ple white frock, which gave the desired information. ” Pity she was not a little older,” said every body, for she might then have remembered something which could have furnished a clue to the mystery ; but, unfortunately, the only words she could speak intelligibly were ” Mamma,” and ” Dash,” or, as she she pronounced it, ” Dass,” which latter name being applied by her to every spaniel she saw, it was con jectured she had left a favourite dog in her former home. As any attempts to penetrate this second mystery of the Doctor’s were found to be useless, they were soon given up, and the curiosity the child’s arrival had at first excited, was replaced by the kinder feelings of affectionate interest awakened by herself. She throve wonderfully under Mrs. Gage’s care, and made herself friends wherever she appeared, not more by the extreme beauty of her person, than by her affectionate disposition, and winning ways. A hap pier little child never existed. She seemed to have that rare gift — a perpetual fountain of joy within herself. She had that sweet and sunny nature which, ever bright itself, sheds gladness on all around it. She was happy at home or abroad ; happy in the Doc tor’s quiet garden, where she trotted about, singing her childish hymns — happy in her walks, her visits, her plays, with or without companions, and, perhaps, happiest of all in the society of a large rough-haired dog, procured by her guardian from some distance, and joyfully recognised as ” Dash” from the moment of his arrival.

For some time Doctor Foster displayed but few tokens of especial regard for the child so mysterious ly consigned to his charge, beyond exceeding care of her health, and an anxiety to heap upon her every species of childish finery that he could devise. But the aspect of affairs changed when Emily was trans formed from an infant into a lovely little girl of seven. The Doctor seemed suddenly smitten with the conviction that she would not always remain a child, and that it was incumbent on him to educate her — so her education commenced accordingly. She

104 A VILLAGE ROMANCE.

was no longer left to the care of Mrs. Gage, she was no longer permitted to spend hours in the fields, with Dash for her sole protector and companion. — She was now the alternate plaything and pupil of the Doctor, and her education his constant hobby. Read ing she had already learnt, she scarcely knew how, and Doctor Foster was surprised and delighted to discorer what rich veins of thought, and feeling, and imagination, were already opening in her mind. The fairy tales she had read were scarcely more fanciful than the fairy scenes she imagined, and now that the Doctor condescended to take an interest in her pur suits, her mind expanded rapidly, and her little heart warmed and gladdened under that genial sympathy. A music master was procured at considerable ex pense from the country town, and, with this excep tion, her guardian generally superintended her stu dies himself. He was an excellent linguist — a man of deep and varied information, and now the stores which had for years lain buried in his solitary mind, were brought to light for the benefit of his lovely and beloved ward. ” She is not like her mother, thank Heaven !” was his muttered expression, while gazing on her animated face and listening to her gay voice — ” She is not like her mother, as I feared, at first, she would have been !”

I have called my story a Romance, and, therefore, I ought to keep my mystery till near the end of its narration ; but I deem it better to quit the beaten ground of tale tellers in general, and hasten to an explanation of so much as may render the Doctor’s mutterings intelligible.

The mother of Emily was a most beautiful and accomplished woman — one who had in her youth been the object of much admiration, and of one affection as sincere as ever glowed in a human breast. She had been early betrothed to him who loved her so truly, but had deserted him when a suitor richer, more fashionable, and of higher rank, sued for her hand. That forsaken lover was Doctor Foster. It was to this circumstance that Friarscroft was in debted for its remarkable man. As soon as the first agony of his disappointment had subsided, he deter mined to leave his native place at once and for ever. He had no near relations living, except a sister, who was happily married to a worthy country Baronet. Independent of his profession he had a considerable property, and with this he retired to Friarscroft, a nook where he might spend the remainder of his life — ” the world forgetting, by the world forgot.”

The fair cause of his self-banishment fluttered on, for some time, the giddy denizen of a circle as heart less as herself. During her years of prosperity she became the mother of two sons, who both died in their infancy. But a darker day — an hour of retri bution — was at hand. The extravagance of herself and her husband, had already reduced their fortune to a trifle. Discontent, uneasiness, and discord, stole gradually into their home. The temper of Mrs. Les lie was not proof against her various vexations, and her health proved as fragile. Her husband grew weary of her and sought a refuge from his comfort less home, and pining wife, amidst all kinds of dissi pation. In the midst of all this gloom, the little Emily made her appearance, and, strange to say, awakened in the sore and crushed heart of her mo ther an affection with which she had never welcomed the infants born in her happier days. Mr. Leslie died soon after the birth of this child, and his widow strug

gled awhile to keep up some appearance of her former grandeur, amongst the fast fading splendours of her mansion. But her health was declining — her re sources nearly exhausted — and she was deeply in debt. Her proud spirit spurned the idea of returning to her own relations ; and her husband’s connections, who had always been averse to his marriage with her, quietly dropped her acquaintance. In this emer gency she resolved to entreat the aid of her slighted lover. It was a strange contradiction in that proud nature ! She, who scorned to apply to her own rela. tives in her distress, felt almost a pleasure in the thought of being obliged to him she had injured. — Perhaps she felt that there was something like expia- thin in the humiliation — or, perhaps, she felt that her most solid ground of reliance was in the sterling truth and kindness of his nature. Her plan was soon laid. She gathered together the little remnants of her property and her really valuable jewels, resolving to fly to the Continent. She left town suddenly, ac. companied only by her little girl. With that child she felt she was about to part for ever. She had deter mined to take her to Dr. Foster’s house, and entreat him to shelter and cherish her. She felt her days were numbered, and the thought of dying abroad and leaving her unprotected babe amongst strangers, was insupportable. We have seen the event. She did reach the Doctor’s residence, and at a much later hour than she had intended, in consequence of an accident on the road. The Doctor was shocked, astonished, grieved, and, at first refused to accept the guardianship of the infant. But there was one argu ment which he felt to be irresistible. ” I am dying,” said the mother, and she drew back the veil from her faded face ; “lam dying, and how can I leave ray only child, a stranger in a strange land ? Yet so must she be left — a wretched, unprotected orphan, if you refuse to receive her.”

Her haggard cheek with its hectic flush, the fear ful brightness of her hollow eye, the altered tone of her voice were indeed sadly corroborative of her as sertion that her death was near at hand. The Doc tor’s heart melted within him.

” Lucy Leslie,” he said, as he took her wasted hand in his — “you have sinned, but you have suffered — from my heart I freely forgive you the falsehood which has cast a shadow over my whole existence. Fear not for your child — she shall be well cared for. But remember, if at any future day you should be anxious to reclaim her, you will not be permitted to do so. She must be mine — wholly and entirely mine ; and no change of circumstance must ever induce you to attempt even to see her. This you must promise — solemnly promise— or I cannot grant your request.”

” I promise,” said Mrs. Leslie, her voice hall choked by sobs — ” It will not be long ere I shall be beyond the temptation of breaking my vow.”

Her foreboding was fulfilled — she died at Florence, about six months after Dr. Foster accepted the guardianship of her daughter. How religiously he kept his promise of protection we have already seen.

I must now entreat my readers to imagine an in terval of ten year*, during which Emily Leslie has been gradually changing from a sweet child into a lovely girl, from a lovely girl to a graceful, budding woman. She is ” little Miss Emily” no longer, but a fair, tall, intelligent maiden of seventeen.

It was a bright summer evening, and Emily Leslie

i

A VILLAGE ROMANCE. 105

Se pleasant solitude of Doctor Foster’s garden, iole scene had something fanciful and pictu- in its features and its grouping. Here was se, half cottage, half mansion, with its small s, glittering and flashing in the last sunshine nongst the embowering leaves. There were

old trees, their spires already darkly drawn the cloudless sky, and their bolls yet bright tolden glow. There were flowers of every I of the rarest kinds. There were birds of lumage and lovely song filling a small aviary side the lawn, and, fairer than all, there was *slie herself, seated on the sloping turf, one md supporting her temples and partially over, d by the rich ringlets of her chestnut hair, r resting on the collar of a small white reyhound who was standing by her side, and no her face, with his large, loving, dark eyes, ler dogs were near her — the one a large uated spaniel— deaf, blind, cross, (but still he was the Dash who had been her playmate sod 😉 the other a aplendid black Newfound, here was a slight shadow on her brow — a

r rich blue eye — and yet she had no definite

sorrow. True, her life was a most secluded

Doctor Foster, year by year, had been thdrawing her from the little world of Friars, tl she was never seen by her neighbours, nurch, or in some country excursion, where I ian invariably accompanied her. But then ;o kind, so solicitous for her happiness at He had gathered round her all the refine, id luxuries of life — music, flowers, graceful very description— dress and ornaments, the :id rarest, and such books as he had read md approved as fit for her perusal. But v one class of works which he carefully ex. m her library — novels or love tales in verse vere never permitted to meet her eye. No’ rhich the happiness of love is depicted, no ulated to awaken a thirst in her heart for

waters of affection was ever placed within He seemed to dread that she should even ve ; and was nervously miserable whenever seed any curiosity about the contemplated

in the village, which she could not but lira ugh the medium of Mrs. Gage. Yet I implanted feelings in Emily’s heart which

in the power of education to crush, and, visions were pure as an angel’s thoughts, one and all of affection, deep, tried, immor- jf some bright? being, still unknown, whose nee should yet be blended with hers. Still Nay— on that summer evening there • inhered face smiling through her dreams, ed on her very soul, a memory that drew tears front their fountain. She had looked being, and, though she owned it not, even she loved. It was in the village church- she had beheld the face that so haunted ibrance. She was leaning on the Doc. and he had paused for a few minutes to lme recovered patient — the only person on vould have bestowed more than a passing nily was looking around her at the little h the childish interest of one who seldom nge nice, when suddenly her eyes encoun-

of a young and handsome man who was her in evident admiration. It was but an

instant ere she withdrew her eyes, and felt the burn ing blood rushing over her brow and cheek, but even that instant had sufficed to impress the stranger’s image on her heart Ever since had it been present with her — those thick dark lucks, those noble fea tures, those deep, gentle, expressive eyes! Since that eventful Sabbath, she had been much alone, for the Doctor was much occupied in consequence of the breaking out of an epidemic in the village, and oh, that dangerous loneliness ! How did the heart of that young innocent maiden, thus left to its own thoughts, ponder over the beautiful image so lately brought before her, until it became a portion of her very ex istence.

On the evening in question Doctor Foster had left home to pay a professional visit at some distance, and his return was not expected until a later hour than usual, so Emily had wandered to her favourite spot, and was wiling away the time in that tender, romantic dreaming, which may be very unprofitable, but is very beautiful notwithstanding !

And there she sat, until the sun had long set, her little captive birds had twittered themselves to sleep, and the dew was beginning to rise in the opposite meadows. Suddenly the dogs pricked their ears, and the Newfoundland essayed a low dissatisfied growl. Emily started — raised her head, and lo ! the being of her dreams stood before her.

Who was he? — whence had he come? These were questions she did not ask. — She trembled, she was speechless. The rich colour fled for a moment from her cheek, and then rushed back tumultuously to her very temples. She hid her face in her delicate hands, and murmured, ” Oh, why — why are you here!”

” Then you have not forgotten me, fair, beoutiful being !” said the stranger, and the sound of his voice was so melodious that it sank at once into her in most heart ! ” You will not upbraid me,” he conti nued, ” for you know, even as I feel, that we have only met to mingle our hearts for ever !” He took her hands in his, she did not withdraw them. — Do not blame her — she was ignorant — unworldly — a child ! She sank into the stranger’s arms and wept ! *********

” Oh, leave me, leave me, Ernest !” was Emily’s hurried exclamation, as she heard the tramp of her guardian’s steed echoing through the village street.

“Farewell then, dearest, brightest, best!” said the youth, in that taking-for-granted phraseology, which lovers are so apt to use, even though they are but slightly acquainted with the good qualities of their idols. He pressed her to his heart and was gone.

From that hour the whole current of Emily’s feel ings were changed. A breeze had blown over the calm stream of her life, and though its waters were still clear, nay, even brighter than before, they were no longer calm. A star had shone through the twilight quiet of her existence, and her soul turned instinctively towards it as to her solace and guide. How the lovers contrived to meet unseen I know not, but somehow or other they did manage an interview, almost every day, and what was still more extraor dinary, three weeks went by and nobody found it out. Yet Emily Leslie was by no means perfectly happy. She felt as if she were ungrateful and unkind, she was ashamed of the deception which she felt she was prac tising, and the whispered converse at her chamber window, and the delicious stolen meeting, sweet as

106 THE VILLAGE ROMANCE.

they were, left a sense of restlessness and uneasy self-upbraiding on her mind.

And now that my story is coming to a crisis, now that my Emily is thoroughly established in a maze of love and perplexity, it is time that I should show how veritable a heroine I have been fortunate enough to meet with, and how, like that other Emily in Mrs. Radeliffe’s matchless romance, the ” Mysteries of Udolpho,” she was instrumental in unveiling the secrets of a mysterious chamber — even of that closet in the Doctor’s abode, which had so well and worthily employed the tongues and imaginations of the inha bitants of Friarscroft. The master of the mansion was absent. Emily had lingered in her apartment till a later hour than usual, owing to some trifling indisposition, and in passing down stairs perceived that the door of this chamber was a little open. The key had evidently been turned and withdrawn in a hurry so as to prevent the lock catching, and to this accident Emily was indebted for the opportunity of solving a mystery, which had been always as care fully hidden from her as from the rest of the world. She hesitated for a moment; but curiosity is strong, and never since the days of Blue Beard was there a woman who could resist a mysterious closet ! So Emily pushed open the door and saw — no skeleton, no half dissected corse, no sight of horror, but a small neatly furnished chamber, almost surrounded by shelves, well stored with books. There was one object, however, which at once caught and rivetted her attention — the portrait of a lovely woman, which hung opposite the door.

Where had she seen that face ? She had no dis tinct idea of who it resembled, yet it seemed as fami liar to her as her own. Nay, she almost fancied that the small rose mouth, the delicately arched brows, the open smooth forehead, bore some likeness to the features of that fair face which greeted her every morning in her mirror. But the dark eyes, so deep, so piercing in their concentrated light, and the raven hair wound smoothly round the small graceful head — where had she seen these ?

Surely in her dreams, in the visions of her child hood ! That face had bent over her infant couch — had stooped to kiss her there — years, years ago ! — The tide of sudden remembrance flowed over her heart, and sinking on her knees before the portrait, she murmured “mother.”

A hand was laid heavily on her shoulder ; she screamed, started, and sank at the feet of Doctor Foster. It was some minutes ere she recovered from her terror, and then her first thought was that by her intrusion she had for ever offended the kind hearted but eccentric being, in whose arms she now lay sob bing like a child. But she had no cause for fear. He put back the ringlets from her brow, and impressed a paternal kiss on her fair forehead, and soothed her with words, so kind and gentle, that her confidence was quickly restored. And then the twain sat down and conversed, long, long. It seemed as if the hoarded feelings of a life, the history of his early love, the tale of his motives and hopes for years, were poured out at once, in one burning torrent of elo quence, from the lips of Doctor Foster. He told Emily how she had been given to his care — how he had striven not to love her — how, in spite of himself, she had won the first place in his heart, and grown unto him even as a daughter — how he had been seized with a jealous foreboding, that if she were

permitted to mingle in society some one would step between him and his one treasure, and that he should be left a lonely old man, with a desolate spirit and > silent hearth. But here Emily could bear no more in silence — could no longer conceal the secret that was burning in her heart, and amidst her tears, and sobs, and prayers for forgiveness, Doctor Foster be came the confidant of the story of her love.

That the worthy man was a little angry, and a good deal hurt, my readers will easily believe. Per- haps they will think he had a right to be so in a much more terrible degree. But he timely recollected that it was by his means Emily had been kept in almost total ignorance of the world and its ways, and that the loneliness of her life, acting on a susceptible heart and vivid imagination, had only produced a natural result. Very soon, his greatest anxiely was, that he who had gained Emily’s affections, might prove worthy to retain them. It was dreadful to imagine that his cherished Emily might possibly be the dupe of some designing adventurer, and that her pure love and faith should be wasted on one unde serving of the blessing.

That very evening Emily Leslie walked with her lover in the shrubbery, led him to her aviary, to in troduce him, (as she said,) to a new inhabitant, and presented him to no less a curiosity than Doctor Foster; who she had arranged should meet them there. To her extreme surprise, the youth was won derfully self possessed. He bowed to the Doctor with great politeness, and even offered hitn his hand, which under the circumstances, it is not remarkable the Doctor did not take. There were a few moments of awkward hesitation, when the young man suddenly spoke, a glow of animation lighting up his handsome face — ” It is time to put an end to this silly mystery, which seems to be making us all so very uncomfort able, and therefore, my dear, kind, odd uncle Foster, let me introduce myself to you, as your dutiful thongh somewhat romantic nephew, Ernest Eingwood, of Ringwood Coppice, and son of that worthy lady, Dame Margaret Ringwood, whose maiden name was Foster. As to Emily,” continued the speaker, taking her hand fondly, ” I had long heard of the lonely beauty, whom my uncle, after the manner of some tyrant magician of old, held in the thraldom of his enchanted castle, and as report said the fair captive was designed for his bride, I resolved, at all hazards, to obtain a sight of such a prize, and if she were such ns I pictured her to myself, to start a rival candidate for her hand. How fair, how gentle, how infinitely lovelier than my loveliest imagining I have found her to be, I need not tell you, but I trust my uncle will forgive his scapegrace nephew, and seal my pardon with the gift of this little hand, to me the richest boon on earth.”

My romance is ended, as a good romance should end, with the perfect contentment of all the parties therein concerned. Doctor Foster abandoned his design of training Emily for a state of single blessed ness, and gave her away at the altar of Friarscroft church, about three months after the date of the above explanation. He continued to practise the healing art a little longer in his secluded village, when, feeling more lonely than he had anticipated, h» yielded to the solicitations of the youthful pair, and took up his abode at Ringwood Coppice, a near

HE DOVE’S ERRAND. 107

mrof Sir Ernest and his lady. The house sips, and prescribes much after the manner of common

lentre of the village is still occupied by a me- mortals. He may be a skilful practitioner, and a

an, but he has a plump good-humoured wife, worthy man, but he cannot fully supply in Friarscroft

en sturdy children ; moreover, he visits, gos- the place of its remarkable man — its Doctor Foster !

Written for the Lady’s Book.

THE DOVE’S ERRAND.

sY PARK sENJAMIN.

Unnea cover of the night, Feathered darting, take your flight! i/n$t tome cruel archer fling Arrow at your tender wing, And your white, unspotted tide Be with crimaoo colour dyed: — For with men who know not love You and I are living, Dove.

Now I bind a perfumed letter Round your neck with silken fetter; Bear it aafely, bear it well. Over mountain, lake, and dell. While the darkness is profound Vuu may fly along the ground, Itut when Morning’s herald ainga, Mount ye on sublimer wings! High in Heaven pursne your way Tilt the fading light of day, From the palace of the west, Tints with fleck’ring gold your breast. Shielded from the gaze of men Yos may stoop to Earth again.

‘fay then, fe a Acred darling, stay, ‘aauss, and look along your way. Veil I know how fast you fly, Ind the keenness of your eye, .y the time the second eve Wnes, your journey you’ll achieve, uul above a gentle vale Vil\ on easy pinion rail. -i that vale with dwellings strown .ne is standing all alone, fhite it rises ‘mid the leaves, Woodbines clamber o’er its eaves, nd the honeysuckle falls, cndant, on its silent walla. Pip a cottage, smell and fair, s a cloud in summer air,

v a lattice, wreathed with flowers, ich as Jink the dancing hours, tting in the twilight shade, nvied dove, behold a maid ! ocki escaped from sunny bond, leeks reclined on snowy hand.

Looking sadly to the sky. She will meet your searching eye. Fear not, doubt not, timid Dove, Yon have found the home of love ! – She will fold you to her breast — Seraphs have not purer rest ; She your weary plumes will kiss — Seraphs have not sweeter bliss. Tremble not, my dove, nor start, Should you feel her throbbing heart; Joy has made her bright eye dim — Well she knows you came from kim. Him she loves. Oh, luckless star! He from her must dwell afar.

From your neck her fingers fine Will the silken string untwine; Reading then the words I trace, Blushes will suffuse her face; To her lips the lines she’ll press. And again my dove caress. Mine, yes mine — oh, would that I Could on rapid pinions fly — Then I should not send you, dove, On an errand to my love : For I’d brave the sharpest gale And along the tempest sail ; Caring not for danger near, Hurrj ing heedless, void of fear To hear but one tender word, Breathed for me, my happy bird!

At the early dawn of day, She will send you on your way. Twining with another fetter Round your neck another letter. Speed ye, then, oh, swiftly speed, Like a prisoner newly freed; O’er the mountain, o’er the vale Homeward, homeward, swiftly sail I Never, never pause a plume, Though beneath you Edens bloom; Never, never think of rest ‘Till Night’s shadow turns your breast From pure white to mottled gray, And the stars are round your way — Love’s bright beacons they will shine, Dove, to show your home and mine:

72 LEGENDS OF OLD HOUSES:

Written for the Lady’s Book.

LEGENDS OF OLD HOUSES.

No. L

BADGEBURY.

CHAPTER I.

” I tell you, Charles, you must marry a woman of fortune, and what objections can you make to Miss Whitehead ?” said Mrs. Badgebury to her young son, perhaps for the fiftieth time, “what objection to a woman who has five thousand a year in her own power — no one to control her ?”

” Why, only just these few objections, madam ! — She is old — she is ugly — she is ill-tempered, and she is intolerably ignorant as well as insolently proud.”

” Pride, indeed ! I like to hear your father’s son talk of pride. You, who because you are descended from John de Badgebury, think yourself equal to the nobles of the land.”

” There is a generous pride in the good name of one’s ancestors,” said Charles Badgebury, with par donable warmth, ” that is almost a virtue. But for a woman to be proud because her father scraped money together by means the most unworthy — if not dishonest — ”

” Well ! well ! we will set that aside ; people must not be too scrupulous when they are poor. Miss Whitehead is but five or six years older than you are, and as to beauty — I had not much beauty, nor was I very young, and yet your high-born father found it very convenient to marry me.” ” But was he happy, madam ?” This was perhaps a thoughtless question, arising from the irritation of the moment, but it was a home stroke that roused Mrs. Badgebury’s ire, and thrown off her guard by the intemperance of passion, she poured forth a narrative just calculated to wound the feelings of her high spirited son, while it plainly showed him the abyss that opened at his feet.

” Happy ! Yes, he might have been happy, if he had been wise ! But he chose to be angry that I held the strings of the purse that I brought him. People said that he pined after a former flame, that he had left in India, or that some one there — some one jealous of his leaving — had given him a slow poison before he came away, which was the cause of his death ; but I tell you chagrin was that poison ! and he died from vexation that I would not let him pursue his follies, and waste my money as he had done his own ; and that I would not even give up the disposal of my money at my death. Who would trust a man, who, when he came home from India with a well- filled purse, spent the whole of his fortune in building a house ? Why the very cellars cost him so much that he could not finish the rest, which is the reason why the west wing has never been completed. Ten thousand pounds, it is said, were spent before the walls of the foundation were level with the ground, and if you take a torch and go through the empty cellars, arched strong enough to bear a church, you will believe it ; and when all was done, what had he? A fine house and a few hundred barren acres. The

farmers will not hirethe land, and there it lies useless; I was not going to spend a fortune in manure. And now, young gentleman, let me warn you — my money is all in my own power, and if you will not obey me, I will give it every shilling to your sister. You will then be Charles Badgebury, Esquire, of Badgebury, and its unproductive lands. A noble ancestry — a noble house — and a noble estate ! — while your sister will be a match for a lord — with my money !” And the unmotherly woman burst into a loud bitter langh.

Charles Badgebury covered his face with his hands, and the image of his father, tall, dignified, beautiful and generous, passed before him, touched with all the softening hues of early recollection. He spoke not, and his mother thought he was convinced. She rang a silver bell that stood on a table beside her, and on the entrance of a small black boy, bade him tell a female servant to dress Miss Badgebury and bring her thither.

All this passed in Mrs. Badgebury’s dressing-room, the only one in the house in which the architect had sacrificed his taste to the orders of the proprietor; it looked into the garden and its windows were not above three feet from the floor; every other light in the building had its heavy sash frame at least life feet from thence, so that children and short persons were obliged to mount chairs if they wished to get a glimpse of what was passing in the world. An am ple dressing-table, covered with thin muslin drapery, its looking-glass decorated in the same manner with the addition of bows of ribands to confine the folds, displayed numerous toilet boxes of Chinese manufac ture, whose various shapes might have puzzled a ma thematician to define, and an economist to declare their several uses, as the sublimer mysteries of the day were disdained by Mrs. Badgebury, she disdaining the use of lotions, rouge, pearl powder, the numberless brushes now ofdaily necessity ; they were all empty, and like some classes of domestics, kept merely for show. This was, in fact, a room of state, where the lady received her morning visiters. When she did sacri fice to the graces, which was not often, after rising in the morning, a very small closet nearer to her bed room served for that purpose.

When Mr. Badgebury returned from India — at that time a fruitful soil for amassing wealth — he found his paternal mansion, a long low building, with a large opening near each end, supported by well- proportioned columns, forming an entrance descend ing by winding steps to the rooms appropriated to the domestics. The surrounding grounds were laid out in the Dutch style brought into fashion by the third William; long avenues bordered by trees, with canals of stagnant water covered over by the broad.leaved water lily. Mr. Badgebury thonght himself wealthy, and he was so for the year 1730, when money was of so much more value than at the

BADGBBURY. 73

present day. He determined to pull down the old Beverly is lately dead, and his fine-lady daughter must

house and build a new one, and a fashionable archi- do something or starve.” The silver bell was again

tect submitting to his inspection a beautiful elevation tinkled. ” Juba, bring me a glass of water.”

from one oflnigo Jones’s plans, he immediately gave As Juba entered with the water on a silver salver,

him discretionary power to commence, without con- a young lady in deep mourning followed him. Mrs.

sidering the convenient distribution of the interior or Badgebury’s lap-dog barked furiously, and a parrot in

once sitting down to calculate the cost, merely stipu- a gilded cage, screamed in concert. The stranger

lating that there should be large convenient cellars. stopped in the middle of the room, but without ex-

Thc mansion rose in all the grandeur of a lofty, hibiting the smallest sign of fright or timidity. Juba

three-storied structure, with two wings, the admiration turned up his glistening eye, and displayed his white

of the surrounding country. The garden front was teeth, as if he would have said, ” Missy ! do you come

equal in beauty to the principal one, an immense hall here for pinchy pinchy, or cuffy cuffy?”

ran directly through the house, with large folding Mrs. Badgebury affected great state, and did not

doors to each end, and a superb staircase nearest the move, but when the uproar was somewhat abated,

garden, stretched its ample length, ornamented by a she pointed to Johanna saying, ” There is your pupil,

Corinthian pillar of native oak, of one single piece, you may take her to the school-room.”

A very spacious lobby at the head of the staircase Charles Badgebury, with the politeness usual to

opened on three sides into the principal bedrooms, him, had started up and placed a chair. Miss

These two rooms, of little use in themselves, took up Beverly seated herself with a graceful inclination of

bo much of the interior as to spoil all the others, two her head, and said, in a mild but firm tone of voice,

mean parlours, and a few small chambers being all ” I have not yet been informed, madam, what you

that could be accomplished besides, and these parlours wish me to teach the young lady ?”

as well as the hall being wainscotted only half way ” Teach her — why every thing to be sure. Mrs.

up, looked more like the smoking cabin of a sub- Arden tells me you understand music, and painting,

stantial farmer than rooms of state in which Mr. and languages, and dancing, and philosophy — though

Badgebury was to receive his high-born friends. I do not know what a woman has to do with philo-

The family portraits were all hung in the lobby, sophy — but as you will be paid for it you must teach

with the exception of one large groupe, such as is ft. And she says you are very clever with your

described in the Vicar of Wakefield, which looked needle ; that will suit me very well. I shall expect

absolutely small when placed over the hall chimney. Johanna to be taught every thing?”

piece. In this hall did Mr. Badgebury spend his me- ” What has Miss Badgebury read, madam?”

lanchly hours, pacing its length, and execrating the ” I won’t read at all!” roared Johanna, in a voice

folly which had led him to sink his whole moneyed louder than either lap-dog or parrot, ” I hate reading

property in bricks and mortar. The gardens remain- bo I do.”

ed in their original state from want of means to alter ” Oh ! my dear, but this young person will teach

them, and, as may be gathered from Mrs. Badgebury ‘s you to like it ; and washing too, and dressing.”

short narrative, when he submitted to an ill-assorted ” She shall catch me, first,” said Johanna, and

union for the purpose of bettering his affairs, he found rushed to the door, but the prudent mamma was pre-

he had exchanged one evil for another. He lingered pared for this and the door was fast. Johanna thus

through seven years of hopeless dejection, burying foiled, stood sulkily with her head against the wain-

his sorrows in his own bosom, and just after the scot.

birth of his third daughter, he sunk into an untimely ” Of course, you will dress Miss Badgebury, and

tomb. Two of his children had died before him. take your meals in the school-room ?”

When Charles Badgebury roused himself from his Miss Beverly’s pale face flushed very deep, but she

melancholy fit of abstraction, he noticed that his mo- was spared an answer, for Charles turned an indig-

ther’s dress was more splendid than was necessary nant eye on his mother, saying, ” While there is a

for the morning, and that his sister, now nearly thir- female servant in the house, my sister shall be waited

teen years old, was seated as usual on the corner of a on without troubling Miss Beverly, and while there

chair, with one finger in her mouth and one foot is a table spread, the lady who condescends to take

stretched out as far as possible, highly indignant at charge of her mind shall have a seat qt it. I am

having been compelled to submit to an unusual ablu- afraid the office will be painful enough without add-

tion, and to the wearing a whole frock, two things ing to its burdens.”

she held in the greatest abhorrence. Mrs. Badgebury vented her anger by some very

Mrs. Badgebury was perhaps sorry she had said contemptuous glances, and then in honied tones said,

quite so much to her son within the last hour, for she “Come, my sweetest Johanna, my darling child —

knew his high temper was more than equalled by a won’t you go with this good humoured looking young

keenly susceptible heart. She began in a softer tone woman, and try to learn to read ?”

to speak of some arrangements she had been making. ” No !” said Johanna, stoutly.

” I have at length found a governess for Johanna,” ” And won’t you let her teach you to be a lady?”

said she, ” which is a matter of rejoicing to me, for ” No ! — Tom Dunk isn’t a lady, and I only want

I really cannot pretend to manage her any longer, to be like Tom Dunk ; to take birds’ nests, and set

What with obstinacy and rudeness she wears me out. the dogs a fighting, and saw wood.”

She climbs trees like a boy. I believe she has not a ” Why, my dear, you must not be like a boy. You

whole dress in her wardrobe ; and as to learning — I will have a large fortune, and you must learn to be

am ashamed to think of it — she absolutely detests it. like me.”

I wish there were colleges for girls as well as for ” Ah ! but the maids say you never was nor never

boys, I would send her off directly. I have never will he a lady, though you had a large fortune.”

yet found a governess that would undertake to teach Here a violent box on the ear of Johanna, put all such a hoyden, nor should I now, but poor parson things in uproar again, and the young lady would VOL. XXIII. — 7

74 LEGENDS OF OLD HOUSES :

have returned the blow with interest if her brother had not withheld her. Happily the announcement of dinner came most opportunely for the cessation of hostilities. Miss rushed, head and shoulders foremost, to the dining parlour, followed by her fond mother, and Charles gave his arm to Miss Beverley, delighted to conduct a woman of her elegance to the once hospitable board of his father, now scantily spread, ill served, and ill conducted by the rich Mrs. Badge- bury.

CHAPTER II.

Miss Beverley had been principally educated by her highly gifted father, and though not left so utterly des titute as Mrs. Badgebury had stated, but committed to the care of a female friend, he laid his dying injunctions on her to strive to increase her small income by the exertions of her talents that she might secure an honourable independence. This situation was the first that offered, and as the untameable Jo hanna had been carefully kept from the sight of Mrs. Allien, who conducted the negotiation, it was accepted without hesitation. She saw at a glance the extreme difficulty of teaching a child who had been indulged to excess until she became unbearable, and was then cuffed and coaxed by turns. Though Mrs. Badge- bury with impatience bore the slightest remonstrance from her son, she was entirely governed by her daugh ter, who in all combats, whether of the tongue or the hands, usually came off victorious. Coercion of any kind was unavailing. Miss Beverly, with tact sur prising for one so young, saw that her only chance of succeeding was to continue the system of indul gence and by contriving many ways of amusing her pupil, by very slow degrees she began to humanize her.

The injudicious interference of Mrs. Badgebury was yet more trying than the savage manners of the daughter, and her jealousy of another’s influence over her more perplexing than either. Johanna and the maids soon found out that Miss Beverly was really a lady, and this drove the vulgar rich woman into the most unwise plan she could have pursued — that of en deavouring to convince her son that this young woman had neither beauty, grace, talents, nor virtues, and by this means bringing her various perfections under his daily and hourly notice.

The progress of Johanna in civilization was a matter of astonishment to the whole house, and her growing affection for Miss Beverly enraged the ignorant and arrogant mother. She said it was very odd that a word or look from a stranger should do more than all her entreaties or promises; she forgot that the latter were very seldom kept and therefore never trusted. Her son, too, began to find Miss Beverly’s company so attractive, that he was delighted to assist in development of the unknown powers of his hitherto unbearable sister. This was not to be endured, and Mrs. Badgebury, asserting that it was impossible for any kind of learning to go on right out of the school room, issued orders for the two young ladies to con fine themselves to its precincts. Miss Beverly re monstrated, that as Johanna had hitherto been con tinually in the open air, such strict seclusion would have an injurious effect on her health, even now showing the ill symptoms that arise from unlimited indulgence. This was all in vain ; Mrs. Badgebury said a mother was the best judge of a child’s health, and of the means of preserving it. The governess

begged that, as walking was forbidden, her pupil might ride on horseback as some sort of substitute far climbing trees and sawing wood. No. Money could not be thrown away on horses and grooms. The school-room was large and airy, and if they wanted more room, they might walk in the great hall.

All that could be devised for a growing child, Miss Beverly contrived to put in execution for the now tractable and affectionate Johanna. She tried danc ing with the windows of the school-room open, but was shocked to find this regularly brought on a short cough and pain in the side. No part of her studies were made irksome, and many lessons wete given nra soce, while pacing the hall; and when an even ing visit took Mrs. Badgebury away, Charles always made one of the small party. He gradually found that a young woman of eighteen, educated at home, was infinitely his superior in many branches of useful learning, particularly natural philosophy, over which at college he had but superficially glanced. Classical learning was then, as now, thought to comprise the sum and substance of a high education, and Chatles Badgebury was struck with astonishment to find his Greek and Latin vanish into nothingness before Miss Beverly’s clear perceptions of whatever was good and beautiful in nature, or the practice of the social cha rities in life.

They were walking one evening when the rays of the declining sun shone full in the windows of the garden front, thus forming the single light favourable to the view of a picture. Miss Beverly asked some questions respecting the large groupe over the chim ney, observing that it was painted by a fine artist.

” It is my great grandfather and his family,” said Charles, ” his history is interesting, yet not without a parallel in our race. Do you believe in fatality, Miss Beverly ?”

” Not in the slightest degree. I believe that all things are wisely ordered and nothiug left to chance or fate.”

‘* But what if the same circumstances had occurred for several generations ; all equally disastrous as they were romantic, what would you ssy?”

” That there was an unfortunate combination of circumstances, but not a fatality.”

” My family seem to have a spell over them, which they are unable to break. I am placed iu the same unfortunate situation with this my noble ancestor;— his son followed his steps, and my own futher — beau tiful and brave — was not more happy. I am in the wake of these noble vessels, and I also am likely W be wrecked.”

” I cannot understand you. — I see here a very handsome man with his beautiful wife and children. What evil could come into such a groupe?”

” The mother of that gentleman was a titled wo man of haughty, imperious tenilier.” Charles blushed as he spoke, and when he went on, it was in a low, tremulous voice. ” She insisted on his marrying a rich relation of her own, while his heart was involuntarily fixed on her waiting-maid, a gentlewoman by birth, out so poor as to be obliged to serve a woman no way her superior but in an empty title. He neither re vealed his love nor resisted his mother’s commands, and thus dragged on a miserable existence till ha health was impaired, so that when his wife and mo ther died, and he was oble to give his hand w here his heart had ever been fixed, his few remaining yea™ were embittered by continual sickness. The portraits

BADGEBURY. 75

of the mother and his two wives hang in the lobby tbove, so that you may see the sacrifice he made when he obeyed his proud parent’s command.”

Miss Beverly was silent, nor did her countenance hetray what she thought or felt. Charles went on.

“One would have thought the humble waiting- maid would have learned a lesson from all this, but, strango to say, lovely as she looks, she was more haughty and supercilious than those who had gone hefore her. Fantastic, vain of her superior beauty, and determined on having no rival in that respect, she chose a wife for her son to serve as a foil to her charms, which it is said she retained, like the cele brated countess of Suffolk, to an extraordinary age. By her extravagance and folly she impaired the family estate, left by her doating husband too much in her power, so that my father, her grandson, was obliged to go to India to repair his fortune. And thither, I fear, I must go also.”

” If you do, I must give you a letter to an uncle of mine, resident at Bombay. I hope he is living, though we have not heard from him lately.”

” But tell me, Miss Beverly, does there not seem to be the same fatal spell over us all?”

“What you call a spell, seems to my apprehension a slight want of judgment, or at least, a deficiency in the article of firmness.”

” Tell me how?”

“In the first place, this gentleman before us, should not have allowed himself to love so unwisely.”

” Ah !” said Charles Badgebury with a sigh, ” how could he help it ?”

” Well, if he could not help it, he should not have married a woman so widely different.”

” Is that your real opinion, Miss Beverly?”

” Certainly it is. A man is unjust to himself and to the woman he marries, if he is sure that he can never love her.”

” You give me new life !” cried Charles, as if a sodden light had dawned on his mind. ” I will work, I will beg, I will starve — but I will not marry where I cannot love.”

” Oh, Miss Beverly !” exclaimed Johanna, with somewhat of her former childishness, ” I wish you would marry Charles. It would make ns all so happy.”

Charles, in the excitement of the moment, seized Miss Beverly’s hand ; but, gently disengaging it, she said gravely; ” My dear Johanna, you are too young to know how wrong that would be. Your brother must marry a woman of suitable fortune and equal rank in society.”

” Would you have me marry Miss Whitehead ?” said Charles, angrily.

” I never would advise persons to marry where they can neither love nor esteem. But like Johanna, 1 am too young to give counsel on such occasions — too young even to think of them.”

” Have you never thought of such subjects, Miss Beverly ?” said Charles, looking very anxiously in her face.

” Never — never. I have had too much real trou ble to find any time for creating imaginary ones.”

Charles was satisfied by the open expression of the most beautiful countenance he had ever seen ; a coun tenance much finer than the portrait before him, in the traits of mental superiority, and a sedate sweet ness, arising from a strict regulation of the affections. He could not withdraw his fascinated eyes till the

unwelcome sound of his mother’s chariot wheels compelled him to leave the hall.

Mrs. Badgebury ‘sown maid had always the charge of watching every one during her absence, and regu larly reported all she saw or heard. Had she done so correctly in the present instance, no evil would have arisen, but a garbled statement of whatever passed in the hall whenever her lady was away, and particularly the circumstances of the last evening was well calculated to alarm and irritate in the highest degree. The carriage was ordered early on the en suing morning, and Mrs. Badgebury drove without delay to the nearest magistrate, on whose heart, as he was a wealthy bachelor, she had long striven to make some impression, and who was her never failing friend in all domestic troubles.

Mr. Meredith was a man of singular humour and shrewdness, who always listened with great patience to the lady’s statements, and while he seemed most angry with the petty delinquent, generally found a loophole for escape. He had never been known to punish where there was no crime.

” Ah ! Mr. Meredith,” said the lady, wiping away a crocodile tear, ” here I am again with my troubles. You are the only true friend I have found since poor dear Mr. Badgebury’s death. It is a very hard thing for a lone woman to go through a world like this. I am now in worse perplexity than ever. I have got a witch in my house !”

” An old one, madam?”

” Oh ! no, sir. A young one — not eighteen.”

“A very dangerous age. I have known much mischief done by such witches. Indeed, I never saw an old one.”

” I assure you, sir, she has bewitched the whole

house, excepting my own maid A very prudent

person Jenkins is. — You know, Mr. Meredith, how many times she has saved my property when it has been in danger? How many rogueries she has de tected ?”

” I know she is a very prudent person in her own affairs, and that she has saved for herself a conside rable sum of money.”

” Ah ! now dear Mr. Meredith, there for once you are mistaken, for I give but small wages and she is quite poor.” Mr. Meredith never contradicted Mrs. Badgebury; he only nodded, and she went on. “This vile young woman has bewitched my son.”

” Very likely,” said he, ” I have known such things done before now.”

” And all the servants, except Jenkins.”

” What — men and maids, too ? That is most wonderful.”

s All— all, Mr. Meredith. They will fly at the lifting up of her finger. They watch her very looks.”

” A very dangerous person, truly.”

” But worse than all, she has completely changed my sweet Johanna in every respect ; aye, as much as if she had changed her in her cradle. No romping now — no monkey’s tricks. You would not know the dear child. I am sure she has given her something to bring all this about. I caught her once laying a white powder over her hands and face ; she stood me out that it was only sifted oatmeal to cure chapped skin, but I know better, and I fear she has given Charles some of this. You know there are such things as love powders, Mr. Meredith V

” Did you ever try them, Mrs. Badgebury ?” This was said with so searching a look, that it blanched

76 LEGENDS OF OLD HOUSES:

the lady’s cheek. She fauhered, and it was some time before she could go on. At length, with her hand kerchief to her eyes, she said : ” But what alarms me more than all, though I suspect some mischief from ao much pouring over books and pictures, is, that with a single look she makes Johanna mind me when I speak ; a thing she never did in all her life before.”

” This is marvellous indeed ! I must see this witch !”

” Yes, Mr. Meredith, I intend you shall see her, and to tell you the truth, I want you to assist me in getting her out of the house, without my paying the wages that are due, which would be only encouraging her in her wickedness. Jenkins has showed me a sure way, but I had rather avoid it, for Charles is so full of honour, and generosity, and I know not what, that I am afraid if I take Jenkins’s way, he would fire up and expose us all. And oh! Mr. Meredith, when you see him will you give him some fatherly advice about Miss Whitehead ? You know he more than ever refuses to think of her ?”

” I will give Charles the best advice in my power, for as I loved the father so I love the children. Oh ! Mrs. Badgebury! Had those children been mine!” —

” They may be yours, yet, Mr. Meredith,” said the lady, with one of her sweetest smiles ; but observing the comically sour expression of the good magistrate’s face, she artfully added, ” by adoption, you know — when I am dead and gone!” Mr. Meredith bowed, and prepared to accompany her to Badgebury, whither they proceeded as fust as the two starved coach- horses could carry them.

Family Herald, Volume 24

Family Herald, Volume 24

Old Father Winter had bidden us adieu, and the smiling Spring had come to us again, with her flowers and sunshine, when the next epoch of my story happened. – W. were sitting one morning at breakfast, and my aunt was conning the advertisement sheet of the Times, when suddenly she laid down the paper on her lap, and ejaculated, “Well, I never !” “Never what, aunt : ” I asked. “Why, you remember my telling you, Donald, how I went once on a visit to old Mrs. Bluckintyre, who lived in that paradise of a house on the Dart f” she said. “Yes,” I replied. “Well, she is dead!” said my aunt. “Indeed!” said I. “And the house and furniture are to be sold,” she continued. “And you are going to buy them?” I said. “I’ll think about it,” she replied. “Think about it, aunt!” said I. “Why, how could you ever leave London : I’ve heard you say again and again that a country life would kill you; that there was no such place n > – – – “Yes, yes, Donald,” she interrupted; “but circumstances alter opinions. London is all very well for people of moderate incomes; for one can pinch and screw to one’s heart’s content here, without a soul being a bit the wiser for it; but when persons have money in abundance, they can afford to despise the petty chat of a country village. They are beyond the impertinent tittle tattle of their vulgar neighbours.” “And you will leave London P” I said. “I will,” she replied. “Why should I stop here P , There’s a prospect : What do we look upon? A hairdresser’s shop, with three old wigs in the window. If I go out, I am choked with smoke and dust. I have no society. I long for the sweet country, the green fields, the babbling brooks, and smiling hedge-rows.” – – – “Mercy, aunt, how poeticall” I cried, with a grin, as Jemima took away the tea-tray. It was time to go to business, and I was just leaving the house, when I heard the following animated colloquy between our servant and the abigail next door, carried on at the back of the house. “’Melia,” said Jemima, “wos yer ever in the country?” “Not further nor ‘Ackney Wick,” was the reply. . “Because our people’s i. there,” continued Jemima. “La, Jemima I ” said the other. “Yes,” said Jemima. “I heard missus say this very morning as she was a-going far away into the country, to live in the green fields, with the babbling rooks and the smiling hedgehogs.” Just as the Spring was mellowing into Summer, we left the bustling streets of London for . º lanes of Devonshire. #.; up my City appoint ment, and forthwith proceeded to lead the lazy life of a country gentleman; but I cannot say that I felt the change was one for the better. I soon got tired of the never-varying routine and everlasting twiddle twaddle of a country village, and I moped about day after day with no more congenial companion than my pipe, when an event occurred that altogether altered the tenor of my feelings. My aunt had made a host of friends. She was soon initiated into all the

mysteries of a village life, and became as fond of tea-parties, tattle, and scandal, as any old maid in the county. Among her friends was one lady, of whom I had a particular horror, and yet she was a very good woman. She was a prominent member of the Dorcas Society, she was a district visiter, she distributed tracts, she was the most regular teacher in the Sunday School, and she took elaborate notes of the sermons. What more could you expect of woman *. It is true some people said she was pious because she had nothing else to do, and wanted to catch a parson; and as for her charity, that she never gave away anything more substantial than her advice. They even went so far as to say that there wasn’t a more pernicious old scandalmonger in the county than my aunt’s friend, Miss Sneakington. But these were her enemies; and, as the accomplished lady herself often observed, “the good are always persecuted.” The fact is, Miss Sneakington was one of those vain, silly, unreal personages, who do more harm than good to the true cause of religion. Scotiers, and unbelievers took her as their type of a pious woman, and sneered at godliness because she was ungodly. One day this mature spinster, this amiable lady, called upon my aunt. “Miss Blane,” she began, “have the Boltons called P’’ “No,” replied my aunt. “Well now, that is strange,” she continued. “Really, the airs some people give themselves | And her mother only a grocer’s daughter . Then to see how her children dress—I really can’t {…}. they do it. I know, upon excellent authority, that Mr. Bolton’s income is under three hundred a year. Talking of dress, dear, did you see the Dulston girls at church last Sunday P Such flounces! such bonnets!—and their poor father only dead a twelvemonth. I dare say \”. heard he was thrown from his horse, when in a state of intoxication, and killed on the spot; we made a collection for his widow, and—would you believe it?—that old miser, Miss St. Clare, of the Abbey, only gave a sovereign, although she is rolling in wealth. Talking of her, reminds me to ask you if you know anything about that young woman who resides with her as companion. I have tried to find out; but I can only discover that she comes from Derbyshire, and that her name is Brown.” At this I pricked up my ears, and inquired anxiously, “What is Miss Brown’s age ?” “Well,” replied younger than I am.’ “Oh,” said I, abruptly, “I thought it might be a young lady I knew in Derbyshire; but she couldn’t be more than twenty at the outside.” “That is about her age,” said the old “Is her complexion -y “Pale,” said the pseudo-saint. “Her hair nut-brown f” I continued. “Not so dark as mine,” she said, giving her own scanty locks a conceited shake.—“Her eyes blue P’’ said I. “Really, Mr. Blane, you must excuse me,” cried the old maid; “for I have not examined Miss Brown closely enough to give so accurate a descrip tion of her. The girl is well-looking enough ; and they do say she has a very peculiar disposition, carefully avoids all society, and spends all her spare time alone; though if Miss St. §. gives her as little leisure as she did the other poor girl who was with her, she will have little time for sulkiness, goodness knows.” Here was a discovery ! Could this possibly be Ellen P In ten minutes’ time I was on my way to the A. As I walked down the stately avenue of chestnuts, the giant trees seemed to frown on my intrusion. The gaudy peacock, as he ran over the well-trimmed lawn, screamed defiance at me; and when the still gaudier servant in livery demanded my business, my heart sank within me. §. until I stood upon the doorstep of the mansion had the folly of my visit been fully apparent to me. The moment I caught a #”. of hope I rushed to the extremity of action. Like the man in the fable who found a feather, and persuaded himself he had discovered a flock of geese, I had found the simplest clue, and persuaded myself that the whole mystery was unravelled. But looking at the gorgeous domestic with appropriate awe, I muttered sheepishly, “Is Miss Brown at home f” “What name : ” said the man, impudently. “Miss Brown,” I repeated, looking him sternly in the face. “Have you a card, sir?” he asked, with more politeness of manner. I had a card, but I did not want Ellen to refuse to see me, as I knew she would, if she were apprised of my arrival. So I slipped half-a-crown into the man’s hand, …?º immediately ushered me into the drawing-room. The apartment was ificently furnished. The rich velvet curtains half hid a sweet landscape of hill, and slope, and meadow land,-the river, with the weeping ash, kissing its waters, and the lazy swan swimming on its bosom, swept by its windows. On the mantel-piece was a massive clock that ticked with provoking regularity. So different to the throbbing of my poor beating heart! Five minutes had elapsed, and she came not—then ten.” The clock was just striking the hour when I heard the light tread of a woman’s footstep ascending the stairs. Her hand was on the handle of the door. My heart stopped beating. The door opened, and Ellen herself, pale and trembling, stood … me. I could not speak. I rushed forward, and seized her hands in mine. At last my burning words found utterance. “Ellen,” I cried, “I have found you! Oh, if you knew the agony I have suffered since we parted, you would pity me. … I feel I must speak now, Ellen. I love you with all the deep devotion of a man’s adoration. I love you—I will not, cannot live without you. Tell me that you will be mine!” The very torrent of my passion frightened me, and I paused, in fear and trembling. Ellen stood as pale as a statue, her deep blue eyes looking earnestly in my face. At last she spoke. “Donald,” she said, “are you mad? How can you come and frighten me like this? What does it—” “Mad?” I repeated. “I almost think I am. I am deeply sorry, Ellen, that I spoke to you so abruptly; but my feelings were so strong, that they burst forth tººd my control, and—”

the antiquated damsel with a simper, “she is a little

“You silly boy! you only meant it in fun,” she interrupted, putting on a smile. “Fun!” said I. “Indeed, Ellen, I tell you, once for all, that if you will not be my wife, you will break my heart!” “Nonsense, Donald !” she said, with provoking coldness. “Believe me, hearts are not so easily broken. Men love, and despair, and love again, with remarkable regularity; and coroners’ juries rarely return the verdict of “Dicq of a broken heart.’” “I am in earnest,” said I. “Do not trifle with my feelings.” “Trifle, Donald, nonsense !” said Ellen. “You do not know yourself. You are a mere creature of impulse. This time next year you will have loved to desperation half-a-dozen young ladies. Your very conduct gives me the key to your character. The moment I enter the room, you rush up to me with a violent declaration of love.” “I know the moment was ill-chosen, Ellen,” I stammered; “but my feelings—” “Feelings again!” said Ellen. “Why the very torrent of your pent-up passion made me doubt the durability of }. purpose. If I had been a romantic young lady, I should have fainted away upon the ..” ; you would have called the servants, Miss St. Clare would have come, and all the house would have been in an uproar, and then we should never have heard the last of it.” “But answer my question,” I said, somewhat haughtily; for I could not understand her conduct. “What question?” she asked. “Will you marry me?” I exclaimed. “Marry you!” she said. “My dear Donald, what should we do when we were married? I have no money; you have none. Living on love is all very well in theory, but very unsatisfactory in practice. I am not so ethereal as you seem to imagine, and sometimes indulge in such mundane luxuries as beefsteaks and mutton-chops. You know what the old song says—

When Poverty enters the door, young Love Will out of the window fly.”

i.#” I said, gravely, “I did not know you were so calculating and sordid.” “I am not, Donald,” she replied, “I am simply prudent.” “But I shall regain my old appointment,” I said, “and shall work hard to be in a position to support you in comfort and respectability.” “Comfort and respectability!” she repeated, with a sneer. “Am I to pass the best º of my life in comfort and respectability? No, I must have plenty and luxury. The style of living I have enjoyed here of late has quite unsuited me for the character of a #: wife, whose husband has his way to make in the world. I must marry a fortune, and I am sure hundreds of girls, worse educated, and not a whit better looking than I am, pick up their thousand a-year every day. Look at Kate Harvey.” “A miserable wretch,” said I, “who married a man old enough to be her grandfather, and who lives a life of º misery.” “Well,” said Ellen, “I must confess I’d rather have a life of gilded misery

A DOMESTIC MAG

than one of uncertainty.” “And this is your answer?” said I. “You will not have me because you do not think me rich enough P” “Because I do not think you rich at all,” she replied; “because I do not care to marry a person of your position; in fact, I look higher.” “And this is Ellen!” I said, speaking to myself in sorrow. “Of course it is,” said the young lady, smiling pleasantly; “this is Ellen, really Ellen. You were in love with a creature of your own brain; you worshipped a marble image, which, on closer inspection, turns out to be mere plaster of Paris. Well, Donald, your eyes are opened now; your dream is over; so trot along, for I’ve got to attend to Miss St. Clare in her prome nade. My love to your aunt, Donald. Good-bye.” She held the door open, and, pale with passion and disappointment, I made my way down the stairs. I had indeed loved a creature of fancy. I would never believe a woman again. My aunt was right; Ellen was a jilt, a flirt, a fortune-hunter. My hand was upon the handle of the door, for the gorgeous domestic had disappeared to his haunts below, and I was left to usher myself out, when I heard a heavy fall in the drawing-room. I rushed up the stairs three steps at a time. There, on the floor, lay Ellen in a swoon. I rang the bell with vehement haste, and in a moment the room was full of servants, and the mistress of the house herself appeared. We bathed the sufferer’s brow; we gave her brandy; we rubbed her hands; but it was all of no use. Then a surgeon was sent for. She was carried to her room, and at last opened her eyes; but not to the light of reason; for delirium overwhelmed her intellect, and day after day Ellen lay hovering between life and death. Long had she been suffering, and at last the blow #. come. I found Miss St. Clare a good-natured woman, ever ready to do a kind action, and render those about her happy. Day after day I went to the Abbey to make inquiries about the patient. At last the crisis of her fever was past, and Ellen gradually got better. One day when I called, I was told that Miss Brown was up, and would see me in the drawing-room. There was Ellen, so pale, so thin, and saint like, that I almost trembled in her presence. She held out her hand, and motioned me to a chair beside her. “Donald,” she said, “I have been very near the grave—too near for one so wicked as I have been; but the truth of death has frightened me out of my deceit and pride; and if, after my conduct, you wish to hear me, I will truthfully confess to you.” “Go on, Ellen,” I muttered, for my heart was beating so fast I could hardly speak. “Long, long, Donald, I have loved you,” she continued; “loved you as

one so dear and good as you are, deserves to be loved. I would have made

[July 7, 1866.

AZINE.

any worldly sacrifice for your happiness, but I was poor, Donald; and worse —your aunt, taunted me with my poverty. She accused me of scheming to get lº uncle’s property. M .#. proved stronger than my discretion. I resolved to leave you—to hide *. for ever from you. . . I came here. Fate threw us together again. I then resolved to assume a frivolous, sordid character, which I knew you would hate. I did this, Donald, because I wanted, with a consideration for your feelings, to break off your attachment to me, which I had long dreaded. I thought that if you imagined me to be unworthy of your love, it would pain you §: little to lose me. I played my art well till the last. It has seemed to me like some horrible dream. saw you before me. I felt myself scorning your love, and laughing at your ardour. My false, deceitful laugh, rung on your ears as you left; but when the door of the roofn was shut, it seemed as though my ha º had gone for ever. My heart stopped beating, my brain whirled, and I fell upon the floor senseless.” Ellen could hardly speak the last few words. I seized her hand in mine; I kissed her wan cheek; I laid her head upon my shoulder; and the sprin of her affection, half choked by adversity, welled up in tears of love an ratitude. Her illness had proved to me the richest blessing of my life; it É. shown me how this brave girl, smarting under the insults of my aunt, had nobly resolved to sacrifice herself to save me; how she had determined to wreck her own feelings that I should not suffer, and how she had sunk under the terrible ordeal she had created for herself. Months flew by. The glad Autumn came; and Ellen and I—for I was now a constant guest at the Abbey—sat under the pleasant chestnut trees, building castles in the air of far-off hopes, and happy (oh, so happy!) in each ºff. and presence: So time flew by, until the golden harvests were garnered, and the Summer was gone, and the flakes of snow fell upon the hill tops, and told us that Winter was coming. –

º CHAPTER IV.

Of course my constant visits to the Abbey had not given much satisfaction to my aunt. Indeed, we had had one or two stormy debates upon the pro priety of my conduct in this respect; but after a time she seemed reconciled to what fate had willed, and interfered with me but little in my actions. Our cup # joy was very full, when one cruel day dashed the sweet draught from Our Ilos. –

ð. morning I wended my way to the Abbey. I knew not why, but a gloom of uncertainty and dread hung over me. It was the old story of coming events casting their shadows before them—of the thermometer of the spirit falling in acknowledgment of the approaching rain of tears. … It was with some trepidation that I knocked at the door of the mansion. The gorgeous Thomas immediately appeared. . But what was it that so startled me?

The man held a letter in his hand, and before I could speak he gave it to me. I snatched it from him, and ran into the gloom of the tall elms, that stood like sentinels guarding the old-fashioned house. For a minute or two I dared not open the letter. At last I broke the seal, and, with quivering lips, I read as follows:— –

“Donald, dear Donald, farewell! We must never meet again. Try and forget me. Look upon me as dead. Think of our º; as a p. dream, from which you have awakened to the realities of life. For you there is a career of happiness and usefulness; to me life is a blank; but I cheer myself with the thought that Heaven ordereth all things for the best. Do not try to discover my whereabouts. This is my last request.

“Adieu for ever! “ELLEN.”

Enclosed in this letter was another. Here I had no difficulty in recog nising my aunt’s handwriting. It was addressed to Ellen, and ran as follows:— “Miss BRowN,-With much regret I have noticed lately the growing attachment of my nephew for you. have only this to say: if he yields to your seductions, I shall leave him a beggar. I think it right to inform you of my decision, as it would be a º that so accomplished a fortune-hunter as yourself should throw away her allurements. Feeling assured that you will now think my infatuated nephew altogether unworthy of your attractions, “I am yours, “DoRo THY BLANE.” I read the letters, and re-read them—could it be real? Was it some hantom of a disordered brain? Or was Ellen really lost to me? There i. the letters—alas! it was no dream. I ran to the house; I saw Miss St. Clare; I implored her to tell me what had become of Ellen; but she declared she did not know. The servants were equally ignorant; and I could not get the faintest clue to my lost love. How shall I picture my meeting with my aunt I upbraided her for her treachery and cruelty; I threw at her feet the presents she had in her affluence made me, and I started for London with but a trifle in my pocket, resolved to gain my own livelihood, and be independent of her for ever, . Hard times. Ah, how little can the upper ten thousand tell of the real ills of humanity! They are like bystanders in the great battle of life; their anxieties are confined to the petty strifes of every-day vexations, and they cannot comprehend the terrible struggles of their poorer neighbours. Fortune has carpeted their pathway with velvet; but there are pilgrims whose feet the stones of adversity cruelly cut and blister. So I found it when I first came to London. For a long time I was without any employment, and my slender resources nearly failed me. At last, however, I was fortunate enough to be installed as clerk in the counting-house of a scholastic agency. My chief duties were to cut out of the morning papers the school advertisements, and enclose our prospectus to the advertisers. – I shall now pass over a year of my life, taking up its thread only where it concerns my story. – – For twelve months I had plodded on in my monotonous labour with a

= –

July 7, 1866.] MAGAZINE, THE FAMILY HERALD — A DOME 165 STIC

listless energy, when accident once more threw me into contact with the heroine of my little drama. One da was pursuing my wearisome occupation, when I was much struck with an advertisement that appeared in the Times. It professed, in the stºreotyped phraseology of …’ circulars, to give instruction, maternal care, and the comforts of a home, to a limited number of young ladies; and reference was kindly permitted to Francis Bates, Esquire, Solicitor, Buxton; but the name of the proprictress was Miss Ellen Smith. Could Ellen Smith be Ellen Brown P. The probability lent a life to my conduct. I immediately wrote a letter to Miss Smith, in a disguised hand, and under a feigned name, and requested information on certain points I knew could not be given by the transmission of a prospectus. In a few days the reply came. It was brief, but to the purpose. It was Ellen’s handwriting. Ah, what a revulsion of feeling came over me ! I had dropped into a listless course of life, and had learned to look upon Ellen as one that was no more; and now it seemed to me as if my loved one had stepped from the grave, to be welcomed back on earth again. But what was I to do? Was I to go to her, and ask her to share my poverty P No; I must be in a position to offer her a home. I must work; I had an object, an aim in life. All my dormant energies awoke, and I was a new man. Before this, through a feeling of false pride, I had never sought re-employment from my old employers, Messrs. Lawson & Wilmot. I could not bear the thought of having left the office in good position and with plenty of money, amidst the envy and jealousy of my fellow-clerks, and of returning to take my place at the lowest stool, humbled and poor. False pride! unfounded fears! My old employers received me with great kindness, and my colleagues gave me a warm welcome. Moreover, I was not obliged to begin again at the bottom of the ladder, but was re-installed in my . position, the only remark being made by Mr. Lawson, that he hoped my change of circumstances had not produced a change of business habits. – – After I had been *. a few months in my old occupation, my prin cipals were suddenly involved in heavy losses by the failure of a large firm in Hamburgh. I was chosen to go there and examine the state of affairs on the spot. By the exercise of great energy and perseverance, I was enabled to trace a system of fraud in our debtors’ books, that induced the pseudo bankrupts to pay the demands of our firm in full, rather than incur the disgrace of an exposure. So pleased were my employers with the zeal I had exhibited in their behalf, that on my return home they presented me with the magnificent douceur of two hundred pounds. Moreover, I had been saving every penny I could scrape together, and now found myself master of quite a little fortune. My salary, too, was increased, and I was in possession of a handsome income. Now was to come the crowning joy of my hopes: it was time for me to go to Ellen. First I took a little cottage on the banks of the Thames, and furnished it. The Paradise was ready, the Eve alone was wanting.

CHAPTER W. AND LAST.

The day came at last, and I set to my undertaking with a beating heart. A bright thought struck me. I would go down as a stranger, disguised so that Ellen should not know me. In pursuance of this plan, I assumed a dress and demeanour as unlike my natural appearance as possible; then I went to the station, and took my ticket for the village where she lived. I was soon there, and at once proceeded to the nearest inn, to make a few preparatory inquiries. The landlady was a bustling, talkative woman, and entered readily into conversation. –

“Do you know,” I said, carelessly, “how Miss Smith, of the ladies’ school, is getting on ?”

“Miss Smith ?” was the reply. “Oh, she did well enough once; but I am afraid her school is not of much account now. They do say she’s going to be sold up. There’s Styles, the butcher, I hear she owes him a matter of forty pounds or so; and there’s hardly a tradesman in the place she isn’t in debt to.”

“How has all this come about P” I asked.

“Well, sir, you see, one of her young ladies takes the fever, and dies, and the school gets sort of broken up, and never comes round again; and then there’s the new ‘stablishment up at the big house, where they’ve masters come down from London to teach everything; and the governesses is only

lady-superintendents.” Yi. heard enough; so I º: for my refreshment, and departed. Was I fl. or sorry to find Ellen in this position P. I was glad —glad to

come to her in her struggles, and bear her from the fierce currents that were overwhelming her, to a haven of peace and safety. – In five minutes I was at the door of her house. The servant said her mistress was at home, but engaged. “I wish,” said I, “to see her on very important business, and will await her leisure.” As I made this remark with an air of assurance, I walked past the reluctant girl into an adjacent room, and bade her tell Miss Smith that a gentleman from London wished to see her. The room was separated from an adjoining one by a #. of folding doors, and I was involuntarily a listener to the following º: The speakers were Ellen, and Styles, the butcher. “I teſ you, Mr. Styles,” said the sweet voice of my beloved, “that your debt shall be paid in full. I have the means to discharge it, if you will only give me time—” “Just what all ov’em says,” interrupted Styles, in his vulgar manner. “Time! that’s what they all wants, and then they packs up in the night, and laughs at us. No! I can tell you, yer aint a-coming any of that palaver over me. You’ve had my meat, and I want your money; and my money I’ll have,” he added, raising his voice. There was a moment’s silence, then he began again. “There’s Jones, the grocer—he won’t wait—why should I? What did

yer mean by taking them children of old Parson Roxleigh’s, and feedin’ ’em and clothin’ ’em for nothing?” “They were left penniless and motherless,” pleaded Ellen. “Let ’em a gone to the parish,” was the brutal rejoinder. “Be just afore you’re generous—that’s my motter.” At this moment the servant told Ellen that a gentleman was in the front parlour, who must see her. “Ah,” said Styles, “another dupe; but here I stops till I gets my money.” • Ellen came into the room where I was. Anxiety had done much to age and alter her, but she was in my eyes still the beautiful girl I had learned to

love, and I rose to receive her.

“Be seated, sir,” she said, in great confusion, for she knew that I must have heard every word that had #. in the adjoining apartment. “Miss Smith,” I said, in a feigned voice, “I am come to make some inquiries about your school.” – “Alas! sir,” she interrupted, rising, “I will not detain you on a useless errand. Events have happened that have rendered it imperative that I should at once #. up my school and home. In short, I am ruined, and in a few days shall be without a home.” She said this so firmly, character I had º “Pardon me,” I said, “fhere is another matter on which I wished to speak. Could you not induce your friend in the next room to retire into the hall for a few minutes ? Believe me,” I added, “I am prompted by no feeling of impertinent interference; I am earnestly desirous of serving you.” She reluctantly complied, and, on her return, I said, “Why have you not sought aid and advice from Mr. Bates, of Buxton P” . “He is dead,” she sobbed, “and I have not a friend in the wide world.” “The Blanes also, Miss Brown?” I added. “Sir!” she said, starting, “you seem to know my affairs too well for a stranger. However, Miss Blane never was my friend.” ºfhere was a Mr. Donală Blane,” I said, and my faltering voice almost betrayed me. The name was electrical. She turned pale as death, and muttered like one in a dream, “No, no! not Donald. Drag him down to know poverty and trouble P Never !” “Miss Brown,” I said, solemnly, “I am a friend of Donald Blane’s, and I ask you seriously, have you treated him well ? Did not your pride conquer our love P To gratify your feeling of anger against his aunt, did you not eave him wretched and heartbroken?” “I did!” she cried. “But oh, if he knew the sleepless nights I have spent in thinking of him, if he knew how often my pillow has been wet with tears shed in his remembrance, if he knew how I have prayed for him— how my heart has longed for —” – “Ellen!” I cried, throwing off my disguise, “do you not know me?” She turned. She flew to my arms. She would have spoken, but her lips refused utterance, and her cheeks turned very F. She had fainted. I carried her to the sofa, and rang the bell violently for help. Styles and the frightened maid rushed into the room. “Water, water 1″ I shrieked, “Oh Heaven, have mercy upon me! I have killed her l’” We carried her up stairs. Presently the colour came back to her faded lips, and she smiled with returning consciousness. As Styles saw this, he turned to the servant with a brutal sneer. “I thought her was gone, that time,” said he ; “I shall get my money yet, though.” “Mr. Styles!” I remonstrated. “Sarvent, sir,” said he, turning to me. “Oblige me by taking your hat off,” said I. He obeyed, looking at me with a defiant, curious air. “And now,” I added, “by taking yourself off.” “You pay me fust,” he said, with an impudent grin. “I will, you brute, and in your own coin,” I cried, sprin seizing him by the collar until he cried for mercy; for t ully, as all bullies are, was a thoroughly craven, coward-hearted cur. “Now,” said I, opening the street door, “out of this house before I can count ten ” But could count three, he was away. Ellen’s debts were paid with the proceeds of the sale of her furniture, and she left the jº. where she had suffered so much misery, to reside for the present with the old family doctor who had attended my uncle, and in whose family she had always been an especial favourite. The wedding-day was named, and the preparations were all ready, when Fate once more º the consummation of our happiness. I was summoned to the death-bed of Aunt Dorothy. I went in haste into Devon shire, where she received me most kindly. I thought I would not shock her with the news of my approaching marriage, when she utterly astonished me, by saying, “I have one last wish.” “Name it, aunt,” I said, º for I dreaded what it might be, “and if I can in conscience grant it, I will do anything for you.” “Do you still love Ellen Brown P” she asked. “I do,” I replied. “I have left you my heir, Donald,” she said. “It is no matter, aunt,” I cried; “you cannot hy my treachery.” “Hush, hush, you impetuous boy!” she said. “Wait till I have spoken.” She paused for a few moments, and then continued, though feebly, “I have left you my heir, but there is one poor soul who I fear has need of help. I have not done much for her while living,P. thing, but I should like her to think no ill of me when I am gone. Wilſ you find her out, and—” “I will, aunt,” I replied. “What is her name?” “Ellen Brown,” she said, almost in a whisper. “Ellen Brown, aunt!” I exclaimed. “Yes, Donald; ask her to forgive me,” continued my aunt. “Tell her my

yet so plaintively, that I could hardly play out the

before

ing at him, and º

166 [July 7, 1866. THE FAMILY HERALD – A DOMESTIC MAGAZINE.

pride has fallen, and that my last wish on earth was that she might be my nephew’s wife.” followed my aunt to the village churchyard, where we left her to sleep the great sleep under the shade of a noble elm tree. On my return to town, Ellen placed in my hands a sealed packet: ‘It was º “Ellen’s Secret.” To my astonishment it contained Edward Blane’s last will and testament, dated but a few months before his decease, leaving the whole of his property unconditionally to Ellen. – Noble girl! noble sacrifice! But since then, ten years have elapsed, and if you will come with me into my pleasant little home, I will not only introduce you to Ellen—my wife Ellen-little Donald, and tiny Aunt. Dorothy, nine years old next birthday, but I will take you into my own little room, and show you a glass-case, wherein is deposited a mysterious *::: inscribed ELLEN’s SEcRET. . E. S. D. B.

ONE LOOK OF THINE.

Mine own when, banish’d from thy side, Mººt life had not begun, I pen thee many a loving line; mblest with that first look of thine ! How do I miss a boon denied— Deprived of the sun’s enlivening beams How yearn for one sweet look of thine ! º hardiest of plants would pine : Earth’s fairest scenes, where thou art | Not less my moral vigour seems Dependent on those looks of thine ! Oh, coveted, unmatch’d employ, To cherish thee through life, all mine ! Oh, source of high Elysian joy, One truthful, g look of tung! E.

not, Lask what hath made them seem divine;

Thy presence gilds her dreariest spot, Enchantment in each look of thine !

Than thy dear heart, my guileless one, This world affords no purer shrine;

BARBARA GRAHAM. CHAPTER XXV.

Barbara Graham sat in her lonely little room with the solitary lamp casting a faint light on her pale face, half shaded by the thick, long masses of black hair. It was barely twenty-four hours since she had sought that humble but welcome shelter from insult and unkindness; and yet the excite ment that had sustained her during the last hours of her stay in the house of her haughty patroness, and even borne her up through the first lonely might in her new asylum, had subsided, and the inevitable reaction of a deep and fixed depression had settled on her spirits. It was not cowardly shrinkin from exertion, nor regret for the luxuries and comforts she had left behin her, that depressed the girl’s heart like a leaden burden. It was the dreari ness of the º before her; the feeling that hope and happiness, love and sympathy, were for her but as names, and that life itself was but an existence to endured —not enjoyed; that even the excitement of hopes disappointed and trials inflicted was henceforth to be unknown to her. Hers was a brave, energetic spirit, that could battle with tangible difficulties, bear active wrongs, but not endure such passive, cheerless dreariness with patience or hopefulness. The sudden opening of her door, more unceremoniously than had been the practice of her well-mannered landlady, made her start suddenly round, and with a cry of joy she recognised the kindly features of the honest Susan. In a moment she was sobbing on the shoulder of the good, true-hearted domestic. She soothed her like a child, every now and then asking if she were not comfortable; if Mrs. Sewell were not kind to her. At last the tears that were so welcome a relief to her swelling heart subsided, and then she found voice to assure the anxious Susan of the comfort and kindness she had received, and to thank her for all her goodness to her. “Pooh, pooh! Miss Barbara,” said the good creature, bluntly. “It’s all nothing at all but what any Christian woman would have done; but I am sadly afraid you’re too proud for this world. I don’t mean that you ought to have borne my mistress’s cruel insults, but I do think you should have told my master, or Sir Ernest, or let me do so before you came away. They deserved it, Miss Barbara, particularly Sir Ernest.” – “I could not, Susan,” she said, sadly. “I had no right to cause mischief and dissension between a husband and wife, or bring sorrow on Pauline. I like her; she was kind to me, and I should never forgive myself if I ruined her happy prospects.” Susan half smiled; she thought how instinctively the most young and inexperienced discern the dawning of the love they inspire; for she had determined in her own sage mind that Sir Ernest was in love with her young protégée. Barbara saw the smile, and her cheeks burnt like flame. “You mistake, Susan,” said she. “I did not mean what you fancy. Sir Ernest could only think of me as a poor, friendless orphan; but, if he knew all, he would perhaps blame Pauline for her mother’s faults, and never feel so warmly to her again. I could see that he watched her as if he wanted to know whether she was as good as she is beautiful; and he would not pardon any unkindness or injustice to one so helpless as I am.” “That is neither here nor there, Miss Barbara,” said Susan. “He will never hear the truth unless it is by accident, if you won’t let me tell him; and he will never think it was from such good, kind motives that you left him without saying good-bye.” – “I left him, Susan ” repeated Barbara, with crimson cheeks. can you talk so?” – “How can I?” said Susan., “Why, because it’s the truth. Do you think he’d have taken the trouble to order that pretty dress for you just because you’d have been disfigured in the other, and then danced with you, and made every one see that you were a lady born, and then made Miss Pauline and my mistress blaze up, if he’d not cared about you? I call it downright ungrateful of you if you don’t send him a message by me, to tell *

him—’

“How

– ‘No, no; tell him nothing, Susan,” interrupted Barbara, eagerly. “You

promised me you would not let any human creature know where I was ; and, whatever may be the consequence, you must not break your word to him, of all persons.” – – “And if he asks me, Miss Barbara, what then f” said Susan, with a crestfallen air. – “Then you must say the truth, Susan—that * promised me that you would answer no questions, and that I am safe and comfortable,” she replied. “He will be satisfied them, and think no more about me.” There was heroism in this injunction, which was, perhaps, somewhat beyond Susan’s philosophy, for the orphan knew that the most ready way to fade from Sir Ernest’s remembrance would be to thus place herself out of the reach and need of his sympathy. But if Susan did not quite appreciate the loftiness of the motives, she could at least do justice to the truth and generous forbearance of the orphan; and she kissed the hand she still held with a respect that she would hardly have shown to Pauline herself. *You are a dear, sweet young lady, Miss Barbara,” she said, “ and I won’t thwart you and vex you just now, though I do hope the truth will come out some day, as indeed it always does. But, my dear }. lady, excuse my asking what you mean to do, that is, how you are off for money? for I know º expense of living better than you do, even in the humblest way, an ——” “I can work, and I intend doing so at once,” replied Barbara, in a firm, quick tone, very unlike the sad and hesitating voice in which she had spoken ; “that will be no hardship, Susan.” “Work, Miss Barbara! that’s no word for you to use,” said the good woman, respectfully. “But what I was going to say was, if you won’t be offended, that I wanted to ask the favour of you just to borrow of me some of the money I have laid by, which is no use to me, and—” Barbara laid her hand on the good woman’s mouth, while the grateful tears rushed into her eyes, giving them a glistening softness. “No, no, my dear, good, generous Susan,” she said; “it is quite needless. I have a little money, and long before I have spent it all I shall have got some employment, if ever so humble. I could not take from you your hard earned savings.” “But you could repay me,” said Susan; “and it may be some time before you j} et any situation that would be proper for a young lady like you.” “Then fº. teach music,” said Barbara, “ or take in work, or—” “It would kill you, Miss Barbara,” interrupted Susan. “Your spirit is more than your body; you don’t know what work is—and so young as you are, too—” “Too young,” repeated Barbara, sadly. She thought of the years that might be in store for her of dreary solitude; Susan thought it referred to a different kind of regret. “Well,” said she, “that’s a fault that mends, Miss Barbara, too soon for most people, but still, it might stand in your way at present, and that’s the reason you should not be too proud to let a poor servant help you.” “It is not pride, dear Susan,” she said. “I would take it from you sooner than any one, but if I did—if anything happened to prevent my repaying yon, I could not endure for you to be robbed by me. . Do not ask it, please.” Susan saw it was really a wound to the young girl’s self-respect to press her offer, and inwardly resolving to assist the orphan in some less direct manner, through Mrs. Sewell’s intervention, she yielded the point, and turned to another subject. “Can I be of any use to you, Miss Barbara, in setting about the business?” she asked. “I mean, can I take any message for you, or inquire anywhere? I’ve heard there are places on purpose for young ladies like you to put their names down, and then there are situations found for them; and if you please, I could try and find out which would be the best for you, if you would like it.” “I should be very thankful, Susan, if you sºld do so without risk,” she replied: “but, I am afraid you will get into trouble if you spend too much time on me.” “Pooh, pooh, Miss Barbara, I’ve not been sixteen lº in my place to be called to account for every hour,” said Susan; “and I’ll bring you some

news in a day or two, never fear; or, if you would like, my aunt could come

and see me to-morrow, and I could send you word what I had found out; and she would go with you, if you like, and show you the way.” Barbara gratefully embraced both offers. A vivid remembrance of her adventure on the day of her last interview with Lily, gave her a horror of solitary walks in London, though she chid herself for the weakness. . “What nonsense !” she said to herself, when once more alone. “I, the dependent on my daily exertions for daily bread, to indulge such helpless terrors! I must learn to brave far worse hardships and in: than an ordeal which will soon perhaps be a daily one for me.” … Still she instinctively shrunk, with all the timid horror of a recluse, from

the encounter with the rude crowd who thronged the busy streets; and again the image of the man who had so alarmed her came to her mind, as if he

would certainly haunt her path wherever she might go. It was almost an infatuation, she felt and acknowledged to herself, and yet she could not shake off the fear, the strong impression . she should meet that man again. Susan’s abilities appeared unusually called forth for the service of the orphan, who had excited her kindly sympathy, and Mrs. Sewell returned in triumph on the following day with the address of an office near Soho Square, where Barbara might safely apply for employment. “We’ll go after breakfast in the morning, if you please, miss,” she added. “It’s the best time to go early, as soon as the office is opened. You’ll not be

kept waiting then.”

Barbara rose on the following morning and dressed herself in the plain, sober attire which she wore on first meeting with Pauline, before that capricious beauty’s will had chosen that she should wear more becoming and tasteful dress as her constant and chosen companion. The dark hair was braided smoothly over her brow, and the thick veil, which was closely tied under her chin, completed the transformation from the striking, intel

º

July 7, 1886) 167 THE FAMILY HERALD – A DOMESTIGMAGAZINE,

lectual-looking companion of Pauline Forbes into the º: of that large class of women who earn their bread by their daily toil. e can soon recog mise that daily worker, whether by the labour of the hands or the fruit of the brain, as she walks along the crowded streets;–the modest attire, the hurried …} the pale, care-worn expression, the unconscious air of self reliance, and yet shy, proud shrinking from the rude contact with coarser spirits. Hundreds of these humble daughters of toil pass daily along the thronged streets (fit emblem of their º; of life), whose constant ordeal of patient suffering and labour makes truer heroines than many of those whose names are recorded in the pages of ancient story. . And Barbara looked and felt all the novelty of her position as she entered the waiting-room of the fashionable official to whom she was to be introduced. It was early, according to Mrs. Sewell’s arrangements, yet the dignified head of the establishment either was, or thought it correct to appear already engaged, and Barbara and her companion had to wait at least’íalf-an-hour before they were admitted to the room where she sat in state. Mrs., or, as she called herself, Madame Wagner, was a portly woman of an uncertain age, from forty-five to fifty-five, her hair turned back from her face, and her dress an extraordinary mixture of age and youth, foreign and English costume. The jaunty jacket, the grave brown skirt, the heavy jewellery in the shape of brooches, watch, chain, and ear-rings, and the wonderful head-dress which supplied the failing hair, constituted a tout ensemble that was perfectly in accordance with the full-blown figure and face of the wearer. Barbara’s slight form and pale, intellectual face looked yet more girlish and delicate by the contrast, as she stood before the showy lady of the Governesses’ Institution. Madame Wagner motioned her to a chair near the table at which she herself was seated, and on which a large folio volume was opened immediately before her. – “You want a situation, I suppose 2″ she began. “I do, madame,” replied Barbara. “The fee is ten shillings,” continued the lady; “I always mention that to prevent any loss of time and trouble. When that is arranged we can eed to business.” Barbara’s slender P. was at once produced, and the store sadly reduced by the extraction of the golden coin. Madame transferred it to her own purse, and then taking up a pen, began with interrogations as to her qualifica tions, and whether she had ever been out before; but when she asked Barbara for a reference, she, poor girl, was at fault. “I–I can scarcely tell,” she stammered. of the kind, and—” She stopped—a sudden brilliant idea flashed across her. “If it would be of any use,” she said, “Mr. Seafield, my old master, and an organist, would, I feel sure, speak as to my musical abilities; he knew me well for some years.” “But where were you at school?” asked madame, suspiciously. Barbara flushed, but her look was steady and unflinching.

“I have never had a situation

“I was in the Orphan Asylum, madame,” she replied. “The matron would

no doubt answer any inquiries respecting me.” * brow contracted, and her eyebrows were raised in supercilious wonder. – “Really, young woman, I am not sure that I can do much, if anything, for you, under such circumstances,” she said. “My connection is of a º respectable, indeed an aristocratic class, who would probably object to suc antecedents as yours. However, I will see if there is any chance for you as an under teacher or nursery governess, or some inferior situation of that sort, which, perhaps, I might manage to obtain for you should your former mistress give a satisfactory account of you.” Barbara bowed, with the quiet, haughty bow of a superior, rather than the humble air of her proper position, in madame’s ideas; but it was rather from the despairing sadness that had settled on the poor girl’s heart, than from any over-estimate of herself, that the proud calm ess was derived. Barbara would have broken down at the slightest word of kindness or sympathy; but the supercilious contempt, the injustice to her conscious poverty of the stately Madame Wagner, roused her proud spirit, and she would have risked #. * starvation even, rather than have sued for assistance from the underbred, vulgar consequences, of the woman with whom she had to deal. “When shall I call again, madame?” she said coldly, as she rose to leave the room. “Why, let me see—well, in a week, perhaps,” was the reply. “I have your address, and can write if anything offers in the meantime.” But I do not see much chance for you among such a connection as mine. Good morning.” Madame’s head was once more bent over the ponderous folio, without even vouchsafing a glance at the pale face of the girl thus hopelessly dismissed. Mrs. Sewell had remained in the background during the interview, but no º had they left the formidable presence of madame, than her indignation urst forth. “She’s not a bit better than I am, Miss Graham, I can tell by her very look, nor so good. She does not know a lady when she sees one; but I do, and so does Susan; though, of course, she has not had my experience; and, if I were you, miss, I’d never see her again to be insulted like that.” The good woman’s outburst had the not unfrequent effect of both soothing Barbara’s irritation and showing her the folly of such useless rebellion against inevitable mortifications. – “It matters very little, my good Mrs. Sewell,” said Barbara, “if she can find me a situation, and I have not so much money as to throw away ten º on that pompous dame.” “Well, there’s something in that,” observed the good woman. “One hates to be imposed on, Miss Graham; but, take my advice, my dear young lady, and don’t take anything she offers you. Susan says you’re a very cleyer young lady, and I don’t see why you should not stand on your rights; and as to money, why, you’re welcome to stay with us as long as you like, and you can pay me when you are in full funds, as my husband calls it.”

Mrs. Sewell’s blunt kindness brought the tears to the eyes which had looked so unflinchingly and proudly on the pompous Madame Wagner. “You are very kind—too kind,” said Barbara; “but I could not rest in idleness—I should be wretched; I could not bear it, especially now.” The last words were almost inaudible, as they would have been unin telligible to the worthy woman; but the little hand which she had drawn

protectingly under her arm trembled so visibly, that she had the judgment and kindness to give up any further argument at that moment.

Blackwood’s Lady’s Magazine and Gazette of the Fashionable World, Or, St … (Google Books)

THE RANDOM SENTENCE. (Continued from page 181.)

“Believe me, my angelic young friend,” said this detestable woman; “that I take a sincere interest in all that concerns you, and I cannot evince it better, than by removing the veil from before your eyes, however pleasingly you may have viewed the world through its medium.”

“I am extremely thankful, madam,” said Ausonia, ” for this display of kindness on your part towards me; but I cannot think it possible for Captain Seabright to be the villain you picture. There is always a certain intonation of the voice bespeaking sincerity—always some expression of the eye telling of truth appertaining to the words and features of the truly candid, that renders it impossible to doubt a single sentence they utter, or a single action they perform.”

• “And on the other hand,” interrupted Miss Viper, with gleaming eyes, “is it your opinion that the deceitful carry equal indications in their language and deportment to detect their deceptions?” “Not always,” answered Ausonia, directing her own pure eyes with a scrutinizing glance upon the envenomed orbs of Joan; “for unfortunately the deceptious are generally gifted with a powerful command of countenance, yet even they may not unfrequently be discovered, as, like all hypocrites, they mostly over-act their parts.”

“Humph! We’ll have that cleared up. Do you reflect on me V

“No, I cannot suppose you capable of deceiving a poor untutored girl in the ways of the world, one who confidingly looks up to her elders for advice and support in the most momentous crisis of her life. And for the gratification of a vindictive disposition, sow the seeds of disappointment, fears, and misery in her heart, which would too surely break when they took root.”

Although there was an undisguised look of openness in Ausonia’s face as she spoke, yet there was something of sarcasm in her tone, which Joan did not half like, and she pettishly said, “Humph! you seem well versed in these matters. If such be your opinion, why not rely on what I say? However you shall have a proof—a damning proof”— and she struck the table with her clenched hand and glared, and ground her teeth. “Yes, young woman—my dear Ausonia, pray pardon my violence. Passion made me forget myself. Your own eyes shall witness Seabright’s treachery, if you will but follow my advice.” “And what is that?” said Ausonia, much affected.

“Merely to behave as usual to the Captain until the masquerade takes place, on which night I will say you will not be there. You may then, unobserved, mark the mutual passion between him and your Italian friend.”

“And what of Miss Freelove’s Italian friend 1” asked Signora Romanzini, entering the boudoir.

Miss Viper was astounded, and presenting her fiery nose against Adelaide, said “Oh nothing, butthatl was wishing you were here, to enliven Miss Freelove and myself a little.”

Ausonia disdaining to sanction by her silence the shadow of an untruth, said, “Youmistake, madam; you were alleging-”

“Hark,” interrupted Joan, much flurried; “some one is coming.”

“Oh ciel! how remiss I am,” cried Adelaide; “I forgot to say Miss Rokeby wished to see you. She will be quite tired with waiting.”

“Oh no, not at all, I should have ascended the stairs much sooner had that been the case,” said Miss Rokeby, entering.

“Dear madam, I am so glad to see you,” said Ausonia, affectionately embracing Miss Rokeby. “What has kept you from us the whole day?”

“A million of circumstances,” said the old lady, seating herself and adjusting her spectacles; “First I have been —acting the peace-maker between Mr. Clanwilliam and—but I see Adelaide blushes; so I suppose I must spare her for once.”

“This is indeed happy news,” said Ausonia; “and where is Mr. Clanwilliam?”

“Gone to preach a charity sermon, I believe, at Eastbourne, but he will be back in a day or two.”

“Humph! No doubt of that, when Miss Romanzini is here,” growled Joan. “Ah, Miss Viper, I really must offer every apology for not noticing you before. Pray congratulate me, for I have been defending the cause of our class, against the spiteful allegations of that stubborn personage, Sir Harry Railton. Would you believe it? he says that old maids are detestable creatures every one of them.”

“We’ll have that cleared up: and why, eh? But I need not ask, I’m sure—it is no concern of mine. I have no interest in what is said against old maids.”

“Oh, but surely you have, Miss Viper. It concerns us both, for we are not tamely to hear our sisterhood abused without standing up in their defence. I asked Sir Harry what cause he had for such an assertion: to which he replied, that we did nothing but invent and disseminate scandal. That an old maid was a creature, who, having been disappointed of wedlock in early life, employed all the infernal arts acquired in age and singleness to prevent others from entering that state. You may well look angry, Miss Viper, at our being thus vilified. But he said much more, and called us back-biters, ugly detractors, and a set of rusty fusty creatures, fit for nothing but to play whist, nurse cats, fondle superannuated lapdogs, and beat our little nephews and nieces.”

“The insolent wretch! he deserves strangling,”saidMissViper,passionately. “He does indeed, and I assure you, I felt much in the same situation with Widow Racket in the Belle’s Stratagem, when women of fashion are assailed by one of the characters. So, like her, I stepped forward, saying, Now hear my definition of an old maid. She is a creature of such rare excellence, that no man has been found worthy of her hand, and consequently she remains single, and the mistress of all hearts till death. She is one whose sole delight is in doing good, and opposing herself to the crafty

snares of the designer, whether male or female, against innocence. Go where she will, she meets the smile of welcome, for like the comet she attracts even more attention from the circumstance of being alone, than from her shining qualities. Nothing gives her more joy than assisting in matching some former lover with a valued friend through which she becomes universally adored. Her precepts are attended to; her words treasured in the hearts of all hearers; and though somewhat talkative, is listened to whenever she speaks with increasing delight. Thus happy herself and the cause of happiness in others, she glides through life, unlike your married women, who the moment after marriage, retire to their husband’s country seat, and there live ‘the world forgetting, by the world forgot.'”

It would be a task of utter impossibility to describe the countenance of Miss Viper while the worthy and goodnatured old lady was speaking. She glared and fumed, like a pot of ignited sulphur, and appeared in a most celestial agony the whole time. “Humph! Humph!” was all she said, and shortly afterwards relieved the company of her presence.

Until the following Saturday things went on smoothly enough. Ausonia, in the full confidence of Seabright’s purity, behaved in the same endearing manner as usual, and the fond lover casting aside for the time all suspicions and prejudices, gave himself up to the pleasure derived from her society. In the meantime neither Dowdeswell nor Miss Viper relaxed in their efforts to complete their plans.

On the evening preceding the gala, the usual party were assembled at Mrs. Dowdeswell’s, whose whole conversation was engrossed by one topic—Ireland’s Masquerade.

“We shall all be there, I suppose,” said Adelaide.

“Now is the time,” whispered Miss Viper, to Ausonia; “Say you do not intend to go.”

“I cannot utter an untruth,” faltered the innocent girl.

“But it is absolutely necessary, therefore I will say so for you,” and accordingly Joan announced Miss Freelove’s intention of remaining at home, as she felt indisposed.

. “This is a good one for you,” said Dowdeswell, softly in Seabright’s ear, who directly said that being the case, the gardens would contain no charms for him, and therefore he should follow the young lady’s example.

Much conversation now ensued, in which the schemers contrived to mix their artful praises on constancy, and with well dissembled good humour, rallied Seabright on the sober choice he had at first intended to make of a dress.

“Never mind, John,” said Miss Rokeby; it is the best you could have assumed, because you know you had only to unmask, and you might shrive fifty beautiful nuns, without their being tempted to take a second glance at your face, having once looked at it.

“Upon my word, aunt,” returned Seabright, laughingly, “I wish your features were sufficiently ill favoured to permit a retaliation of your inuendo.”

“You would make an excellent quaker, Captain,” cried Adelaide: “a well turned compliment for a saucy speech is what I could hardly have expected even from you.”

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” tittered Jingle, who of late had grown uncommonly jocose.

At length the long-looked-forward-to night arrived, and Ausonia, with a beating heart, seated herself in Miss Viper’s carriage by the side of that lady. Both attired in blue dominoes, which with their black masks, effectually concealed the face and figure of each, and they passed into the gardens unknown.

Those who remember that night will not easily forget the splendour of the scene. All appeared in one bright blaze. The alcoves, the grottoes, the vistas, the serpentine walks, and the luxuriant foliage of the trees, which at different parts shaded them, were illuminated with innumerable lamps of every size and colour. Numerous bands of musicians dressed in various costumes filled the air with sweet sounds, and some hundred beings, moving in every direction in pursuit of pleasure, joined to their gay apparel, and their witty and playful badinage, under the security of their masks, formed a coupd’oeil which for liveliness, diversity, or splendour, was perhaps never equalled. On the lawn usually appropriated as a cricket-ground, was erected a magnifi

cent marquee, covering the whole extent of the green. Its interior was embossed with crimson, and the roof glittered with gilded ornaments which sparkled amid the rays of a thousand lights; and beneath might he seen Sultans, Knights, Cavaliers, and Troubadours with their fair partners measuring their footsteps in a dance to the strains which accompanied them.

“Now, Seabright—now!”—said a young man enveloped in a black domino, “look towards the entrance, and see where deceit in her fairest form approaches.”

“Gracious Heavens! Dowdeswell — where?—no—you mistake—that surely is not Ausonia.”

“Nay, nay,—come nearer and convince yourself—look well, that lock of silken hair is not to be mistaken. It is a dark tress unmatched perhaps in the world.”

“I fear it indeed is her,” said Seabright sickening with anxiety; “yet if it be, she appears to be under the protection of a female.”

“Why did you not bring your telescope with yon, Captain? Watch for a minute or two. There—now the domino is partially open. See, Captain, see, what dress it covers.”

Seabright directed his eye to the stranger’s apparel, and saw that it was a man to whose arm Ausonia clung for support.

“It is not—it cannot be Miss Freelove,” cried the young officer with the degree of hope which actuates a drowning man to catch at a straw.

“Oh love, how blind are thy votaries!” exclaimed Alfred. “It is her; and thus I prove it;” as he spoke, Dowdeswell grasped Seabright’s arm, and hurried him past the two they had been observing, and as he did so, he twitched the string of the lady’s mask. It fell to the ground, and discovered the features of Ausonia Freelove. A single glance assured Seabright of the fact, and he rushed madly from the tent.

“Stay, stay!” cried his tormentor, “accompany me to the outside of the gardens, and you may have an opportunity of speaking to her; for in spite of what I have said, and what we have seen, it will not be right to abandon all hope, till her own lips confirm your worst fears.”

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Thus did the wretch torture his victim with every engine by which the mind can be assailed.

Meanwhile Miss Viper led Ausonia from crowd to crowd, until they reached the bridge crossing the Canal, where, leaning upon its parapet and watching the hydraulic exhibition, was Adelaide Romanzini, whom Miss Freelove knew from her dress of an Italian peasant girl. But how was she shocked on seeing her friend’s waist encircled by the arm of one attired as a monk.

“It is Seabright,” muttered Miss V-per in a suppressed tone.

“Thenfarewelleveryearthlyjoy,” said Ausonia, sinking into Joan’s arms.

“Bear up, bear up, my friend: shew your just indignation. Fly with me to Cumberland till the villain leaves England,” exclaimed Miss Viper, passing her arm through that of Ausonia, and hurrying her from the scene.

“Lead me where you please—to death if you will,” faintly articulated Ausonia, yielding herself to the guidance of this female fiend.

Seabright had not waited above half an hour, when he saw Ausonia suddenly emerge from the entrance, accompanied by the domino with whom he had before seen her. They proceeded with hurried steps to a carriage, the door of which was ready open and the steps let down. A footman instantly lifted Miss Freelove into the vehicle, and as her companion sprang after her, the cloak again flew open as if by accident, revealing more clearly the dress beneath, and a masculine voice cried aloud, “Drive to the nearest Northern Road with your utmost speed !”— No sooner were these words uttered, than the horses started off with rapidity and left Seabright far behind.

“A horse! a horse [“exclaimed a tall young man darting forward in the slashed hose-trunk and vest of a cavalier, ” but stay, I must cover this dress,” and he snatched a great coat from the arm of a coachman, on which it hung.

“Hollo! you sir! Whose property are you a prigging of,” shouted the man, attempting to collar the purloiner, who dexterously dropping on his knees, fairly darted between his legs—each of which fortunately described a most favorable semicircle—tripped him up, and exclaimed—” Gads my life, what’s that to you?” Then leaping on a horse

standing by, sharply switched the groom’s hand that held the bridle, and, using both whip and spur, followed in the same track taken by the coach with astonishing rapidity, ” Stop thief! Stop thief!” burst from the astonished crowd, and in return the winds brought back the cry of “Catch me who can, demme!” as the fugitive became lost to sight.

“What in the devil’s name can this mean?” was Dowdeswell’sexclamation, as he abruptly quitted Seabright’s side, and the latter, almost stupified with what he had seen, threw his cloak and mask at his feet, and rushed towards the sea-side: he there cast himself upon the ground and gave vent to his agonized feelings, in sobs and bitter tears, till morning broke upon the slumbering world.

There is an Island in the East, which suffers much from drought, and ashower of rain is hailed by its inhabitants with the same rapture that an Englishman displays on the approach of summer. Often will a dark cloud hover o’er the Isle, for hours, which the people anxiously watch in hope to receive the liquid contents of its bosom on the parched ground. As if to nurture these hopes, the vapour will spread itself over the whole extent of the Island, when suddenly a breeze arises, drives southward the clouds, and soon the expected treasure is cast uselessly into the sea.

Thus had Seabright been led onwards. All he wished for in the world had seemed within reach. He prepared to grasp it in his arms, when an unexpected whirlwind carried the prize far—far beyond the boundary even of hope, and like the shower it became lost for ever. He revolved every circumstance in his mind, which had led to this conclusion, and as he did so, every wish of life faded before him.

“There, there lies a speedy termination to my woes,” said he pointing with frenzy to the ocean. *’Oft times have 1 rode in my gallant ship on the surface of yon waters; now shall their billows wave over one, whose fate has been as turbulent as themselves!” and whilst he spoke Seabright rose, and placing his hands to his eyes, prepared to plunge into the sea, when a hand and voice arrested him. He looked up, and saw Miss Rokeby standing on the cliff.

“Madman! what are you about to do?” she exclaimed.

“Away, Madam, away! thwart not my purpose. I am mad with evil, and may force you to share my fate.”

“Ungovernable man!” said the lady, extending her arm before him, “tell me what prompts you to this fell deed.”

“Disappointed hopes. I imagined,— and oh, how brilliant was the dream !— that Ausonia loved me,—not a wreck of the vision is left behind—she is gone— she has gone and left me.”

“Gone! impossible,—whither?”

“Fled,—eloped,—fool, that I was, not to bring my pistols with me — a bullet should have pursued the ruffian.”

“John, you are deceived — Some mystery lurks beneath all this. Ausonia lives but for you.”

“Talk to the idle wind, madam,” said Seabright, “Lives but for me!” he added sarcastically, ” look on this paper —look at the superscription, and then say who Ausonia lives for.”

“Thank Heaven, I can find a key to unlock this,” said Miss Rokeby, glancing at the letter. “Seabright, believe neither your ears nor your eyes—nor the evidence of any one sense, till you again hear from me. Nay, listen, I repeat, that Miss Freelove is yours—and if you can summon resolution to plant a dagger in the heart of one who loves you, I will withdraw my arm, and leave you to rush unbidden into eternity. Now die, if thou darest?” and with the last sentence, she retired a few paces— her arm still extended—a few thin snowy locks floating about her brow—and looking like an aged saint “newly lit from the skies,” to warn him from his unholy attempt.

“Madam,” ejaculated Seabright, awed and abashed, ” I know not what to say: I am lost in a maze of perplexity —I have seen—I have heard enough to drive me mad, and yet you call it all delusion. • For God’s sake reconcile this inconsistency.”

“I can explain nothing now,” cried Miss Rokeby; “remain at Brighton till you see or hear from me.—Obey me and live.”—Then waving her hand, she vanished in ” the morning mist.”

Puzzled and astonished, our hero scarcely knew which way to turn. At one moment he thought of following his

aunt—and the next contented himself with following her injunctions. “At all events,” said he, ” I will go to Mrs. Dowdeswell’s: perhaps 1 may receive an elucidation of all this.” No sooner was the resolution formed, than he hastened to put it in execution; but on reaching the house, fresh subject for wonder presented itself. The whole place was in confusion, and the worthy lady, its mistress, busy packing up.

“What’s all this, Mrs. Dowdeswell?” asked Seabright. “How is it that you are leaving us in such a hurry?”

“Good Lord! Captain, is that you? You may well ask; but the question is, whether I can answer. Such a to-do I’m sure I never met with in my life. First came home the news at twelve last night, that Miss Freelove had run away no one knows where. Then comes SignoraRomanzini and Mr. Clanwilliam frightened to death, no one knows why. And scarcely had I time to get over the fluster they put me in, when pop comes Miss Rokeby, whips the lady and gentleman into her carriage, and whirls them off, scarcely saying Good-bye before they went. A pretty account, indeed, I shall have to give their parents. But I disclaim the thing altogether, for I am sure I had not a single iota to do with it, for I expected they would have been present at the anniversary of my birth on Tuesday. But that I suppose is knocked on the head now, so I must e’en pack after them,—Oh dear, dear! the plague of attempting to manage a parcel of young girls.”

The old lady, after running on so far, was obliged to pause for breath, when Seabright took the opportunity of asking where her son was; but before she could answer, a servant entered and presented a letter on his official salver.

“From my son, I declare,” said the old lady; “you may retire, Thomas,” and as the door closed, she read aloud: “Honored Madam,

“You will no doubt ere long hear matters to my prejudice, which although untrue, will preclude me from making any longer stay in Brighton, and even from remaining with my own family until the affair has blown over.

Yours in duty and affection,
Alfred Dowdeswell.”

“Mercy upon us! the whole world hasgone mad together, I think,”screamed Mrs. Dowdeswell, “completely turned topsy turvy! What am I to make of all this, Mr. Seabright?” But the Captain heard her not; forscarcely was the letter finished, than, exclaiming ” Confusion! he has betrayed me, and fears a discovery,” he made for the door, and ran full speed from the house, whilst Mrs. Dowdeswell, worked up to the highest pitch of astonishment and curiosity, sat down despairing of an explanation, and placing her hands upon her knees, said in a doleful voice, ” Crack, crackbrained every one of them!”

Seabright searched the town through, but Alfred was, however, no-where to be found; he then proceeded to the hotel where Charles Mackenzie resided; but he too was gone, and his footman added he believed on a visit to the parents of Lady Mornington, as he had been ordered to follow him to their mansion in London.

“Then I am left alone—to my own melancholy reflections,” said Seabright, slowly pacing down the street, and giving way to his unpleasing thoughts, which wandered to that haven of bliss, now, at least as he imagined, unapproachable. Every spot where Ausonia had walked depicted past scenes before him; and now that a repetition was beyond all hope, they appeared arrayed in greater charms than those originally belonging to their reality. Day after day did he seat himself upon some cliff, which Ausonia had admired, to dwell upon her image; and not till night-fall did he turn his steps homewards, for Seabright was of a nature to sink beneath the pressure of misfortunes, rather than rouse himself and break through their meshes.

At length a week lagged to a close, and the Captain was preparing for his usual misanthropical stroll, when, rat tat! was heard the postman’s knock.

“A letter from London, Sir,” said the servant, delivering one into his master’s hands, who hastily broke open the seal: it contained but few words. “Dear Nephew,

“All is cleared up—Call upon me in Grosvenor Square the moment you reach London, for which place I doubt not you will start immediately. I-am, my dear Boy,

Your affectionate Aunt,

Rosina Rokeby.” Vol II.—No. 13.

“Follow me to London as soon as possible,” exclaimed Seabright to his servant, starting from his chair.

Ten minutes found him in a postchaise, and on the road to the metropolis, which he reached in a few hours. He arrived in Grosvenor Square, and was soon seated in Miss Rokeby’s drawing-room.— When the usual salutations were over, she immediately entered upon an explanation of all that had occurred.

“In the first place,” she said, “if you will be good enough to examine this letter, to which you attach so much importance, you will perceive that it has been written at a different period from the superscription; as not only the ink is deeper, but the paper bears a different stamp and date to the envelope: you will likewise see that the words his, he and his, have been very neatly altered, with penknife and pen, from her, she and her.”

“That is indeed the case, but what am I to infer from it?”

“Why, that from some unknown cause, Miss Viper — that stain to womanhood—and Alfred Dowdeswell have conspired to rob you of Ausonia Freelove.—This epistle was in reality written by that excellent young lady to a niece of Miss Viper’s, with whom she had contracted a friendship, but which they were obliged to break off, as Miss Viper’s jealousy urged her to exert an undue authority over her relation, and prevent her from appearing in public, lest an unfavorable contrast might be made between the aunt and niece; and as a proof of all this,” continued Miss Rokeby, opening her escrutoire, “here is the original covering in which the note was enclosed.” Seabright took it from her hand, and with unbelieving eyes saw that it was addressed to “Miss Marina Symmonds.” “You see,” added the spinster, “that it is a half-sheet, and if you compare it with the enclosure, you will find that they evidently formed one sheet originally, which has been torn in two, in the absence of proper note paper.”

“But how, in the name of all that is wonderful, came you possessed of this?” asked Seabright.

“That is easily accounted for,” said his aunt, smiling: “It was through the means of my popinjay, who having une E E

affaire du coeur, with Miss Viper’s maid, frequently visited the house, and was once nearly discovered, had he not fortunately popped into a closet, where he remained nearly two hours, and overheard a long conversation between his mistress’s mistress and young Dowdeswell, in which they spake frequently of their good fortune in being able to insert a letter of Ausonia’s in an old envelope. After theyhad gone,Timothy (or Ariosto, which you please) slipped from his hiding-place, and securing a few papers they had left behind, posted with them to me, as he said it was a shame so worthy a gentleman as you should be imposed upon. I need not say that this is one of them.”

“This is certainly a great relief to my mind,” said the Captain. “Butthere are other circumstances.”

“Which shall all be explained:—you may remember Dowdeswell desiring you to say it was your intention to wear a monk’s dress at the masquerade.”

“Stay, Madam, stay — how learned you that?”

“Ask no questions, Sir—Mr. Jingle was within hearing; let that suffice. Now from part of what my popinjay overheard, when he was in the closet, I desired him to follow Mr. Dowdeswell wherever he went the night previous to the fete. He did so, and traced him to Eastbourne, where he saw him deliver a letter to a countryman with directions to leave it at the house of the clergyman, where Mr. Clanwilliam was then staying. A little finesse transferred the epistle into Jingle’s hands, and he became the bearer of it himself. It contained a request that he would honour the masquerade with his presence, where Adelaide would await him, and in order that she might know him, he had to wear a monk’s frock. This was signed in my name, under the supposition, I imagine, that as I had reconciled that gentleman to Adelaide a short time previous, he would be more inclined to obey my mandate. As soon as Jingle had informed me of all this, my eyes were opened, and I clearly saw that it was their intention to persuade Ausonia that you had gone secretly for the purpose of meeting her friend, and point out Clanwilliam as you. I however could not penetrate their intentions respecting yourself, so I set my indefatigable aid

de-camp to watch Miss Viper’s movements, whilst I kept an eye upon Dowdeswell. I was by when he pointed out Ausonia to you.”

“Tell me, madam, I beseech you,” interrupted Seabright, “before you go any further, who it was that accompanied her.”

“No other than the honorable Miss Viper.”

“Impossible!”

“But true nevertheless. Popinjay had discovered early in the evening that a suit of Dowdeswell’s clothes had been conveyed to Miss Viper’s residence. This was enough. I instantly surmised the whole. You were to believe she was a man, and be driven to consequent despair, but I could not imagine they would go so far as to run off with Ausonia, and was therefore unprepared to prevent it. You may judge my astonishment at the catastrophe, which was so great, that I was actually deprived of speech for a time, and all my labours would have been rendered vain, had not Jingle promptly followed to discover where they went.”

“And did he so, madam?” asked the Captain.

“Yes; he never quitted the pursuit till he saw the ladies safely housed at Snake Hall, a seat in Cumberland of Miss Viper’s; who, I should have told you, changed her apparel at the first inn without having been discovered by Ausonia, as the large domino she wore effectually concealed her male attire from all save those whom she deemed it necessary to see it.”

“Then, Heaven be praised! my Ausonia is innocent. Oh, my dearest madam, you have removed a mountain from my heart. What a long perspective of happiness have you raised before me; but pray proceed in your interesting development.”

“Little more need be said. I followed you,—saved you from a ducking,— told the excellent young clergyman and his intended spouse of the whole affair: brought them to London, and wrote off to Ausonia immediately. So you see, nephew,” added the old lady, good humouredly rapping his cheek with her fan; “after all said and done, The Random Sentence is likely to prove oracular at last.”

“Why, Aunt, I am astonished. You

know every thing. .Where learnt you Signora Romanzini, who you will no

that incident?” doubt be happy to hear is indissolubly

“Tush! 1 am ignorant of nothing, united to youi friend Clanwilliam,

A little bird in the air tells me of all Charles Mackenzie, my popinjay, and

circumstances relating to my friends; so Clanwilliam himself of course, will do

take heed of yourself. And now pre- us that honour.”

pare for a journey to Cumberland, as I “And happy am I to hear it, especially

wrote Ausonia that we should come Mr. Jingle, to whose kindness I am so

down and bring her back in triumph.” much indebted.”

“I am ready to start this instant,” “They are all in the house, and

said Seabright, his fine eyes sparkling waiting to congratulate you,” said Miss

with extacy. Rokeby, at the same time rising to con

“I dare say you are, but I am not,” duct her nephew into the apartment,

returned Miss Rokeby. “We are not where his friends were assembled, going alone, I assure you, nor will you {To be continued.)

be sorry to hear who joins our party.

THE ABSENT ONE.

The hall is lighted, and the throng

Is gathered, of the young and fair;—
The harp, the lute, the dance, the song,

Combine to shed their witchery there;
But one is absent from that hall,
Whose smiles were worth the smiles of all.

The music sounds—the dancers lead

Their partners to the joyous ring,
As gladsome as the young bird freed,

When first he tries his tiny wing,—
But she, whose step was like the snow—
So soft, so light—where is she now?

She is not there, and is there one

Who smiles the less that she is not?
And can it be the star that shone

To brighten all, is thus forgot?
And does not this gay scene recal
The image once so lov’d by all?

Take from the lyre its sweetest string,—

Take from the lute its softest tone,—
And all the other chords but bring

The memory of that dearest one;
Yet she, whose lowest breathings were
Like seraph-songs, is miss’d not there!

Oh, yes! there is amidst them one—

One heart whose broken strings can tell,
That she who first awoke their tone,

Is there at least remember’d well,
Altho’ its master’s smiling eye,
That heart’s remembrance would belie.

The outward signs of pain and woe,

Are like the surface of the tide
When chafed by tempests—though below

Its depths may all serenely glide;
And under-currents wildly sweep,
When all above is hush’d in sleep.

Laok.