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friendship as can subsist, independ- quences to poor Philip had been ent of one congenial point in our bounded by making him an awkward, characters, has always been kept up and dissatisfied Briton-disqualified, between us. Jack, who was, like for the pursuits, and disinclined for myself, a younger brother, owed to, the pastimes, of his countrymen. the good offices of my mother, the But deeper evils still had nearly Governpient situation, which ena- sprung from the siren song and witchbled him to rear and support, though ing graces of the south; and those in comparative obscurity, the off- who deprecate foreign connexions for spring of a marriage of consummate their children, would do well to and characteristic imprudence; and pause ere they expose their susceptinow that Jack has succeeded to the ble feelings to fascinations which it family estate, I verily believe he may be alike misery to yield to, or could not enjoy it, if her son did not resist. grace his board much oftener than The
young man's letter—the first his recluse habits and quiet disposi- for many a long year-breathed a tion render agreeable.
very pleasing desire to cultivate the My next visit, though one of bri- acquaintance of his only near reladal felicitation, proved one of the tion; and agreeably surprised me by deepest calls on my sympathy which the information that he was actually it had perhaps ever experienced. in England, on a visit to a nobleman
I received during the course of in the north, with whose nephew he the autumn, a letter from my only had formed an intimacy abroad, and nephew, the son of my elder brother, to whose only daughter, a beautiful Artbur, and that dazzling Caroline, young woman, with whom he was the name of my boyhood, one whose sure I should be pleased, he was on gay facile disposition I formerly men, the point of being united. He was tioned, as having led her to the desirous, if possible, to spend a few verge of error, from which she was weeks with his bridal party at our timely rescued by myself, and a saint old family seat, to which I have benow in heaven.
fore alluded, in the county in which Arthur died early in life, in a fo- I was now residing—and ventured to reign land, where he had been order- request me to ride over to Westerton, ed for his health ; and his widow, to and give directions for such tempowhose character foreigu manners rary accommodations as the neglectwere congenial, had ever since re- ed mansion, in its state of long dilapimained abroad, retaining her only dation, could be made to afford. son, on whom she doated, as her in My heart warmed, as I read, to. separable companion. This was, wards the son of my poor Arthur, during the life of my mother, one of whose marriage I hoped would the most severe and least patiently prove, in all respects, a more conendured trials. She had no illiberal genial one-and I found, during auprejudices, beyond that legitimate tumn, very agreeable employment in and ennobling preference which eve- fulfilling his request. My first visit, ry native of this free and happy land however, to the home of my childmust feel for its morals and its man- hood—for later I had not inhabited ners; but the thought of a young it—was abundantly trying,-from man of birth and fortune, thus es- precisely opposite causes to those tranged from every English feeling which often render such visits in and association, made her almost after life painful. Many old men unjust to the lands in which he had complain of the metamorphoses been brought up an alien, and to- which their home has undergone; wards the mother, whose mingled and feel as if improvements and emromance and levity had induced her bellishments were outrages on its to prefer them.
remembered sanctity. Here, noIt had been well if the conse- thing had been altered, nothing im
proved-but the house which I had vices unintelligible to modern vertu. thought princely, and which even the Many of the bedrooms were covered county histories of the day styled the with that sort of faded tapestry, fine New Place of Westerton, seem- where (as I once remarked, with ined to stand alone in its neglect and describable awe, to be the case with its desolation, while all around bore the objects of nature during an althe smiling marks of rapidly advanc- most total eclipse) trees, skies, men ing taste and comfort.
and women, all assume one pallid It had been let to casual tenants as nondescript tint-like the ghosts of long as these would submit to its Ossian, scarce distinguishable from long damp passages, gaping sashes, the grey clouds on which they floatdecaying floors, and scanty furniture ed, or the grey mountains on which -but that time had long been past, these reposed. The ceilings again, and an old gardener alone, a contem- teemed with sparkling gods and godporary of its better days, lived in the desses, whose unnatural attitudes and mansion he still thought uprivalled, bulky limbs, as viewed by the flicksighing over its decay, and the still ering light of an expiring wood-fire, more complete desolation of those seemed to threaten a second fall famous terraced gardens which, in from Olympus—and I remember, their pride, he had supposed no faint even yet, my boyish horror, lest an image of those of Babylon, but Icarus, whom no wings save those of which his feeble arm had long prov- a fabulous roc could have supported ed unable to rescue from becoming, --should really tumble, and crush like them, a “howling wilderness. " me in my bed.
It was a fine soft autumnal morning The garden was the very beau when I rode up to the house; shock- idéal of desolation ; for, to the not ed by the neglect of the once trim unpicturesque wildness soon assumed yew hedges and over-grown grass by unrestrained vegetation, was addwalks which, in my youthful igno- ed the far less pleasing ruin of the rance of better things, I had fancied costly labours of art. Buttresses, the very perfection of taste.
whose very ivy looked grey and suThe old gardener, aware of my perannuated,
from coming, was hobbling about in the walls, the yawning chasms in which sun, before the door, anxious to catch were rendered more unsightly by the the first glimpse of his mistress's cankered branches of the once trimly son,--and looked with his crutch dressed fruit-trees, partially adhering (for he was almost a cripple from to them. Flights of steps, so broken rheumatism) in too good keeping as scarce to afford footing, led to with all around.
lower and lower ranges of less and The house was a long straggling less cultivated garden-ground; while mansion, which the vanity of my an- noseless, nay, headless statues, lay cestor had expanded into an impos- prostrate, across the path, or stood ing length of front, while his finances like mementoes of the taste of fore had proportionally contracted its gotten generations. breadth, ,--so that it consisted of end Last of all, came what was once a less files of rooms, following each blooming orchard, and now a reedy other in antique state and tarnished swamp, whose moss-grown stumps finery, like a procession, not over- barely indicated its former destinawell appointed, in a country theatre. tion. It had boasted, in its centre, The small narrow windows were suf- of a pond, or lake, as it was ambificiently numerous to admit light, tiously called, where two miserablebut too high to afford any prospect pinioned swans sighed for their nato those who might be attracted by tive waters—but the chains of both the vicinity of the huge antique the element and its prisoners had chimneys, which, grim with the long since been broken, and while smoke of a century, presented de- the latter had perhaps sought the
boundless lakes of Norway, the for- could not drown. It was, therefore, mer had usurped possession of all with a deep presentiment of sorrow the adjacent level.' I turned hastily that I went to meet this bridal party from this meanest aspect of desola- at my paternal mansion. tion, and ran up the broken stair
a chill foggy afternoon cases, delighted to recognize, in the when I drove up the old-fashioned old bowling-green above, one curious straight avenue, and there would flower-bed, forming a true lover's have been something very cheering knot, which the gardener would have in the blaze of lights which streamed deemed a sacrilege not to keep in from almost every window of the its original quaint neatness. He told mansion, had I not encountered its me it was made by him in honour of master, his back turned to the festive my mother's marriage, from one of scene, pacing, wrapped in his travelthe French King's at Versailles—of ling pelisse, up and down the apthe almost equal dilapidation of proach. I stopped the carriage, and which seat of royalty, I question springing out, embraced the son of whether he had ever heard !
Arthur and Caroline with parental My exertions, and those of the affection. The likeness to his mouniversal genius of the nearest town, ther, even in the imperfect light, was whom I took into my councils, suc- such that I should have recognized ceeded in putting a habitable face on him anywhere. He was moved, far the old premises, many weeks before beyond what I supposed our mere the gay party found it convenient to relationship could call forth ; and, take possession; and I began to anxious to give a more cheerful turn think the idea had been altogether to the interview, I put my arm withgiven up, and to feel, unfit as I was in his, and begged to be conducted for such society, a degree of natural to his bride. disappointment, when, late in De " She is riding, or walking, or cember, which had not failed this something,” said he, “ with the rest year to come in all its gloom and of them. You will see her by and dreariness, 1 heard that my nephew by." We now entered the drawingand Lady Jane, along with a whole room, and in the full light it affordtroop of the set he had been living ed, I gazed on the slender, elegant, amung in the North, were daily ex- almost feminine-looking youth, whose pected. They only came a few pensive and eloquent countenance days before Christmas, when I was, bespoke him as quick to feel as he as usual, at Dunbarrow, quite on the was perhaps upequal to struggle with other side of the county, so that I the inevitable disappointments and could not, as I intended, ride over evils of life. There was an expression and pay an immediate visit of con- of settled dejection on his fine feagratulation. Philip, however, wrote tures which made me shudder; and to me in a strain that would take no it contrasted so with his position as a denial, urging my coming to stay "recent bridegroom, and returned heir, with him whenever I should have that it shocked me the more. fulfilled my previous engagements.
66 We have made the old Chateau He conjured me, by the love I had tolerably comfortable, I hope, neborne to his father and mother, to phew,” said I. come and be a friend to their son; “ I believe they find it so," said he but amid this exuberance of kind- negligently ; “ as for me, I know too ness, there was little indeed of the little of what English comforts are, joy of a bridegroom. There was to be sensible of their absence. something in the words of this short Your winter," added he, shivering, gloomy epistle, which haunted me “is sadly gloomy, and I feel a want painfully amid the placid stillness of of sunshine which all your coal fires Dunbarrow, and it was a knell which cannot compensate." all the joyous tumult of Thornley
6 Don't let it affect your spirits,
my dear nephew,” said I ; “ we have their entertainment and bost-promany things besides coal fires to voked me by alternately devouring make sunshine withio doors in Eng- and disparaging everything before laod. The smiles of a wife, for ið- them; wbile Philip, a stranger to stance.”
their local wit, and disgusted with “Cold as your northern sups!" their selfishness, sat nearly silent by was the muttered reply, in a tone of my side ; and Lady Jane, more rabitterness which really frightened diant than ever, listened complacentme. “I am as bad a judge of Eng, ly, if not encouragingly, to tbe small lish smiles as of everything else I talk of her privileged cousin, the suppose,”_added he, in a softened puppy of the set. accent_“I have been spoilt for I never in my life saw such an illthem too I fear.”
There were one or Just then a loud sound of talking two ladies, meet helpmates for their and laughter announced the return of foxhunting or blackleg lords, silly, the equestrians, and my painful curi- insipid, or worse ; and it was imosity to see my new niece, was grati- possible not to pity a poor foreigner fied. I had heard that she was thrown by his hard fate among such handsome! She was more-she was a specimen of British bon ton. dazzlingly beautiful-her tall fine the guests I could scarce waste a figure, set off by her riding dress, and thought; but Lady Jane cost me her complexion, heightened by exer- much painful rumination. She was cise, struck me with admiration; and certainly clever and accomplished; I wondered what Philip could mean she must despise the beings around by “cold smiles,” when with one of her; nay, I saw she did, by the irresistible frankness, she bade ole smile which curled her beautiful lip, welcome to Westerton. She made when their absurdity out-Heroded some lively remarks on their ride, itself. It was scarce possible she and joined cheerfully in the chil-chat should dislike her handsome, refined, around. I looked at my nephew, to deeply interesting husband; she did whom she had not spoken ; and he, not.-" Thank God !” ejaculated I probably reading my astonishment, mentally more than once, when I rose as with an effort, and approach- detected her large blue eyes fixed ing us, asked her in a tone of tender with a softened expression on his interest, if she felt fatigued? As if face. " I will know the true histoall her animation had been suddenly ry of all this,” said I to myself; chilled by a painful recollection, she two young hearts shall not misuncoldly and gravely answered, “Not derstand each other if I can help it." in the least ;" and rising with ungra There was in the party one indicious haste, left the room to dress. vidual whom I could not help regard* There must be something at the ing as the evil genius of the pairbottom of this,” thought I, as my the cousin of Lady Jane, who had nephew, shaking his head sorrow- been acquainted abroad with Philip, fully, led me, with the rest of the and whose mutual representations gentlemen, to my room.
had greatly conduced to make the When we met at dinner, I was match. This young man, who was much struck with the contrast be- certainly of a cold calculating dispotween the plain substantial meals sition, but in whose glances I could wbich in my childhood covered my not avoid occasionally suspecting a father's board, and the perfectly for warmer sentiment towards his fair reign air wbich, under the superin- cousin, seemed to exercise over her tendence of an Italian Major domo, uncommon influence; and before the the table had now assumed. The evening was over, I fancied she took party - who seemed about equally advantage of his absence to address made
of mere sportsmen who de- a few words of more than common spised, and dashers who criticised, kindness to her lord. He returned
and found them sitting together; and so soon? For you were but young, his supercilious look of reproach I have heard, when you lost your gave me, as I supposed, a key, of intended bride ?”_ And this recentwhich I determined to avail myself
. ly married yoang creature hung on A few days placed me on a foot- my reply as if worlds depended on ing of privileged intimacy with my its tenor. niece, who seemed to indemnify her “I did, indeed, Lady Jane, if self by kindness to me for her re- love's sacred name could be usurped straint elsewhere, and taking her by idle, frantic, unrequited passion! arm within mine for a long walk, one But such as it was, it melted before bright frosty morning, I ventured to a steadier and holier flame, as a fehiot that I did not think the air of verish dream flies before morniog's England seemed altogether to agree fresh invigorating breeze." with her husband. I was delighted “ There is hope for me yet, then !" to feel the start with which she re- exclaimed my young companion, no ceived this observation.
longer repressing the tears which in“ Do you really think so ?” said jured pride had long forbidden to she, stopping and looking earnestly flow. up in my face.
“Hope ?" said I, "and of what?” “ Oh! perhaps,” said I, wishing for I could not yet divine where to touch another chord,” it may be lurked the demon fatal to her peace. only something on his spirits; he is 6 That Philip may love me in certainly not so happy, as, with all time, in spite of his early and mad he has to make him so," kiodly attachment to the Italian girl his mopressing her arm," methinks he ought ther rescued from taking the veil, to be !"
and whom, but for her and my My fair companion grew very cousin Charles, he would have marpale; and her lips were compressed ried.” as with the effort of one, determined The whole mystery, as it regarded to be silent, coute qui coute.
my niece, was now unravelled ; jeal“I seek not to intrude on your ousy accounted for all her dissemconfidence, my dear niece," said I ; bled coldness, but whether any trace “mine is, alas ! no idle curiosity. of entanglement still combated, in Philip is my only brother's only son, my nephew's breast, bis evident atand his mother was once the object tachment to his bride, I could not be of a boyish passion, which it nearly quite certain. I, however, felt sufficost me life to subdue.”
ciently confident of the contrary, to " His mother !” exclaimed Lady cheer her heart with assurances of Jane, scarce conscious of the abrupt- the genuine and unfeigned affection ness of her interruption; “ I always I had remarked in his conduct tothought-"then suddenly aware wards her. of the delicate ground on which she “Oh, he is very, very kind; but was treading, the sweet girl blushed, when, some weeks after our marriage, and hesitatingly added—“ I had un- I received the cruel Vittoria's letter, derstood the object of your youthful invoking curses on my head, and affection was renoved to a better boasting of the indelible hold she world.”
possessed over Philip's perjured “ You heard but the truth, my dear heart, I thought I should have died. niece," replied I, with a sigh. “She I flew and upbraided my cousin with to whom my heart has ever remained his knowledge of this prior attachindissolubly united, is indeed no ment; he confessed it, but, while he more ; but the attachment I felt for gloried in having assisted to break it her was but enhanced and deepened off, and affected to treat it with by contrast with the meteor blaze of scorn, he warned me how I revived passion which preceded it."
a slumbering spark by any senti“ Did you really love twice--and mental allusions or unguarded dis