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every occasion that offered, he was the Earl's most obsequious and very humble servant.De Vere also watched Constance's conduct to himself, and certainly was less pleased with it than usual; nor was he consoled, when he learned from his mother the advice she had given to her niece in regard to the Earl.
“These thoughts may startle well, but not astound
The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
So felt De Vere, when he told his mother that he entirely agreed with her in the propriety of the advice she had given.
“My mother," said De Vere, “ certainly loves me, but has acted perfectly like herself; let me not disgrace her.” His nights, however, were sleepless.
“ And what, and where am I?” said he to himself, two mornings after Lord Cleveland's arrival: “and what my resolution, never even to attempt to interfere with Constance ? She is now evidently courted to an alliance, equal to her, and by a man—" He could not finish the sentence.
In truth, with all Lord Cleveland's dazzling superiorities in many points, De Vere could not
bring himself to say, that in any of the worthier qualities of heart, disposition, or character, the nobleman was equal to, or to be named with his cousin. The dairy-house, its garden and the brook, and the thousand friendly discussions of their summer mornings, all rose before him, and sooth to say, saddened his heart.
But he remembered the vehemence of his honourable pledge, uncalled for, indeed, but made before his mother to Constance herself, that “though he had a mind to distinguish and adore merit, and a heart to feel beauty, yet he had firmness to brave and relinquish all, if duty to the possessor of them required it.”
“ Yes !” said he, “I plumed myself upon my resolution at the time; let me not now shrink from trial. And yet,” he continued, going on with the soliloquy, “but for advantages that are all adventitious, I might enter the lists with this Lord Cleveland. His are the gifts of the world; his the King's favour; his the applause of the times : yet
pure and gentle, but firm-minded girl, once looked at him unblenched, nay repudiated his advances."
The steps of De Vere here became quicker; when stopping suddenly, he exclaimed, “ Whe
ther she will continue to do this is a question ; but no question of mine. Even could I think myself preferred,-(maddening thought!) and she were poor !—though I might beg my bread with her from door to door,-being what she is, I cannot beg it of her.”
In this train of musing, he paced the proud terrace of the castle, and contemplated its romantic site more intensely than ever, though seemingly with a view to force a diversion.
The terrace, as has been said, immediately overlooked the Dove, and, at a distance, the Trent; seaming the plains of the two pastoral counties of Derby and Stafford, as if with veins of sparkling silver. Though now long accustomed to it, he never saw this pleasing landscape of plenty and peace, without feeling himself elevated above the struggles of the world ; his heart filled always with the bounties of Him who created it ; and never did Lord Cleveland, who suddenly joined him, find him in a worse mood to receive a lesson on the world's passing scene, which he was now prepared to give him. This noble person, notwithstanding all his newly kindled hopes, had also passed a tumultuous night. The two great passions which we have described as dividing his soul, now reigned there
with peculiar fierceness. The dispatch brought by Eustace tore him away; while the augmented power of Constance resisted all the effort made by his ambition to incline him to move. Yet he was tortured with doubt ; and the little hope which his pride had conceived from the change in Constance's manner, slight as it was, was dashed with a thousand fears. He had heard De Vere was his rival ; and when he thought of his youth, contrasted with his own age, but still more when he thought of his mental qualities, he was filled with terror. But he might be misinformed; he had watched them during the day, and saw no symptoms of it. If not a rival, could he make him a friend ? He knew his political views, and resolved to try.
When he joined De Vere, however, upon the terrace, he was himself so struck with the beautiful scene which seemed to engross his companion, that he could not help opening in a very different strain from what he had intended.
“ These are beautiful plains,” said he, " and I understand that that flourishing succession of farms, those woods, and the village with the ancient spire upon the knoll overhanging the river, are all within the domain of your noble uncle, the descendant of that " wrath-kindled
gentleman," Thomas Mowbray Duke of Norfolk.” “ I have so understood,” said De Vere.
They are worthy the grace of such a castle,” replied Cleveland ; “ and do you know what the contemplation of them prompts ?”
“ Something no doubt sublime."
“ No, by my sober faith,” continued the Earl, looking unaffectedly grave,“ but simply this, that if I were lord of such a castle, the dark passages of public offices should not daily see me picking my steps to the majordomos that guard them, to haggle about a clerk or a tide-waiter; nor should the minister himself see me any where but in my place in the senate, or as his friend and companion in power, at his own house,”
“ A good resolve,” said De Vere; “ but I know not its application.”
“Only that I am astounded when I think that the spirit of the Mowbrays, or of any owner of such a domain, should, in the changes of time, evaporate in the mere ambition of political management, and think it sufficient pride to be able to succeed in the acquisition of a little trumpery patronage. When I have seen the silken bárons (as they have been called) of