Графични страници
PDF файл
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Stung to the quick by the coldness of London was in sight when he introthis acknowledgment of our acquaint- duced me, and by this time we were ance, after we had talked together for a close to the wharf. There we parted, few moments I walked away, and he but not until she had renewed her inviseemed relieved. No, I would not ask tation to me, to come and see her aunt. to be introduced to his sister; she, too, I promised to do so. might prefer to forget me. Strolling about the deck with no very pleasant My term of study had almost expired; feelings, my eyes again wandered toward in three weeks I was to be examined for the place where Henry stood. There admission to the bar, and, of course, had were two or three young men conversing bright hopes for the future. Of these, with him, all apparently in high spirits, not the least exhilarating was the pros. joking and laughing. Perhaps, thought pect of a union with Mary Francis. I I, they are more fashionably attired had made such good use of her invitation than myself. Old Mr. Francis had died to visit her aunt, that I had wooed and immensely rich : perhaps Henry was won. Henry, after an absence of eighglorying in his newly-gotten wealth—for teen months on the Continent, had unthe badge of mourning was yet upon his expectedly returned home, about a week hat—and despised the child of humble previously, though, as he said, with the fortune. At

I sa him in earnest intention of returning, as soon as some conversation with his sister. He seemed business, which he had on hand, should vexed, and was evidently endeavouring be transacted. Mary had written to to dissuade her from something, in him of our approaching marriage, and which, however, she appeared to persist. he left Paris very soon after the receipt Not long after, he came and asked “the of that letter. pleasure of introducing me to his sister." During the time of my first visits at I was on the point of declining—this, Mrs. Lajou's, he was still at home, and certainly, was my first feeling, but re- saw me frequently. The constraint of straining it, I followed him to the other his manner toward me always continued, side of the quarter-deck where she was yet he treated me with uniform politeness, sitting.

and, at times I thought there was someMary, this is Mr. Lesley, whom you thing of his old affectionate feeling once knew."

striving to break through this repulsive She shook hands with me most cor. coldness. The aunt, on the contrary, dially, and the ease and frankness of her was always kind, and received my visits manner soon made me forget Henry's with cordiality. coldness and hauteur.

Reader, shall I attempt to describe “ You should not have remembered Mary Francis, such as she then was ? me, Miss Francis ? Your brother Love the most ardent would inspire me seemed to think my face entirely al- in the task, and recollections the most tered.”

vivid draw the picture—but a picture No, I certainly should not have not to be transferred from the lover's known you: yet, ať table, I thought I heart. No, I despair of ever beholding had some recollection of your features, a faithful copy of that likeness, which is but was not certain.”

graven deeply on my memory. I learned from her that her only sis- beauty of her infancy was mellowed at ter, Emma, was recently dead, having the age of womanhood, and brightened survived their parents but a short time. by the radiance of intellectual fire. She and her brother were now living in None saw her without admiration ; few London, with Mrs. Lajou, a widowed knew her and did not love. She had aunt, their mother's sister.

many admirers, and no small number of “ You are going to the city ; do you real lovers; but I was the favoured one, spend some time there ?" she inquired. and even her brother's coldness could

“Two or three years—perhaps longer. not chill my affection, nor his dissatisgo with the intention of studying law." faction alloy my happiness.

• Oh, then, we shall see you fre- Henry was ardently attached to his quently, I suppose ?

sister-I could not doubt it; but neither “ It would certainly give me great could I doubt his opposition to our marpleasure," I answered.

riage. Not that I think he despised me, Henry remained sitting by us, but or thought me entirely unworthy of her, taking little part in our conversation. on the score of natural endowments,

[ocr errors]


SLT of hi * Tas but at nothi

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Do you


education, or gentlemanly carriage. “Mr. Lesley," he began, “ you must This I say, not boastfully, but because already have perceived that I am opposed I know that his opposition had quite a to my sister's intended marriage ; and, different motive. He prided himself on I must now, sir, say to you, that I can family wealth and distinction, and could never consent to it." not bear the idea of the one being shared, I answered in a mild but firm tone: or the other disparaged, by a plebeian of When your sister sees fit to dismiss humble fortune. There were many good me, Mr. Francis, I shall go without a traits in his character, but pride ruled murmur, however hard may be the predominant over every other feeling. struggle. Yes, then I will renounce all When I first heard of his unexpected pretensions to her hand. Before that, return from abroad, the thought imme- were my love less sincere and ardent, diately struck me, that the intelligence honour would forbid me to recede from of our approaching union had brought engagements so solemn." him back thus hastily. Nor was I mis- “ Honour! Mr. Lesley. taken. His manner toward me think it honourable to have taken admore repulsive and haughty than ever; vantage of a young and unprotected in fact, when we met at his aunt's, he orphan's inexperience, to win her affecscarcely treated me with common polite- tions when—when even her only brother ness; but still avoid

coming to an was absent? And, do you nk it explanation, and open rupture. Mary honourable thus to persist, contrary to herself spoke freely, and with evident un- the wishes of her friends--those whose easiness of her brother's opposition, and advice she only ought to have taken ?". constant endeavours to shake her fidelity. I was stung to the quick by this

What course ought I to pursue ! To charge, so unjust, but was able to redemand, myself, an explanation, or to strain my feelings and speak calmly. await, patiently, the issue? I had re- “Do you call my conduct dishonourceived every assurance that Mrs. Lajou able, sir ? Was it not by your invitation was not unfavourable to our interests, but that I first saw Miss Francis, when we might not Henry's solicitations have were boys? Was it not by your introsufficient weight to change her senti- duction that I first visited her? And ments ? But, before I could determine did not I visit her, frequently, while you how to act, I was anticipated. Henry were yet living under the same roof? at length despaired of impairing the Did not your aunt, to whom you saw fit constancy of his sister's affection, and while absent to confide your sister, favour there was but one hope left. I know my addresses ? Have I used any diswell that nothing short of desperation honourable artifice to gain her affecgoaded him on to this last resort; for I tions?'' doubt whether pride had yet extinguished Henry hesitated, seeming conscious all trace of his early friendship.

of the justice of all that I had said, and, I was sitting alone in my room one after a momentary silence, began again evening, busily preparing for the ap- in a more subdued tone. proaching examination, though with dis- “ You say that you love my sister, tracted thoughts and feverish brain ; for Mr. Lesley? Are you sincere in this I had seen Mary that afternoon, and, love, and are yet willing to make her with tears, she had spoken of the in- miserable for her whole life? All her creased and implacable violence of her friends are averse to this connexionbrother's opposition, and expressed many they think it a disparagement to her fears for the consequences. While I family, and it will, probably, be the cause was thus employed, the door opened, “a of an entire separation between her and gentleman” was announced, and Henry them for life. No, Mr. Lesley; her Francis entered.

brother and your friend I now am ; but Notwithstanding my former appre. if Mary is joined to you, I can never see hensions, I was certainly startled at her more.' seeing him. It was the first time, for He seemed overcome with the intenrearly two years, that he had thus sity of his feeling, and leaned his head visited me.

But quickly recovering upon the table. From my heart I pitied myself, I rose and welcomed him, with him. as much appearance of ease as possible. Perhaps you do not feel well enough He refused my hand, and sat down, and to hear me now?" I asked. I, also, resumed my seat.

“Oh! yes, go on; but, for heaven's

[ocr errors]

sake, show your love to Mary, by not marked. There was little room for fear persisting in that which must make her in a mind suffering such anguish. wretched."

As for myself, I think that I was • You speak, sir, of disparagement to comparatively calm and self-possessed : your family. I know that mine is more certainly I had not such cause for agitaobscure than yours. I know that for- tion. I could not well have shunned tune has not smiled upon me as it has the contest, and had determined that upon you; but, still I have the proud the sin of murder should not blacken recollection that I have done nothing to my character in life, or in death sink me dishonour my family, before without to a deeper perdition. reproach. Neither have I ever con- The distance, twelve feet, was marked cealed my real circumstances from Miss off; we took our places and received the Francis- never did I deceive her." pistols. Henry's hand was now firm

“And will not the world say, Mr. and unwavering; minetrembled sensibly. Lesley, that you have married her for The signal was given-he fired, the ball her money? Will not the motive of your slightly wounding me in the left arm. love be apparent to every one?”' With a fiendish look of disappointment,

“ For what the world says," I an- he stood to receive my shot—I discharged swered bitterly, “I care nothing, so the pistol into the air. This was evilong as I am conscious of my own moral dently unexpected, for he staggered rectitude. As to what you say of my almost as if struck by the bullet, and motives, know, sir, that from none, save remained, for a moment, fixed to the the brother of Miss Francis, would I hear spot, while a dreadful struggle passed such an insinuation, and not resent it.” within, indicated in every restless feature

“Listen! Mr. Lesley!” he exclaimed, of his countenance. and his whole frame trembled with I had conquered ; and on that height, emotion ; “you shall not want an oppor- where I had feared to find a cold bed, tunity of resentment. Never shall this we embraced as friends. My claim to detested marriage take place while we Mary's hand was ratified by her brother's both live. One must fall-yes.” And approval. he rose, without finishing the sentence, and abruptly left the room.

Mary recovered : thongh for weeksAfter his exit, I remained fixed to my weeks of agony to me-she lingered chair, stupified with surprise and horror. upon the borders of the grave. It was Then, Henry's last, ominous words, the long before the rose returned to her meaning of which could not be mistaken, cheek, and her eye beamed forth its uttered with a sudden burst of demonia. wonted radiance. Letters came from cal rage—a duel-Mary bereaved and her brother-letters proving the depth broken-hearted—her hopes and mine for of his affection. He never revisited ever blasted, whether by my own fall, or England. The Continent was a wider, the murder of her brother; thoughts of richer field for his range in pursuit of such things—maddening thoughts-ran pleasure. A handsome monument, in riot in my brain.

the cemetery of Père la Chaise, marks Another“gentleman” was announced; the narrow resting-place of “Henry R. and it was a friend of Henry's bringing Francis, aged twenty-nine years." a challenge in due form and phrase. It was accepted.

At five o'clock in the morning, both BEAUTIFUL SENTIMENT. parties were on the appointed ground. During the brief space that our seconds ANAMELESS French author truly says: were arranging the preliminaries, Henry _“The modest deportment of those who was walking backward and forward, not are truly wise, when contrasted with the able to suppress or conceal the violence assuming air of the ignorant, may be of his emotion. His face was carefully compared to the different appearances of averted, but once or twice I caught a wheat, which, while its ear is empty, glimpse of his features-pale and haggard holds up its head proudly, but, as soon —the forehead strongly contracted—the as it is filled with grain, bends modestly struggle of conflicting passions deeply down, and withdraws from observation.”

[graphic][merged small]

THE FRENCH DRAGOON AND piece of embroidery. In one corner was SPANISH MAIDEN.

a light and narrow couch, on which

Juana lay absorbed in reverie. Over the A TREMBLING ray of light, traced on bed were three paintings of saints, and the ground by the crevice of the door, just above the pillow were a crucifix, and indicated the spot to Montefiore, and he a small vase of beryl for holy water, betapped gently. Juana opened the door, tween which was a prayer engraved in and Montefiore, with a throbbing heart, letters of gold and framed. A slight perentered. The noble countenance of the fume of flowers was perceptible; a soft recluse bore an expression of artless and gentle light was thrown from the curiosity, with an entire ignorance of the wax tapers; and all was calm, pure, and danger she was incurring, and an une- holy. The dreamy fancies of Juana quivocal admiration of the soldier's seemed to have communicated a heavenly manly appearance. He was struck for a charm to everything around, upon which moment by the sanctity of the picture the impress of her soul was stamped, presented to his eyes, the result of the like the jewel in its shell of mother of admirable harmony which existed between pearl. She was dressed in white, and this elegant retreat, and the delicious her beauty was her only ornament; she creature that inhabited it.

had laid down her rosary to think of The four walls were hung with grey love, and would have inspired respect, tapestry embroidered with violet-coloured even to Montefiore, if the silence, the flowers. A small chest of sculptured night, the hour, Juana herself, her white ebony, an antique mirror, an old and bed with its snowy sheets, and her pil. roomy arm-chair of ebony, covered with low the confidant of her confused and tapestry, and a table with fancifully- soft dreams, had not fired the daring soltwisted feet, a Turkey carpet on the floor, dier with their united temptations. and a chair near the table this was the Montefiore remained a considerable whole of the furniture. Upon the table time standing, intoxicated with a rapture were scattered flowers, and an unfinished he had never known before, like that,

VOL. 1. (8.)



perhaps, of Satan gazing at the sky every week, because then I loved God. through a sudden opening of the clouds But for the last three years, everything which obscured it.

has changed for me. First, I could not Directly I saw you,” whispered he do without flowers, and I had very beauin pure Tuscan, and with the melodious tiful ones ; then I wished- But I accents of his Italian voice, “ I loved you. want for nothing now,'' added she, after My heart and soul are centred in you, a pause, and smiling on Montefiore and, if you will, shall be so for ever." “ have you not just written to me that

Juana listened, inhaling the breath of you love me and always will ?” these words, which the language of love “Yes, my Juana,'' whispered Montemade magnificent to her.

fiore, in his sweetest tones, lifting this “ Poor little dear, how long have you delightful creature by the waist, and been able to bear the restraint of this clasping her to his heart. “But let me gloomy dwelling, without perishing by talk to you as you speak to heaven. Are its tediousness? You, who were formed you not lovelier than the Mary of our to reign over men's hearts, to inhabit worship ? Listen! I swear to you,” rea prince's palace, whose days should be joined he, kissing her long curls, “ I one long holiday, who should live on swear that I will take your fair brow as those joys you inspire in every bosom, the richest and holiest of altars, that I and see everything at your feet, effacing will make you my idol, and lay at your each other rare and costly thing by the feet all the joys of the world. For you I splendour which can never meet a rival have carriages, and a palace at Milan-how have you lingered here so solitary, all the jewels and diamonds of my an. with only this old merchant and his wife cient family; and each day there shall for companions ?"

be some new enjoyment, some fresh This question was not without a mo- dress—all that there is of happiness and tive, for he wished to learn if Juana had rapture shall be sought for you!" ever had a lover.

“Yes,” she answered, " I shall like “Yes,” she answered ;“but how could all that very well ; but I feel in my heart you have known my secret thoughts ? that, what I should love better than anyFor some months I have been sorrowful thing in the world, would be my dear and to death-oh! I would prefer dying to darling husband." remaining much longer in this house ! Mio caro sposo ! for it would be imLook at this embroidery—there is not a possible to attach to any three English thread of it that has been worked with words the wonderful tenderness, and the out a thousand sad thoughts. How often amorous elegance of tone with which have I wished to run away, and throw the Italian language and pronunciation myself into the sea, and yet I did not invest these three delicious words. know for what. Little childish trifles, him,” she continued, looking at Montebut very teazing, notwithstanding their fiore with a glance in which the purity silliness! I have often kissed my mother, of a seraph was beaming, of an evening, as if for the last time, my cherished religion in him. He and while I said to myself— Tomorrow I heaven, heaven and him. Will not you will die.' But I could not do it, because be that person ? Certainly-I am sure suicides are sent to purgatory, and I am you will l Ah! come, and look at the so afraid of that, I preferred

live on- painting which my father brought me to rise, and to go to bed, to do the self- from Italy." same work at the self-same hours, and She took a light, beckoned to Monteeverything in the usual order. It was fiore, and showed him at the foot of her not weariness, but anguish-and yet my bed a Saint Michael trampling on the father and mother adore me! Ah! I am demon. very wicked, and I tell my confessor so “ Look !" she said. “Has he not got very often.'

your eyes ? And so, when I saw you in “ And have you any pleasure or amuse- the street, the meeting seemed like an ments here?"

intimation from heaven. “Oh! I have not always been so! morning dreams, before my mother called Till I was fifteen, I was delighted with me to prayer, I had so often gazed upon the songs, the music, and the festivals this painting, that I ended by making a of the church. I was happy to think husband of this angel. But, gracious that I was like the angels, without sin, heaven! I am talking to you as if I was and to be able to take the communion only talking to myself. I must appear

• In

" I shall regain

During my

« ПредишнаНапред »