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So please to make the most of me, both of you, for it is the last time you will have the privilege. By the way, Fanny, will you do me a favour? There used to be a little book of mine in the glass bookcase, in the library ; my name in it, and a mottled cover : I wish you would go and find it for me.”
Lady Frances left the room with alacrity. Gerard immediately bent over Alice, and his tone changed.
“I have sent her away on purpose. She'll be half an hour rummaging, for I have not seen the book there for ages. Alice, one word before we part. You must know that it was for your sake I refused the marriage proposed to me by my uncle : you will not let me go into banishment without a word of hope ; a promise of your love to lighten it."
“Oh, Gerard,” she eagerly said, “I am so glad you have spoken: I almost think I should have spoken myself, if you had not. Just look at
“I am looking at you," he fondly answered.
“ Then look at my hectic face; my constantly tired limbs ; my sickly hands: do they not plainly tell you that the topics you would speak of, must be barred topics to me ?”
Why should they be ? You will get stronger.” “ Never. There is no hope of it. Many years ago, when the illness first came upon me, the doctors said I might grow better with time; but the time has come, and come, and come, and -gone; and only left me a more confirmed invalid. To an old age I cannot live; most probably but a few years : ask yourself, Gerard, if I am one who ought to marry, and leave, behind, a husband to regret me ; perhaps children. No, no."
“ You are cruel, Alice.”
“ The cruelty would be, if I selfishly allowed you to talk of love to me; or, still more selfishly, let you cherish hopes that I would marry. When you hinted at this, the other evening, the evening that wretched bracelet was lost, I reproached myself with cowardice, in not answering more plainly than you had spoken. I should have told you, Gerard, as I tell you now, that nothing, no persuasion from the dearest person on earth, shall ever induce me to marry.' “ You dislike
I “ I did not say so," answered Alice, with a glowing cheek. “I think it very possible thatif I could allow myself ever to dwell on such things -I should like you very much ; perhaps better than I could like any one.”
“ And why will you not ?" he persuasively uttered.
“Gerard, I have told you. I am too weak and sickly to be other than I am.
It would be a sin, in me, to indulge hopes of it: it would only be deceiving myself and you. No, Gerard, my love and hopes must lie elsewhere."
“ Where ?” he eagerly asked.
home,” she whispered, “and I must not suffer hindrances to obscure the way. It will be a better home than even your love, Gerard."
Gerard Hope smiled. “ Even than my love : Alice, you like me more than you admit. Unsay your words, my dearest, and give me hope.”
it as my
“Do not vex me," she resumed, in a pained tone; “do not seek to turn me from my duty. I-I—though I scarcely like to speak of these sacred things, Gerard—I have put my hand on the plough: even you cannot turn me back.”
He did not answer; he only played with the hand he held between both of his.
“ Tell me one thing, Gerard : it will be safe. Was not the dispute about Frances Chenevix ?”
He contracted his brow; and nodded.
“ And you could refuse her! You must learn to love her, for she would make you a good wife.”
“ Much chance there is now of my making a wife of any one!" « Oh, this will blow over in time : I feel it will. Meanwhile
“ Meanwhile you destroy every hopeful feeling I thought to take, to cheer me in my exile,” was his impatient interruption. “I love you alone, Alice; I have loved you for months, truly, fervently, and I know you must have seen it.”
“ Love me still, Gerard,” she softly answered, “ but not with the love you would give to one of earth; the love you will give—I hope—to Frances Chenevix. Think of me as one rapidly going ; soon to be gone."
Oh, not yet!” he cried, in an imploring tone, as if it were as she willed.
“Not just yet: I hope to see you return from exile. Let us say farewell while we are alone.”
She spoke the last sentence hurriedly, for footsteps were heard. Gerard snatched her to him, and laid his face
hers. “What cover did you say the book had ?” demanded Frances Chenevix of Gerard, who was then leaning back on the sofa, apparently waiting for her. “A mottled ? I cannot see one anything like it.”
“ No? I am sorry to have given you the trouble, Fanny. It has gone, perhaps, amongst the ' have-beens.'
“ Listen,” said Alice, removing her hand from before her face, “ that was a carriage stopped. Can they be come home ?” Frances and Gerard flew into the next room, whence the street could A carriage had stopped, but not at their house.
6. It is too early for them yet,” said Gerard.
"I am sorry things go so cross just now with you, Gerard,” whispered Lady Frances. “ You will be very dull, over there."
“ Ay; fit to hang myself, if you knew all. And the bracelet may turn up, and Lady Sarah be sporting it on her arm again, and I never know that the cloud is off me. No chance that
you will be at the trouble of writing to a fellow.”
“I will,” said Lady Frances. " Whether the bracelet turns up, or not, I will write you sometimes, if you like, Gerard, and give you all the news.”
“ You are a good girl, Fanny,” returned he, in a brighter accent, " and I will send you my address as soon as I have got one. You are not to turn proud, mind, and be off the bargain, if you find its au cinquième.”
Frances laughed. “ Take care of yourself, Gerard.”
his with the proceeds of the diamond bracelet?
NAPOLEON BALLADS.—No. VI.
BY WALTER THORNBURY, AUTHOR OF “SONGS OF THE CAVALIERS
[Napoleon's undeviating affection for his mother was one of the finest features of his private character. - DESMOULINS.]
The Luxembourg was full of kings
As round rich Dives' gate
Like Charlemagne in state,
Were many-coloured there,
Was simple Madame Mère.
Hoof-legged-a devil lame;
Bowed worshipping the flame
From ugly and from fair
Of simple Madame Mère.
Taming his lion heart,
Fixed on this Bonaparte.
Were crawling humbly there,
Of simple Madame Mère.
All cherry cloth and lace,
A butcher's son by race,
The meanest vassals there :
Of smiling Madame Mère.
A LADY IN SPITZBERGEN.*
like to go
It is not every day that a lady goes to Spitzbergen. A group of islands which extend to within ten degrees of the Pole, are the greater part of the year wrapped in darkness or fog, have only one day of four months, and a summer of a month or six weeks' duration, are not exactly the place for the less hardy sex. It will be necessary, then, to explain, in the words of Mme. Léonie d’Aunet, how it was that she came to go to Spitzbergen :
A few friends were at my house. Among them was M. Gaimard, the celebrated traveller. M. Gaimard has been twice round the world, and has been engaged in I don't know how many expeditions the Pole; on that day he was relating to us, in his characteristic southern and picturesque style, the shipwreck of the Uranie, and he took especial pleasure in dwelling in his narrative upon the evidences of coolness and courage manifested under the circumstances by Mme. Freycinet, who accompanied her husband, the commander of the Uranie.
When he had finished, some one said, “Poor woman, she must have suffered a great deal!" “You pity her ?" I said; “I-I envy her !" M. Gaimard looked at me.
Are you speaking seriously, madame ?”
round the world ?”
“Yes, more," he continued ; " many have been round the world, but no one has yet penetrated sufficiently into the Polar regions to determine if one can pass that way from Europe to America."
"Well, you know the way ?”
“No, we are going to seek for it; I start three weeks hence, with a scientific commission, of which I am the president, to explore the Arctic Ocean in the neighbourhood of Spitzbergen and Greenland.”
"How lucky you are!"
“I should be still more so if this expedition would tempt your husband, and if he would give to it the aid of his talent."
“I think such a proposition might be made to him." « Will
you undertake to do it, madame ?" * Yes, on one condition.” “What is that?" “ It is that I shall accompany him.” "To the end ?" “Yes, to the end."
" That will present difficulties, because ladies are not received on board of men-of-war, and
“ Then I shall not say a word in favour of the journey: on the contrary." “Well, speak about it, and we will see if the difficulty can be got over.
The same evening the project was discussed by my husband and myself, and obtained both our consents. The next day we announced our departure to our friends. There was a unanimous outcry against it.
« What madness !” exclaimed one: “ you will come back ugly.” " Why so ?”
Voyage d'une Femme au Spitzberg. Par Mme. Léonie d'Aunet.
"Horrible climate! and besides, you are too young and too delicate for so fatiguing a journey; at least, wait a little.”
"No; in the first place, I might not have another opportunity; then again, at a later period, I may have children, and should no longer have a right to expose my life in adventures.”
" At your age,” exclaimed another, “people go to balls, and not to the Pole."
“One does not prevent the other; if I come back, I shall have plenty of time to go to balls.”
* And if you do not come back?”
her mind to go to Spitzbergen. The scientific expedition was to go by sea; she and her husband were to join it at Hammerfest. On her way there, her carriage, which was not a Norwegian one, was precipitated into the ravine of the Lougen. In this extremity a young Norwegian officer passed by in his cariole, wrapped up in his waterproof, and smoking a long pipe with amber mouthpiece, on his way to Drontheim. The servant ran up to inform him of the sad accident; the carriage being suspended by the pines half way down the ravine, its inmates had with difficulty extricated themselves from their dangerous position. Mme. d’Aunet had thus reached the top of the precipice. The officer stopped for a moment, listened to the story patiently but coldly, and then whipped his horse, and continued his way, after, Mme. d’Aunet relates, “ having looked at me with more curiosity than interest. I must have been horrible; my face was swollen by contusions, blanched with fear, and
clothes were crumpled, wet, muddy; altogether, I must have presented un ensemble peu gracieux. On me le prouva bien !"
The first of the ill-omened prophecies had already come to pass !
The expedition sailed from Hammerfest on the 17th of July, and gained the open sea, after nearly carrying off the ship’s bowsprit by missing stays when on too close a tack, and afterwards nearly smashing the pilot's boat. Our fair traveller excuses herself from saying much concerning the first portion of the journey, for she acknowledges that she found it à propos d'être très-malade. But on the fourth day she had so far recovered as to make her appearance on deck when the corvette was making good way in a heavy sea, but with a favourable breeze. The next day they fetched Cherry Island, but which, she tells us, ought, from its original discoverers, to be called Beeren Eiland, or Bear Island. This island presented in the interior an almost continuous snowy mass, but its outskirts seemed like a place fortified by giants; its formidable rocks, incessantly mined by the waves, having assumed monumental forms, advancing at times in immense arches like antediluvian bridges into the ocean, their parapets enlivened by the presence of
an infinite multitude and variety of sea-fowl. A landing was effected, and the geologist discovered fossil corals, while the astronomers determined its geographical position to be in 76 deg. 30 min. north longitude instead of 74 deg. 30 min., as had been before assumed !
The same evening a dense fog came on, and the weather became unfavourable; the sea was very heavy, and the snow accumulated on the decks so as to impede exercise. With some trifling exceptions, this same untoward weather continued for upwards of a fortnight, till at length, on