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Title: Lodore
Author: Mary Shelley
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Language: English
Date first posted: August 2006
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Lodore
Mary Shelley





VOL. I.

         In the turmoil of our lives.
Men are like politic states, or troubled seas.
Tossed up and down with several storms and tempests.
Change and variety of wrecks and fortunes;
Till, labouring to the havens of our homes.
We struggle for the calm that crowns our ends.
--Ford



CHAPTER I.



Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear.
A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear.
--Pope.

In the flattest and least agreeable part of the county of Essex, about
five miles from the sea, is situated a village or small town, which
may be known in these pages by the name of Longfield. Longfield is
distant eight miles from any market town, but the simple inhabitants,
limiting their desires to their means of satisfying them, are scarcely
aware of the kind of desert in which they are placed. Although only
fifty miles from London, few among them have ever seen the metropolis.
Some claim that distinction from having visited cousins in Lothbury
and viewed the lions in the tower. There is a mansion belonging to a
wealthy nobleman within four miles, never inhabited, except when a
parliamentary election is going forward. No one of any pretension to
consequence resided in this secluded nook, except the honourable Mrs.
Elizabeth Fitzhenry; she ought to have been the shining star of the
place, and she was only its better angel. Benevolent, gentle, and
unassuming, this fair sprig of nobility had lived from youth to age in
the abode of her forefathers, making a part of this busy world, only
through the kindliness of her disposition, and her constant affection
for one who was far away.

The mansion of the Fitzhenry family, which looked upon the village
green, was wholly incommensurate to our humblest ideas of what belongs
to nobility; yet it stood in solitary splendour, the Great House of
Longfield. From time immemorial, its possessors had been the magnates
of the village; half of it belonged to them, and the whole voted
according to their wishes. Cut off from the rest of the world, they
claimed here a consideration and a deference, which, with the moderate
income of fifteen hundred a-year, they would have vainly sought
elsewhere.

There was a family tradition, that a Fitzhenry had sat in parliament;
but the time arrived, when they were to rise to greater distinction.
The father of the lady, whose name has been already introduced,
enjoyed all the privileges attendant on being an only child.
Extraordinary efforts were made for his education. He was placed with
a clergyman near Harwich, and imbibed in that neighbourhood so
passionate a love for the sea, that, though tardily and with regret,
his parents at last permitted him to pursue a naval career. He became
a brave, a clever, and a lucky officer. In a contested election, his
father was the means of insuring the success of the government
candidate, and the promotion of his son followed. Those were the
glorious days of the English navy, towards the close of the American
war; and when that war terminated, and the admiral, now advanced
considerably beyond middle life, returned to the Sabine farm, of which
he had, by course of descent, become proprietor, he returned adorned
with the rank of a peer of the realm, and with sufficient wealth to
support respectably the dignity of the baronial title.

Yet an obscure fate pursued the house of Fitzhenry, even in its
ennobled condition. The new lord was proud of his elevation, as a
merited reward; but next to the deck of his ship, he loved the
tranquil precincts of his paternal mansion, and here he spent his
latter days in peace. Midway in life, he had married the daughter of
the rector of Longfield. Various fates had attended the offspring of
this union; several died, and at the time of his being created a peer,
Lord Lodore found himself a widower, with two children. Elizabeth, who
had been born twelve years before, and Henry, whose recent birth had
cost the life of his hapless and lamented mother.

But those days were long since passed away; and the first Lord Lodore,
with most of his generation, was gathered to his ancestors. To the
new-sprung race that filled up the vacant ranks, his daughter
Elizabeth appeared a somewhat ancient but most amiable maiden, whose
gentle melancholy was not (according to innumerable precedents in the
traditions regarding unmarried ladies) attributed to an ill-fated
attachment, but to the disasters that had visited her house, and still
clouded the fortunes of her family. What these misfortunes originated
from, or even in what they consisted, was not exactly known;
especially at Longfield, whose inhabitants were no adepts in the
gossip of the metropolis. It was believed that Mrs. Elizabeth's
brother still lived; that some very strange circumstances had attended
his career in life, was known; but conjecture fell lame when it tried
to proceed beyond these simple facts: it was whispered, as a wonder
and a secret, that though Lord Lodore was far away, no one knew where,
his lady (as the Morning Post testified in its lists of fashionable
arrivals and fashionable parties) was a frequent visitor to London.
Once or twice the bolder gossips, male or female, had resolved to
sound (as they called it) Mrs. Elizabeth on the subject. But the fair
spinster, though innoffensive to a proverb, and gentle beyond the wont
of her gentle sex, was yet gifted with a certain dignity of manner,
and a quiet reserve, that checked these good people at their very
outset.

Henry Fitzhenry was spoken of by a few of the last generation, as
having been a fine, bold, handsome boy--generous, proud, and daring;
he was remembered, when as a youth he departed for the continent, as
riding fearlessly the best hunter in the field, and attracting the
admiration of the village maidens at church by his tall elegant figure
and dark eyes; or, when he chanced to accost them, by a nameless
fascination of manner, joined to a voice whose thrilling silver tones
stirred the listener's heart unaware. He left them like a dream, nor
appeared again till after his father's death, when he paid his sister
a brief visit. There was then something singularly grave and
abstracted about him. When he rode, it was not among the hunters,
though it was soft February weather, but in the solitary lanes, or
with lightning speed over the moors, when the sun was setting and
shadows gathered round the landscape.

Again, some years after, he had appeared among them. He was then
married, and Lady Lodore accompanied him. They stayed but three days.
There was something of fiction in the way in which the appearance of
the lady was recorded. An angel bright with celestial hues, breathing
heaven, and spreading a halo of calm and light around, as it winged
swift way amidst the dusky children of earth: such ideas seemed to
appertain to the beautiful apparition, remembered as Lord Lodore's
wife. She was so young, that time played with her as a favourite
child; so etherial in look, that the language of flowers could alone
express the delicate fairness of her skin, or the tints that sat upon
her cheek: so light in motion, and so graceful. To talk of eye or lip,
of height or form, or even of the colour of her hair, the villagers
could not, for they had been dazzled by an assemblage of charms before
undreamt of by them. Her voice won adoration, and her smile was as the
sudden withdrawing of a curtain displaying paradise upon earth. Her
lord's tall, manly figure, was recollected but as a back-ground--a
fitting one--and that was all they would allow to him--for this
resplendent image. Nor was it remembered that any excessive attachment
was exhibited between them. She had appeared indeed but as a vision--a
creature from another sphere, hastily gazing on an unknown world, and
lost before they could mark more than that void came again, and she
was gone.

Since that time, Lord Lodore had been lost to Longfield. Some few
months after Mrs. Elizabeth visited London on occasion of a
christening, and then after a long interval, it was observed, that she
never mentioned her brother, and that the name of his wife acted as a
spell, to bring an expression of pain over her sedate features. Much
talk circulated, and many blundering rumours went their course through
the village, and then faded like smoke in the clear air. Some mystery
there was--Lodore was gone--his place vacant: he lived; yet his name,
like those of the dead, haunted only the memories of men, and was
allied to no act or circumstance of present existence. He was
forgotten, and the inhabitants of Longfield, returning to their
obscurity, proceeded in their daily course, almost as happy as if they
had had their lord among them, to vary the incidents of their quiet
existence with the proceedings of the "Great House."

Yet his sister remembered him. In her heart his image was traced
indelibly--limned in the colours of life. His form visited her dreams,
and was the unseen, yet not mute, companion of her solitary musings.
Years stole on, casting their clouding shadows on her cheek, and
stealing the colour from her hair, but Henry, but Lodore, was before
her in bright youth--her brother--her pride--her hope. To muse on the
possibility of his return, to read the few letters that reached her
from him, till their brief sentences seemed to imply volumes of
meaning, was the employment that made winter nights short, summer days
swift in their progress. This dreamy kind of existence, added to the
old-fashioned habits which a recluse who lives in a state of
singleness is sure to acquire, made her singularly unlike the rest of
the world--causing her to be a child in its ways, and inexpert to
detect the craftiness of others.

Lodore, in exile and obscurity, was in her eyes, the first of human
beings; she looked forward to the hour, when he would blaze upon the
world with renewed effulgence, as to a religious promise. How well did
she remember, how in grace of person, how in expression of
countenance, and dignity of manner, he transcended all those whom she
saw during her visit to London, on occasion of the memorable
christening: that from year to year this return was deferred, did not
tire her patience, nor diminish her regrets. He never grew old to
her--never lost the lustre of early manhood; and when the boyish
caprice which kept him afar was sobered, so she framed her thoughts,
by the wisdom of time, he would return again to bless her and to adorn
the world. The lapse of twelve years did not change this notion, nor
the fact that, if she had cast up an easy sum in arithmetic, the
parish register would have testified, her brother had now reached the
mature age of fifty.



CHAPTER II.



Settled in some secret nest.
In calm leisure let me rest;
And far off the public stage.
Pass away my silent age.
--Seneca.--Marvell's Trans.

Twelve years previous to the opening of this tale, an English
gentleman, advanced to middle age, accompanied by an infant daughter,
and her attendant, arrived at a settlement in the district of the
Illinois in North America. It was at the time when this part of the
country first began to be cleared, and a new comer, with some show of
property, was considered a welcome acquisition. Still the settlement
was too young, and the people were too busy in securing for themselves
the necessaries of life, for much attention to be paid to any thing
but the "overt acts" of the stranger--the number of acres which he
bought, which were few, the extent of his clearings, and the number of
workmen that he employed, both of which were, proportionately to his
possession in land, on a far larger scale than that of any of his
fellow colonists. Like magic, a commodious house was raised on a small
height that embanked the swift river--every vestige of forest
disappeared from its immediate vicinity, replaced by agricultural
cultivation, and a garden bloomed in the wilderness. His labourers
were many, and golden harvests shone in his fields, while the dark
forest, or untilled plain, seemed yet to set at defiance the efforts
of his fellow settlers; and at the same time comforts of so civilized
a description, that the Americans termed them luxuries, appeared in
the abode and reigned in the domestic arrangements of the Englishman,
although to his eye every thing was regulated by the strictest regard
to republican plainness and simplicity.

He did not mingle much in the affairs of the colony, yet his advice
was always to be commanded, and his assistance was readily afforded.
He superintended the operations carried on on his own land; and it was
observed that they differed often both from American and English modes
of agriculture. When questioned, he detailed practices in Poland and
Hungary, and gave his reasons why he thought them applicable to the
soil in question. Many of these experiments of course failed; others
were eminently successful. He did not shun labour of any sort. He
joined the hunting parties, and made one on expeditions that went out
to explore the neighbouring wilds, and the haunts of the native
Indians. He gave money for the carrying on any necessary public work,
and came forward willingly when called upon for any useful purpose. In
any time of difficulty or sorrow--on the overflowing of the stream, or
the failure of a crop, he was earnest in his endeavours to aid and to
console. But with all this, there was an insurmountable barrier
between him and the other inhabitants of the colony. He never made one
at their feasts, nor mingled in the familiar communications of daily
life; his dwelling, situated at the distance of a full mile from the
village, removed him from out of the very hearing of their festivities
and assemblies. He might labour in common with others, but his
pleasures were all solitary, and he preserved the utmost independence
as far as regarded the sacred privacy of his abode, and the silence he
kept in all concerns regarding himself alone.

At first the settlement had to struggle with all the difficulties
attendant on colonization. It grew rapidly, however, and bid fair to
become a busy and large town, when it met with a sudden check. A new
spot was discovered, a few miles distant, possessing peculiar
advantages for commercial purposes. An active, enterprising man
engaged himself in the task of establishing a town there on a larger
scale and with greater pretensions. He succeeded, and its predecessor
sunk at once into insignificance. It was matter of conjecture among
them whether Mr. Fitzhenry (so was named the English stranger) would
remove to the vicinity of the more considerable town, but no such idea
seemed to have occurred to him. Probably he rejoiced in an accident
that tended to render his abode so entirely secluded. At first the
former town rapidly declined, and many a log hut fell to ruin; but at
last, having sunk into the appearance and name of a village, it
continued to exist, bearing few marks of that busy enterprising stir
which usually characterizes a new settlement in America. The ambitious
and scheming had deserted it--it was left to those who courted
tranquillity, and desired the necessaries of life without the hope of
great future gain. It acquired an almost old-fashioned appearance. The
houses began to look weatherworn, and none with fresh faces sprung up
to shame them. Extensive clearings, suddenly checked, gave entrance to
the forests, without the appendages of a manufacture or a farm. The
sound of the axe was seldom heard, and primeval quiet again took
possession of the wild. Meanwhile Mr. Fitzhenry continued to adorn his
dwelling with imported conveniences, the result of European art, and
to spend much time and labour in making his surrounding land assume
somewhat of the appearance of pleasure-ground.

He lived in peace and solitude, and seemed to enjoy the unchanging
tenor of his life. It had not always been so. During the first three
or four years of his arrival in America, he had evidently been unquiet
in his mind, and dissatisfied with the scene around him. He gave
directions to his workmen, but did not overlook their execution. He
took great pains to secure a horse, whose fiery spirit and beautiful
form might satisfy a fastidious connoisseur. Having with much trouble
and expense got several animals of English breed together, he was
perpetually seen mounted and forcing his way amid the forest land, or
galloping over the unincumbered country. Sadness sat on his brow, and
dwelt in eyes, whose dark large orbs were peculiarly expressive of
tenderness and melancholy, "Pietosi a riguardare, a mover parchi."
Often, when in conversation on uninteresting topics, some keen
sensation would pierce his heart, his voice faltered, and an
expression of unspeakable wretchedness was imprinted on his
countenance, mastered after a momentary struggle, yet astounding to
the person he might be addressing. Generally on such occasions he
would seize an immediate opportunity to break away and to remain
alone. He had been seen, believing himself unseen, making passionate
gestures, and heard uttering some wild exclamations. Once or twice he
had wandered away into the woods, and not returned for several days,
to the exceeding terror of his little household. He evidently sought
loneliness, there to combat unobserved with the fierce enemy that
dwelt within his breast. On such occasions, when intruded upon and
disturbed, he was irritated to fury. His resentment was expressed in
terms ill-adapted to republican equality--and no one could doubt that
in his own country he had filled a high station in society, and been
educated in habits of command, so that he involuntarily looked upon
himself as of a distinct and superior race to the human beings that
each day crossed his path. In general, however, this was only shown by
a certain loftiness of demeanour and cold abstraction, which might
annoy, but could not be resented. Any ebullition of temper he was not
backward to atone for by apology, and to compensate by gifts.

There was no tinge of misanthropy in Fitzhenry's disposition. Even
while he shrunk from familiar communication with the rude and
unlettered, he took an interest in their welfare. His benevolence was
active, his compassion readily afforded. It was quickness of feeling,
and not apathy, that made him shy and retired. Sensibility checked and
crushed, an ardent thirst for sympathy which could not be allayed in
the wildernesses of America, begot a certain appearance of coldness,
altogether deceptive. He concealed his sufferings--he abhorred that
they should be pryed into; but this reserve was not natural to him,
and it added to the misery which his state of banishment occasioned.
"Quiet to quick bosoms is a hell." And so was it with him. His
passions were powerful, and had been ungoverned. He writhed beneath
the dominion of sameness; and tranquillity, allied to loneliness,
possessed no charms. He groaned beneath the chains that fettered him
to the spot, where he was withering in inaction. They caused
unutterable throes and paroxysms of despair. Ennui, the dmon, waited
at the threshold of his noiseless refuge, and drove away the stirring
hopes and enlivening expectations, which form the better part of life.
Sensibility in such a situation is a curse: men become "cannibals of
their own hearts;" remorse, regret, and restless impatience usurp the
place of more wholesome feeling: every thing seems better than that
which is; and solitude becomes a sort of tangible enemy, the more
dangerous, because it dwells within the citadel itself. Borne down by
such emotions, Fitzhenry was often about to yield to the yearnings of
his soul, and to fly from repose into action, however accompanied by
strife and wretchedness; to leave America, to return to Europe, and to
face at once all the evils which he had journeyed so far to escape. He
did not--he remained. His motives for flight returned on him with
full power after any such paroxysm, and held him back. He despised
himself for his hesitation. He had made his choice, and would abide by
it. He was not so devoid of manliness as to be destitute of fortitude,
or so dependent a wretch as not to have resources in himself. He would
cultivate these, and obtain that peace which it had been his boast
that he should experience.

It came at last. Time and custom accomplished their task, and he
became reconciled to his present mode of existence. He grew to love
his home in the wilderness. It was all his own creation, and the pains
and thought he continued to bestow upon it, rendered it doubly his.
The murmur of the neighbouring river became the voice of a friend; it
welcomed him on his return from any expedition; and he hailed the
first echo of it that struck upon his ear from afar, with a thrill of
joy.

Peace descended upon his soul. He became enamoured of the independence
of solitude, and the sublime operations of surrounding nature. All
further attempts at cultivation having ceased in his neighbourhood,
from year to year nothing changed, except at the bidding of the
months, in obedience to the varying seasons;--nothing changed, except
that the moss grew thicker and greener upon the logs that supported
his roof, that the plants he cultivated increased in strength and
beauty, and that the fruit-trees yielded their sweet produce in
greater abundance. The improvements he had set on foot displayed in
their progress the taste and ingenuity of their projector; and as the
landscape became more familiar, so did a thousand associations twine
themselves with its varied appearances, till the forests and glades
became as friends and companions.

As he learnt to be contented with his lot, the inequalities of humour,
and singularities of conduct, which had at first attended him, died
away. He had grown familiar with the persons of his fellow-colonists,
and their various fortunes interested him. Though he could find no
friend, tempered like him, like him nursed in the delicacies and
fastidiousness of the societies of the old world;--though he, a china
vase, dreaded too near a collision with the brazen ones around; yet,
though he could not give his confidence, or unburthen the treasure of
his soul, he could approve of, and even feel affection for several
among them. Personal courage, honesty, and frankness, were to be found
among the men; simplicity and kindness among the women. He saw
instances of love and devotion in members of families, that made him
sigh to be one of them; and the strong sense and shrewd observations
of many of the elder settlers exercised his understanding. They
opened, by their reasonings and conversation, a new source of
amusement, and presented him with another opiate for his too busy
memory.

Fitzhenry had been a patron of the fine arts; and thus he had loved
books, poetry, and the elegant philosophy of the ancients. But he had
not been a student. His mind was now in a fit state to find solace in
reading, and excitement in the pursuit of knowledge. At first he sent
for a few books, such as he wished immediately to consult, from New
York, and made slight additions to the small library of classical
literature he had originally brought with him on his emigration. But
when once the desire to instruct himself was fully aroused in his
mind, he became aware how slight and inadequate his present library
was, even for the use of one man. Now each quarter brought chests of a
commodity he began to deem the most precious upon earth. Beings with
human forms and human feelings he had around him; but, as if made of
coarser, half-kneaded clay, they wanted the divine spark of mind and
the polish of taste. He had pined for these, and now they were
presented to him. Books became his friends: they, when rightly
questioned, could answer to his thoughts. Plato could elevate,
Epictetus calm, his soul. He could revel with Ovid in the imagery
presented by a graceful, though voluptuous imagination; and hang
enchanted over the majesty and elegance of Virgil. Homer was as a dear
and revered friend--Horace a pleasant companion. English, Italian,
German, and French, all yielded their stores in turn; and the abstruse
sciences were often a relaxation to a mind, whose chief bane was its
dwelling too entirely upon one idea. He made a study, also, of the
things peculiarly befitting his present situation; and he rose in the
estimation of those around, as they became aware of his talents and
his knowledge.

Study and occupation restored to his heart self-complacency, which is
an ingredient so necessary to the composition of human happiness. He
felt himself to be useful, and knew himself to be honoured. He no
longer asked himself, "Why do I live?" or looked on the dark, rapid
waves, and longed for the repose that was in their gift. The blood
flowed equably in his veins; a healthy temperance regulated his hopes
and wishes. He could again bless God for the boon of existence, and
look forward to future years, if not with eager anticipation, yet with
a calm reliance upon the power of good, wholly remote from despair.



CHAPTER III.



Miranda.--Alack! what trouble
Was I then to you!
Prospero.--O, a cherubim
Thou wast, that did preserve me!
--The Tempest.

Such was the Englishman who had taken refuge in the furthest wilds of
an almost untenanted portion of the globe. Like a Corinthian column,
left single amidst the ruder forms of the forest oaks, standing in
alien beauty, a type of civilization and the arts, among the rougher,
though perhaps not less valuable, growth of Nature's own. Refined to
fastidiousness, sensitive to morbidity, the stranger was respected
without being understood, and loved though the intimate of none.

Many circumstances have been mentioned as tending to reconcile
Fitzhenry to his lot; and yet one has been omitted, chiefest of all;--
the growth and development of his child was an inexhaustible source of
delight and occupation. She was scarcely three years old when her
parent first came to the Illinois. She was then a plaything and an
object of solicitude to him, and nothing more. Much as her father
loved her, he had not then learned to discover the germ of the soul
just nascent in her infant form; nor to watch the formation, gradual
to imperceptibility, of her childish ideas. He would watch over her as
she slept, and gaze on her as she sported in the garden, with ardent
and unquiet fondness; and, from time to time, instil some portion of
knowledge into her opening mind: but this was all done by snatches,
and at intervals. His affection for her was the passion of his soul;
but her society was not an occupation for his thoughts. He would have
knelt to kiss her footsteps as she bounded across the grass, and tears
glistened in his eyes as she embraced his knees on his return from any
excursion; but her prattle often wearied him, and her very presence
was sometimes the source of intense pain.

He did not know himself how much he loved her, till she became old
enough to share his excursions and be a companion. This occurred at a
far earlier age than would have been the case had she been in England,
living in a nursery with other children. There is a peculiarity in the
education of a daughter, brought up by a father only, which tends to
develop early a thousand of those portions of mind, which are folded
up, and often destroyed, under mere feminine tuition. He made her
fearless, by making her the associate of his rides; yet his incessant
care and watchfulness, the observant tenderness of his manner, almost
reverential on many points, springing from the differences of sex,
tended to soften her mind, and make her spirit ductile and dependent.
He taught her to scorn pain, but to shrink with excessive timidity
from any thing that intrenched on the barrier of womanly reserve which
he raised about her. Nothing was dreaded, indeed, by her, except his
disapprobation; and a word or look from him made her, with all her
childish vivacity and thoughtlessness, turn as with a silken string,
and bend at once to his will.

There was an affectionateness of disposition kneaded up in the very
texture of her soul, which gave it its "very form and pressure." It
accompanied every word and action; it revealed itself in her voice,
and hung like light over the expression of her countenance.

Her earliest feeling was love of her father. She would sit to watch
him, guess at his thoughts, and creep close, or recede away, as she
read encouragement, or the contrary, in his eyes and gestures. Except
him, her only companion was her servant; and very soon she
distinguished between them, and felt proud and elate when she quitted
her for her father's side. Soon, she almost never quitted it. Her
gentle and docile disposition rendered her unobtrusive, while her
inexhaustible spirits were a source of delightful amusement. The
goodness of her heart endeared her still more; and when it was called
forth by any demand made on it by him, it was attended by such a
display of excessive sensibility, as at once caused him to tremble for
her future happiness, and love her ten thousand times more. She grew
into the image on which his eye doated, and for whose presence his
heart perpetually yearned. Was he reading, or otherwise occupied, he
was restless, if yet she were not in the room; and she would remain in
silence for hours, occupied by some little feminine work, and all the
while watching him, catching his first glance towards her, and obeying
the expression of his countenance, before he could form his wish into
words. When he left her for any of his longer excursions, her little
heart would heave, and almost burst with sorrow. On his return, she
was always on the watch to see, to fly into his arms, and to load him
with infantine caresses.

There was something in her face, that at this early age gave token of
truth and affection, and asked for sympathy. Her large brown eyes,
such as are called hazel, full of tenderness and sweetness, possessed
within their depths an expression and a latent fire, which stirred the
heart. It is difficult to describe, or by words to call before
another's mind, the picture so palpable to our own. The moulding of
her cheek, full just below the eyes, and ending in a soft oval, gave a
peculiar expression, at once beseeching and tender, and yet radiant
with vivacity and gladness. Frankness and truth were reflected on her
brow, like flowers in the clearest pool; the thousand nameless lines
and mouldings, which create expression, were replete with beaming
innocence and irresistible attraction. Her small chiselled nose, her
mouth so delicately curved, gave token of taste. In the whole was
harmony, and the upper part of the countenance seemed to reign over
the lower and to ennoble it, making her usual placid expression
thoughtful and earnest; so that not until she smiled and spoke, did
the gaiety of her guileless heart display itself, and the vivacity of
her disposition give change and relief to the picture. Her figure was
light and airy, tall at an early age, and slender. Her rides and
rambles gave elasticity to her limbs, and her step was like that of
the antelope, springy and true. She had no fears, no deceit, no untold
thought within her. Her matchless sweetness of temper prevented any
cloud from ever dimming her pure loveliness: her voice cheered the
heart, and her laugh rang so true and joyous on the ear, that it gave
token in itself of the sympathizing and buoyant spirit which was her
great charm. Nothing with her centred in self; she was always ready to
give her soul away: to please her father was the unsleeping law of all
her actions, while his approbation imparted a sense of such pure but
entire happiness, that every other feeling faded into insignificance
in the comparison.

In the first year of exile and despair, Fitzhenry looked forward to
the long drawn succession of future years, with an impatience of woe
difficult to be borne. He was surprised to find, as he proceeded in
the quiet path of life which he had selected, that instead of an
increase of unhappiness, a thousand pleasures smiled around him. He
had looked on it as a bitter task to forget that he had a name and
country, both abandoned for ever; now, the thought of these seldom
recurred to his memory. His forest home became all in all to him.
Wherever he went, his child was by his side, to cheer and enliven him.
When he looked on her, and reflected that within her frame dwelt
spotless innocence and filial piety, that within that lovely "bower of
flesh," not one thought or feeling resided that was not akin to heaven
in its purity and sweetness, he, as by infection, acquired a portion
of the calm enjoyment, which she in her taintless youth naturally
possessed.

Even when any distant excursion forced him to absent himself, her idea
followed him to light him cheerily on his way. He knew that he should
find her on his return busied in little preparations for his welcome.
In summer time, the bower in the garden would be adorned; in the
inclement season of winter the logs would blaze on the hearth, his
chair be drawn towards the fire, the stool for Ethel at his feet, with
nothing to remind him of the past, save her dear presence, which drew
its greatest charm, not from that, but from the present. Fitzhenry
forgot the thousand delights of civilization, for which formerly his
heart had painfully yearned. He forgot ambition, and the enticements
of gay vanity; peace and security appeared the greatest blessings of
life, and he had them here.

Ethel herself was happy beyond the knowledge of her own happiness. She
regretted nothing in the old country. She grew up among the grandest
objects of nature, and they were the sweet influences to excite her to
love and to a sense of pleasure. She had come to the Illinois attended
by a black woman and her daughter, whom her father had engaged to
attend her at New York, and had been sedulously kept away from
communication with the settlers--an arrangement which it would have
been difficult to bring about elsewhere, but in this secluded and
almost deserted spot the usual characteristics of the Americans were
scarcely to be found. Most of the inhabitants were emigrants from
Scotland, a peaceable, hard-working population.

Ethel lived alone in their lonely dwelling. Had she been of a more
advanced age when taken from England, her curiosity might have been
excited by the singularity of her position; but we rarely reason about
that which has remained unchanged since infancy; taking it as a part
of the immutable order of things, we yield without a question to its
controul. Ethel did not know that she was alone. Her attendants she
was attached to, and she idolized her father; his image filled all her
little heart. Playmate she had none, save a fawn and a kid, a dog
grown old in her service, and a succession of minor favourites of the
animal species.

It was Fitzhenry's wish to educate his daughter to all the perfection
of which the feminine character is susceptible. As the first step, he
cut her off from familiar communication with the unrefined, and,
watching over her with the fondest care, kept her far aloof from the
very knowledge of what might, by its baseness or folly, contaminate
the celestial beauty of her nature. He resolved to make her all that
woman can be of generous, soft, and devoted; to purge away every alloy
of vanity and petty passion--to fill her with honour, and yet to mould
her to the sweetest gentleness: to cultivate her tastes and enlarge
her mind, yet so to controul her acquirements, as to render her ever
pliant to his will. She was to be lifted above every idea of artifice
or guile, or the caballing spirit of the worldling--she was to be
single-hearted, yet mild. A creature half poetry, half love--one whose
pure lips had never been tainted by an untruth--an enthusiastic being,
who could give her life away for the sake of another, and yet who
honoured herself as a consecrated thing reserved for one worship
alone. She was taught that no misfortune should penetrate her soul,
except such as visited her affections, or her sense of right; and
that, set apart from the vulgar uses of the world, she was connected
with the mass only through another--that other, now her father and
only friend--hereafter, whosoever her heart might select as her guide
and head. Fitzhenry drew his chief ideas from Milton's Eve, and adding
to this the romance of chivalry, he satisfied himself that his
daughter would be the embodied ideal of all that is adorable and
estimable in her sex.

The instructor can scarcely give sensibility where it is essentially
wanting, nor talent to the unpercipient block. But he can cultivate
and detect the affections of the pupil, who puts forth, as a parasite,
tendrils by which to cling, not knowing to what--to a supporter or a
destroyer. The careful rearer of the ductile human plant can instil
his own religion, and surround the soul by such a moral atmosphere, as
shall become to its latest day the air it breathes. Ethel, from her
delicate organization and quick parts, was sufficiently plastic in her
father's hands. When not with him, she was the playmate of nature. Her
birds and pet animals--her untaught but most kind nurse, were her
associates: she had her flowers to watch over, her music, her
drawings, and her books. Nature, wild, interminable, sublime, was
around her. The ceaseless flow of the brawling stream, the wide-spread
forest, the changes of the sky, the career of the wide-winged clouds,
when the winds drove them athwart the atmosphere, or the repose of the
still, and stirless summer air, the stormy war of the elements, and
the sense of trust and security amidst their loudest disturbances,
were all circumstances to mould her even unconsciously to an
admiration of all that is grand and beautiful.

A lofty sense of independence is, in man, the best privilege of his
nature. It cannot be doubted, but that it were for the happiness of
the other sex that she were taught more to rely on and act for
herself. But in the cultivation of this feeling, the education of
Fitzhenry was lamentably deficient. Ethel was taught to know herself
dependent; the support of another was to be as necessary to her as her
daily food. She leant on her father as a prop that could not fail, and
she was wholly satisfied with her condition. Her peculiar disposition
of course tinged Fitzhenry's theories with colours not always their
own, and her entire want of experience in intercourse with her fellow-
creatures, gave a more decided tone to her sense of dependence than
she could have acquired, if the circumstances of her daily life had
brought her into perpetual collision with others. She was habitually
cheerful even to gaiety; yet her character was not devoid of
petulence, which might become rashness or self-will if left to
herself. She had a clear and upright spirit, and suspicion or
unkindness roused her to indignation, or sunk her into the depths of
sorrow. Place her in danger, and tell her she must encounter it, and
she called up all her courage and became a heroine; but on less
occasions, difficulties dismayed and annoyed her, and she longed to
escape from them into that dreamy existence, for which her solitary
mode of life had given her a taste: active in person, in mind she was
too often indolent, and apt to think that while she was docile to the
injunctions of her parent, all her duties were fulfilled. She seldom
thought, and never acted, for herself.

With all this she was so caressingly affectionate, so cheerful and
obedient, that she inspired her father with more than a father's
fondness. He lived but for her and in her. Away, she was present to
his imagination, the loadstone to draw him home, and to fill that home
with pleasure. He exalted her in his fancy into angelic perfection,
and nothing occurred to blot the fair idea. He in prospect gave up his
whole life to the warding off every evil from her dear and sacred
head. He knew, or rather believed, that while we possess one real,
devoted, and perfect friend, we cannot be truly miserable. He said to
himself--though he did not love to dwell on the thought--that of
course cares and afflictions might hereafter befal her; but he was to
stand the shield to blunt the arrows of sorrow--the shelter in which
she might find refuge from every evil ministration. The worst ills of
life, penury and desertion, she could never know; and surely he, who
would stand so fast by her through all--whose nightly dream and
waking thought was for her good, would even, when led to form other
connexions in life, so command her affections as to be able to
influence her happiness.

Not being able to judge by comparison, Ethel was unaware of the
peculiarity of her good fortune in possessing such a father. But she
loved him entirely; looked up to him, and saw in him the reward of
every exertion, the object of each day's employment. In early youth we
have no true notion of what the realities of life are formed, and when
we look forward it is without any correct estimate of the chances of
existence. Ethel's visionary ideas were all full of peace, seclusion,
and her father. America, or rather the little village of the Illinois
which she inhabited, was all the world to her; and she had no idea
that nearly every thing that connected her to society existed beyond
the far Atlantic, in that tiny isle which made so small a show upon
her maps. Fitzhenry never mentioned these things to his daughter. She
arrived at the age of fifteen without forming a hope that should lead
her beyond the pale which had hitherto enclosed her, or having
imagined that any train of circumstances might suddenly transplant her
from the lonely wilderness to the thronged resorts of mankind.



CHAPTER IV.



Les deserts sont faits pour les amants, mais l'amour
ne se fait pas aux deserts.
--Le Barbier de Paris.

Twelve years had led Ethel from infancy to childhood; and from child's
estate to the blooming season of girlhood. It had brought her father
from the prime of a man's life, to the period when it began to
decline. Our feelings probably are not less strong at fifty than they
were ten or fifteen years before; but they have changed their objects,
and dwell on far different prospects. At five-and-thirty a man thinks
of what his own existence is; when the maturity of age has grown into
its autumn, he is wrapt up in that of others. The loss of wife or
child then becomes more deplorable, as being impossible to repair; for
no fresh connexion can give us back the companion of our earlier
years, nor a "new sprung race" compensate for that, whose career we
hoped to see run. Fitzhenry had been a man of violent passions; they
had visited his life with hurricane and desolation;--were these dead
within him? The complacency that now distinguished his physiognomy
seemed to vouch for internal peace. But there was an abstracted
melancholy in his dark eyes--a look that went beyond the objects
immediately before him, that seemed to say that he often anxiously
questioned fate, and meditated with roused fears on the secrets of
futurity.

Educating his child, and various other employments, had occupied and
diverted him. He had been content; he asked for no change, but he
dreaded it. Often when packets arrived from England he hesitated to
open them. He could not account for his new-born anxieties. Was change
approaching? "How long will you be at peace?" Such warning voice
startled him in the solitude of the forests: he looked round, but no
human being was near, yet the voice had spoken audibly to his sense;
and when a transient air swept the dead leaves near, he shrunk as if a
spirit passed, invisible to sight, and yet felt by the subtle
atmosphere, as it gave articulation and motion to it.

"How long shall I be at peace?" A thrill ran through his veins. "Am I
then now at peace? Do love, and hate, and despair, no longer wage
their accustomed war in my heart? and is it true that gently flowing
as my days have lately been, that during their course I have not felt
those mortal throes that once made life so intolerable a burthen? It
is so. I am at peace; strange state for suffering mortality! And this
is not to last? My daughter! there only am I vulnerable; yet have I
surrounded her with a sevenfold shield. My own sweet Ethel! how can I
avert from your dear head the dark approaching storm?

"But this is folly. These waking dreams are the curse of inaction and
solitude. Yesterday I refused to accompany the exploring party. I will
go--I am not old; fatigue, as yet, does not seem a burthen; but I
shall sink into premature age, if I allow this indolence to overpower
me. I will set out on this expedition, and thus I shall no longer be
at peace." Fitzhenry smiled as if thus he were cheating destiny.

The proposed journey was one to be made by a party of his fellow-
settlers, to trace the route between their town and a large one, two
hundred miles off, to discover the best mode of communication. There
was nothing very arduous in the undertaking. It was September, and
hunting would diversify the tediousness of their way. Fitzhenry left
his daughter under the charge of her attendants, to amuse herself with
her books, her music, her gardening, her needle, and, more than all,
her new and very favourite study of drawing and sketching. Hitherto
the pencil had scarcely been one of her occupations; but an accident
gave scope to her acquiring in it that improvement for which she found
that she had prodigious inclination, and she was assured, no
inconsiderable talent.

The occasion that had given rise to this new employment was this.
Three or four months before, a traveller arrived for the purpose of
settling, who claimed a rather higher intellectual rank than those
around him. He was the son of an honest tradesman of the city of
London. He displayed early signs of talent, and parental fondness gave
him opportunities of cultivating it. The means of his family were
small, but some of the boy's drawings having attracted the attention
of an artist, he entered upon the profession of a painter, with
sanguine hopes of becoming hereafter an ornament to it.

Two obstacles were in the way of his success. He wanted that intense
love of his art--that enthusiastic perseverance in labour, which
distinguishes the man of genius from the man of talent merely. He
regarded it as a means, not an end. Probably therefore he did not feel
that capacity in himself for attaining first-rate excellence, which
had been attributed to him. He had a taste also for social pleasures
and vulgar indulgencies, incompatible with industry and with that
refinement of mind which is so necessary an adjunct to the cultivation
of the imaginative arts. Whitelock had none of all this; but he was
quick, clever, and was looked on among his associates as a spirited,
agreeable fellow. The death of his parents left him in possession of
their little wealth: depending for the future on the resources which
his talent promised him, he dissipated the two or three hundred pounds
which formed his inheritance: debt, difficulties, with consequent
abstraction from his profession, completed his ruin. He arrived at the
Illinois in search of an uncle, on whose kindness he intended to
depend, with six dollars in his purse. His uncle had long before
disappeared from that part of the country. Whitelock found himself
destitute. Neither his person, which was diminutive, nor his
constitution, which was delicate, fitted him for manual labour; nor
was he acquainted with any mechanic art. What could he do in America?
He began to feel very deeply the inroads of despair, when hearing of
the superior wealth of Mr. Fitzhenry, and that he was an Englishman,
he paid him a visit, feeling secure that he could interest him in his
favour.

The emigrant's calculations were just. His distinguished countryman
exerted himself to enable the young man to obtain a subsistence. He
established him in a school, and gave him his best counsels how to
proceed. Whitelock thanked him; commenced the most odious task of
initiating the young Americans in the rudiments of knowledge, and
sought meanwhile to amuse himself to the best of his power.
Fitzhenry's house he first made his resort. He was not to be baffled
by the reserved courtesy of his host. The comfort and English
appearance of the exile's dwelling were charming to him; and while he
could hear himself talk, he fancied that every one about him must be
satisfied. Fitzhenry was excessively annoyed. There was an innate
vulgarity in his visitant, and an unlicensed familiarity that jarred
painfully with the refined habits of his sensitive nature. Still, in
America he had been forced to tolerate even worse than this, and he
bore Whitelock's intrusions as well as he could, seeking only to put
such obstacles in the way of his too frequent visits, as would best
serve to curtail them. Whitelock's chief merit was his talent; he had
a real eye for the outward forms of nature, for the tints in which she
loves to robe herself, and the beauty in which she is for ever
invested. He occupied himself by sketching the surrounding scenery,
and gave life and interest to many a savage glade and solitary nook,
which, till he came, had not been discovered to be picturesque. Ethel
regarded his drawings with wonder and delight, and easily obtained
permission from her father to take lessons in the captivating art.
Fitzhenry thought that of all occupations, that of the pencil, if
pursued earnestly and with real taste, most conduced to the student's
happiness. Its scope is not personal display, as is the case most
usually with music, and yet it has a visible result which satisfies
the mind that something has been done. It does not fatigue the
attention like the study of languages, yet it suffices to call forth
the powers, and to fill the mind with pleasurable sensations. It is a
most feminine occupation, well replacing, on a more liberal and
rational scale, the tapestry of our grandmothers. Ethel had already
shown a great inclination for design, and her father was glad of so
favourable an opportunity for cultivating it. A few difficulties
presented themselves. Whitelock had brought his own materials with
him, but he possessed no superfluity--and they were not to be
procured at the settlement. The artist offered to transfer them all
for Ethel's convenience to her own abode, so that he might have free
leave to occupy himself there also. Fitzhenry saw all the annoyances
consequent on this plan, and it was finally arranged that his daughter
should, three or four times a week, visit the school-house, and in a
little room, built apart for her especial use, pursue her study.

The habit of seeing and instructing his lovely pupil awoke new ideas
in Whitelock's fruitful brain. Who was Mr. Fitzhenry? What did he in
the Illinois? Whitelock sounded him carefully, but gathered no
information, except that this gentleman showed no intention of ever
quitting the settlement. But this was much. He was evidently in easy
circumstances--Ethel was his only child. She was here a garden-rose
amidst briars, and Whitelock flattered himself that his position was
not materially different. Could he succeed in the scheme that all
these considerations suggested to him, his fortune was made, or, at
least, he should bid adieu for ever to blockhead boys and the dull
labours of instruction. As these views opened upon him, he took more
pains to ingratiate himself with Fitzhenry. He became humble; he
respectfully sought his advice--and while he contrived a thousand
modes of throwing himself in his way, he appeared less intrusive than
before--and yet he felt that he did not get on. Fitzhenry was kind to
him, as a countryman in need of assistance; he admired his talent as
an artist, but he shrunk from the smallest approach to intimacy.
Whitelock hoped that he was only shy, but he feared that he was proud;
he tried to break through the barrier of reserve opposed to him, and
he became a considerable annoyance to the recluse. He waylaid him
during his walks with his daughter--forced his company upon them, and
forging a thousand obliging excuses for entering their dwelling, he
destroyed the charm of their quiet evenings, and yet tempered his
manners with such shows of humility and gratitude as Fitzhenry could
not resist.

Whitelock next tried his battery on the young lady herself. Her
passion for her new acquirement afforded scope for his enterprizing
disposition. She was really glad to see him whenever he came;
questioned him about the pictures which existed in the old world, and,
with a mixture of wonder and curiosity, began to think that there was
magic in an art, that produced the effects which he described. With
all the enthusiasm of youth, she tried to improve herself, and the
alacrity with which she welcomed her master, or hurried to his school,
looked almost like--Whitelock could not exactly tell what, but here
was ground to work upon.

When Fitzhenry went on the expedition already mentioned, Ethel gave up
all her time, with renewed ardour, to her favourite pursuit. Early in
the morning she was seen tripping down to the school-house,
accompanied by her faithful negro woman. The attendant used her
distaff and spindle, Ethel her brush, and the hours flew unheeded.
Whitelock would have been glad that her eyes had not always been so
intently fixed on the paper before her. He proposed sketching from
nature. They made studies from trees, and contemplated the changing
hues of earth and sky together. While talking of tints, and tones of
colour spread over the celestial hemisphere and the earth beneath,
were it not an easy transition to speak of those which glistened in a
lady's eye, or warmed her cheek? In the solitude of his chamber, thus
our adventurer reasoned; and wondered each night why he hesitated to
begin. Whitelock was short and ill-made. His face was not of an
agreeable cast: it was impossible to see him without being impressed
with the idea that he was a man of talent; but he was otherwise
decidedly ugly. This disadvantage was counterbalanced by an
overweening vanity, which is often to be remarked in those whose
personal defects place them a step below their fellows. He knew the
value of an appearance of devotion, and the power which an
acknowledgment of entire thraldom exercises over the feminine
imagination. He had succeeded ill with the father; but, after all, the
surest way was to captivate the daughter: the affection of her parent
would induce him to ratify any step necessary to her happiness; and
the chance afforded by this parent's absence for putting his plan into
execution, might never again occur--why then delay?

It was, perhaps, strange that Fitzhenry, alive to the smallest evil
that might approach his darling child, and devoted to her sole
guardianship, should have been blind to the sort of danger which she
ran during his absence. But the paternal protection is never entirely
efficient. A father avenges an insult; but he has seldom watchfulness
enough to prevent it. In the present instance, the extreme youth of
Ethel might well serve as an excuse. She was scarcely fifteen; and,
light-hearted and blithe, none but childish ideas had found place in
her unruffled mind. Her father yet regarded her as he had done when
she was wont to climb his knee, or to gambol before him: he still
looked forward to her womanhood as to a distant event, which would
necessitate an entire change in his mode of living, but which need not
for several years enter into his calculations. Thus, when he departed,
he felt glad to get rid, for a time, of Whitelock's disagreeable
society; but it never crossed his imagination that his angelic girl
could be annoyed or injured, meanwhile, by the presumptuous advances
of a man whom he despised.

Ethel knew nothing of the language of love. She had read of it in her
favourite poets; but she was yet too young and guileless to apply any
of its feelings to herself. Love had always appeared to her blended
with the highest imaginative beauty and heroism, and thus was in her
eyes, at once awful and lovely. Nothing had vulgarized it to her. The
greatest men were its slaves, and according as their choice fell on
the worthy or unworthy, they were elevated or disgraced by passion. It
was the part of a woman so to refine and educate her mind, as to be
the cause of good alone to him whose fate depended on her smile. There
was something of the Orondates' vein in her ideas; but they were too
vague and general to influence her actions. Brought up in American
solitude, with all the refinement attendant on European society, she
was aristocratic, both as regarded rank and sex; but all these were as
yet undeveloped feelings--seeds planted by the careful paternal hand,
not yet called into life or growth.

Whitelock began his operations, and was obliged to be explicit to be
at all understood. He spoke of misery and despair; he urged no plea,
sought no favour, except to be allowed to speak of his wretchedness.
Ethel listened--Eve listened to the serpent, and since then, her
daughters have been accused of an aptitude to give ear to forbidden
discourse. He spoke well, too, for he was a man of unquestioned
talent. It is a strange feeling for a girl, when first she finds the
power put into her hand of influencing the destiny of another to
happiness or misery. She is like a magician holding for the first time
a fairy wand, not having yet had experience of its potency. Ethel had
read of the power of love; but a doubt had often suggested itself, of
how far she herself should hereafter exercise the influence which is
the attribute of her sex. Whitelock dispelled that doubt. He impressed
on her mind the idea that he lived or died through her fiat.

For one instant, vanity awoke in her young heart; and she tripped back
to her home with a smile of triumph on her lips. The feeling was
short-lived. She entered her father's library; and his image appeared
to rise before her, to regulate and purify her thoughts. If he had
been there, what could she have said to him--she who never concealed a
thought?--or how would he have received the information she had to
give? What had happened, had not been the work of a day; Whitelock had
for a week or two proceeded in an occult and mysterious manner: but
this day he had withdrawn the veil; and she understood much that had
appeared strange in him before. The dark, expressive eyes of her
father she fancied to be before her, penetrating the depths of her
soul, discovering her frivolity, and censuring her lowly vanity; and,
even though alone, she felt abashed. Our faults are apt to assume
giant and exaggerated forms to our eyes in youth, and Ethel felt
degraded and humiliated; and remorse sprung up in her gentle heart,
substituting itself for the former pleasurable emotion.

The young are always in extremes. Ethel put away her drawings and
paintings. She secluded herself in her home; and arranged so well,
that notwithstanding the freedom of American manners, Whitelock
contrived to catch but a distant glimpse of her during the one other
week that intervened before her father's return. Troubled at this
behaviour, he felt his bravery ooze out. To have offended Fitzhenry,
was an unwise proceeding, at best; but when he remembered the haughty
and reserved demeanour of the man, he recoiled, trembling, from the
prospect of encountering him.

Ethel was very concise in the expressions she used, to make her
father, on his return, understand what had happened during his
absence. Fitzhenry heard her with indignation and bitter self-
reproach. The natural impetuosity of his disposition returned on him,
like a stream which had been checked in its progress, but which had
gathered strength from the delay. On a sudden, the future, with all
its difficulties and trials, presented itself to his eyes; and he was
determined to go out to meet them, rather than to await their advent
in his seclusion. His resolution formed and he put it into immediate
execution: he would instantly quit the Illinois. The world was before
him; and while he paused on the western shores of the Atlantic, he
could decide upon his future path. But he would not remain where he
was another season. The present, the calm, placid present, had fled
like morning mist before the new risen breeze: all appeared dark and
turbid to his heated imagination. Change alone could appease the sense
of danger that had risen within him. Change of place, of
circumstances,--of all that for the last twelve years had formed his
life. "How long am I to remain at peace?"--the prophetic voice heard
in the silence of the forests, recurred to his memory, and thrilled
through his frame. "Peace! was I ever at peace? Was this unquiet heart
ever still, as, one by one, the troubled thoughts which are its
essence, have risen and broken against the barriers that embank them?
Peace! My own Ethel!--all I have done--all I would do--is to gift
thee with that blessing which has for ever fled the thirsting lips of
thy unhappy parent." And thus, governed by a fevered fancy and untamed
passions, Fitzhenry forgot the tranquil lot which he had learnt to
value and enjoy; and quitting the haven he had sought, as if it had
never been a place of shelter to him, unthankful for the many happy
hours which had blessed him there, he hastened to reach the stormier
seas of life, whose breakers and whose winds were ready to visit him
with shipwreck and destruction.



CHAPTER V.



"The boy is father of the man."
--Wordsworth.

Fitzhenry having formed his resolution, acted upon it immediately: and
yet, while hastening every preparation for his departure, he felt
return upon him that inquietude and intolerable sense of suffering,
which of late years had subsided in his soul. Now and then it struck
him as madness to quit his house, his garden, the trees of his
planting, the quiet abode which he had reared in the wilderness. He
gave his orders, but he was unable to command himself to attend to any
of the minuti of circumstance connected with his removal. As when he
first arrived, again he sought relief in exercise and the open air. He
felt each ministration of nature to be his friend, and man, in every
guise, to be his enemy. He was about to plunge among them again. What
would be the result?

Yet this was no abode for the opening bloom of Ethel. For her good his
beloved and safe seclusion must be sacrificed, and that he was acting
for her benefit, and not his own, served to calm his mind. She
contemplated their migration with something akin to joy. We could
almost believe that we are destined by Providence to an unsettled
position on the globe, so invariably is a love of change implanted in
the young. It seems as if the eternal Lawgiver intended that, at a
certain age, man should leave father, mother, and the dwelling of his
infancy, to seek his fortunes over the wide world. A few natural tears
Ethel shed--they were not many. She, usually so resigned and quiet in
her feelings, was now in a state of excitement: dreamy, shadowy
visions floated before her of what would result from her journey, and
curiosity and hope gave life and a bright colouring to the prospect.

The day came at last. On the previous Sunday she had knelt for the
last time in church on the little hassock which had been her's from
infancy, and walked along the accustomed pathway towards her home for
the last time. During the afternoon, she visited the village to bid
adieu to her few acquaintances. The sensitive refinement of Fitzhenry
had caused him to guard his daughter jealously from familiar
intercourse with their fellow settlers, even as a child. But she had
been accustomed to enter the poorer cottages, to assist the
distressed, and now and then to partake of tea drinking with the
minister. This personage, however, was not stationary. At one time
they had had a venerable old man whom Ethel had begun to love; but
latterly, the pastor had not been a person to engage her liking, and
this had loosened her only tie with her fellow colonists.

The day came. The father and daughter, with three attendants, entered
their carriage, and would along the scarcely formed road. One by one
they passed, and lost sight of objects, that for many years had been
woven in with the texture of their lives. Fitzhenry was sad. Ethel
wept, unconstrainedly, plentiful showery tears, which cost so much
less to the heart, than the few sorrowful drops which, in after life,
we expend upon our woes. Still as they proceeded the objects that met
their eyes became less familiar and less endeared. They began to
converse, and when they arrived at their lodging for the night, Ethel
was cheerful, and her father, mastering the unquiet feelings which
disturbed him, exerted himself to converse with her on such topics as
would serve to introduce her most pleasantly to the new scenes which
she was about to visit.

There was one object, however, which lay nearest to the emigrant's
heart, to which he had not yet acquired courage to allude; his own
position in the world, his former fortunes, and the circumstances that
had driven him from Europe, to seek peace and obscurity in the
wilderness. It was a strange tale; replete with such incidents as
could scarcely be made intelligible to the nursling of solitude--one
difficult for a father to disclose to his daughter; involving besides
a consideration of his future conduct, to which he did not desire to
make her a party. Thus they talked of the cities they might see, and
the strange sights she would behold, and but once did her father refer
to their own position. After a long silence, on his part sombre and
abstracted--as Prospero asked the ever sweet Miranda, so did Fitzhenry
inquire of his daughter, if she had memory of aught preceding their
residence in the Illinois? And Ethel, as readily as Miranda, replied
in the affirmative.

"And what, my love, do you remember? Gold-laced liveries and spacious
apartments?"

Ethel shook her head. "It may be the memory of a dream that haunts
me," she replied, "and not a reality; but I have frequently the image
before me, of having been kissed and caressed by a beautiful lady,
very richly dressed."

Fitzhenry actually started at this reply. "I have often conjectured,"
continued Ethel, "that that lovely vision was my dear mother; and that
when--when you lost her, you despised all the rest of the world, and
exiled yourself to America."

Ethel looked inquiringly at her father as she made this leading
remark; but he in a sharp and tremulous accent repeated the words,
"Lost her!"

"Yes," said Ethel, "I mean, is she not lost--did she not die?"

Fitzhenry sighed heavily, and turning his head towards the window on
his side, became absorbed in thought, and Ethel feared to disturb him
by continuing the conversation.

It has not been difficult all along for the reader to imagine, that
the lamented brother of the honourable Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry and
the exile of the Illinois are one; and while father and daughter are
proceeding on their way towards New York, it will be necessary, for
the interpretation of the ensuing pages, to dilate somewhat on the
previous history of the father of our lovely heroine.

It may be remembered, that Henry Fitzhenry was the only son of Admiral
Lord Lodore. He was, from infancy, the pride of his father and the
idol of his sister; and the lives of both were devoted to exertions
for his happiness and well-being. The boy soon became aware of their
extravagant fondness, and could not do less in consequence than fancy
himself a person of considerable importance. The distinction that Lord
Lodore's title and residence bestowed upon Longfield made his son and
heir a demigod among the villagers. As he rode through it on his pony,
every one smiled on him and bowed to him; and the habit of regarding
himself superior to all the world, became too much an habit to afford
triumph, though any circumstances that had lessened his consequence in
his own eyes would have been matter of astonishment and indignation.
His personal beauty was the delight of the women, his agility and
hardihood the topic of the men of the village. For although
essentially spoiled, he was not pampered in luxury. His father, with
all his fondness, would have despised him heartily had he not been
inured to hardship, and rendered careless of it. Rousseau might have
passed his approbation upon his physical education, while his moral
nurture was the most perniciously indulgent. Thus, at the same time,
his passions were fostered, and he possessed none of those habits of
effeminacy, which sometimes stand in the gap, preventing our young
self-indulged aristocracy from rebelling against the restraints of
society. Still generous and brave as was his father, benevolent and
pious as was his sister, Henry Fitzhenry was naturally led to love
their virtues, and to seek their approbation by imitating them. He
would not wantonly have inflicted a pang upon a human being; yet he
exerted any power he might possess to quell the smallest resistance to
his desires; and unless when they were manifested in the most
intelligible manner, he scarcely knew that his fellow-creatures had
any feelings at all, except pride and gladness in serving him, and
gratitude when he showed them kindness. Any poor family visited by
rough adversity, any unfortunate child enduring unjust oppression, he
assisted earnestly and with all his heart. He was courageous as a
lion, and, upon occasion, soft-hearted and pitiful; but once roused to
anger by opposition, his eyes darted fire, his little form swelled,
his boyish voice grew big, nor could he be pacified except by the most
entire submission on the part of his antagonist. Unfortunately for
him, submission usually followed any stand made against his authority,
for it was always a contest with an inferior, and he was never brought
into wholesome struggle with an equal.

At the age of thirteen he went to Eton, and here every thing wore an
altered and unpleasing aspect. Here were no servile menials nor humble
friends. He stood one among many--equals, superiors, inferiors, all
full of a sense of their own rights, their own powers; he desired to
lead, and he had no followers; he wished to stand aloof, and his
dignity, even his privacy, was perpetually invaded. His schoolfellows
soon discovered his weakness--it became a bye-word among them, and
was the object of such practical jokes, as seemed to the self-
idolizing boy, at once frightful and disgusting. He had no resource.
Did he lay his length under some favourite tree to dream of home and
independence, his tormentors were at hand with some new invention to
rouse and molest him. He fixed his large dark eyes on them, and he
curled his lips in scorn, trying to awe them by haughtiness and
frowns, and shouts of laughter replied to the concentrated passion of
his soul. He poured forth vehement invective, and hootings were the
answer. He had one other resource, and that in the end proved
successful:--a pitched battle or two elevated him in the eyes of his
fellows, and as they began to respect him, so he grew in better humour
with them and with himself. His good-nature procured him friends, and
the sun once more shone unclouded upon him.

Yet this was not all. He put himself foremost among a troop of wild
and uncivilized school-boys; but he was not of them. His tastes,
fostered in solitude, were at once more manly and dangerous than
theirs. He could not distinguish the nice line drawn by the customs of
the place between a pardonable resistance, or rather evasion of
authority, and rebellion against it; and above all, he could not
submit to practise equivocation and deceit. His first contests were
with his school-fellows, his next were with his masters. He would not
stoop to shows of humility, nor tame a nature accustomed to take pride
in daring and independence. He resented injustice wherever he
encountered or fancied it; he equally spurned it when practised on
himself, or defended others when they were its object--freedom was the
watchword of his heart. Freedom from all trammels, except those of
which he was wholly unconscious, imposed on him by his passions and
pride. His good-nature led him to side with the weak; and he was
indignant that his mere fiat did not suffice to raise them to his own
level, or that his representations did not serve to open the eyes of
all around him to the true merits of any disputed question.

He had a friend at school. A youth whose slender frame, fair,
effeminate countenance, and gentle habits, rendered him ridiculous to
his fellows, while an unhappy incapacity to learn his allotted tasks
made him in perpetual disgrace with his masters. The boy was unlike
the rest; he had wild fancies and strange inexplicable ideas. He said
he was a mystery to himself--he was at once so wise and foolish. The
mere aspect of a grammar inspired him with horror, and a kind of
delirious stupidity seized him in the classes; and yet he could
discourse with eloquence, and pored with unceasing delight over books
of the abstrusest philosophy. He seemed incapable of feeling the
motives and impulses of other boys: when they jeered him, he would
answer gravely with some story of a ghastly spectre, and tell wild
legends of weird beings, who roamed through the dark fields by night,
or sat wailing by the banks of streams: was he struck, he smiled and
turned away; he would not fag; he never refused to learn, but could
not; he was the scoff, and butt, and victim, of the whole school.

Fitzhenry stood forward in his behalf, and the face of things was
changed. He insisted that his friend should have the same respect paid
him as himself, and the boys left off tormenting him. When they ceased
to injure, they began to like him, and he had soon a set of friends
whom he solaced with his wild stories and mysterious notions. But his
powerful advocate was unable to advance his cause with his masters,
and the cruelty exercised on him revolted Fitzhenry's generous soul.
One day, he stood forth to expostulate, and to show wherefore Derham
should not be punished for a defect, that was not his fault. He was
ordered to be silent, and he retorted the command with fierceness. As
he saw the slender, bending form of his friend seized to be led to
punishment, he sprang forward to rescue him. This open rebellion
astounded every one; a kind of consternation, which feared to show the
gladness it felt, possessed the boyish subjects of the tyro kingdom.
Force conquered; Fitzhenry was led away; and the masters deliberated
what sentence to pass on him. He saved them from coming to a
conclusion by flight.

He hid himself during the day in Windsor Forest, and at night he
entered Eton, and scaling a wall, tapped at the bedroom window of his
friend. "Come," said he, "come with me. Leave these tyrants to eat
their own hearts with rage--my home shall be your home."

Derham embraced him, but would not consent. "My mother," he said, "I
have promised my mother to bear all;" and tears gushed from his large
light blue eyes; "but for her, the green grass of this spring were
growing on my grave. I dare not pain her."

"Be it so," said Fitzhenry; "nevertheless, before the end of a month,
you shall be free. I am leaving this wretched place, where men rule
because they are strong, for my father's house. I never yet asked for
a thing that I ought to have, that it was not granted me. I am a boy
here, there I am a man--and can do as men do. Representations shall be
made to your parents; you shall be taken from school; we shall be free
and happy together this summer at Longfield. Good night; I have far to
walk, for the stage coachmen would be shy of me near Eton; but I shall
get to London on foot, and sleep to-morrow in my father's house. Keep
up your heart, Derham, be a man--this shall not last long; we shall
triumph yet."



CHAPTER VI.



What is youth? a dancing billow.
Winds behind, and rocks before!
--Wordsworth.

This exploit terminated Fitzhenry's career at Eton. A private tutor
was engaged, who resided with the family, for the purpose of preparing
him for college, and at the age of seventeen he was entered at Oxford.
He still continued to cultivate the friendship of Derham. This youth
was the younger son of a rich and aristocratic family, whose hopes and
cares centred in their heir, and who cared little for the comfort of
the younger. Derham had been destined for the sea, and scarcely did
his delicate health, and timid, nervous disposition exempt him from
the common fate of a boy, whose parents did not know what to do with
him. The next idea was to place him in the church; and at last, at his
earnest entreaty, he was permitted to go abroad, to study at one of
the German universities, so to prepare himself, by a familiarity with
modern languages, for diplomacy.

It was singular how well Fitzhenry and his sensitive friend agreed;--
the one looked up with unfeigned admiration--the other felt attracted
by a mingled compassion and respect, that flattered his vanity, and
yet served as excitement and amusement. From Derham, Fitzhenry imbibed
in theory much of that contempt of the world's opinion, and
carelessness of consequences, which was inherent in the one, but was
an extraneous graft on the proud and imperious spirit of the other.
Derham looked with calm yet shy superiority on his fellow-creatures.
Yet superiority is not the word, since he did not feel himself
superior to, but different from--incapable of sympathizing or
extracting sympathy, he turned away with a smile, and pursued his
lonely path, thronged with visions and fancies--while his friend, when
he met check or rebuff, would fire up, his eyes sparkling, his bosom
heaving with intolerable indignation.

After two years spent at Oxford, instead of remaining to take his
degree, Fitzhenry made an earnest request to be permitted to visit his
friend, who was then at Jena. It was but anticipating the period for
his travels, and upon his promise to pursue his studies abroad, he won
a somewhat reluctant consent from his father. Once on the continent,
the mania of travelling seized him. He visited Italy, Poland, and
Russia: he bent his wayward steps from north to south, as the whim
seized him. He became of age, and his father earnestly desired his
return: but again and again he solicited permission to remain, from
autumn till spring, and from spring till autumn, until the very flower
of his youth seemed destined to be wasted in aimless rambles, and an
intercourse with foreigners, that must tend to unnationalize him, and
to render him unfit for a career in his own country. Growing
accustomed to regulate his own actions, he changed the tone of request
into that of announcing his intentions. At length, he was summoned
home to attend the death-bed of his father. He paid the last duties to
his remains, provided for the comfortable establishment of his sister
in the family mansion at Longfield, and then informed her of his
determination of returning immediately to Vienna.

During this visit he had appeared to live rather in a dream than in
the actual world. He had mourned for his father; he paid the most
affectionate attentions to his sister; but this formed, as it were,
the surface of things; a mightier impulse ruled his inner mind. His
life seemed to depend upon certain letters which he received; and when
the day had been occupied by business, he passed the night in writing
answers. He was often agitated in the highest degree, almost always
abstracted in reverie. The outward man--the case of Lodore was in
England--his passionate and undisciplined soul was far away, evidently
in the keeping of another.

Elizabeth, sorrowing for the loss of her father, was doubly afflicted
when she heard that it was her brother's intention to quit England
immediately. She had fondly hoped that he would, adorned by his newly-
inherited title, and endowed with the gifts of fortune, step upon the
stage of the world, and shine forth the hero of his age and country.
Her affections, her future prospects, her ambition, were all centred
in him; and it was a bitter pang to feel that the glory of these was
to be eclipsed by the obscurity and distant residence which he
preferred. Accustomed to obedience, and to regard the resolutions of
the men about her, as laws with which she had no right to interfere,
she did not remonstrate, she only wept. Moved by her tears, Lord
Lodore made the immense sacrifice of one month to gratify her, which
he spent in reading and writing letters at Longfield, in pacing the
rooms or avenues absorbed in reverie, or in riding over the most
solitary districts, with no object apparently in view, except that of
avoiding his fellow-creatures. Elizabeth had the happiness of seeing
the top of his head as he leant over his desk in the library, from a
little hillock in the garden, which she sought for the purpose of
beholding that blessed vision. She enjoyed also the pleasure of
hearing him pace his room during the greater part of the night.
Sometimes he conversed with her, and then how like a god he seemed!
His extensive acquaintance with men and things, the novel but choice
language in which he clothed his ideas; his vivid descriptions, his
melodious voice, and the exquisite grace of his manner, made him rise
like the planet of day upon her. Too soon her sun set. If ever she
hinted at the prolongation of his stay, he grew moody, and she
discovered with tearful anguish that his favourite ride was towards
the sea, often to the very shore: "I seem half free when I only look
upon the waves," he said; "they remind me that the period of liberty
is at hand, when I shall leave this dull land for--"

A sob from his sister checked his speech, and he repented his
ingratitude. Yet when the promised month had elapsed, he did not defer
his journey a single day: already had he engaged his passage at
Harwich. A fair wind favoured his immediate departure. Elizabeth
accompanied him on board, almost she wished to be asked to sail with
him. No word but that of a kind adieu was uttered by him. She returned
to shore, and watched his lessening sail. Wherefore did he leave his
native country? Wherefore return to reside in lands, whose language,
manners, and religion, were all at variance with his own? These
questions occupied the gentle spinster's thoughts; she had little
except such meditations to vary the hours, as years stole on
unobserved, and she continued to spend her blameless tranquil days in
her native village.

The new Lord Lodore was one of those men, not unfrequently met with in
the world, whose early youth is replete with mighty promise; who, as
they advance in life, continue to excite the expectation, the
curiosity, and even the enthusiasm of all around them; but as the sun
on a stormy day now and then glimmers forth, giving us hopes of
conquering brightness, and yet slips down to its evening eclipse
without redeeming the pledge; so do these men present every appearance
of one day making a conspicuous figure, and yet to the end, as it
were, they only glid the edges of the clouds in which they hide
themselves, and arrive at the term of life, the promise of its dawn
unfulfilled. Passion, and the consequent engrossing occupations,
usurped the place of laudable ambition and useful exertion. He wasted
his nobler energies upon pursuits which were mysteries to the world,
yet which formed the sum of his existence. It was not that he was
destitute of loftier aspirations. Ambition was the darling growth of
his soul--but weeds and parasites, an unregulated and unpruned
overgrowth, twisted itself around the healthier plant, and threatened
its destruction.

Sometimes he appeared among the English in the capital towns of the
continent, and was always welcomed with delight. His manners were
highly engaging, a little reserved with men, unless they were
intimates, attentive to women, and to them a subject of interest, they
scarcely knew why. A mysterious fair one was spoken of as the cynosure
of his destiny, and some desired to discover his secret, while others
would have been glad to break the spell that bound him to this hidden
star. Often for months he disappeared altogether, and was spoken of as
having secluded himself in some unattainable district of northern
Germany, Poland, or Courland. Yet all these errand movements were
certainly governed by one law, and that was love;--love unchangeable
and intense, else wherefore was he cold to the attractions of his fair
countrywomen? And why, though he gazed with admiration and interest on
the families of lovely girls, whose successive visitations on the
continent strike the natives with such wonder, why did he not select
some distinguished beauty, with blue eyes, and auburn locks, as the
object of his exclusive admiration? He had often conversed with such
with seeming delight; but he could withdraw from the fascination
unharmed and free. Sometimes a very kind and agreeable mamma contrived
half to domesticate him; but after lounging, and turning over music-
books, and teaching steps for a week, he was gone--a farewell card
probably the only token of regret.

Yet he was universally liked, and the ladies were never weary of
auguring the time to be not far off, when he would desire to break the
chains that bound him;--and then--he must marry. He was so quiet, so
domestic, so gentle, that he would make, doubtless, a kind and
affectionate husband. Among Englishmen, he had a friend or two, by
courtesy so called, who were eager for him to return to his native
country, and to enter upon public life. He lent a willing ear to these
persuasions, and appeared annoyed at some secret necessity that
prevented his yielding to them. Once or twice he had said, that his
present mode of life should not last for ever, and that he would come
among them at no distant day. And yet years stole on, and mystery and
obscurity clouded him. He grew grave, almost sombre, and then almost
discontented. Any one habituated to him might have discovered
struggles beneath the additional seriousness of his demeanour--
struggles that promised final emancipation from his long-drawn
thraldom.



CHAPTER VII.



Men oftentimes prepare a lot.
Which ere it finds them, is not what
Suits with their genuine station.
--Shelley.

At the age of thirty-two, Lord Lodore returned to England. It was
subject of discussion among his friends, whether this was to be a
merely temporary visit, or whether he was about to establish himself
finally in his own country. Meanwhile, he became the lion of the day.
As the reputed slave of the fair sex, he found favour in their gentle
eyes. Even blooming fifteen saw all that was romantic and winning in
his subdued and graceful manners, and in the melancholy which dwelt in
his dark eyes. The chief fault found with him was, that he was rather
taciturn, and that, from whatever cause, woman had apparently ceased
to influence his soul to love. He avoided intimacies among them, and
seemed to regard them from afar, with observant but passionless eyes.
Some spoke of a spent volcano--others of a fertile valley ravaged by
storms, and turned into a desert; while many cherished the hope of
renewing the flame, or of replanting flowers on the arid soil.

Lord Lodore had just emancipated himself from an influence, which had
become the most grievous slavery, from the moment it had ceased to be
a voluntary servitude. He had broken the ties that had so long held
him; but this had not been done without such difficulties and
struggles, as made freedom less delightful, from the languor and
regret that accompanied victory. Lodore had formed but one resolve,
which was not to entangle himself again in unlawful pursuits, where
the better energies of his mind were to be spent in forging
deceptions, and tranquillizing the mind of a jealous and unhappy
woman. He entertained a vague wish to marry, and to marry one whom his
judgment, rather than his love, should select;--an unwise purpose,
good in theory, but very defective in practice. Besides this new idea
of marrying, which he buried as a profound secret in his own bosom, he
wished to accustom himself to the manners and customs of his own
country, so as to enable him to enter upon public life. He was fond of
the country in England, and entered with zeal upon the pleasures of
the chace. He liked the life led at the seats of the great, and
endeavoured to do his part in amusing those around him.

Yet he did not feel one of them. Above all, he did not feel within him
the charm of life, the glad spirit that looks on each returning day as
a blessing; and which, gilding every common object with its own
brightness, requires no lustre unborrowed from itself. All things
palled upon Lodore. The light laughter and gentle voices of women were
vacant of attraction; his sympathy was not excited by the discussions
or pursuits of men. After striving for a whole year to awaken in
himself an interest for some one person or thing, and finding all to
be "vanity,"--towards the close of a season in town, of extreme
brilliancy and variety to common eyes--of dulness and sameness to his
morbid sense, he suddenly withdrew himself from the haunts of men, and
plunging into solitude, tried to renovate his soul by self-communings,
and an intercourse with silent, but most eloquent, Nature.

Youth wasted; affections sown on sand, barren of return; wealth and
station flung as weeds upon the rocks; a name, whose "gold" was
"o'erdusted" by the inertness of its wearer;--such were the
retrospections that haunted his troubled mind. He envied the
ploughboy, who whistled as he went; and the laborious cottager, who
each Saturday bestowed upon his family the hard-won and scanty
earnings of the week. He pined for an aim in life--a bourne--a
necessity, to give zest to his palled appetite, and excitement to his
satiated soul. It seemed to him that he could hail poverty and care as
blessings; and that the dearest gifts of fortune--youth, health, rank,
and riches--were disguised curses. All these he possessed, and
despised. Gnawing discontent; energy, rebuked and tamed into mere
disquietude, for want of a proper object, preyed upon his soul. Where
could a remedy be found? No "green spot" of delight soothed his
memory; no cheering prospect appeared in view; all was arid, gloomy,
unsunned upon.

He had wandered into Wales. He was charmed with the scenery and
solitude about Rhyaider Gowy, in Radnorshire, which lies amidst
romantic mountains, and in immediate vicinity to a cataract of the
Wye. He fixed himself for some months in a convenient mansion, which
he found to let, at a few miles from that place. Here he was secure
from unwelcome visitors, or any communication with the throng he had
left. He corresponded with no one, read no newspapers. He passed his
day, loitering beside waterfalls, clambering the steep mountains, or
making longer excursions on horseback, always directing his course
away from high roads or towns. His past life had been sufficiently
interesting to afford scope for reverie; and as he watched the
sunbeams as they climbed the hills at evening, or the shadows of the
clouds as they careered across the valleys, his heart by turns mourned
or rejoiced over its freedom, and the change that had come over it and
stilled its warring passions.

The only circumstance that in the least entrenched upon his feeling of
entire seclusion, was the mention, not unfrequently made to him, by
his servants, of the "ladies at the farm." The idea of these "ladies"
at first annoyed him; but the humble habitation which they had
chosen--humble to poverty--impressed him with the belief that, however
the "ladies" might awe-strike the Welsh peasantry, he should find in
them nothing that would impress him with the idea of station. Two or
three times, at the distant sight of a bonnet, instead of the Welsh
hat, he had altered his course to avoid the wearer. Once he had
suddenly come on one of these wonders of the mountains: she might have
passed for a very civilized kind of abigail; but, of course, she was
one of the "ladies."

As Lodore was neither a poet nor a student, he began at last to tire
of loneliness. He was a little ashamed when he remembered that he had
taken his present abode for a year: however, he satisfied his
conscience by a resolve to return to it; and began seriously to plan
crossing the country, to visit his sister in Essex. He was, during one
of his rides, deliberating on putting this resolve into execution on
the very next morning, when suddenly he was overtaken by a storm. The
valley, through which his path wound, was narrow, and the gathering
clouds over head made it dark as night; the lightning flashed with
peculiar brightness; and the thunder, loud and bellowing, was re-
echoed by the hills, and reverberated along the sky in terrific
pealings. It was more like a continental storm than any which Lodore
had ever witnessed in England, and imparted to him a sensation of
thrilling pleasure; till, as the rain came down in torrents, he began
to think of seeking some shelter, at least for his horse. Looking
round for this, he all at once perceived a vision of white muslin
beneath a ledge of rock, which could but half protect the gentle
wearer: frightened she was, too, as a slight shriek testified, when a
bright flash, succeeded instantaneously by a loud peal of thunder,
bespoke the presence of something like danger. Lodore's habitual
tenderness of nature rendered it no second thought with him to alight
and offer his services; and he was fully repaid when he saw her, who
hailed with gladness a protector, though too frightened to smile, or
scarcely to speak. She was very young, and more beautiful, Lodore was
at once assured, than any thing he had ever before beheld. Her
fairness, increased by the paleness of terror, was even snowy; her
hair, scarcely dark enough for chesnut, too dark for auburn, clustered
in rich curls on her brow; her eyes were dark grey, long, and full of
expression, as they beamed from beneath their deeply-fringed lids. But
such description says little; it was not the form of eye or the brow's
arch, correct and beautiful as these were, in this lovely girl, that
imparted her peculiar attraction; beyond these, there was a radiance,
a softness, an angel look, that rendered her countenance singular in
its fascination; an expression of innocence and sweetness; a pleading
gentleness that desired protection; a glance that subdued, because it
renounced all victory; and this, now animated by fear, quickly
excited, in Lodore, the most ardent desire to re-assure and serve her.
She leant, as she stood, against the rock--now hiding her face with
her hands--now turning her eyes to her stranger companion, as if in
appeal or disbelief; while he again and again protested that there was
no danger, and strove to guard her from the rain, which still
descended with violence. The thunder died away, and the lightning soon
ceased to flash, but this continued; and while the colour revisited
the young girl's cheek, and her smiles, displaying a thousand dimples,
lighted up new charms, a fresh uneasiness sprung up in her of how she
could get home. Her chaussure, ill-fitted even for the mountains,
could not protect her for a moment from the wet. Lodore offered his
horse, and pledged himself for its quietness, and his care, if she
could contrive to sit in the saddle. He lifted her light form on to
it; but the high-bred animal, beginning a little to prance, she threw
herself off into the arms of her new friend, in a transport of terror,
which Lodore could by no means assuage. What was to be done? He felt,
light as she was, that he could carry her the short half-mile to her
home; but this could not be offered. The rain was now over; and her
only resource was to brave the humid soil in kid slippers. With
considerable difficulty, half the journey was accomplished, when they
met the "lady" whom Lodore had before seen;--really the maid in
attendance, who had come out to seek her young mistress, and to
declare that "my lady" was beside herself with anxiety on her account.

Lodore still insisted on conducting his young charge to her home; and
the next day it was but matter of politeness to call to express his
hope that she had not suffered from her exposure to the weather. He
found the lovely girl, fresh as the morning, with looks all light and
sweetness, seated besides her mother, a lady whose appearance was not
so prepossessing, though adorned with more than the remains of beauty.
She at once struck Lodore as disagreeable and forbidding. Still she
was cordial in her welcome, grateful for his kindness, and so
perfectly engrossed by the thought of, and love for, her child, that
Lodore felt his respect and interest awakened.

An acquaintance, thus begun between the noble recluse and the "ladies
of the farm," proceeded prosperously. A month ago, Lodore would not
have believed that he should feel glad at finding two fair off-shoots
of London fashion dwelling so near his retreat; but even if solitude
had not rendered him tolerant, the loveliness of the daughter might
well perform a greater miracle. In the mother, he found good breeding,
good nature, and good sense. He soon became almost domesticated in
their rustic habitation.

Lady Santerre was of humble birth, the daughter of a solicitor of a
country town. She was handsome, and won the heart of Mr. Santerre,
then a minor, who was assisted by her father in the laudable endeavour
to obtain more money than his father allowed him. The young gentleman
saw, loved, and married. His parents were furiously angry, and tried
to illegalize the match; but he confirmed it when he came of age, and
a reconciliation with his family never took place. Mr. Santerre sold
reversions, turned expectations into money, and lived in the world.
For six years, his wife bloomed in the gay parterre of fashionable
society, when her husband's father died. Prosperity was to dawn on
this event: the new Sir John went down to attend his father's funeral;
thence to return to town, to be immersed in recoveries, settlements,
and law. He never returned. Riding across the country to a neighbour,
his horse shyed, reared, and threw him. His head struck against a
fragment of stone: a concussion of the brain ensued; and a fortnight
afterwards, he was enclosed beside his father, in the ancestral vault.

His widow was the mother of a daughter only; and her hopes and
prospects died with her husband. His brother, and heir, might have
treated her better in the sequel; but he was excessively irritated by
the variety of debts, and incumbrances, and lawsuits, he had to deal
with. He chose to consider the wife most to blame, and she and her
child were treated as aliens. He allowed them two hundred a year, and
called himself generous. This was all (for her father was not rich,
and had a large family) that poor Lady Santerre had to depend upon.
She struggled on for some little time, trying to keep up her
connexions in the gay world; but poverty is a tyrant, whose laws are
more terrible than those of Draco. Lady Santerre yielded, retired to
Bath, and fixed her hopes on her daughter, whom she resolved should
hereafter make a splendid match. Her excessive beauty promised to
render this scheme feasible; and now that she was nearly sixteen, her
mother began to look forward anxiously. She had retired to Wales this
summer, that, by living with yet stricter economy, she might be
enabled, during the winter, to put her plans into execution with
greater ease.

Lord Lodore became intimate with the mother and daughter, and his
imagination speedily painted both in the most attractive colours. Here
was the very being his heart had pined for--a girl radiant in
innocence and youth, the nursling, so he fancied, of mountains,
waterfalls, and solitude; yet endowed with all the softness and
refinement of civilized society. Long forgotten emotions awoke in his
heart, and he gave himself up to the bewildering feelings that beset
him. Every thing was calculated to excite his interest. The desolate
situation of the mother, devoted to her daughter only, and that
daughter fairer than imagination could paint, young, gentle,
blameless, knowing nothing beyond obedience to her parent, and
untaught in the guile of mankind. It was impossible to see that
intelligent and sweet face, and not feel that to be the first to
impress love in the heart which it mirrored, was a destiny which
angles might envy. How proud a part was his, to gift her with rank,
fortune, and all earthly blessings, and to receive in return,
gratitude, tenderness, and unquestioning submission! If love did not,
as thus he reasoned, show itself in the tyrant guise it had formerly
assumed in the heart of Lodore, it was the more welcome a guest. It
spoke not of the miseries of passion, but offered a bright view of
lengthened days of peace and contentedness. He was not a slave at the
feet of his mistress, but he could watch each gesture and catch each
sound of her voice, and say, goodness and beauty are there, and I
shall be happy.

He found the lovely girl somewhat ignorant; but white paper to be
written upon at will, is a favourite metaphor among those men who have
described the ideal of a wife. That she had talent beyond what he had
usually found in women, he was delighted to remark. At first she was
reserved and shy. Little accustomed to society, she sat beside her
mother in something of a company attitude; her eyes cast down, her
lips closed. She was never to be found alone, and a jeune personne in
France could scarcely be more retired and tranquil. This accorded
better with Lodore's continental experience, than the ease of English
fashionable girls, and he was pleased. He conversed little with
Cornelia until he had formed his determination, and solicited her
mother's consent to their union. Then they were allowed to walk
together, and she gained on him, as their intimacy increased. She was
very lively, witty, and full of playful fancy. Aware of her own
deficiencies in education, she was the first to laugh at herself, and
to make such remarks as showed an understanding worth all the
accomplishments in the world. Lodore now really found himself in love,
and blessed the day that led him from among the fair daughters of
fashion to this child of nature. His wayward feelings were to change
no more--his destiny was fixed. At thirty-four to marry, to settle
into the father of a family, his hopes and wishes concentrated in a
home, adorned by one whose beauty was that of angels, was a prospect
that he dwelt upon each day with renewed satisfaction. Nothing in
after years could disturb his felicity, and the very security with
which he contemplated the future, imparted a calm delight, at once new
and grateful to a heart, weary of storms and struggles, and which, in
finding peace, believed that it possessed the consummation of human
happiness.



CHAPTER VIII.



Hopes, what are they? beads of morning
Strung on slender blades of grass.
Or a spider's web adorning.
In a strait and treacherous pass.
--Wordsworth.

The months of July, August, and September had passed away. Lord Lodore
enjoyed, during the two last, a singularly complacent state of mind.
He had come to Wales with worn-out spirits, a victim to that darker
species of ennui, which colours with gloomy tints the future as well
as the present, and is the ministering angel of evil to the rich and
prosperous. He despised himself, contemned his pursuits, and called
all vanity beneath the vivifying sun of heaven. Real misfortunes have
worn the guise of blessings to men so afflicted, but he was withdrawn
from this position, by a being who wore the outward semblance of an
angel, and from whom he felt assured nothing but good could flow.

Cornelia Santerre was lovely, vivacious, witty, and good-humoured; yet
strange to say, her new lover was not rendered happy so much by the
presence of these qualities, as by the promise which they gave for the
future. He loved her; he believed that she would be to the end of his
life a blessing and a delight; yet passion was scarcely roused in his
heart; it was "a sober certainty of waking bliss," and a reasonable
belief in the continuance of this state, that made him, while he loved
her, regard her rather as a benefactress than a mistress.

Benefactress is a strange word to use, especially as her extreme youth
was probably the cause that more intimate sympathies did not unite
them, and why passion entered so slightly into their intercourse. It
is possible, so great was the discrepancy of their age, and
consequently of their feelings and views of life, that Lodore would
never have thought of marrying Cornelia, but that Lady Santerre was at
hand to direct the machinery of the drama. She inspired him with the
wish to gift her angelic child with the worldly advantages which his
wife must possess; to play a god-like part, and to lift into
prosperity and happiness, one who seemed destined by fortune to
struggle with adversity. Lady Santerre was a worldly woman and an oily
flatterer; Lodore had been accustomed to feminine controul, and he
yielded with docility to her silken fetters.

The ninth of October was Cornelia's sixteenth birthday, and on it she
became the wife of Lord Lodore. This event took place in the parish
church of Rhyaider Gowy, and it was communicated to "the world" in the
newspapers. Many discussions then arose as to who Miss Santerre could
be. "The only daughter of the late Sir John." The only late Sir John
Santerre remembered, was, in fact, the grandfather of the bride, and
the hiatus in her genealogy, caused by her father's death before he
had been known as a baronet, puzzled every fashionable gossip. The
whole affair, however, had been forgotten, when curiosity was again
awakened in the ensuing month of March, by an announcement in the
Morning Post, of the arrival of the noble pair at Mivart's. Lord
Lodore had always rented a box at the King's Theatre. It had been
newly decorated at the beginning of the season, and on the first
Saturday in April all eyes turned towards it as he entered, having the
loveliest, fairest, and most sylph-like girl, that ever trod dark
earth, leaning on his arm. There was a child-like innocence, a
fascinating simplicity, joined to an expression of vivacity and
happiness, in Lady Lodore's countenance, which impressed at first
sight, as being the completion of feminine beauty. She looked as if no
time could touch, no ill stain her; artless affection and amiable
dependence spoke in each graceful gesture. Others might be beautiful,
but there was that in her, which seemed allied to celestial
loveliness.

Such was the prize Lord Lodore had won. The new-married pair took up
their residence in Berkeley-square, and here Lady Santerre joined
them, and took possession of the apartments appropriated to her use,
under her daughter's roof. All appeared bright on the outside, and
each seemed happy in each other. Yet had any one cared to remark, they
had perceived that Lodore looked even more abstracted than before his
marriage. They had seen, that, in the domestic coterie, mother and
daughter were familiar friends, sharing each thought and wish, but
that Lodore was one apart, banished, or exiling himself from the
dearest blessings of friendship and love. There might be no
concealment, but also there was no frankness between the pair. Neither
practised disguise, but there was no outpouring of the heart--no
"touch of nature," which, passing like an electric shock, made their
souls one. An insurmountable barrier stood between Lodore and his
happiness--between his love and his wife's confidence; that this
obstacle was a shadow--undefined--formless--nothing--yet every thing,
made it trebly hateful, and rendered it utterly impossible that it
should be removed.

The magician who had raised this ominous phantom, was Lady Santerre.
She was a clever though uneducated woman: perfectly selfish, soured
with the world, yet clinging to it. To make good her second entrance
on its stage, she believed it necessary to preserve unlimited sway
over the plastic mind of her daughter. If she had acted with
integrity, her end had been equally well secured; but unfortunately,
she was by nature framed to prefer the zig-zag to the straight line;
added to which, she was imperious, and could not bear a rival near her
throne. From the first, therefore, she exerted herself to secure her
empire over Cornelia; she spared neither flattery nor artifice; and,
well acquainted as she was with every habit and turn of her daughter's
mind, her task was comparatively easy.

The fair girl had been brought up (ah! how different from the
sentiments which Lodore had thought to find the natural inheritance of
the mountain child!) to view society as the glass by which she was to
set her feelings, and to which to adapt her conduct. She was ignorant,
accustomed to the most frivolous employments, shrinking from any
mental exercise, so that although her natural abilities were great,
they lay dormant, producing neither bud nor blossom, unless such might
be called the elegance of her appearance, and the charm of the softest
and most ingenuous manners in the world. When her husband would have
educated her mind, and withdrawn her from the dangers of dissipation,
she looked on his conduct as tyrannical and cruel. She retreated from
his manly guidance, to the pernicious guardianship of Lady Santerre,
and she sheltered herself at her side, from any effort Lodore might
make for her improvement.

Those who have never experienced a situation of this kind, cannot
understand it; the details appear trivial: there seems wanting but one
effort to push away the flimsy web, which, after all, is rather an
imaginary than real bondage. But the slightest description will bring
it home to those who have known it, and groaned beneath a despotism
the more intolerable, as it could be less defined. Lord Lodore found
that he had no home, no dear single-hearted bosom where he could find
sympathy and to which to impart pleasure. When he entered his drawing-
room with gaiety of spirit to impart some agreeable tidings, to ask
his wife's advice, or to propose some plan, Lady Santerre was ever by
her side, with her hard features and canting falsetto voice, checking
at once the kindling kindness of his soul, and he felt that all that
he should say would be turned from its right road, by some insidious
remark, and the words he was about to speak died upon his lips. When
he looked forward through the day, and would have given the world to
have had his wife to himself, and to have sought, in some drive or
excursion, for the pleasant unreserved converse he sighed for, Lady
Santerre must be consulted; and though she never opposed him, she
always carried her point in opposition to his. His wishes were made
light of, and he was left to amuse himself, and to know that his wife
was imbibing the lessons of one, whom he had learnt to despise and
hate.

Lord Lodore cherished an ideal of what he thought a woman ought to be;
but he had no lofty opinion of women as he had usually found her. He
had believed that the germ of all the excellencies which he esteemed
was to be found in Cornelia, and he found himself mistaken. He had
expected to find truth, clearness of spirit, and complying gentleness,
the adorning qualities of the unsophisticated girl, and he found her
the willing disciple of one whose selfish and artful character was in
direct contradiction to his own. Once or twice at the beginning, he
had attempted to withdraw his wife from this sinister influence, but
Lady Lodore highly resented any effort of this kind, and saw in it an
endeavour to make her neglect her first and dearest duties. Lodore,
angry that the wishes of another should be preferred to his, drew back
with disappointed pride; he disdained to enforce by authority, that
which he thought ought to be yielded to love. The bitter sense of
wounded affections was not to be appeased by knowing that, if he
chose, he could command that, which was worthless in his eyes, except
as a voluntary gift.

And here his error began; he had married one so young, that her
education, even if its foundation had been good, required finishing,
and who as it was, had every thing to learn. During the days of
courtship he had looked forward with pleasure to playing the tutor to
his fair mistress: but a tutor can do nothing without authority,
either open or concealed--a tutor must sacrifice his own pursuits and
immediate pleasures, to study and adapt himself to the disposition of
his pupil. As has been said of those who would acquire power in the
state--they must in some degree follow, if they would lead, and it is
by adapting themselves to the humour of those they would command, that
they establish the law of their own will, or of an apparent necessity.
But Lodore understood nothing of all this. He had been accustomed to
be managed by his mistress; he had been yielding, but it was because
she contrived to make his will her own; otherwise he was imperious:
opposition startled and disconcerted him, and he saw heartlessness in
the want of accommodation and compliance he met at home. He had
expected from Cornelia a girl's clinging fondness, but that was given
to her mother; nor did she feel the womanly tenderness, which sees in
her husband the safeguard from the ills of life, the shield to stand
between her and the world, to ward off its cruelties; a shelter from
adversity, a refuge when tempests were abroad. How could she feel
this, who, proud in youth and triumphant beauty, knew nothing of, and
disbelieved the tales which sages and old women tell of the perils of
life? The world looked to her a velvet strewn walk, canopied from
every storm--her husband alone, who endeavoured to reveal the reality
of things to her, and to disturb her visions, was the source of any
sorrow or discomfort. She was buoyed up by the supercilious arrogance
of youth; and while inexperience rendered her incapable of entering
into the feelings of her husband, she displayed towards him none of
that deference, and yielding submission, which might reasonably have
been expected from her youth, but that her mother was there to claim
them for herself, and to inculcate, as far as she could, that while
she was her natural friend, Lodore was her natural enemy.

He, with strong pride and crushed affections, gave himself up for a
disappointed man. He disdained to struggle with the sinister influence
of his mother-in-law; he did not endeavour to discipline and
invigorate the facile disposition of his bride. He had expected
devotion, attention, love; and he scorned to complain or to war
against the estrangement that grew up between them. If at any time he
was impelled by an overflowing heart to seek his fair wife's side, the
eternal presence of Lady Santerre chilled him at once; and to withdraw
her from this was a task difficult indeed to one who could not forgive
the competition admitted between them. At first he made one or two
endeavours to separate them; but the reception his efforts met with
galled his haughty soul; and while he cherished a deep and passionate
hatred for the cause, he grew to despise the victim of her arts. He
thought that he perceived duplicity, low-thoughted pride, and coldness
of heart, the native growth of the daughter of such a mother. He
yielded her up at once to the world and her parent, and resolved to
seek, not happiness, but occupation elsewhere. He felt the wound
deeply, but he sought no cure; and pride taught him to mask his
soreness of spirit by a studied mildness of manner, which, being
joined to cold indifference, and frequent contradiction, soon begot a
considerable degree of resentment, and even dislike on her part. Her
mother's well-applied flatteries and the adulation of her friends were
contrasted with his half-disguised contempt. The system of society
tended to increase their mutual estrangement. She embarked at once on
the stream of fashion; and her whole time was given up to the
engagements and amusements that flowed in on her on all sides; while
he--one other regret added to many previous ones--one other
disappointment in addition to those which already corroded his heart--
bade adieu to every hope of domestic felicity, and tried to create new
interests for himself, seeking, in public affairs, for food for a mind
eager for excitement.



CHAPTER IX.



What are fears, but voices airy
Whisp'ring harm, where harm is not?
And deluding the unwary.
Till the fatal bolt is shot?
--Wordsworth.

Lord Lodore was disgusted at the very threshold of his new purpose.
His long residence abroad prevented his ever acquiring the habit of
public speaking; nor had he the respect for human nature, nor the
enthusiasm for a party or a cause, which is necessary for one who
would make a figure as a statesman. His sensitive disposition, his
pride, which, when excited, verged into arrogance; his uncompromising
integrity, his disdain of most of his associates, his incapacity of
yielding obedience, rendered his short political career one of
struggle and mortification. "And this is life!" he said; "abroad, to
mingle with the senseless and the vulgar; and at home, to find a--
wife, who prefers the admiration of fools, to the love of an honest
heart!"

Within a year after her marriage, Lady Lodore gave birth to a
daughter. This circumstance, which naturally tends to draw the parents
nearer, unfortunately in this instance set them further apart. Lady
Santerre had been near, with so many restrictions and so much
interference, which though probably necessary, considering Cornelia's
extreme youth, yet seemed vexatious and impertinent to Lodore. All
things appeared to be permitted, except those which he proposed. A
drive, a ride, even a walk with him, was to be considered fatal;
while, at the same time, Lady Lodore was spending whole nights in
heated rooms, and even dancing. Her confinement was followed by a long
illness; the child was nursed by a stranger, secluded in a distant
part of the house; and during her slow recovery, the young mother
seemed scarcely to remember that it existed. The love for children is
a passion often developed most fully in the second stage of life.
Lodore idolized his little offspring, and felt hurt and angry when his
wife, after it had been in her room a minute or two, on the first
approach it made to a squall, ordered it to be taken away. At the
time, in truth, she was reduced to the lowest ebb of weakness; but
Lodore, as men are apt to do, was slow to discern her physical
suffering, while his cheeks burnt with indignation, as she peevishly
repeated the command that his child should go.

When she grew better this was not mended. She was ordered into the
country for air, at a time when the little girl was suffering from
some infantine disorder, and could not be moved. It was left with its
nurses, but Lodore remained also, and rather suffered his wife to
travel without him, so to demonstrate openly, that he thought her
treatment of her baby unmotherly; not that he expressed this
sentiment, nor did Lady Lodore guess at it; she saw only his usual
spirit of contradiction and neglect, in his desertion of her at this
period.

The mother pressed with careless lips the downy cheek of the little
cherub, and departed; while Lodore passed most of his time in the
child's apartment, or, turning his library into a nursery, it was
continually with him there. "Here," he thought, "I have something to
live for, something to love. And even though I am not loved in return,
my heart's sacrifice will not be repaid with insolence and contempt."
But when the infant began to show tokens of recognition and affection,
when it smiled and stretched out its little hands on seeing him, and
crowed with innocent pleasure; and still more, when the lisped
paternal name fell from its roseate lips--the father repeated more
emphatically, "Here is something that makes it worth while to have
been born--to live!" An illness of the child overwhelmed him with
anxiety and despair. She recovered; and he thanked God, with a lively
emotion of joy, to which he had long been a stranger.

His affection for his child augmented the annoyance which he derived
from his domestic circle. He had been hitherto sullenly yielding on
any contest; but whatever whim, or whatever plan, he formed with
regard to his daughter, he abided by unmoved, and took pleasure in
manifesting his partiality for her. Lodore was by nature a man of
violent and dangerous passions, add to which, his temper was
susceptible to irritability. He disdained to cope with the undue
influence exercised by Lady Santerre over his wife. He beheld in the
latter, a frivolous, childish puppet, endowed with the usual feminine
infirmities--"The love of pleasure, and the love of sway;" and
destitute of that tact and tenderness of nature which should teach her
where to yield and how to reign. He left her therefore to her own
devices, resolved only that he would not give up a single point
relative to his child, and consequently, according to the weakness of
human nature, ever ready to find fault with and prohibit all her
wishes on the subject.

Cornelia, accustomed to be guided by her mother's watchful artifices,
and to submit to a tyranny which assumed the guise of servitude, felt
only with the feelings implanted by her parent. She was not, like Lady
Santerre, heartless; but cherished pride, the effect of perpetual
misrepresentation, painted her as such. She looked on her husband as a
man essentially selfish--one who, worn out by passion, had married her
to beguile his hours during a visitation of ennui, and incapable of
the softness of love or the kindness of friendship. On occasion of his
new conduct with regard to her child, her haughty soul was in arms
against him, and something almost akin to hatred sprung up within her.
She resented his interference; she believed that his object was to
deprive her of the consolation of her daughter's love, and that his
chief aim was to annoy and insult her. She was jealous of her daughter
with her husband, of her husband with her daughter. If by some chance
a word or look passed that might have softened the mutual sentiment of
distrust, the evil genius of the scene was there to freeze again the
genial current; and any approach to kindness, by an inexplicable but
certain result, only tended to place them further apart than before.

Three winters had passed since their marriage, and the third spring
was merging into summer, while they continued in this state of warlike
neutrality. Any slight incident might have destroyed the fictitious
barriers erected by ill-will and guile between them; or, so precarious
was their state, any new event might change petty disagreements into
violent resentment, and prevent their ever entertaining towards each
other those feelings which, but for one fatal influence, would
naturally have had root between them. The third summer was come. They
were spending the commencement of it in London, when circumstances
occurred, unanticipated by either, which changed materially the course
of their domestic arrangements.

Lord Lodore returned home one evening at a little after eleven, from a
dinner-party, and found, as usual, his drawing-room deserted--Lady
Lodore had gone to a ball. He had returned in that humour to moralize,
which we so often bring from society into solitude; and he paced the
empty apartments with impatient step. "Home!--yes, this is my home! I
had hoped that gentle peace and smiling love would be its inmates,
that returning as now, from those who excite my spleen and contempt,
one eye would have lighted up to welcome me, a dear voice have thanked
me for my return. Home! a Tartar beneath his tent--a wild Indian in
his hut, may speak of home--I have none. Where shall I spend the rest
of this dull, deserted evening?"--for it may be supposed that, sharing
London habits, eleven o'clock was to him but an evening hour.

He went into his dressing-room, and casting his eyes on the table, a
revulsion came over him, a sudden shock--for there lay a vision, which
made his breath come thick, and caused the blood to recede to his
heart--a like vision has had the same effect on many, though it took
but the unobtrusive form of a little note--a note, whose fold, whose
seal, whose superscription, were all once so familiar, and now so
strange. Time sensibly rolled back; each event of the last few years
was broken off, as it were, from his life, leaving it as it had been
ten years ago. He seized the note, and then threw it from him. "It is
a mere mistake," he said aloud, while he felt, even to the marrow of
his bones, the thrill and shudder as of an occurrence beyond the
bounds of nature. Yet still the note lay there, and half as if to
undeceive himself, and to set witchcraft at nought, he again took it
up--this time in a less agitated mood, so that when the well-known
impression of a little foreign coronet on the seal met his eye, he
became aware that however unexpected such a sight might be, it was in
the moral course of things, and he hastily tore open the epistle: it
was written in French, and was very concise. "I arrived in town last
night," the writer said; "I and my son are about to join my husband in
Paris. I hear that you are married; I hope to see you and your lady
before I leave London."

After reading these few lines, Lord Lodore remained for a considerable
time lost in thought. He tried to consider what he should do, but his
ideas wandered, as they sadly traced the past, and pictured to him the
present. Never did life appear so vain, so contemptible, so odious a
thing as now, that he was reminded of the passions and sufferings of
former days, which, strewed at his feet like broken glass, might still
wound him, though their charm and their delight could never be
renewed. He did not go out that night; indeed it seemed as if but a
minute had passed, when, lo! morning was pouring her golden summer
beams into his room--when Lady Lodore's carriage drove up; and early
sounds in the streets told him that night was gone and the morrow
come.

That same day Lord Lodore requested Cornelia to call with him on a
Polish lady of rank, with whom he had formerly been acquainted, to
whom he was under obligations. They went. And what Lodore felt when he
stood with his lovely wife before her, who for many by-gone years had
commanded his fate, had wound him to her will, through the force of
love and woman's wiles--who he knew could read every latent sentiment
of his soul, and yet towards whom he was resolved now, and for ever in
future, to adopt the reserved manners of a mere acquaintance--what of
tremor or pain all this brought to Lodore's bosom was veiled, at least
beyond Cornelia's penetration, who seldom truly observed him, and who
was now occupied by her new acquaintance.

The lady had passed the bloom of youth, and even mid life; she was
verging on fifty, but she had every appearance of having been
transcendently beautiful. Her dark full oriental eyes still gleamed
from beneath her finelyarched brows, and her black hair, untinged by
any grizzly change, was gathered round her head in such tresses as
bespoke an admirable profusion. Her person was tall and commanding:
her manners were singular, for she mingled so strangely, stateliness
and affability, disdain and sweetness, that she seemed like a princess
dispensing the favour of her smile, or the terror of her frown on her
submissive subjects; her sweetest smiles were for Cornelia, who yet
turned from her to another object, who attracted her more peculiar
attention. It was her son; a youth inheriting all his mother's beauty,
added to the fascination of early manhood, and a frank and ingenuous
address, which his parent could never have possessed.

The party separated, apparently well pleased with each other. Lady
Lodore offered her services, which were frankly accepted; and after an
hour spent together, they appointed to meet again the next day, when
the ladies should drive out together to shop and see sights.

They became not exactly intimate, yet upon familiar terms. There was a
dignity and even a constraint in the Countess Lyzinski's manner that
was a bar to cordiality; but they met daily, and Lady Lodore
introduced her new friend everywhere. The Countess said that motives
of curiosity had induced her to take this country in her way to Paris.
Her wealth was immense, and her rank among the first in her own
country. The Russian ambassador treated her with distinction, so that
she gained facile and agreeable entrance into the highest society. The
young Count Casimir was an universal favourite, but his dearest
pleasure was to attend upon Lady Lodore, who readily offered to school
him on his entrance into the English world. They were pretty exactly
the same age; Casimir was somewhat the junior, yet he looked the
elder, while the lady, accustomed to greater independence, took the
lead in their intercourse, and acted the monitress to her docile
scholar.

Lord Lodore looked on, or took a part, in what was passing around him,
with a caprice perfectly unintelligible. With the Countess he was
always gentle and obliging, but reserved. While she treated him with a
coldness resembling disdain, yet whose chiefest demonstration was
silence. Lodore never altered towards her; it was with regard to her
son that he displayed his susceptible temper. He took pains to procure
for him every proper acquaintance; he was forward in directing him; he
watched over his mode of passing his time, he appeared to be
interested in every thing he did, and yet to hate him. His demeanour
towards him was morose, almost insulting. Lodore, usually so
forbearing and courteous, would contradict and silence him, as if he
had been a child or a menial. It required all Casimir's deference for
one considerably his senior, to prevent him from resenting openly this
style of treatment; it required all the fascination of Lady Lodore to
persuade him to encounter it a second time. Once he had complained to
her, and she remonstrated with her husband. His answer was to
reprimand her for listening to the impertinence of the stripling. She
coloured angrily, but did not reply. Cold and polite to each other,
the noble pair were not in the habit of disputing. Lady Santerre
guarded against that. Any thing as familiar as a quarrel might have
produced a reconciliation, and with that a better understanding of
each other's real disposition. The disdain that rose in Cornelia's
bosom on this taunt, fostered by conscious innocence, and a sense of
injustice, displayed itself in a scornful smile, and by an
augmentation of kindness towards Casimir. He was now almost
domesticated at her house; he attended her in the morning, hovered
round her during the evening; and she, given up to the desire of
pleasing, did not regard, did not even see, the painful earnestness
with which Lord Lodore regarded them. His apparent jealousy, if she at
all remarked it, was but a new form of selfishness, to which she was
not disposed to give quarter. Yet any unconcerned spectator might have
started to observe how, from an obscure corner of the room, Lodore
watched every step they took, every change of expression of face
during their conversation; and then approaching and interrupting them,
endeavoured to carry Count Casimir away with him; and when thwarted in
this, dart glances of such indignation on the youth, and of scorn upon
his wife, as might have awoke a sense of danger, had either chanced to
see the fierce, lightning-like passions written in those moments on
his countenance, as letters of fire and menace traced upon the
prophetic wall.

The Countess appeared to observe him indeed, and sometimes it seemed
as if she regarded the angry workings of his heart with malicious
pleasure. Once or twice she had drawn near, and said a few words in
her native language, on which he endeavoured to stifle each appearance
of passion, answering with a smile, in a low calm voice, and retiring,
left, as it were, the field to her. Lady Santerre also had remarked
his glances of suspicion or fury; they were interpreted into new sins
against her daughter, and made with her the subject of ridicule or
bitter reproach.

Lord Lodore was entirely alone. To no one human being could he speak a
word that in the least expressed the violence of his feelings. Perhaps
the only person with whom he felt the least inclined to overflow in
confidence, was the Countess Lyzinski. But he feared her: he feared
the knowledge she possessed of his character, and the power she had
once exercised to rule him absolutely; the barrier between them must
be insuperable, or the worst results would follow: he redoubled his
own cautious reserve, and bore patiently the proud contempt which she
exhibited, resolved not to yield one inch in the war he waged with his
own heart, with regard to her. But he was alone, and the solitude of
sympathy in which he lived, gave force and keenness to all his
feelings. Had they evaporated in words, half their power to wound had
been lost; as it was, there was danger in his meditations, and each
one in collision with him had occasion to dread that any sudden
overflow of stormy rage would be the more violent for having been
repressed so long.

One day the whole party, with the exception of Lady Santerre, dined at
the house of the Russian ambassador. As Lord and Lady Lodore proceeded
towards their destination, he, with pointed sarcasm of manner,
requested her to be less marked in her attentions to Count Casimir.
The unfounded suspicions of a lover may please as a proof of love, but
those of a husband, who thus claims affections which he has ceased to
endeavour to win, are never received except as an impertinence and an
insult. Those of Lord Lodore appeared to his haughty wife but a new
form of cold-hearted despotism, checking her pleasures whencesoever
they might arise. She replied by a bitter smile, and afterwards still
more insultingly, by the display of kindness and partiality towards
the object of her husband's dislike. Her complete sense of innocence,
roused to indignation, by the injury she deemed offered to it, led her
thus to sport with feelings, which, had she deigned to remark, she
might have seen working with volcano-power in the breast of Lodore.

The ladies retired after dinner. They gathered together in groups in
the drawing-room, while Lady Lodore, strange to say, sat apart from
all. She placed herself on a distant sopha, apparently occupied by
examining various specimens of bijouterie, nic-nacs of all kinds,
which she took up one after the other, from the table near her. One
hand shaded her eyes as she continued thus to amuse herself. She was
not apt to be so abstracted; as now, that intent on self-examination,
or self-reproach, or on thoughts that wandered to another, she forgot
where she was, and by whom surrounded. She did not observe the early
entrance of several gentlemen from the dining-room, nor remark a kind
of embarrassment which sat upon their features, spreading a sort of
uncomfortable wonder among the guests. The first words that roused
her, were addressed to her by her husband: "Your carriage waits,
Cornelia; will you come?"

"So early?" she asked.

"I particularly wish it," he replied.

"You can go, and send them back for me--and yet it is not worth
while, we shall see most of the people here at Lady C--'s to night."

She glanced round the room, Casimir was not there; as she passed the
Countess Lyzinski, she was about to ask her whether they should meet
again that evening, when she caught the lady's eye fixed on her
husband, meeting and returning a look of his. Alarm and disdain were
painted on her face, and added to this, a trace of feeling so
peculiar, so full of mutual understanding, that Lady Lodore was filled
with no agreeable emotion of surprise. She entered the carriage, and
the reiterated "Home!" of Lord Lodore, prevented her intended
directions. Both were silent during their short drive. She sat
absorbed in a variety of thoughts, not one of which led her to enter
into conversation with her companion; they were rather fixed on her
mother, on the observations she should make to, and the conjectures
she should share with, her. She became anxious to reach home, and
resolved at once to seek Lady Santerre's advice and directions by
which to regulate her conduct on this occasion.



CHAPTER X.



Who then to frail mortality shall trust.
But limns the water, or but writes in dust.
--Bacon.

They arrived in Berkeley-square. Lady Lodore alighted, and perceived
with something of a beating heart, that her husband followed her, as
she passed on to the inner drawing-room. Lady Santerre was not there.
Taking a letter from the table, so to give herself the appearance of
an excuse for having entered a room she was about immediately to quit,
she was going, when Lodore, who stood hesitating, evidently desirous
of addressing her, and yet uncertain how to begin, stopped her by
speaking her name, "Cornelia!"

She turned--she was annoyed; her conscience whispered what was in all
probability the subject to which her attention was to be called. Her
meditations in the drawing-room of the Russian Ambassador, convinced
her that she had, to use the phrase of the day, flirted too much with
Count Casimir, and she had inwardly resolved to do so no more. It was
particularly disagreeable therefore, that her husband should use
authority, as she feared that he was about to do, and exact from his
wife's obedience, what she was willing to concede to her own sense of
propriety. She was resolved to hear as little as she could on the
subject, and stood as if in haste to go. His faltering voice betrayed
how much he felt, and once or twice it refused to frame the words he
desired to utter: how different was their import from that expected by
his impatient auditress!

"Cornelia," said he, at length, "can you immediately, and at once--
this very night--prepare to quit England?"

"Quit England! Why?--whither?" she exclaimed.

"I scarcely know," replied Lodore, "nor is it of the slightest import.
The world is wide, a shelter, a refuge can be purchased any where--
and that is all I seek."

The gaming table, the turf, loss of fortune, were the ideas naturally
conveyed into the lady's mind by this reply. "Is all--every thing
gone--lost?" she asked.

"My honour is," he answered, with an effort, "and the rest is of
little worth."

He paused, and then continued in a low but distinct voice, as if every
word cost him a struggle, yet as if he wished each one to be fraught
with its entire meaning to his hearer; "I cannot well explain to you
the motives of my sudden determination, nor will I complain of the
part you have had in bringing on this catastrophe. It is over now. No
power on earth--no heavenly power can erase the past, nor change one
iota of what, but an hour ago, did not exist, but which now exists;
altering all things to both of us for ever; I am a dishonoured man."

"Speak without more comment," cried Lady Lodore; "for Heaven's sake
explain--I must know what you mean."

"I have insulted a gentleman," replied her husband, "and I will yield
no reparation. I have disgraced a nobleman by a blow, and I will offer
no apology, could one be accepted--and it could not; nor will I give
satisfaction."

Lady Lodore remained silent. Her thoughts speedily ran over the dire
objects which her husband's speech presented. A quarrel--she too
readily guessed with whom--a blow, a duel; her cheek blanched--yet not
so; for Lodore refused to fight. In spite of the terror with which an
anticipated rencontre had filled her, the idea of cowardice in her
husband, or the mere accusation of it, brought the colour back to her
face. She felt that her heedlessness had given rise to all this harm;
but again she felt insulted that doubts of her sentiments or conduct
should be the occasion of a scene of violence. Both remained silent.
Lodore stood leaning on the mantelpiece, his cheek flushed, agitation
betraying itself in each gesture, mixed with a resolve to command
himself. Cornelia had advanced from the door to the middle of the
room; she stood irresolute, too indignant and too fearful to ask
further explanation, yet anxious to receive it. Still he hesitated. He
was desirous of finding some form of words which might convey all the
information that it was necessary she should receive, and yet conceal
all that he desired should remain untold.

At last he spoke. "It is unnecessary to allude to the irretrievable
past. The future is not less unalterable for me. I will not fight
with, nor apologize to, the boy I have insulted I must therefore fly--
fly my country and the face of man; go where the name of Lodore will
not be synonymous with infamy--to an island in the east--to the desert
wilds of America--it matters not whither. The simple question is,
whether you are prepared on a sudden to accompany me? I would not ask
this of your generosity, but that, married as we are, our destinies
are linked, far beyond any power we possess to sunder them. Miserable
as my future fortunes will be, far other than those which I invited
you but four years ago to share, you are better off incurring the
worst with me, than you could be, struggling alone for a separate
existence."

"Pardon me, Lodore," said Cornelia, somewhat subdued by the magnitude
of the crisis brought about, she believed, however involuntarily by
herself, and by the sadness that, as he spoke, filled the dark eyes of
her companion with an expression more melancholy than tears; "pardon
me, if I seek for further explanation. Your antagonist" (they neither
of them ventured to speak a name, which hung on the lips of both) "is
a mere boy. Your refusal to fight with him results of course from this
consideration; while angry, and if I must allude to so distasteful a
falsehood, while unjust suspicion prevent your making him fitting and
most due concessions. Were the occasion less terrible, I might disdain
to assert my own innocence; but as it is, I do most solemnly declare,
that Count Casimir--" "I ask no question on that point, but simply
wish to know whether you will accompany me," interrupted Lodore,
hastily; "the rest I am sorry for--but it is over. You, my poor girl,
though in some measure the occasion, and altogether the victim, of
this disaster, can exercise no controul over it. No foreign noble
would accept the most humiliating submissions as compensation for a
blow, and this urchin shall never receive from me the shadow of any."

"Is there no other way?" asked Cornelia.

"Not any," replied Lodore, while his agitation increased, and his
voice grew tremulous; "No consideration on earth could arm me against
his life. One other mode there is. I might present myself as a mark
for his vengeance, with a design of not returning his fire, but I am
shut out even from this resource. And this," continued Lodore, losing
as he spoke, all self-command, carried away by the ungovernable
passions he had hitherto suppressed, and regardless, as he strode up
and down the room, of Cornelia, who half terrified had sunk into a
chair; "this--these are the result of my crimes--such, from their
consequences, I now term, what by courtesy I have hitherto named my
follies--this is the end! Bringing into frightful collision those who
are bound by sacred ties--changing natural love into unnatural, deep-
rooted, unspeakable hate--arming blood against kindred blood--and
making the innocent a parricide. O Theodora, what have you not to
answer for!"

Lady Lodore started. The image he presented was too detestable. She
repressed her emotions, and assuming that air of disdain, which we are
so apt to adopt to colour more painful feelings, she said, "This
sounds very like a German tragedy, being at once disagreeable and
inexplicable."

"It is a tragedy," he replied; "a tragedy brought now to its last dark
catastrophe. Casimir is my son. We may neither of us murder the other;
nor will I, if again brought into contact with him, do other than
chastise the insolent boy. The tiger is roused within me. You have a
part in this."

A flash of anger glanced from Cornelia's eyes. She did not reply--she
rose--she quitted the room--she passed on with apparent composure,
till reaching the door of her mother's chamber, she rushed impetuously
in. Overcome with indignation, panting, choked, she threw herself into
her arms, saying, "Save me!" A violent fit of hysterics followed.

At first Lady Lodore could only speak of the injury and insult she had
herself suffered; and Lady Santerre, who by no means wished to
encourage feelings, which might lead to violence in action, tried to
soothe her irritation. But when allusions to Lodore's intention of
quitting England and the civilized world for ever, mingled with
Cornelia's exclamations, the affair asumed a new aspect in the wary
lady's eyes. The barbarity of such an idea excited her utmost
resentment. At once she saw the full extent of the intended mischief,
and the risk she incurred of losing the reward of years of suffering
and labour. When an instantaneous departure was mentioned, an endless,
desolate journey, which it was doubtful whether she should be admitted
to share, to be commenced that very night, she perceived that her
measures to prevent it must be promptly adopted. The chariot was still
waiting which was to have conveyed Lord and Lady Lodore to their
assembly; dressed as she was for this, without preparation, she
hurried her daughter into the carriage, and bade the coachman drive to
a villa they rented at Twickenham; leaving, in explanation, these few
lines addressed to her son-in-law.

"The scene of this evening has had an alarming effect upon Cornelia.
Time will soften the violence of her feelings, but some immediate step
was necessary to save, I verily believe, her life. I take her to
Twickenham, and will endeavour to calm her: until I shall have in some
measure succeeded, I think you had better not follow us; but let us
hear from you; for althogh my attention is so painfully engrossed by
my daughter's sufferings, I am distressed on your account also, and
shall continue very uneasy until I hear from you.

"Friday Evening."

Lady Santerre and her daughter reached Twickenham. Lady Lodore went to
bed, and assisted by a strong composing draught, administered by her
mother, her wrongs and her anger were soon hushed in profound sleep.
Night, or rather morning, was far spent before this occurred, so that
it was late in the afternoon of the ensuing day before she awoke, and
recalled to her memory the various conflicting sentiments which had
occupied her previous to her repose.

During the morning, Lady Santerre had despatched a servant to
Berkeley-square, to summon her daughter's peculiar attendants. He now
brought back the intelligence that Lord Lodore had departed for the
continent, about three hours after his wife had quitted his house. But
to this he added tidings of another circumstance, for which both
ladies were totally unprepared. Cornelia had entered the carriage the
preceding night, without spending one thought on the sleeping cherub
in the nursery. What was her surprise and indignation, when she heard
that her child and its attendant formed a part of his lordship's
travelling suite. The mother's first impulse was to follow her
offspring; but this was speedily exchanged for a bitter sense of
wrong, aversion to her husband, and a resolve not to yield one point,
in the open warfare thus declared by him.



CHAPTER XI.



Amid two seas, on one small point of land.
Wearied, uncertain, and amazed, we stand;
On either side our thoughts incessant turn.
Forward we dread, and looking back we mourn.
--Prior.

Accustomed to obey the more obvious laws of necessity, those whose
situation in life obliges them to earn their daily bread, are already
broken in to the yoke of fate. But the rich and great are vanquished
more slowly. Their time is their own; as fancy bids them, they can go
east, west, north, or south; they wish, and accomplish their wishes;
and cloyed by the too easy attainment of the necessaries, and even of
the pleasures of life, they fly to the tortures of passion, and to the
labour of overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way of their
forbidden desires, as resources against ennui and satiety. Reason is
lost in the appetite for excitement, and a kind of unnatural pleasure
springs from their severest pains, because thus alone are they roused
to a full sense of their faculties; thus alone is existence and its
purposes brought home to them.

In the midst of this, their thoughtless career, the eternal law which
links ill to ill, is at hand to rebuke and tame the rebel spirit; and
such a tissue of pain and evil is woven from their holiday pastime, as
checks them midcourse, and makes them feel that they are slaves. The
young are scarcely aware of this; they delight to contend with Fate,
and laugh as she clanks their chains. But there is a period--sooner or
later comes to all--when the links envelop them, the bolts are shot,
the rivets fixed, the iron enters the flesh, the soul is subdued, and
they fly to religion or proud philosophy, to seek for an alleviation,
which the crushed spirit can no longer draw from its own resources.

This hour! this fatal hour! How many can point to the shadow on the
dial, and say, "Then it was that I felt the whole weight of my
humanity, and knew myself to be the subject of an unvanquishable
power!" This dark moment had arrived for Lodore. He had spent his
youth in passion, and exhausted his better nature in a struggle for,
and in the enjoyment of, pleasure. He found disappointment, and
desired change. It came at his beck. He married. He was not satisfied;
but still he felt that it was because he did not rouse himself, that
the bonds sate so heavily upon him. He was enervated. He sickened at
the idea of the struggle it would require to cast off his fetters, and
he preferred adapting his nature to endure their weight. But he
believed that it was only because he did not raise his hand, nor
determine on one true effort, that he was thus enslaved. And now his
hand was raised--the effort made; but no change ensued; and he felt
that there was no escape from the inextricable bonds that fastened him
to misery.

He had believed that he did right in introducing his wife to the
Countess Lyzinski. He felt that he could not neglect this lady; and
such was her rank, that any affectation of a separate acquaintance
would invite those observations which he deprecated. It was, after
all, matter of trivial import that he should be the person to bring
them acquainted. Moving in the same circles, they must meet--they
might clash: it was better that they should be on friendly terms. He
did not foresee the intimacy that ensued; and still less, that his own
violent passions would be called into action. That they were so, was,
to the end, a mystery even to himself. He no longer loved the
Countess; and, in the solitude of his chamber, he often felt his heart
yearn towards the noble youth, her son; but when they met--when
Cornelia spent her blandest smiles upon him, and when the exquisitely
beautiful countenance of Casimir became lighted up with gladness and
gratitude, a fire of rage was kindled in his heart, and he could no
more command himself, than can the soaring flames of a conflagration
bend earthward. He felt ashamed; but new fury sprung from this very
sensation. For worlds, he would not have his frenzy pried into by
another; and yet he had no power to controul its manifestation. His
wife expostulated with him concerning Casimir, and laughed his rebuke
to scorn. But she did not read the tumult of unutterable jealousy and
hate, that slept within his breast, like an earthquake beneath the
soil, the day before a city falls.

All tended to add fuel to this unnatural flame. His own exertions to
subdue its fierceness but kindled it anew. Often he entered the same
room with the young Count, believing that he had given his suspicions
to the winds--that he could love him as a son, and rejoice with a
father's pride in the graces of his figure and the noble qualities of
his mind. For a few seconds the fiction endured: he felt a pang--it
was nothing--gone; it would not return again:--another! was he for
ever to be thus tortured? And then a word a look, an appearance of
slighting him on the part of Casimir, an indiscreet smile on
Cornelia's lips, would at once set a-light the whole devastating
blaze. The Countess alone had any power over him; but though he
yielded to her influence, he was the more enraged that she should
behold his weakness; and that while he succeeded in maintaining an
elevated impassibility with regard to herself, his heart, with all its
flaws and poverty of purpose, should, through the ill-timed
interference of this boy, be placed once more naked in her hand.

Such a state of feeling, where passion combated passion, while reason
was forgotten in the strife, was necessarily pregnant with ruin. The
only safety was in flight;--and Lodore would have flown--he would have
absented himself until the cause of his sufferings had departed--but
that, more and more, jealousy entered into his feelings--a jealousy,
wound up by the peculiarity of his situation, into a sensitiveness
that bordered on insanity, which saw guilt in a smile, and
overwhelming, hopeless ruin, in the simplest expression of kindness.
Cornelia herself was disinclined to quit London, and tenacious pride
rendered him averse to proposing it, since he could frame no plausible
pretext for his change of purpose, and it had been previously arranged
that they should remain till the end of July. The presence of the
Countess Lyzinski was a tie to keep her; and to have pleaded his
feelings with regard to Casimir, could he have brought himself so to
do, would probably have roused her at once into rebellion. There was
no resource; he must bear, and also he must forbear;--but the last was
beyond his power, and his attempt at the first brought with it
destruction. In the last instance, at the Russian Ambassador's,
irritated by Cornelia's tone of defiance, and subsequent levity, he
levelled a scornful remark at the guiltless and unconscious offender.
Casimir had endured his arrogance and injustice long. He knew of no
tie, no respect due, beyond that which youth owes to maturer years;
yet the natural sweetness of his disposition inclined him to
forbearance, until now, that surrounded by his own countrymen and by
Russians, it became necessary that he should assert himself. He
replied with haughtiness; Lodore rejoined with added insult;--and
when again Casimir retorted, he struck him. The young noble's eyes
flashed fire: several gentlemen interposed between them;--and
yielding to the expediency of the moment, the Pole, with admirable
temper, withdrew.

Humiliated and dismayed, but still burning with fury, Lodore saw at
once the consequences of his angry transport. With all the impetuosity
of his fiery spirit, he resolved to quit at once the scene in which he
had played his part so ill. There was no other alternative. The most
frightful crimes blocked up every other outlet: this was his sole
escape, and he must seize on it without delay. Lady Lodore had not
even deigned to answer his request that she should accompany him; and
her mother's note appeared the very refinement of insolence. They
abandoned him. They left the roof from which he was about to exile
himself, even before he had quitted it, as if in fear of contamination
during his brief delay. Thus he construed their retreat; and worked
up, as he was, almost to madness, he considered their departure as the
commencement of that universal ban, which for ever, hereafter, was to
accompany his name. It opened anew the wound his honour had sustained;
and he poured forth a vow never more to ally himself in bonds of love
or amity with one among his kind.

His purpose was settled, and he did not postpone its execution. Post-
horses were ordered, and hasty preparations made, for his departure.
Alone, abandoned, disgraced, in another hour he was to quit his home,
his wife, all that endears existence, for ever: yet the short interval
that preceded his departure hung like a longdrawn day upon him; and
time seemed to make a full stop, at a period when he would have
rejoiced had it leaped many years to come. The heart's prayer in agony
did not avail: he was still kept lingering, when a knocking at the
door announced a visitor, who, at that late hour, could come for one
purpose only. Lord Lodore ordered himself to be denied, and Count
Casimir's second departed to seek him elsewhere. Cold dew-drops stood
on Lodore's brow as he heard this gentleman parley in a foreign accent
with the servant; trying, doubtless, to make out where it was likely
that he should meet with him: the door closed at last, and he listened
to the departing steps of his visitor, who could scarcely have left
the square, before his travelling chariot drove up. And now, while
final arrangements were making, with a heart heavy from bitter self-
condemnation, he visited the couch of his sleeping daughter, once more
to gaze on her sweet face, and for the last time to bestow a father's
blessing on her. The early summer morning was abroad in the sky; and
as he opened her curtains, the first sun-beam played upon her
features. He stooped to kiss her little rosy lips:--"And I leave this
spotless being to the blighting influence of that woman!" His murmurs
disturbed the child's slumbers: she woke, and smiled to see her
father; and then insisted upon rising, as he was up, and it was day.

"But I am come to say good-bye, sweet," he said; "I am going a long
journey."

"O take me with you!" cried the little girl, springing up, and
fastening her arms round his neck. He felt her soft cheek prest to
his; her hands trying to hold fast, and to resist his endeavours to
disengage them. His heart warmed within him. "For a short distance I
may indulge myself," he said, and he thought how her prattle would
solace his darker cares, during his road to Southampton. So, causing
her attendant to make speedy preparation, he took her in the carriage
with him; and her infantine delight so occupied him, that he scarcely
remembered his situation, or what exactly he was doing, as he drove
for the last time through the lightsome and deserted streets of the
metropolis.

And now he had quitted these; and the country, in all its summer
beauty, opened around him--meadows and fields with their hedge-rows,
tufted groves crowning the uplands, and "the blue sky bent over all."
"From these they cannot banish me," he thought; "in spite of dishonour
and infamy, the loveliness of nature, and the freedom of my will,
still are mine:--and is this all?"--his child had sunk to sleep,
nestled close in his arms; "Ah! what will these be to me, when I have
lost this treasure, dearest of all?--yet why lose her?" This question,
when it first presented itself to him, he put aside as one that
answered itself--to deprive a mother of her child were barbarity
beyond that of savages;--but again and again it came across him, and
he began to reason with it, and to convince himself that he should be
unjust towards himself in relinquishing this last remaining blessing.
His arguments were false, his conclusions rash and selfish; but of
this he was not aware. Our several minds, in reflecting to our
judgments the occurrences of life, are like mirrors of various shapes
and hues, so that we none of us perceive passing objects with exactly
similar optics; and while all pretend to regulate themselves by the
quadrant of justice, the deceptive medium through which the reality is
viewed, causes our ideas of it to be at once various and false. This
is the case in immaterial points; how much more so, when self-love
magnifies, and passion obscures, the glass through which we look upon
others and ourselves. The chief task of the philosopher is to purify
and correct the intellectual prism;--but Lodore was the reverse of a
philosopher; and the more he gazed and considered, the more imperfect
and distorted became his perception.

To act justly by ourselves and others, is the aim of every well-
conditioned mind: for the sight of pain in our fellow-creatures, and
the sense of self-condemnation within ourselves, is fraught with a
pang from which we would willingly escape; and every heart not formed
of the coarsest materials is keenly alive to such emotions. Lodore
resolved to judge calmly, and he reviewed coolly, and weighed (he
believed) impartially, the various merits of the question. He thought
of Lady Santerre's worldliness, her vulgar ambition, her low-born
contempt for all that is noble and elevating in human nature. He
thought of Cornelia's docility to her mother's lessons, her careless
disregard of the nobler duties of life, of her frivolity and unfeeling
nature:--then, almost against his will, his own many excellencies rose
before him;--his lofty aspirations, his self-sacrifice for the good of
others, the affectionateness of his disposition, his mildness, his
desire to be just and kind to all, his willingness to devote every
hour of the day, and every thought of his mind, to the well-bringing-
up of his daughter: a person must be strangely blind who did not
perceive that, as far as the child was concerned, she would be far
better off with him.

And then, in another point of view: Lady Lodore had her mother--and
she had the world. She had not only beauty, rank, and wealth; but she
had a taste for enjoying the advantages yielded by these on the common
soil of daily life. He cared for nothing in the wide world--he loved
nothing but this little child. He would willingly exchange for her the
far greater portion of his fortune, which Lady Lodore should enjoy;
reserving for himself such a pittance merely as would suffice for his
own and his daughter's support. He had neither home, nor friends, nor
youth, nor taintless reputation; nor any of all the blessings of life,
of which Cornelia possessed a superabundance. Her child was as nothing
in the midst of these. She had left her without a sigh, even without a
thought; while but to imagine the moment of parting was a dagger to
her father's heart. What a fool he had been to hesitate so long--to
hesitate at all! There she was, this angel of comfort; her little form
was cradled in his arms, he felt her soft breath upon his hand, and
the regular heaving of her bosom responded to the beatings of his own
heart; her golden, glossy hair, her crimsoned cheek, her soft, round
limbs;--all this matchless "bower of flesh," that held in the budding
soul, and already expanding affections of this earthly cherub, was
with him. And had he imagined that he could part with her? Rather
would he return to Lady Lodore, to dishonour, to scenes of hate and of
the world's contempt, so that thus he preserved her: it could not be
required of him; but if Cornelia's heart was animated by a tithe of
the fondness that warmed his, she would not hesitate in her choice;
but, discarding every unworthy feeling, follow her child into the
distant and solitary abode he was about to select.

Thus pacifying his conscience, Lodore came to the conclusion of making
his daughter the partner of his exile. Soon after mid-day, they
arrived at Southampton; a small vessel was on the point of sailing for
Havre, and on board this he hurried. Before he went he gave one hasty
retrospective view to those he was leaving behind--his wife, his
sister, the filial antagonist from whom he was flying; he could
readily address himself to the first of these, when landed on the
opposite coast; but as he wished to keep his destination a secret from
the latter, and to prevent, if possible, his being followed and defied
by him, an event still to be feared, he employed the few remaining
minutes, before quitting his country for ever, in writing a brief
letter to the Countess Lyzinski, which he gave in charge to a servant
whom he dismissed, and sent back to town. And thus he now addressed
her, who, in his early life, had been as the moon to raise the tide of
passion, incapable, alas! of controlling its waves when at the full.

"It is all over: I have fulfilled my part--the rest remains with you.
To prevent the ruin which my folly has brought down, from crushing any
but myself, I quit country, home, good name--all that is dear to man.
I do not complain, nor will I repine. But let the evil, I entreat you,
stop here. Casimir must not follow me; he must not know whither I am
gone; and while he brands his antagonist with the name of coward, he
must not guess that for his sake I endure this stain. I leave it to
your prudence and sagacity to calm or to mislead him, to prevent his
suspecting the truth, or rashly seeking my life. I sacrifice more, far
more, than my heart's blood on his account--let that satisfy even
your vengeance.

"I would not write harshly. The dream of life has long been over for
me; it matters not how or where the last sands flow out. I do not
blame you even for this ill-omened journey to England, which could
avail you nothing. Once before we parted for ever, Theodora; but that
separation was as the pastime of children in comparison with the
tragic scene we now enact. A thousand dangers yawn between us, and we
shall neither dare to repass the gulf that divides us. Forget me;--be
happy, and forget me! May Casimir be a blessing to you, and while you
glory in his perfections and prosperity, cast into oblivion every
thought of him, who now bids you an eternal adieu."



CHAPTER XII.



Her virtue, like our own, was built
Too much on that indignant fuss.
Hypocrite pride stirs up in us.
To bully out another's guilt.
--Shelley.

The fifth day after Lord Lodore's departure brought Cornelia a letter
from him. She had spent the interval at Twickenham, surrendering her
sorrows and their consolation to her mother's care; and inspired by
her with deep resentment and angry disdain. The letter she received
was dated Havre: the substance of it was as follows.

"Believe me I am actuated by no selfish considerations, when I ask you
once again to reflect before the Atlantic divides us--probably for
ever. It is for your own sake, your own happiness only, that I ask you
to hesitate. I will not urge your duty to me; the dishonour that has
fallen on me I am most ready to bear alone; mine towards you, as far
as present circumstances permit, I am desirous to fulfil, and this
feeling dictates my present address.

"Consider the solitary years you will pass alone, even though in a
crowd, divided from your husband and your child--your home desolate--
calumny and ill-nature at watch around you--not one protecting arm
stretched over you. Your mother's presence, it is true, will suffice
to prevent your position from being in the least equivocal; but the
time will soon come when you will discover your mistake in her, and
find how unworthy she is of your exclusive affection. I will not urge
the temptations and dangers that will beset you; your pride will, I
doubt not, preserve you from these, yet they will be near you in their
worst shape: you will feel their approaches; you will shudder at their
menaces, you will desire my death, and the faith pledged to me at the
altar will become a chain and a torture to you.

"I can only offer such affection as your sacrifice will deserve to
adorn a lonely and obscure home; rank, society, flatterers, the
luxuries of civilization--all these blessings you must forego. Your
lot will be cast in solitude. The wide forest, the uninhabited plain,
will shelter us. Your husband, your child; in us alone you must view
the sum and aim of your life. I will not use the language of
persuasion, but in inviting you to share my privations, I renew, yet
more solemnly, the vows we once interchanged; and it shall be my care
to endeavour to fulfil mine with more satisfaction to both of us than
has until now been the case.

"It is useless to attempt to veil the truth, that hitherto our hearts
have been alienated from each other. The cause is not in ourselves,
and must never again be permitted to influence either of us. If amidst
the avocations of society, the presence of a third person has been
sufficient to place division between us;--if, on the flowery path of
our prosperous life, one fatal interference has strewn thorns and
burning ashes beneath our feet, how much more keenly would this
intervention be felt in the retirement in which we are hereafter to
spend our days.--In the lonely spot to which it will be necessary to
contract all our thoughts and hopes, love must alone reign; or hell
itself would be but pastime in comparison to our ever-renewing and
sleepless torments. The spirit of worldliness, of discord, of paltry
pride, must not enter the paling which is to surround our simple
dwelling. Come, attended by affection, by open-hearted confidence;--
come to me--to your child!--you will find with us peace and mutual
love, the true secret of life. All that can make your mother happy in
England, shall be provided with no niggard hand:--but come alone,
Cornelia, my wife!--come, to take possession of the hearts that are
truly yours, and to learn a new lesson, in a new world, from him who
will dedicate himself entirely to you.

"Alas! I fear that I speak an unknown language, and one that you will
never deign to understand. Still I again implore you to reflect before
you decide. On one point I am firm--I feel that I am in the right--
that every thing depends upon it. Our daughter's guileless heart shall
never be tainted by all that I abhor and despise. For her sake, for
yours, more than for my own, I am as rock upon one question. Do not
strive to move me--it will be useless! Come alone! and ten thousand
welcomes and blessings shall hail your arrival!

"A vessel, in which I have engaged a passage, sails for New York, from
this place, in five days time. You must not delay your decision; but
hasten, if such be your gracious resolve, to join me here.

"If you decide to sacrifice yourself to one who will never repay that
sacrifice, and to the world,--that dreary, pain-haunted jungle,--at
least you shall receive from me all that can render your situation
there prosperous. You shall not complain of want of generosity on my
part. I shall, in my new course of life, require little myself; the
remainder of my fortune shall be at your disposal.

"I need not recommend secrecy to you as to the real motive of my
exile--your own sense of delicacy will dictate reserve and silence.
This letter will be delivered to you by Fenton: he will attend you
back here, or bring me your negative--the seal, I feel assured, of
your future misery. God grant that you choose wisely and well! Adieu."

The heart of Lady Lodore burnt within her bosom as she read these
lines. Haughty and proud, was she to be dictated to thus? and to
follow, an obedient slave, the master that deigned to recall her to
his presence, after he had (so she termed his abrupt departure)
deserted her? Her mother sate by, looking at her with an anxious and
inquiring glance, as she read the letter. She saw the changes of her
countenance, as it expressed anger, scorn, and bitter indignation. She
finished--she was still silent;--how could she show this insulting
address to her parent? Again she seemed to study its contents--to
ponder.

Lady Santerre rose--gently she was taking the paper from Cornelia's
hand. "You must not read it," she cried;--"and yet you must;--and
thus one other wrong is heaped upon the many."

Lady Santerre read the letter; silently she perused it--folded it--
placed it on the table. Cornelia looked up at her. "I do not fear your
decision," she said; "you will not abandon a parent, who has devoted
herself to you from your cradle--who lives but for you."

The unhappy girl, unable to resist her mother's appeal, threw herself
into her arms. Even the cold Lady Santerre was moved--tears flowed
from her eyes:--"My dear child!" she exclaimed.

"My dear child!"--the words found an echo in Lady Lodore's bosom;--"I
am never to see my child more!"

"Such is his threat," said her mother, "knowing thus the power he has
over you; but do not fear that it will be accomplished. Lord Lodore's
conduct is guided by no principle--by no deference to the opinion of
the world--by no just or sober motives. He is as full of passion as a
madman, and more vacillating. This is his fancy now--to quit England
for the wilderness, and to torture you into following him. You are as
lost as he, if you yield. A little patience, and all will be right
again. He will soon grow tired of playing the tragic hero on a stage
surrounded by no spectators; he will discover the folly of his
conduct; he will return, and plead for forgiveness, and feel that he
is too fortunate in a wife, who has preserved her own conduct free
from censure and remark, while he has made himself a laughing stock to
all. Do not permit yourself, dear Cornelia, to be baffled in this war
of passion with reason; of jealousy, selfishness, and tyranny, with
natural affection, a child's duty, and the respect you owe to
yourself. Even if he remain away, he will quickly become weary of
being accompanied by an infant and its nurse, and too glad to find
that you will still be willing to act the mother towards his child.
Firmness and discretion are the arms you must use against folly and
violence. Yield, and you are the victim of a despotism without
parallel, the slave of a task-master, whose first commands are gentle,
soft, and easy injunctions to desert your mother: to exile yourself
from your country, and to bury yourself alive in some unheard-of
desert, whose name even he does not deign to communicate. All this
would be only too silly and too wild, were it not too wicked and too
cruel. Believe me, my love, trust yourself to my guidance, and all
will be well; Lodore himself will thank, if such thanks be of value,
the prudence and generosity you will display."

Cornelia listened, and was persuaded. Above all, Lady Santerre tried
to impress upon her mind, that Lodore, finding her firm, would give up
his rash schemes, and remain in Europe; that even he had, probably,
never really contemplated crossing the Atlantic. At all events, that
she must not be guided by the resolves, changeable as the moon, of a
man governed by no sane purpose; but that, by showing herself
determined, he would be brought to bend to her will. In this spirit
Lady Lodore replied to her husband's letter. Fenton, Lord Lodore's
valet, who had been the bearer, had left it, and proceeded to London.
He returned the day following, to receive his lady's orders. Cornelia
saw him and questioned him. She heard that Lord Lodore was to dismiss
him and all his English servants before embarking for America, with
the exception of the child's nurse, whom he had promised to send back
on his arrival at New York. He had engaged his passage, and fitted up
cabins for his convenience, so that there could be no doubt of his
having finally resolved to emigrate. This was all he knew; Cornelia
gave him her letter, and he departed on the instant for Southampton.

In giving his wife so short an interval in which to form her
determination, Lodore conceived that her first impulse would be to
join her child, that she would act upon it, and at least come as far
as Havre, though perhaps her mother would accompany her, to claim her
daughter, even if she did not besides foster a hope of changing his
resolves. Lodore had an unacknowledged reserve in his own mind, that
if she would give up her mother, and for a time the world, he would
leave the choice of their exile to her, and relinquish the dreary
scheme of emigrating to America. With these thoughts in his mind, he
anxiously awaited each day the arrival of the packets from England.
Each day he hoped to see Cornelia disembark from one of them; and even
though accompanied by Lady Santerre, he felt that his heart would
welcome her. During this interval, his thoughts had recurred to his
home; and imagination had already begun to paint the memory of that
home, in brighter colours than the reality. Lady Lodore had not been
all coldness and alienation; in spite of dissension, she had been his;
her form, graceful as a nymph's, had met his eyes each morning; her
smile, her voice, her light cheering laugh, had animated and
embellished, how many hours during the long days, grown vacant without
her. Cherishing a hope of seeing her again, he forgot her petulance--
her self-will--her love of pleasure; and remembering only her beauty
and her grace, he began, in a lover-like fashion, to impart to this
charming image, a soul in accordance to his wishes, rather than to the
reality. Each day he attended less carefully to the preparations of
his long voyage. Each day he expected her; a chill came over his heart
at each evening's still recurring disappointment, till hope awoke on
the ensuing morning. More than once he had been on the eve of sailing
to England to meet and escort her; a thousand times he reproached
himself for not having made Southampton the place of meeting, and he
was withheld from proceeding thither only by the fear of missing her.
Giving way to these sentiments, the tide of affection, swelling into
passion, rose in his breast. He doubted not that, ere long, she would
arrive, and taxed himself for modes to show his gratitude and love.

The American vessel was on the point of sailing--it might have gone
without him, he cared not; when on the sixth day Fenton arrived, and
put into his hand Cornelia's letter. This then was the end of his
expectation, this little paper coldly closed in the destruction of his
hopes; yet might it not merely contain a request for delay? There was
something in the servant's manner, that looked not like that; but
still, as soon as the idea crossed him, he tore open the seal. The
words were few, they were conceived in all the spirit of resentment.

"You add insult to cruelty," it said, "but I scorn to complain. The
very condition you make displays the hollowness and deceit of your
proceeding. You well know that I cannot, that I will not, desert my
mother; but by calling on me for this dereliction of all duty and
virtuous affection, you contrive to throw on me the odium of refusing
to accompany you; this is a worthy design, and it is successful.

"I demand my child--restore her to me. It is cruelty beyond compare,
to separate one so young from maternal tenderness and fosterage. By
what right--through what plea, do you rob me of her? The tyranny and
dark jealousy of your vindictive nature display themselves in this act
of unprincipled violence, as well as in your insulting treatment of my
mother. You alone must reign, be feared, be thought of; all others are
to be sacrificed, living victims, at the shrine of your self-love.
What have you done to merit so much devotion? Ask your heart--if it be
not turned to stone, ask it what you have done to compare with the
long years of affection, kindness, and never-ceasing care that my
beloved parent has bestowed on me. I am your wife, Lodore; I bear your
name; I will be true to the vows I have made you, nor will I number
the tears you force me to shed; but my mother's are sacred, and not
one falls in vain for me.

"Give me my child--let the rest be yours--depart in peace! If Heaven
have blessings for the coldly egotistical, the unfeeling despot, may
these blessings be yours; but do not dare to interfere with emotions
too pure, too disinterested for you ever to understand. Give me my
child, and fear neither my interference nor resentment. I am content
to be as dead to you--quite content never to see you more."



CHAPTER XIII.



And so farewell; for we will henceforth be
As we had never seen, ne'er more shall see.
--Heywood.

Lodore had passed many days upon the sea, on his voyage to America,
before he could in the least calm the bitter emotions to which
Cornelia's violent letter had given birth. He was on the wide
Atlantic; the turbid ocean swelled and roared around him, and heaven,
the mansion of the winds, showed on its horizon an extent of water
only. He was cut off from England, from Europe, for ever; and the vast
continents he quitted dwindled into a span; but still the images of
those he left behind dwelt in his soul, engrossing and filling it.
They could no longer personally taunt nor injure him; but the thought
of them, of all that they might say or do, haunted his mind; it was
like an unreal strife of gigantic shadows beneath dark night, which,
when you approach, dwindles into thin air, but which, contemplated at
a distance, fills the hemisphere with star-reaching heads, and steps
that scale mountains. There was a sleepless tumult in Lodore's heart;
it was a waking dream of the most painful description. Again and again
Cornelia assailed him with reproaches, and Lady Santerre poured out
curses upon him; his fancy lent them words and looks full of menace,
hate, and violence. Sometimes the sighing of the breeze in the shrouds
assumed a tone that mocked their voices; his sleep was disturbed by
dreams more painful than his daylight fancies; and the sense which
they imparted of suffering and oppression, was prolonged throughout
the day.

He occasionally felt that he might become mad, and at such moments,
the presence of his child brought consolation and calm; her caresses,
her lisped expressions of affection, her playfulness, her smiles, were
spells to drive away the fantastic reveries that tortured him. He
looked upon her cherub face, and the world, late so full of
wretchedness and ill, assumed brighter hues; the storm was allayed,
the dark clouds fled, sunshine poured forth its beams; by degrees,
tender and gentle sensations crept over his heart; he forgot the angry
contentions in which, in imagination, he had been engaged, and he
felt, that alone on the sea, with this earthly angel of peace near
him, he was divided from every evil, to dwell with tranquillity and
love.

To part with her had become impossible. She was all that rendered him
human--that plucked the thorn from his pillow, and poured one
mitigating drop into the bitter draught administered to him.

Cornelia, Casimir, Theodora, his mother-in-law, these were all various
names and shapes of the spirit of evil, sent upon earth to torture
him: but this heavenly sprite could set at nought their machinations
and restore him to the calm and hopes of childhood. Extreme in all
things, Lodore began more than ever to doat upon her and to bind up
his life in her. Yet sometimes his heart softened at the recollection
of his wife, of her extreme youth, and of the natural pang she must
feel at being deprived of her daughter. He figured her pining, and in
tears--he remembered that he had vowed to protect and love her for
ever; and that deprived of him, never more could the soft attentions
and sweet language of love soothe her heart or meet her ear,
unattended with a sense of guilt and degradation. He knew that
hereafter she might feel this--hereafter, when passion might be
roused, and he could afford no remedy. Influenced by such ideas, he
wrote to her; many letters he wrote during his voyage, destroying them
one after another, dictated by the varying feelings that alternately
ruled him. Reason and persuasion, authority and tenderness, reigned by
turns in these epistles; they were written with all the fervour of his
ardent soul, and breathed irresistible power. Had some of these papers
met Cornelia's eye, she had assuredly been vanquished; but fate
ordained it otherwise: fate that blindly weaves our web of life,
culling her materials at will, and often wholly refusing to make use
of our own desires and intentions, as forming a part of our destiny.

Lodore arrived at New York, and found, by some chance, letters already
waiting for him there. He had concluded one to his wife full of
affection and kindness, when a letter with the superscription written
by Lady Santerre was delivered to him. It spoke of law proceedings, of
eternal separation, and announced her daughter's resolve to receive no
communication, to read no address, that was not prefaced by the
restoration of her child; it referred him to a solicitor as the medium
of future intercourse. With a bitter laugh Lodore tore to pieces the
eloquent and heart-felt appeal he had been on the point of sending; he
gave up his thoughts to business only; he wrote to his agent, he
arranged for his intended journey; in less than a month he was on his
road to the Illinois.

Thus ended all hope of reconciliation, and Lady Santerre won the day.
She had worked on the least amiable of her daughter's feelings, and
exalted anger into hatred, disapprobation into contempt and aversion.
Soon after Cornelia had dismissed the servant, she felt that she had
acted with too little reflection. Her heart died within her at the
idea, that too truly Lodore might sail away with her child, and leave
her widowed and solitary for ever. Her proud heart knew, on this
account, no relenting towards her husband, the author of these painful
feelings, but she formed the resolve not to lose all without a
struggle. She announced her intention of proceeding to Havre to obtain
her daughter. Lady Santerre could not oppose so natural a proceeding,
especially as her companionship was solicited as in the highest degree
necessary. They arrived at Southampton; the day was tempestuous, the
wind contrary. Lady Santerre was afraid of the water, and their voyage
was deferred. On the evening of the following day, Fenton arrived from
Havre. Lord Lodore had sailed, the stormy waves of the Atlantic were
between him and the shores of England; pursuit were vain; it would be
an acknowledgment of defeat to follow him to America. Cornelia
returned to Twickenham, maternal sorrow contending in her heart with
mortified pride, and a keen resentful sense of injury.

Lady Lodore was nineteen; an age when youth is most arrogant, and most
heedless of the feelings of others. Her beauty and the admiration it
acquired, sate her on the throne of the world, and, to her own
imagination, she looked down like an eastern princess, upon slaves
only: her sway she had believed to be absolute; it was happiness for
others to obey. Exalted by adulation, it was natural that all that
lowered her elevation in her own eyes, should appear impertient and
hateful. She had not learned to feel with or for others. To act in
contradiction to her wishes was a crime beyond compare, and her soul
was in arms to resent the insolence which thus assailed her majesty of
will. The act of Lodore, stepping beyond common-place opposition into
injury and wrong, found no mitigating excuses in her heart. No gentle
return of love, no compassion for the unhappy exile--no generous
desire to diminish the sufferings of one, who was the victim of the
wildest and most tormenting passions, softened her bosom. She was
injured, insulted, despised, and her swelling soul was incapable of
any second emotion to the scorn and hate with which she visited the
author of her degradation. She was to become the theme of the world's
discourse, of its illnatured censure or mortifying pity. In whatever
light she viewed her present position, it was full of annoyance and
humiliation; her path was traced through a maze of pointed angles,
that pained her at every turn, and her reflections magnifying the
imprudence of which she accused herself, suggested no excuse for her
husband, but caused her wounds to fester and burn. Cornelia was not of
a lachrymose disposition; she was a woman who in Sparta had formed an
heroine; who in periods of war and revolution, would unflinchingly
have met calamity, sustaining and leading her own sex. But through the
bad education she had received, and her extreme youth, elevation of
feeling degenerated into mere personal pride, and heroism was turned
into obstinacy; she had been capable of the most admirable self-
sacrifice, had she been taught the right shrine at which to devote
herself; but her mind was narrowed by the mode of her bringing up, and
her loftiest ideas were centered in worldly advantages the most
worthless and pitiable. To defraud her of these, was to deprive her of
all that rendered life worth preserving.

Lady Santerre soothed, flattered, and directed her. She poured the
balm of gratified vanity upon injured pride. She bade her expect
speedy repentance from her husband, and impressed her with the idea,
that if she were firm, he must yield. His present blustering
prognosticated a speedy calm, when he would regret all that he had
done, and seek, by entire submission, to win back his wife. Any
appearance of concession on her part would spoil all. Cornelia's eyes
flashed fire at the word. Concession! and to whom? To him who had
wronged and insulted her? She readily gave into her mother's hands the
management of all future intercourse with him, reserving alone, for
her own satisfaction, an absolute resolve never to forgive.

The correspondence that ensued, carried on across the Atlantic, and
soon with many miles of continent added to the space, only produced an
interchange of letters written with cool insolence on one side, with
heart-burning and impatience on the other. Each served to widen the
breach. When Cornelia was not awakened to resent for herself, she took
up arms on her mother's account. When Lodore blamed her for being the
puppet of one incapable of any generous feeling, one dedicated to the
vulgar worship of Mammon, she repelled the taunt, and denied the
servitude of soul of which she was accused; she declared that every
virtue was enlisted on her mother's side, and that she would abide by
her for ever. In truth, she loved her the more for Lodore's hatred,
and Lady Santerre spared no pains to impress her with the belief, that
she was wholly devoted to her.

Thus years passed away. At first Lady Lodore had lived in some degree
of retirement, but persuaded again to emerge, she soon entered into
the very thickest maze of society. Her fortune was sufficient to
command a respectable station, her beauty gained her partizans, her
untainted reputation secured her position in the world. Attractive as
she was, she was so entirely and proudly correct, that even the women
were not afraid of her. All her intimate associates were people whose
rank gave weight and brilliancy to her situation, but who were
conspicuous for their domestic virtues. She was looked upon as an
injured and deserted wife, whose propriety of conduct was the more
admirable from the difficulties with which she was surrounded; she
became more than ever the fashion, and years glided on, as from season
to season she shone a bright star among many luminaries, improving in
charms and grace, as knowledge of the world and the desire of pleasing
were added to her natural attractions.

The stories at first in circulation on Lodore's departure, all
sufficiently wide from the truth, were half forgotten, and served
merely as an obscure substratum for Cornelia's bright reputation. He
was gone: he could no longer injure nor benefit any, and was therefore
no longer an object of fear or love. The most charitable construction
put upon his conduct was, that he was mad, and it was piously
observed, that his removal from this world would be a blessing. Lady
Santerre triumphed. Withering away in unhonoured age, still she
appeared in the halls of the great, and played the part of Cerberus in
her daughter's drawing-room. Lady Lodore, beautiful and admired,
intoxicated with this sort of prosperity, untouched by passion,
unharmed by the temptations that surrounded her, believed that life
was spent most worthily in following the routine observed by those
about her, and securing the privilege of being exclusive. She was the
glass of fashion--the imitated by a vast sect of imitators. The
deprivation of her child was the sole cloud that came between her and
the sun. In despite of herself, she never saw a little cherub with
rosy cheeks and golden hair, but her heart was visited by a pang; and
in her dreams she often beheld, instead of the image of the gay
saloons in which she spent her evenings, a desert wild--a solitary
home--and tiny footsteps on the dewy grass, guiding her to her baby
daughter, whose soft cooings, remembered during absence, were
agonizing to her. She awoke, and vowed her soul to hatred of the
author of her sufferings--the cruel-hearted, insolent Lodore; and then
fled to pleasure as the means of banishing these sad and disturbing
emotions. She never again saw Casimir. Long before she re-appeared in
the world, he and his mother had quitted England. Taught by the slight
tinge of weakness that had mingled with her intercourse with him, she
sedulously avoided like trials in future; and placing her happiness in
universal applause, love saw her set his power at nought, and pride
become a more impenetrable shield than wisdom.



CHAPTER XIV.



Time and Change together take their flight.
--L. E. L.

Fitzhenry and his daughter travelled for many days in rain and
sunshine, across the vast plains of America. Conversation beguiled the
way, and Ethel, delighted by the novelty and variety of all she saw,
often felt as if springing from her seat with a new sense of
excitement and gladness. So much do the young love change, that we
have often thought it the dispensation of the Creator, to show that we
are formed, at a certain age, to quit the parental roof, like the
patriarch, to seek some new abode where to pitch our tents, and
pasture our flocks. The clear soft eyes of the fair girl glistened
with pleasure at each picturesque view, each change of earth and sky,
each new aspect of civilization and its results, as they were
presented to her.

Fitzhenry--or as he approaches the old world, so long deserted by him,
he may resume his title--Lord Lodore had quitted his abode in the
Illinois upon the spur of the moment; he had left his peaceful
dwelling impatiently, and in haste, giving himself no time for second
thoughts--scarcely for recollection. As the fever of his mind
subsided, he saw no cause to repent his proceeding, and yet he began
to look forward with an anxious and foreboding mind. He had become
aware that the village of the Illinois was not the scene fitted for
the development of his daughter's first social feelings, and that he
ought to take her among the educated and refined, to give her a chance
for happiness. A Gertrude or an Haide, brought up in the wilds,
innocent and free, and bestowing the treasure of their hearts on some
accomplished stranger, brought on purpose to realize the ideal of
their dreamy existences, is a picture of beauty, that requires a
miracle to change into an actual event in life; and that one so pure,
so guileless, and so inexperienced as Ethel, should, in sheer
ignorance, give her affections away unworthily, was a danger to be
avoided beyond all others. Whitelock had performed the part of the
wandering stranger, but he was ill-fitted for it; and Lodore's first
idea was to hurry his daughter away before she should invest him, or
any other, with attributes of glory, drawn from her own imagination
and sensibility, wholly beyond his merits.

This was done. Father and daughter were on their way to New York,
having bid an eternal adieu to the savannas and forests of the west.
For a time, Lodore's thoughts were haunted by the image of the home
they had left. The murmuring of its stream was in his ears, the shape
of each distant hill, the grouping of the trees, surrounding the wide-
spread prairie, the winding pathway and trellised arbour were before
his eyes, and he thought of the changes that the seasons would operate
around, and of his future plans unfulfilled, as any home-bred farmer
might, when his lease was out, and he was forced to remove to another
county.

As their steps drew near the city which was their destination, these
recollections became fainter, and, except in discourse with Ethel,
when their talk usually recurred to the prairie, and their late home,
he began to anticipate the future, and to reflect upon the results of
his present journey.

Whither was he about to go? To England? What reception should he there
meet? and under what auspices introduce his child to her native
country? There was a stain upon his reputation that no future conduct
could efface. The name of Lodore was a by-word and a mark for scorn;
it was introduced with a sneer, followed by calumny and rebuke. It
could not even be forgotten. His wife had remained to keep alive the
censure or derision attached to it. He, it is true, might have ceased
to live in the memories of any. He did not imagine that his idea ever
recurred to the thoughtless throng, whose very name and identity were
changed by the lapse of twelve years. But when it was mentioned, when
he should awaken the forgotten sound by his presence, the echo of
shame linked to it would awaken also; the love of a sensation so rife
among the wealthy and idle, must swell the sound, and Ethel would be
led on the world's stage by one who was the object of its opprobrium.

What then should he do? Solicit Lady Lodore to receive and bring out
her daughter? Deprive himself of her society; and after having guarded
her unassailed infancy, desert her side at the moment when dangers
grew thick, and her mother's example would operate most detrimentally
on her? He thought of his sister, with whom he kept up a regular
though infrequent correspondence. She was ill fitted to guide a young
beauty on a path which she had never trod. He thought of France,
Italy, and Germany, and how he might travel about with her during the
two or three succeeding years, enlarging and storing her mind, and
protracting the happy light-hearted years of youth. His own experience
on the continent would facilitate this plan; and though it presented,
even on this very account, a variety of objections, it was that to
which he felt most attracted.

There was yet another--another image and another prospect to which he
turned with a kind of gasping sensation, which was now a shrinking
aversion to--now an ardent desire for, its fulfilment. This was the
project of a reconciliation with Cornelia, and that they should
henceforth unite in their labours to render each other and their child
happy.

Twelve years had passed since their separation: twelve years, which
had led him from the prime of life to its decline--which forced
Cornelia to number, instead of nineteen, more than thirty years--
bringing her from crude youth to fullest maturity. What changes might
not time have operated in her mind! Latterly no intercourse had passed
between them, they were as dead to each other; and yet the fact of the
existence of either was a paramount law with both, ruling their
actions and preventing them from forming any new tie. Cornelia might
be tired of independence, have discovered the hollowness of her
mother's system, and desire, but that pride prevented her, a reunion
with her long-exiled husband. Her understanding was good; intercourse
with the world had probably operated to cultivate and enlarge it--
maternal love might reign in full force, causing her heart to yearn
towards the blooming Ethel, and a thousand untold sorrows might make
her regard the affection of her child's father, as the prop, the
shelter, the haven, where to find peace, if not happiness.

And yet Cornelia was still young, still beautiful, still admired: he
was on the wane--a healthy life had preserved the uprightness of his
form and the spring of his limbs; but his countenance, how changed
from the Lodore who pledged his faith to her in the rustic church at
Rhyaider Gowy! The melting softness of his dark eyes was altered to
mere sadness--his brow, from which the hair had retreated, was delved
by a thousand lines; grey sprinkled his black hair,--a wintry morning
stealing drearily upon night--each year had left its trace, and with
no Praxitelean hand, engraven lines upon the rounded cheek, and sunk
and diminished the full eye. Twelve years had scarcely operated so
great a change as here described; but thus he painted it to himself,
exaggerating and deforming the image his mirror presented--and where
others had only marked the indications of a thoughtful mind, and the
traces of over-wrought sensibility, he beheld careful furrows and age-
worn wrinkles.

And was he thus to claim the beautiful, the courted--she who still
reigned supreme on Love's own throne? and to whom, so had he been
told, time had brought increased charms as its gift, strewing roses
and fragrance on her lovely head, so proving that neither grief nor
passion had disturbed the proud serenity of her heart.

Lodore had lived many years the life of a recluse, having given up
ambition, hope, almost life itself, inasmuch as that existence is
scarcely to be termed life, which does not bring us into intimate
connexion with our fellow-creatures, nor develope in its progress some
plan of present action or anticipation for the future. He was roused
from his lethargy as he approached peopled cities; a desire to mingle
again in human affairs was awakened, together with an impatience under
the obscurity to which he had condemned himself. He grew at last to
despise his supineness, which had prevented him from struggling with
and vanquishing his adverse fortunes. He resolved no longer to be
weighed down by the fear of obloquy, while he was conscious of the
bravery and determination of his soul, and with what lofty indignation
he was prepared to sweep away the stigma attached to him, and to
assert the brightness of his honour. This, for his daughter's sake, as
well as for his own, he determined to do.

He had no wish, however, to enter upon the task in America. His native
country must be the scene of his exertions, as to re-assert himself
among his countrymen was their object. He felt, also, that, from the
beginning, he must take no false step; and it behoved him fully to
understand the state of things in England as regarded him, before he
presented himself. He delayed his voyage, therefore, till he had
exchanged letters with Europe. He wrote to his sister, immediately on
arriving at New York, asking for intelligence concerning Lady Lodore;
and communicating his intention to return immediately, and, if
possible, to effect a reconciliation with his estranged wife. He
besought an immediate reply, as he did not wish to defer his voyage
beyond the spring months.

Having sent this letter, he gave himself up to the society of his
daughter. He occupied himself by endeavouring to form her for the new
scenes on which she was about to enter, and to divest her of the first
raw astonishment excited by the contrast formed by the busy,
commercial eastern, with the majestic tranquillity of the western
portion of the new world. He wished to accustom her to mingle with her
fellow-creatures with ease and dignity; and he sought to enlarge her
mind, and to excite her curiosity, by introducing her to the effects
of civilization. He would willingly have formed acquaintances for her
sake, but that such a circumstance might interfere with the incognito
he meant to preserve while away from his native country. We can never
divest ourselves of our identity and consciousness, and are apt to
fancy that others are equally alive to our peculiar individuality. It
was not probable that the name of Lodore, or of Fitzhenry, should be
known in New York; but as the title had been bestowed as a reward for
victories obtained over the Americans, he who bore it was less to be
blamed for fancying that they had heard with pleasure the story of his
disgrace, and would be ready to visit his fault with malignant
severity.

An accident, however, brought him into contact with an English lady,
and he gladly availed himself of this opportunity to bring Ethel into
the society of her country people. One day he received an elegant
little note, such as are written in London by the fashionable and the
fair, which, with many apologies, contained a request. The writer had
heard that he was about to return to England with his daughter. Would
he refuse to take under his charge a young lady, who was desirous of
returning thither? The distance from their native land drew English
people together, and usually made them kindly disposed towards each
other. The circumstances under which this request was made were
peculiar; and if he would call to hear them explained, his interest
would be excited, and he would not refuse a favour which would lay the
writer under the deepest obligation.

Lodore answered this application in person. He found an English family
residing in one of the best streets of New York, and was introduced to
the lady who had addressed him. Her story, the occasion of her
request, was detailed without reserve. Her husband's family had
formerly been American royalists, refugees in England, where they had
lived poor and forgotten. A brother of his father had remained behind
in the new country, and acquired a large fortune. He had lived to
extreme old age; and dying childless, left his wealth to his English
nephew, upon condition that he settled in America. This had caused
their emigration. While in England, they had lived at Bath, and been
intimate with a clergyman, who resided near. This clergyman was a
singular man--a recluse, and a student--a man of ardent soul, held
down by a timid, nervous disposition. He was an outcast from his
family, which was wealthy and of good station, on account of having
formed a mes-alliance. How indeed he could have married his unequal
partner was matter of excessive wonder. She was illiterate and
vulgar--coarse-minded, though good-natured. This ill-matched pair had
two daughters;--one, the younger, now about fourteen years old, was
the person whom it was desired to commit to Lodore's protection.

The lady continued:--She had a large family of boys, and but one girl,
of the age of Fanny Derham;--they had been for some years companions
and friends. When about to emigrate, she believed that she should
benefit equally her daughter and her friend, if she made the latter a
companion in their emigration. With great reluctance, Mr. Derham had
consented to part with his child: he had thought it for her good, and
he had let her go. Fanny obeyed her father. She manifested no
disinclination to the plan; and it seemed as if the benevolent wishes
of Mrs. Greville were fulfilled for the benefit of all. They had been
in America nearly a year, and now Fanny was to return. She herself had
borne her absence from her father with fortitude: yet it required an
exertion of fortitude to bear it, which was destroying the natural
vivacity of her disposition. Gloom gathered over her mind; she fled
society; she sought solitude; and spent day after day in reverie. Mrs.
Greville strove to rouse her, and Fanny lent herself with good grace
to any exertion demanded of her; yet it was plain, that even when she
gave herself most up to her desire to please her hostess, her thoughts
were far away, her eye was tracing the invisible outline of objects
divided from her by the ocean; and her inmost sense was absorbed by
the recollection of one far distant; while her ear and voice were
abstractedly lent to those immediately around her. Mrs. Greville
endeavoured vainly to amuse and distract her thoughts. The only
pleasure which attracted her young mind was study--a deep and
unremitted application to those profound acquirements, to the
knowledge of which her father had introduced her.

"When you know my young friend," continued Mrs. Greville, "you will
understand the force of character which renders her unlike every other
child. Fanny never was a child. Mrs. Derham and her daughter Sarah
bustled through the business of life--of the farm and the house; while
it devolved on Fanny to attend to, to wait upon, her father. She was
his pupil--he her care. The relation of parent and child subsisted
between them, on a different footing than in ordinary cases. Fanny
nursed her father, watched over his health and humours, with the
tenderness and indulgence of a mother; while he instructed her in the
dead languages, and other sorts of abstruse learning, which seldom
make a part of a girl's education. Fanny, to use her own singular
language, loves philosophy, and pants after knowledge, and indulges in
a thousand Platonic dreams, which I know nothing about; and this
mysterious and fanciful learning she has dwelt upon with tenfold
fervour since her arrival in America.

"The contrast," continued Mrs. Greville, "between this wonderful, but
strange girl, and her parent, is apparent in nothing more than the
incident that made me have recourse to your kindness. Fanny pined for
home, and her father. The very air of America was distasteful to her--
we were not congenial companions. But she never expressed discontent.
As much as she could, she shut herself up in the world of her own
mind; but outwardly, she was cheerful and uncomplaining. A week ago we
had letters from her parents, requesting her immediate return. Mr.
Derham wasted away without her; his health was seriously injured by
what, in feminine dialect, is called fretting; and both he and her
mother have implored me to send her back to them without delay."

Lord Lodore listened with breathless interest, asking now and then
such questions as drew on Mrs. Greville to further explanation. He
soon became convinced that he was called upon to do this act of
kindness for the daughter of his former school-fellow--for Francis
Derham, whom he had not known nor seen since they had exchanged the
visions of boyhood for the disappointing realities of maturer age. And
this was Derham's fate!--poor, mis-matched, destroyed by a morbid
sensibility, an object of pity to his own young child, yet adored by
her as the gentlest and wisest of men. How different--and yet how
similar--the destinies of both! It warmed the heart of Lodore to think
that he should renew his boyish intimacy. Derham would not reject
him--would not participate in the world's blind scorn: in his bosom no
harsh nor unjust feeling could have place; his simple, warm heart
would yearn towards him as of yore; and the school-fellows become
again all the world to each other.

After this explanation, Mrs. Greville introduced her young friend. Her
resemblance to her father was at first sight remarkable, and awoke
with greater keenness the roused sensibility of Lodore. She was pale
and fair; her light, golden hair clustered in short ringlets over her
small, well-formed head, leaving unshaded a high forehead, clear as
opening day. Her blue eyes were remarkably light and penetrating, with
defined and straight brows. Intelligence, or rather understanding,
reigned in every feature; independence of thought, and firmness, spoke
in every gesture. She was a mere child in form and mien--even in her
expressions; but within her was discernible an embryo of power, and a
grandeur of soul, not to be mistaken. Simplicity and equability of
temper were her characteristics: these smoothed the ruggedness which
the singularity of her character might otherwise have engendered.

Lodore rejoiced in the strange accident that gave such a companion to
his daughter. Nothing could be in stronger contrast than these two
girls;--the fairy form, the romantic and yielding sweetness of Ethel,
whose clinging affections formed her whole world,--with the studious
and abstracted disciple of ancient learning. Notwithstanding this want
of similarity, they soon became mutually attached. Lodore was a link
between them. He excited Ethel to admire the concentrated and
independent spirit of her new friend; and entered into conversation
with Fanny on ancient philosophy, which was unintelligible and
mysterious to Ethel. The three became inseparable: they prolonged
their excursions in the neighbouring country; while each enjoyed
peculiar pleasures in the friendship and sympathy of their companions.

This addition to their society, and an intimacy cultivated with Mrs.
Greville, whose husband was absent at Washington, formed, as it were,
a weaning time for Lodore, from the seclusion of the Illinois. There
he had lived, cut off from the past and the future, existing in the
present only. He had been happy there; cured of the wounds which had
penetrated his heart so deeply, through the ministration of all-
healing nature. He felt the gliding of the hours as a blessing; and
the occupations of each day were replete with calm enjoyment. He
thought of England, as a seaman newly saved from a wreck would of the
tempestuous ocean, with fear and loathing, and with heart-felt
gladness that he was no longer the sport of its waves. He cultivated
such a philosophic turn of mind as often brought a smile of self-pity
on his lips, at the recollection of scenes which, during their
passage, had provoked bitter and burning sensations. What was all this
strife of passion, this eager struggle for something, he knew not
what, to him now? The healthy labours of his farm, the tranquillity of
his library, the endearing caresses of his child, were worth all the
vanities of life.

Thus he had felt in the Illinois; and now again he looked back to his
undisturbed life there, wondering how he had endured its monotonous
loneliness. A desire for action, for mingling with his fellow-men, had
arisen in his heart. He felt like a strong swimmer, who longs to
battle with the waves. He desired to feel and to exert his powers, to
fill a space in the eyes of others, to re-assert himself in their
esteem, or to resent their scorn. He could no longer regard the past
with imperturbability. Again his passions were roused, as he thought
of his mother-in-law, of his wife, and of the strange scenes which had
preceded and caused his flight from England. These ideas had long
occupied his mind, without occasioning any emotion. But now again they
were full of interest; and pain and struggle again resulted from the
recollection. At such times he was glad that Ethel had a companion,
that he might leave her and wander alone. He became a prey to the same
violence of passion, the same sense of injury and stinging hurry of
thought, which for twelve years had ceased to torture him. But no
tincture of cowardice entered into his sensations. His soul was set
upon victory over the evil fortune to which he had so long submitted.
When he thought of returning to England, from which he had fled with
dishonour, his cheek tingled as a thousand images of insult and
contumely passed rapidly through his mind, as likely to visit him. His
heart swelled within him--his very soul grew faint; but instead of
desiring to fly the anticipated opprobrium, he longed to meet it and
to wash out shame, if need were, with his life's blood; and, by
resolution and daring, to silence his enemies, and redeem his name
from obloquy.

One day, occupied by such thoughts, he stood watching that vast and
celebrated cataract, whose everlasting and impetuous flow mirrored the
dauntless but rash energy of his own soul. A vague desire of plunging
into the whirl of waters agitated him. His existence appeared to be a
blot in the creation; his hopes, and fears, and resolves, a worthless
web of ill-assorted ideas, best swept away at once from the creation.
Suddenly his eye caught the little figure of Fanny Derham, standing on
a rock not far distant, her meaning eyes fixed on him. The thunder of
the waters prevented speech; but as he drew near her, he saw that she
had a paper in her hand. She held it out to him; a blush mantled over
her usually pale countenance as he took it; and she sprung away up the
rocky pathway.

Lodore cast his eyes on the open letter, and his own name, half
forgotten by him, presented itself on the written page. The letter was
from Fanny's father--from Derham, his friend and school-fellow. His
heart beat fast as he read the words traced by one formerly so dear.
"The beloved name of Fitzhenry"--thus Derham had written--"awakens a
strange conjecture. Is not your kind protector, the friend and
companion of my boyish days? Is it not the long absent Lodore, who has
stretched out a paternal hand to my darling child, and who is about to
add to his former generous acts, the dearer one of restoring my Fanny
to me? Ask him this question;--extract this secret from him. Tell him
how my chilled heart warms with pleasure at the prospect of a renewal
of our friendship. He was a god-like boy; daring, generous, and brave.
The remembrance of him has been the bright spot which, except
yourself, is all of cheering that has chequered my gloomy existence.
Ask him whether he remembers him whose life he saved--whom he rescued
from oppression and misery. I am an old man now, weighed down by
sorrow and infirmity. Adversity has also visited him; but he will have
withstood the shocks of fate, as gallantly as a mighty ship stems the
waves of ocean: while I, a weather-worn skiff, am battered and wrecked
by the tempest. From all you say, he must be Lodore. Mark him, Fanny:
if you see one lofty in his mien, yet gracious in all his acts; his
person adorned by the noblest attributes of rank; full of dignity, yet
devoid of pride; impatient of all that is base and insolent, but with
a heart open as a woman's to compassion;--one whose slightest word
possesses a charm to attract and enchain the affections:--if such be
your new friend, put this letter into his hand; he will remember
Francis Derham, and love you for my sake, as well as for your own."



CHAPTER XV.



It is our will
That thus enchains us to permitted ill.
--Shelley.

This was a new inducement to bring back Lodore from the wilds of
America, to the remembrance of former days. The flattering expressions
in Derham's letter soothed his wounded pride, and inspired a desire of
associating once more with men who could appreciate his worth, and
sympathize with his feelings. His spirits became exhilarated; he
talked of Europe and his return thither, with all the animation of
sanguine youth. It is one of the necessary attributes of our nature,
always to love what we have once loved; and though new objects and
change in former ones may chill our affections for a time, we are
filled with renewed fervour after every fresh disappointment, and feel
an impatient longing to return to the cherishing warmth of our early
attachments; happy if we do not find emptiness and desolation, where
we left life and hope.

Ethel had never been as happy as at the present time, and her
affection for her father gathered strength from the confidence which
existed between them. He was the passion of her soul, the engrossing
attachment of her loving heart. When she saw a cloud on his brow, she
would stand by him with silent but pleading tenderness, as if to ask
whether any exertion of hers could dissipate his inquietude. She hung
upon his discourse as a heavenly oracle, and welcomed him with
gladdened looks of love, when he returned after any short absence. Her
heart was bent upon pleasing him, she had no thought or pursuit which
was not linked with his participation.

There is perhaps in the list of human sensations, no one so pure, so
perfect, and yet so impassioned, as the affection of a child for its
parent, during that brief interval when they are leaving childhood,
and have not yet felt love. There is something so awful in a father.
His words are laws, and to obey them happiness. Reverence and a desire
to serve, are mingled with gratitude; and duty, without a flaw or
question, so second the instinct of the heart, as to render it
imperative. Afterwards we may love, in spite of the faults of the
object of our attachment; but during the interval alluded to, we have
not yet learnt to tolerate, but also, we have not learned to detect
faults. All that a parent does, appears an emanation from a diviner
world; while we fear to offend, we believe we have no right to be
offended; eager to please, we seek in return approval only, and are
too humble to demand a reciprocity of attention; it is enough that we
are permitted to demonstrate our devotion. Ethel's heart overflowed
with love, reverence, worship of her father. He had stood in the wilds
of America a solitary specimen of all that is graceful, cultivated,
and wise among men; she knew of nothing that might compare to him; and
the world without him, was what the earth might be uninformed by
light: he was its sun, its ruling luminary. All this intensity of
feeling existed in her, without her being aware scarcely of its
existence, without her questioning the cause, or reasoning on the
effect. To love her father was the first law of nature, the chief duty
of a child, and she fulfilled it unconsciously, but more completely
than she could have done had she been associated with others, who
might have shared and weakened the concentrated sensibility of her
nature.

At length the packet arrived which brought Lodore letters from
England. Before his eyes lay the closed letter pregnant with fate. He
was not of a disposition to recoil from certainty; and yet for a few
moments he hesitated to break the seals--appalled by the magnitude of
the crisis which he believed to be at hand.

Latterly the idea of a reconciliation with Cornelia had been a
favourite in his thoughts. The world was a painful and hard-tasking
school. She must have suffered various disappointments, and endured
much disgust, and so be prepared to lend a willing ear to his
overture. She was so very young when they parted, and since then, had
lived entirely under the influence of Lady Santerre. But what had at
one time proved injurious, might, in course of years, have opened her
eyes to the vanity of the course which she was pursuing. Lodore felt
persuaded, that there were better things to be expected from his wife,
than a love of fashion and an adherence to the prejudices of society.
He had failed to bring her good qualities to light, but time and
events might have played the tutor better, and it merely required
perhaps a seasonable interference, a fortunate circumstance, to prove
the truth of his opinion, and to show Lady Lodore as generous,
magnanimous, and devoted, as before she had appeared proud, selfish,
and cold.

How few there are possessed of any sensibility, who mingle with, and
are crushed by the jostling interests of the world, who do not ever
and anon exclaim with the Psalmist, "O for the wings of a dove, that I
might flee away and be at rest!" If such an aspiration was ever
breathed by Cornelia, how gladly, how fondly would her husband welcome
the weary flutterer, open his bosom for her refuge, and study to make
her forget all the disquietudes and follies of headstrong youth!

This was a mere dream. Lodore sighed to think that his position would
not permit him to afford her a shelter from the poisoned arrows of the
world. She must come to him prepared to suffer much. It required not
only the absence of the vulgar worldliness of Lady Santerre, but great
strength of mind to forgive the past, and strong affection to endure
the present. He could only invite her to share the lot of a
dishonoured man, to become a partner in the struggle which he was
prepared to enter upon, to regain his lost reputation. This was no
cheering prospect. Pride and generosity equally forbad his
endeavouring to persuade his wife to quit a course of life she liked,
to enter upon a scene of trials and sorrows with one for whom she did
not care.

All these conjectures had long occupied him, but here was certainty--
the letter in his hand. It was sealed with black, and a tremulous
shudder ran through his frame as he tore it open. He soon satisfied
himself--Cornelia lived: he breathed freely again, and proceeded more
calmly to make himself master of the intelligence which the paper he
held contained.

Cornelia lived; but his sister announced a death which he believed
would change the colour of his life. Lady Santerre was no more!

Yes, Cornelia was alive; the bride that had stood beside him at the
altar--whose hand he had held while he pronounced his vows--with whom
he had domesticated for years--the mother of his child still lived.
The cold consuming grave did not wrap her lovely form. The idea of her
death, which the appearance of the black seal conveyed suddenly to his
imagination, had been appalling beyond words. For the last few weeks
his mind had been filled with her image; his thoughts had fed upon the
hope that they should meet once more. Had she died while he was living
in inactive seclusion in the Illinois, he might have been less moved;
his vivid fancy, his passionate heart, could not spare her now,
without a pang of agony. It passed away, and his mind reverted to the
actual situation in which they were placed by the death of his mother-
in-law. Reconciliation had become easy by the removal of that fatal
barrier. He felt assured that he could acquire Cornelia's confidence,
win her love, and administer to her happiness; he determined to leave
nothing untried to bring about so desirable a conclusion to their long
and dreary alienation. The one insuperable obstacle was gone; their
daughter, that loveliest link, that soft silken tie remained: Cornelia
must welcome with maternal delight this better portion of herself.

He glanced over his sister Elizabeth's letter, announcing the death of
Lady Santerre, and then read the one enclosed from Lady Lodore to her
sister-in-law. It was cold, but very decisive. She thanked her first
for the inquiries she had made, and then proceeded to say, that she
took this opportunity, the only one likely to present itself, of
expressing what her own feelings were on this melancholy occasion. "I
am afraid," she said, "that your brother will look on the death of my
dearest mother as opening the door to our re-union. Some words in your
letter seem indeed to intimate this, or I should have hoped that I was
entirely forgotten. I trust that I am mistaken. My earnest desire is,
that my natural grief, and the tranquillity which I try to secure for
myself, may not be disturbed by fruitless endeavours to bring about
what can never be. My determination may be supposed to arise from
pride and implacable resentment: perhaps it does, but I feel it
impossible that we should ever be any thing but strangers to each
other. I will not complain, and I wish to avoid harsh allusions, but
respect for her I have lost, and a sense of undeserved wrong, are
paramount with me. I shall never intrude upon him. Persuade him that
it will be unmanly cruelty to force himself, even by a letter, on me."

From this violent declaration of an unforgiving heart, Lodore turned
to Elizabeth's letter. This excellent lady, to whom the names of
dissipation and the metropolis were synonymous, and who knew as much
of the world as Parson Adams, assured her brother, that Cornelia, far
from feeling deeply the blow of her mother's death, was pursuing her
giddy course with greater pertinacity than ever. Surrounded by
flatterers, given up to pleasure, she naturally shrunk from being
reminded of her exiled husband and her forgotten child. Her letter
showed how ill she deserved the tenderness and interest which Lodore
had expressed. She was a second Lady Santerre, without being gifted
with that maternal affection, which had in some degree dignified that
person's character.

Elizabeth lamented that his wife's hardness of heart might prevent his
proposed visit to England. She did not like to urge it--it might seem
selfish: hitherto she had let herself and her sorrows go for nothing;
could she think of her own gratification, while her brother was
suffering so much calamity? She was growing old--indeed she was old--
she had no kin around her--early friends were dead or lost to her--
she had nothing to live on but the recollection of her brother; she
should think herself blest could she see him once more before she
died.

"O my dear brother Henry," continued the kind-hearted lady, "if you
would but say the word--the sea is nothing; people older than I--and
I am not at all infirm--make the voyage. Let me come to America--let
me embrace my niece, and see you once again--let me share your dear
home in the Illinois, which I see every night in my dreams. I should
grieve to be a burthen to you, but it would be my endeavour to prove a
comfort and a help."

Lodore read both of these letters, one after the other, again and
again. He resolved on going to England immediately. Either Cornelia
was entirely callous and worthless, and so to be discarded from his
heart for ever, or after her first bitter feelings on her mother's
death were over, she would soften towards her child, or there was some
dread secret feeling that influenced her, and he must save her from
calamity and wretchedness. One of those changes of feeling to which
the character of Lodore was peculiarly subject, came over him. Lady
Santerre was dead--Cornelia was alone. A thousand dangers surrounded
her. It appeared to him that his first imperious duty was to offer
himself to guard and watch over her. He resolved to leave nothing
untried to make her happy. He would give up Ethel to her--he would
gratify every wish she could frame--pour out benefits lavishly before
her--force her to see in him a benefactor and a friend; and at last,
his heart whispered, induce her to assume again the duties of a wife.



CHAPTER XVI.



What is peace? When life is over.
And love ceases to rebel.
Let the last faint sigh discover.
Which precedes the passing knell.
--Wordsworth.

Lodore was henceforth animated by a new spirit of hope. His projects
and resolves gave him something to live for. He looked forward with
pleasure; feeling, on his expected return to his native country, as
the fabled voyager, who knew that he ought to be contented in the fair
island where chance had thrown him, and yet who hailed with rapture
the approach of the sail that was to bear him back to the miseries of
social life. He reflected that he had in all probability many years
before him, and he was earnest that the decline of his life should, by
a display of prudence and virtuous exertion, cause the errors of his
earlier manhood to be forgotten.

This inspiriting tone of mind was very congenial to Ethel. The
prospects that occupied her father had a definite horizon: all was
vague and misty to her eyes, yet beautiful and alluring. Lodore gave
no outline of his plans: he never named her mother. Uncertain himself,
he was unwilling to excite feelings in Ethel's mind, to be afterwards
checked and disappointed. He painted the future in gay colours, but
left it in all the dimness most favourable for an ardent imagination
to exercise itself upon.

In a very few days they were to sail for England. Their passage was
engaged. Lodore had written to his sister to announce his return. He
spoke of Longfield, and of her kind and gentle aunt to Ethel, and she,
who, like Miranda, had known no relative or intimate except her
father, warmed with pleasure to find new ties bind her to her fellow-
creatures. She questioned her father, and he, excited by his own
newly-awakened emotions, dilated eloquently on the joys of his young
days, and pleased Fanny, as well as his own daughter, by a detail of
boyish pranks and adventures which his favourite school-fellow shared.
The freedom he enjoyed in his paternal home, the worship that waited
on him there, the large space which in early youth he appeared to fill
in all men's eyes, the buoyancy and innocence associated with those
unshadowed days, painted them to his memory cloudless and bright. It
would be to renew them to see Longfield again,--to clasp once more the
hand of Francis Derham.

A kind of holiday and festal feeling was diffused through Ethel's mind
by the vivid descriptions and frank communications of her father. She
felt as if about to enter Paradise. America grew dim and sombre in her
eyes; its forests, lakes, and wilds, were empty and silent, while
England swarmed with a thousand lovely forms of pleasure. Her father
strewed a downy velvet path for her, which she trod with light,
girlish steps, happy in the present hour, happier in the anticipated
future.

A few days before the party were to sail, Lodore and his daughter
dined with Mrs. Greville. As if they held the reins, and could curb
the course of, fate, each and all were filled with hilarity. Lodore
had forgotten Theodora and her son--had cast from his recollection the
long train of misery, injury, and final ruin, which for so long had
occupied his whole thoughts. He was in his own eyes no longer the
branded exile. A strange distortion of vision blinded this unfortunate
man to the truth, which experience so perpetually teaches us, that the
consequences of our actions never die: that repentance and time may
paint them to us in different shapes; but though we shut our eyes,
they are still beside us, helping the inexorable destinies to spin the
fatal thread, and sharpening the implement which is to cut it asunder.

Lodore lived the morning of that day, (it was the first of May,
realizing by its brilliancy and sweets, the favourite months of the
poets,) as if many a morning throughout the changeful seasons was to
be his. Some time he spent on board the vessel in which he was to
sail; seeing that all the arrangements which he had ordered for Ethel
and Fanny's comfort were perfected; then father and daughter rode out
together. Often did Ethel try to remember every word of the
conversation held during that ride. It concerned the fair fields of
England, the splendours of Italy, the refinements and pleasures of
Europe. "When we are in London,"--"When we shall visit Naples,"--such
phrases perpetually occurred. It was Lodore's plan to induce Cornelia
to travel with him, and to invite Mr. Derham and Fanny to be their
companions; a warmer climate would benefit his friend's health. "And
for worlds," he said, "I would not lose Derham. It is the joy of my
life to think that by my return to my native country I secure to
myself the society of this excellent and oppressed man."

At six o'clock Lodore and Ethel repaired to Mrs. Greville's house. It
had been intended that no other persons should be invited, but the
unexpected arrival of some friends from Washington, about to sail to
England, had obliged the lady to alter this arrangement. The new
guests consisted of an English gentleman and his wife, and one other,
an American, who had filled a diplomatic situation in London. Annoyed
by the sight of strangers, Lodore kept apart, conversing with Ethel
and Fanny.

At dinner he sat opposite to the American. There was something in this
man's physiognomy peculiarly disagreeable to him. He was not a
pleasing-looking man, but that was not all. Lodore fancied that he
must have seen him before under very painful circumstances. He felt
inclined to quarrel with him--he knew not why; and was disturbed and
dissatisfied with himself and every body. The first words which the
man spoke were as an electric shock to him. Twelve long years rolled
back--the past became the present once again. This very American had
sat opposite to him at the memorable dinner at the Russian
Ambassador's. At the moment when he had been hurried away by the fury
of his passion against Casimir, he remembered to have seen a sarcastic
sneer on his face, as the republican marked the arrogance of the
English noble. Lodore had been ready then to turn the fire of his
resentment on the insolent observer; but when the occasion passed away
he had entirely forgotten him, till now he rose like a ghost to remind
him of former pains and crimes.

The lapse of years had scarcely altered this person. His hair was
grizzled, but it crowned his head in the same rough abundance as
formerly. His face, which looked as if carved out of wood, strongly
and deeply lined, showed no tokens of a more advanced age. He was then
elderly-looking for a middle-aged man; he was now young-looking for an
elderly man. Nature had disdained to change an aspect which showed so
little of her divinity, and which no wrinkles nor withering could mar.
Lodore, turning from this apparition, caught the reflection of himself
in an opposite mirror. Association of ideas had made him unconsciously
expect to behold the jealous husband of Cornelia. How changed, how
passion-worn and tarnished was the countenance that met his eyes. He
recovered his self-possession as he became persuaded that this chance
visitant, who had seen him but once, would be totally unable to
recognize him.

This unwelcome guest had been attached to the American embassy in
England, and had but lately returned to New York. He was full of
dislike of the English. Contempt for them, and pride in his
countrymen, being the cherished feelings of his mind; the latter he
held up to admiration from prejudiced views; a natural propensity to
envy and depreciation led him to detract from the former. He was, in
short, a most disagreeable person; and his insulting observations on
his country moved Lodore's spleen, while his mind was shaken from its
balance by the sight of one who reminded him of his past errors and
ruin. He was fast advancing to a state of irritability, when he should
lose all command over himself. He felt this, and tried to subdue the
impetuous rush of bitterness which agitated him; he remembered that he
must expect many trials like this, and that, rightly considered, this
was a good school wherein he might tutor himself to self-possession
and firmness. He went to another extreme, and addressing himself to,
and arguing with, the object of his dislike, endeavoured to gloss over
to himself the rising violence of his impassioned temper.

The ladies retired, and the gentlemen entered upon a political
discussion on some event passing in Europe. The English guest took his
departure early, and Lodore and the other continued to converse. Some
mention was made of newspapers newly arrived, and the American
proposed that they should repair to the coffee-house to see them.
Lodore agreed: he thought that this would be a good opportunity to
shake off his distasteful companion.

The coffee-room contained nearly twenty persons. They were in loud
discussion upon a question of European politics, and reviling England
and her manners in the most contemptuous terms. This was not balm for
Lodore's sore feelings. His heart swelled indignantly at the sarcasms
which these strangers levelled against his native country; he felt as
if he was acting a coward's part while he listened tamely. His
companion soon entered with vehemence into the conversation; and the
noble, who was longing to quarrel with him, now drew himself up with
forced composure, fixing his full meaning eyes upon the speaker,
hoping by his quiescence to entice him into expressions which he would
insist on being retracted. His temper by this time entirely mastered
him. In a calmer moment he would have despised himself for being
influenced by such a man, to any sentiment except contempt; but the
tempest was abroad, and all sobriety of feeling was swept away like
chaff before the wind.

Mr. Hatfield,--such was the American's name,--perceiving that he was
listened to, entered with great delight on his favourite topic, a
furious and insolent philippic against England, in mass and in detail.
Lodore still listened; there was a dry sneer in the tones of the
speaker's voice, that thrilled him with hate and rage. At length, by
some chance reverting to the successful struggle America had made for
her independence, and ridiculing the resistance of the English on the
occasion, Hatfield named Lodore.

"Lodore!" cried one of the by-standers; "Fitzhenry was the name of the
man who took the Oronooko."

"Aye, Fitzhenry it was," said Hatfield, "Lodore is his nickname. King
George's bit of gilt gingerbread, which mightily pleased the sapient
mariner. An Englishman thinks himself honoured when he changes one
name for another. Admiral Fitzhenry was the scum of the earth--Lord
Lodore a pillar of state. Pity that infamy should so soon have
blackened the glorious title!"

Lodore's pale cheek suddenly flushed at these words, and then blanched
again, as with compressed lips he resolved to hear yet more, till the
insult should no longer be equivocal. The word "infamy" was echoed
from various lips. Hatfield found that he had insured a hearing, and,
glad of an audience, he went on to relate his story--it was of the
dinner at the Russian Ambassador's--of the intemperate violence of
Lodore--and the youthful Lyzinski's wrongs. "I saw the blow given,"
continued the narrator, "and I would have caned the fellow on the
spot, had I not thought that a bullet would do his business better.
But when it came to that, London was regaled by an event which could
not have happened here, for we have no such cowards among us. My lord
was not to be found--he had absconded--sneaked off like a mean-
spirited, pitiful scoundrel!"

The words were still on the man's lips when a blow, sudden and
unexpected, extended him on the floor. After this swiftly-executed act
of retaliation, Lodore folded his arms, and as his antagonist rose,
foaming with rage, said, "You, at least, shall have no cause to
complain of not receiving satisfaction for your injuries at my hands.
I am ready to give it, even in this room. I am Lord Lodore!"

Duels, that sad relic of feudal barbarism, were more frequent then
than now in America; at all times they are more fatal and more openly
carried on there than in this country. The nature of the quarrel in
the present instance admitted of no delay; and it was resolved, that
the antagonists should immediately repair to an open place near the
city, to terminate, by the death of one, the insults they had mutually
inflicted.

Lodore saw himself surrounded by Americans, all strangers to him; nor
was he acquainted with one person in New York whom he could ask to be
his second. This was matter of slight import: the idea of vindicating
his reputation, and of avenging the bitter mortifications received
from society, filled him with unnatural gladness; and he was hastening
to the meeting, totally regardless of any arrangement for his
security.

There was a gentleman, seated at a distant part of the coffee-room,
who had been occupied by reading; nor seemed at all to give ear to
what was going on, till the name of Lodore occurred: he then rose, and
when the blow was given, drew nearer the group; though he still stood
aloof, while, with raised and angry voices, they assailed Lodore, and
he, replying in his deep, subdued voice, agreed to the meeting which
they tumultuously demanded. Now, as they were hastening away, and
Lodore was following them, confessedly unbefriended, this gentleman
approached, and putting his card into the nobleman's hand, said, "I am
an Englishman, and should be very glad if you would accept my services
on this painful occasion."

Lodore looked at the card, on which was simply engraved the name of
"Mr. Edward Villiers," and then at him who addressed him. He was a
young man--certainly not more than three-and-twenty. An air of London
fashion, to which Lodore had been so long unused, was combined with a
most prepossessing countenance. He was light-haired and blue-eyed;
ingenuousness and sincerity marked his physiognomy. The few words he
had spoken were enforced by a graceful cordiality of manner, and a
silver-toned voice, that won the heart. Lodore was struck by his
prepossessing exterior, and replied with warm thanks; adding, that his
services would be most acceptable on certain conditions,--which were
merely that he should put no obstacle to the immediate termination of
the quarrel, in any mode, however desperate, which his adversary might
propose. "Otherwise," Lodore added, "I must entirely decline your
interference. All this is to me matter of far higher import than mere
life and death, and I can submit to no controul."

"Then my services must be limited to securing fair play for you," said
Mr. Villiers.

During this brief parley, they were in the street, proceeding towards
the place of meeting. Day had declined, and the crescent moon was high
in the heavens: each instant its beams grew more refulgent, as
twilight yielded to night.

"We shall have no difficulty in seeing each other," said Lodore, in a
cheerful voice. He felt cheerful: a burthen was lifted from his heart.
How much must a brave man suffer under the accusation of cowardice,
and how joyous when an opportunity is granted of proving his courage!
Lodore was brave to rashness: at this crisis he felt as if about to be
born again to all the earthly blessings of which he had been deprived
so long. He did not think of the dread baptism of blood which was to
occasion his regeneration--still less of personal danger; he thought
only of good name restored--of his reputation for courage vindicated--
of the insolence of this ill-spoken fellow signally chastised.

"Have you weapons?" asked his companion.

"They will procure pistols, I suppose," replied Lodore: "we should
lose much time by going to the hotel for mine."

"We are passing that where I am," said Mr. Villiers. "If you will wait
one moment I will fetch mine;--or will you go up with me?"

They entered the house, and the apartments of Mr. Villiers. At such
moments slight causes operate changes on the human heart; and as
various impulses sweep like winds over its chords, that subtle
instrument gives forth various tones. A moment ago, Lodore seemed to
raise his proud head to the stars: he felt as if escaping from a dim,
intricate cavern, into the blessed light of day. The strong excitement
permitted no second thought--no second image. With a lighter step than
Mr. Villiers, he followed that gentleman up-stairs. For a moment, as
he went into an inner apartment for the pistols, Lodore was alone: a
desk was open on the table; and paper, unwritten on, upon the desk.
Scarcely knowing what he did, Lodore took the pen, and wrote--"Ethel,
my child! my life's dearest blessing! be virtuous, be useful, be
happy!--farewell, for ever!"--and under this he wrote Mrs. Greville's
address. The first words were written with a firm hand; but the
recollection of all that might occur, made his fingers tremble as he
continued, and the direction was nearly illegible. "If any thing
happens to me," said he to Mr. Villiers, "you will add to your
kindness immeasurably by going there,"--pointing to the address,--"and
taking precaution that my daughter may hear of her disaster in as
tender a manner as possible."

"Is there any thing else?" asked his companion. "Command me freely, I
beseech you; I will obey your injunctions to the letter."

"It is too late now," replied the noble; "and we must not keep these
gentlemen waiting. The little I have to say we will talk of as we
walk."

"I feel," continued Lodore, after they were again in the street, "that
if this meeting end fatally, I have no power to enforce my wishes and
designs beyond the grave. The providence which has so strangely
conducted the drama of my life, will proceed in its own way after the
final catastrophe. I commit my daughter to a higher power than mine,
secure that so much innocence and goodness must receive blessings,
even in this ill-grained state of existence. You will see Mrs.
Greville: she is a kind-hearted, humane woman, and will exert herself
to console my child. Ethel--Miss Fitzhenry, I mean--must, as soon as
is practicable, return to England. She will be received there by my
sister, and remain with her till--till her fate be otherwise decided.
We were on the point of sailing;--I have fitted up a cabin for her;--
she might make the voyage in that very vessel. You, perhaps, will
consult--though what claim have I on you?"

"A claim most paramount," interrupted Villiers eagerly,--"that of a
countryman in a foreign land--of a gentleman vindicating his honour at
the probable expense of life."

"Thank you!" replied Lodore;--"my heart thanks you--for my own sake,
and for my daughter's--if indeed you will kindly render her such
services as her sudden loss may make sadly necessary."

"Depend upon me;--though God grant she need them not!"

"For her sake, I say Amen!" said Lodore; "for my own--life is a worn-
out garment--few tears will be shed upon my grave, except by Ethel."

"There is yet another," said Villiers with visible hesitation: "pardon
me, if I appear impertinent; but at such a moment, may I not name Lady
Lodore?"

"For her, indeed," answered the peer, "the event of this evening, if
fatal to me, will prove fortunate: she will be delivered from a heavy
chain. May she be happy in another choice! Are you acquainted with
her?"

"I am, slightly--that is, not very intimately."

"If you meet her on your return to England," continued the noble;--"if
you ever see Lady Lodore, tell her that I invoked a blessing on her
with my latest breath--that I forgive her, and ask her forgiveness.
But we are arrived. Remember Ethel."

"Yet one moment," cried Villiers;--"one moment of reflection, of calm!
Is there no way of preventing this encounter?"

"None!--fail me not, I intreat you, in this one thing;--interpose no
obstacle--be as eager and as firm as I myself am. Our friends have
chosen a rising ground: we shall be excellent marks for one another.
Pray do not lose time."

The American and his second stood in dark relief against the moon-lit
sky. As the rays fell upon the English noble, Hatfield observed to his
companion, that he now perfectly recognized him, and wondered at his
previous blindness. Perhaps he felt some compunction for the insult he
had offered; but he said nothing, and no attempt was made on either
side at amicable explanation. They proceeded at once, with a kind of
savage indifference, to execute the murderous designs which caused
them to disturb the still and lovely night.

It was indeed a night, that love, and hope, and all the softer
emotions of the soul, would have felt congenial to them. A balmy,
western breeze lifted the hair lightly from Lodore's brow, and played
upon his cheek; the trees were bathed in yellow moonshine; a glowworm
stealing along the grass scarce showed its light; and sweet odours
were wafted from grove and field. Lodore stood, with folded arms,
gazing upon the scene in silence, while the seconds were arranging
preliminaries, and loading the firearms. None can tell what thoughts
then passed through his mind. Did he rejoice in his honour redeemed,
or grieve for the human being at whose breast he was about to aim?--or
were his last thoughts spent upon the account he might so speedily be
called on to render before his Creator's throne? When at last he took
his weapon from the hand of Villiers, his countenance was serene,
though solemn; and his voice firm and calm. "Remember me to Ethel," he
said; "and tell her to thank you;--I cannot sufficiently; yet I do so
from my heart. If I live--then more of this."

The antagonists were placed: they were both perfectly self-possessed--
bent, with hardness and cruelty of purpose, on fulfilling the tragic
act. As they stood face to face--a few brief paces only intervening--
on the moon-lit hill--neither had ever been more alive, more full of
conscious power, of moral and physical energy, than at that moment.
Villiers saw them standing beneath the silver moonbeams, each in the
pride of life, of strength, of resolution. A ray glanced from the
barrel of Lodore's pistol, as he raised and held it out with a steady
hand--a flash--the reports--and then he staggered two steps, fell, and
lay on the earth, making no sign of life. Villiers rushed to him: the
wound was unapparent--no blood flowed, but the bullet had entered his
heart. His friend raised his head in his arms; his eyes opened; his
lips moved, but no sound issued from them;--a shadow crossed his
face--the body slipped from Villiers's support to the ground--all was
over--Lodore was dead!



CHAPTER XVI.



En cor gentil, amor per mort no passa.
--Ausias March, Troubadour.

We return to Longfield and to Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry. The glory of
summer invested the world with light, cheerfulness, and beauty, when
the sorrowing sister of Lodore visited London, to receive her orphan
niece from the hands of the friend of Mrs. Greville, under whose
protection she had made the voyage. The good lady folded poor Ethel in
her arms, overcome by the likeness she saw to her beloved brother
Henry, in his youthful days, before passion had worn and misfortune
saddened him. Her soft, brown, lamp-like eyes, beamed with the same
sensibility. Yet when she examined her more closely, Mrs Elizabeth
lost somewhat of the likeness; for the lower part of her face
resembled her mother: her hair was lighter and her complexion much
fairer than Lodore; besides that the expression of her countenance was
peculiar to herself, and possessed that individuality which is so
sweet to behold, but impossible to describe.

They lingered but a few days in London. Fanny Derham, who accompanied
her on her voyage, had already returned to her father, and there was
nothing to detain them from Longfield. Ethel had no adieus to make
that touched her heart. Her aunt was more to her than any other living
being, and her strongest desire now was, to visit the scenes once
hallowed by her father's presence. The future was a chaos of dark
regret and loneliness; her whole life, she thought, would be composed
of one long memory.

One memory, and one fatal image. Ethel had not only consecrated her
heart to her father, but his society was a habit with her, and, until
now, she had never even thought how she could endure existence without
the supporting influence of his affection. His conversation, so full
of a kind penetration into her thoughts, was calculated to develop and
adorn them; his manly sense and paternal solicitude, had all fostered
a filial love, the most tender and strong. Add to this, his sudden and
awful death. Already had they schemed their future life in a world new
to Ethel: he had excited her enthusiasm by descriptions of the wonders
of art in the old countries, and raised her curiosity while promising
to satisfy it; and she had eagerly looked forward to the time when she
should see the magical works of man, and mingle with a system of
society, of which, except by books, he alone presented any ensample to
her. Their voyage was fixed, and on the other side of their watery way
she had figured a very Elysium of wonders and pleasures. The late
change in their mode of life had served to endear him doubly to her.
It had been the occupation of her life to think of her father, to
communicate all her thoughts to him, and in the unreflecting
confidence of youth, she had looked forward to no termination of a
state of existence, that had began from her cradle. He propped her
entire world; the foundations must moulder and crumble away without
him--and he was gone--where then was she?

Mr. Villiers had, as soon as he was able, hurried to Mrs. Greville's
house. By some strange chance, the fatal tidings had preceded him, and
he found the daughter of the unfortunate Lodore bewildered and
maddened by her frightful calamity. Her first desire was to see all
that was left of her parent--she could not believe that he was indeed
dead--she was certain that care and skill might revive him--she
insisted on being led to his side; her friends strove to restrain her,
but she rushed into the street, she knew not whither, to ask for, to
find her father. The timidity of her temper was overborne by the wild
expectation of yet being able to recall him from among the dead.
Villiers followed her, and, yielding to her wishes, guided her towards
the hotel whither the remains of Lodore had been carried. He judged
that the exertion of walking thither, and the time that must elapse
before she arrived, would calm and subdue her. He talked to her of her
father as they went along--he endeavoured to awaken the source of
tears--but she was silent--absorbed--brooding darkly on her hopes.
Pity for herself had not yet arisen, nor the frightful certainty of
bereavement. To see those dear lineaments--to touch his hand--the very
hand that had so often caressed her, clay-cold and incapable of
motion! Could it be!

She did not answer Villiers, she only hurried forward; she feared
obstruction to her wishes; her soul was set on one thought only. Had
Villiers endeavoured to deceive her, it would have been in vain.
Arrived at the hotel, as by instinct, she sprung up the stairs, and
reached the door of the room. It was darkened, in useless but decent
respect for the death within; there lay a figure covered by a sheet,
and already chilling the atmosphere around it. The imagination is slow
to act upon the feelings in comparison with the quick operation of the
senses. Ethel now knew that her father was dead. Mortal strength could
support no more--the energy of hope deserting her, she sunk lifeless
on the ground.

For a long time she was passive in the hands of others. A violent
illness confined her to her bed, and physical suffering subdued the
excess of mental agony. Villiers left her among kind friends. It was
resolved that she and Fanny Derham should proceed to England, under
the protection of the friends of Mrs. Greville about to return
thither; he was himself obliged to return to England without delay.

Ethel's destiny was as yet quite uncertain. It was decided by the
opening of her father's will. This had been made twelve years before
on his first arrival at New York, and breathed the spirit of
resentment, and even revenge, against his wife. Lodore had indeed not
much wealth to leave. His income chiefly consisted in a grant from the
crown, entailed on heirs male, which in default of these, reverted
back, and in a sinecure which expired with him. His paternal estate at
Longfield, and a sum under twenty thousand pounds, the savings of
twelve years, formed all his possessions. The income arising from the
former was absorbed by Lady Lodore's jointure of a thousand a year,
and five hundred a year settled on his sister, together with
permission to occupy the family mansion during her life. The remaining
sum was disposed of in a way most singular. Without referring to the
amount of what he could leave, he bequeathed the additional sum of six
hundred a year to Lady Lodore, on the express condition, that she
should not interfere with, nor even see, her child; upon her failing
in this condition, this sum was to be left to accumulate till Ethel
was of age. Ethel was ultimately to inherit every thing; but while her
mother and aunt lived, her fortune consisted of little more than five
thousand pounds; and even in this, she was limited to the use of the
interest only until she was of age; a previous marriage would have no
influence on the disposition of her property. Mrs. Elizabeth was left
her guardian.

This will was in absolute contradiction to the wishes and feelings in
which Lord Lodore died; so true had his prognostic been, that he had
no power beyond the grave. He had probably forgotten the existence of
this will, or imagined that it had been destroyed: he had determined
to make a new one on his arrival in England. Meanwhile it was safely
deposited with his solicitor in London, and Mrs. Elizabeth, with
mistaken zeal, hastened to put it into force, and showed herself eager
to obey her brother's wishes with scrupulous exactitude. The contents
of it were communicated to Lady Lodore. She made no comment--returned
no answer. She was suddenly reduced from comparative affluence (for
her husband's allowance had consisted of several thousands) to a bare
sixteen hundred a year. Whether she would be willing to diminish this
her scanty income one third, and take on herself, besides, the care of
her daughter, was not known. She remained inactive and silent, and
Ethel was placed at once under the guardianship of her aunt.

These two ladies left London in the old lumbering chariot which had
belonged to the Admiral. Now, indeed, Ethel found herself in a new
country, with new friends around her, speaking a new language, and
each change of scene made more manifest the complete revolution of her
fortunes. She looked on all with languid eyes, and a heart dead to
every pleasure. Her aunt, who bore a slight resemblance of her father,
won some degree of interest; and the sole consolation offered her, was
to trace a similarity of voice and feature, and thus to bring the lost
Lodore more vividly before her. The journey to Longfield was therefore
not wholly without a melancholy charm. Mrs. Elizabeth longed to obtain
more minute information concerning her brother, her pride and her
delight, than had been contained in his short and infrequent letters.
She hazarded a few questions. Grief loves to feed upon itself, and to
surround itself with multiplications of its own image; like a bee, it
will find sweets in the poison flower, and nestle within its own
creations, although they pierce the heart that cherishes them. Ethel
felt a fascination in dwelling for ever on the past. She asked for
nothing better than to live her life over again, while narrating its
simple details, and to bring her father back from his grave to dwell
with her, by discoursing perpetually concerning him. She was unwearied
in her descriptions, her anecdotes, her praises. The Illinois rose
before the eyes of her aunt, like a taintless paradise, inhabited by
an angel. Love and good dwelt together there in blameless union; the
sky was brighter; the earth fairer, fresher, younger, more
magnificent, and more wonderful, than in the old world. The good lady
called to mind, with surprise, the melancholy and despairing letters
she had received from her brother, while inhabiting this Eden. It was
matter of mortification to his mourning daughter to hear, as from
himself, as it were, that any sorrows had visited his heart while with
her. When we love one to whom we have devoted our lives with undivided
affection, the idea that the beloved object suffered any grief while
with us, jars with our sacred sorrow. We delight to make the
difference between the possession of their society, and our subsequent
bereavement, entire in its contrasted happiness and misery; we wish to
have engrossed their whole souls, as they do ours, at the period of
regret, and it is like the most cruel theft, to know that we have been
deprived of any of the power we believed that we possessed, to
influence their entire being. But then again, forgetting her aunt's
interruptions. Ethel returned to the story of their occupations, their
amusements, their fond and unsullied intercourse, her eyes streamed
with tears as she spoke, while yet her heart felt relief in the
indulgence of her woe.

When the ladies returned to Longfield, it became Mrs. Elizabeth's turn
to narrate. She had lived many years feeding silently on the memory of
by-gone time. During her brother's exile, she had seldom spoken his
name, for she felt little inclined to satisfy the inquisitiveness of
the good people of Longfield. But now her long-stored anecdotes, her
sacred relics, the spots made dear by his presence, all were a
treasure poured out bounteously before Ethel. Nothing appeared so
natural to the unfortunate girl as that another should, like herself,
worship the recollection of her adored father. To love him while he
lived, to see nothing in the world that had lost him, except his
shadow cast upon its benighted state, appeared the only existence that
could follow his extinction. Some people, when they die, leave but a
foot of ground vacant, which the eager pressing ranks of their fellow-
creatures fill up immediately, walking on their grave, as on common
earth; others leave a gap, a chasm, a fathomless gulf, beside which
the survivor sits for ever hopeless. Both Ethel and her aunt, in their
several ways, in youth and age, were similarly situated. Both were cut
off from the great family of their species; wedded to one single
being, and he was gone. Both made the dead Lodore the focus to
concentrate, and the mirror to reflect, all their sensations and
experience. He visited their dreams by night, his name was their
study, their pastime, their sole untiring society.

Mrs. Elizabeth, the gentlest visionary that had ever outlived hope,
without arriving at its fruition, having reached those years when
memory is the natural food of the human mind, found this fare
exceedingly well adapted to her constitution. She had pined a little
while cut off from all heart-felt communication with her fellow-
creatures, but the presence of Ethel fulfilled her soul's desire; she
found sympathy, and an auditress, into whose ever-attentive ear she
could pour those reveries which she had so long nourished in secret.
Whoso had heard the good lady talk of endless tears and mourning for
the loss of Lodore, of life not worth having when he was gone, of the
sad desolation of their position, and looked at her face, beaming with
satisfaction, with only so much sensibility painted there as to render
it expressive of all that is kind and compassionate, good-humour in
her frequent smile, and sleek content in her plump person, might have
laughed at the contrast; and yet have pondered on the strange riddle
we human beings present, and how contradictions accord in our singular
machinery. This good aunt was incapable of affectation, and all was
true and real that she said. She lived upon the idea of her brother;
he was all in all to her, but they had been divided so long, that his
death scarcely increased the separation; and she could talk of meeting
him in heaven, with as firm and cheerful a faith, as a few months
before she had anticipated his return to England. Though sincere in
her regret for his death, habit had turned lamentation into a healthy
nutriment, so that she throve upon the tears she shed, and grew fat
and cheerful upon her sighs. She would lead the agonized girl to the
vault which contained the remains of her brother, and hover near it,
as a Catholic beside the shrine of a favourite saint--the visible
image giving substance and form to her reverie; for hitherto, her
dreamy life had wanted the touch of reality, which the presence of her
niece, and the sad memorial of her lost brother, afforded.

The home-felt sensations of the mourning orphan, were in entire
contrast to this holiday woe. While her aunt brooded over her sorrow
"to keep it warm," it wrapped Ethel's soul as with a fiery torture.
Every cheerful thought lay buried with her father, and the tears she
shed near his grave were accompanied by a wrenching of her being, and
a consequent exhaustion, that destroyed the elasticity of the spirit
of youth. The memory of Lodore, which soothed his sister, haunted his
child like a sad beckoning, yet fatal vision; she yearned to reach the
shore where his pale ghost perpetually wandered--the earth seemed a
dark prison, and liberty and light dwelt with the dead beyond the
grave. Eternally conversant with the image of death, she was brought
into too near communion with the grim enemy of life. She wasted and
grew pale: nor did any voice speak to her of the unreasonableness of
her grief; her father was not near to teach her fortitude, and there
appeared a virtue and a filial piety in the excess of her regret,
which blinded her aunt to the fatal consequences of its indulgence.

While summer lasted, and the late autumn protracted its serenity
almost into winter, Ethel wandered in the lanes and fields; and in
spite of wasting grief, the free air of heaven, which swept her cheek,
preserved its healthy hue and braced her limbs. But when dreary
inclement winter arrived, and the dull fireside of aunt Bessy became
the order of the day, without occupation to amuse, or society to
distract her thoughts, given up to grief, and growing into a monument
of woe, it became evident that the springs of life were becoming
poisoned, and that health and existence itself were giving way before
the destructive influences at work within. Appetite first, then sleep,
deserted her. A slight cold became a cough, and then changed into a
preying fever. She grew so thin that her large eyes, shining with
unnatural lustre, appeared to occupy too much of her face, and her
brow was streaked with ghastly hues. Poor Mrs. Elizabeth, when she
found that neither arrow-root nor chickenbroth restored her, grew
frightened--the village practitioner exhausted his skill without
avail. Ethel herself firmly believed that she was going to die, and
fondly cherished the hope of rejoining her father. She was in love
with death, which alone could reunite her to the being, apart from
whom she believed it impossible to exist.

But limits were now placed to Mrs. Elizabeth's romance. The danger of
Ethel was a frightful reality that awoke every natural feeling. Ethel,
the representative of her brother, the last of their nearly extinct
race, the sole relation she possessed, the only creature whom she
could entirely love, was dear to her beyond expression; and the dread
of losing her gave activity to her slothful resolves. Having seldom,
during the whole course of her life, been called upon to put any plan
or wish of her's into actual execution, what another would have
immediately and easily done, was an event to call forth all her
energies, and to require all her courage; luckily she possessed
sufficient to meet the present exigency. She wrote up to London to her
single correspondent there, her brother's solicitor. A house was
taken, and the first warm days of spring found the ladies established
in the metropolis. A physician had been called in, and he pronounced
the mind only to be sick. "Amuse her," he said, "occupy her--prevent
her from dwelling on those thoughts which have preyed upon her health;
let her see new faces, new places, every thing new--and youth, and a
good constitution, will do the rest."

There seemed so much truth in this advice, that all dangerous symptoms
disappeared from the moment of Ethel's leaving Essex. Her strength
returned--her face resumed its former loveliness; and aunt Bessy,
overjoyed at the change, occupied herself earnestly in discovering
amusements for her niece in the numerous, wide-spread, and very busy
congregation of human beings, which forms the western portion of
London.



CHAPTER XVII.



You are now
In London, that great sea, whose ebb and flow.
At once is deaf and loud.
--Shelley.

There is no uninhabited desart so dreary as the peopled streets of
London, to those who have no ties with its inhabitants, nor any
pursuits in common with its busy crowds. A drop of water in the ocean
is no symbol of the situation of an isolated individual thrown upon
the stream of metropolitan life; that amalgamates with its kindred
element; but the solitary being finds no pole of attraction to cause a
union with its fellows, and bastilled by the laws of society, it is
condemned to incommunicative solitude.

Ethel was thrown completely upon her aunt, and her aunt was a cypher
in the world. She had not a single acquaintance in London, and was
wholly inexperienced in its ways. She dragged Ethel about to see
sights, and Ethel was amused for a time. The playhouses were a great
source of entertainment to her, and all kinds of exhibitions,
panoramas, and shows, served to fill up her day. Still the great want
of all shed an air of dulness over every thing--the absence of human
intercourse, and of the conversation and sympathy of her species.
Ethel, as she drove through the mazy streets, and mingled with the
equipages in the park, could not help thinking what pleasant people
might be found among the many she saw, and how strange it was that her
aunt did not speak even to one among them. This solitude, joined to a
sense of exclusion, became very painful. Again and again she sighed
for the Illinois; that was inhabited by human beings, humble and
uncultivated as they might be. She knew their wants, and could
interest herself in their goings on. All the moving crowd of men and
women now around her seemed so many automata: she started when she
heard them address each other, and express any feeling or intention
that distinguished them from the shadows of a phantasmagoria.

Where were the boasted delights of European intercourse which Lodore
had vaunted?--the elegancies, and the wit, or the improvement to be
derived from its society?--the men and women of talent, of refinement,
and taste, who by their conversation awaken the soul to new powers,
and exhilarate the spirits with a purer madness than wine--who with
alternate gaiety and wisdom, humour and sagacity, amuse while they
teach; accompanying their lessons with that spirit of sympathy, that
speaking to the eye and ear, as well as to the mind, which books can
so poorly imitate? "Here, doubtless, I should find all these," thought
Ethel, as she surveyed the audience at the theatres, or the daily
congregations she met in her drives; "yet I live here as if not only I
inhabited a land whose language was unknown to me, for then I might
converse by signs,--but as if I had fallen among beings of another
species, with whom I have no affinity: I should almost say that I
walked among them invisible, did they not condescend sometimes to gaze
at me, proving that at least I am seen."

Time sped on very quickly, meanwhile, in spite of these repinings; for
her days were past in the utmost monotony,--so that though the hours a
little lagged, yet she wondered where they were when they were gone:
and they had spent more than a month in town, though it seemed but a
few days. Ethel had entirely recovered her health, and more than her
former beauty. She was nearly seventeen: she was rather tall and slim;
but there was a bending elegance in her form, joined to an elastic
step, which was singularly graceful. No man could see her without a
wish to draw near to afford protection and support; and the soft
expression of her full eyes added to the charm. Her deep mourning
dress, the simplicity of her appearance, her face so prettily shaded
by her bright ringlets, often caused her to be remarked, and people
asked one another who she was. None knew; and the old-fashioned
appearance of Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry, and the want of style which
characterized all her arrangements, prevented our very aristocratic
gentry from paying as much attention to her as they otherwise would.

One day, this gentle, solitary pair attended a morning concert. Ethel
had not been to the Opera, and now heard Pasta for the first time. Her
father had cultivated her taste for Italian music; for without
cultivation--without in some degree understanding and being familiar
with an art, it is rare that we admire even the most perfect specimens
of it. Ethel listened with wrapt attention; her heart beat quick, and
her eyes became suffused with tears which she could not suppress;--so
she leant forward, shading her face as much as she could with her
veil, and trying to forget the throng of strangers about her. They
were in the pit; and having come in late, sat at the end of one of the
forms. Pasta's air was concluded; and she still turned aside, being
too much agitated to wish to speak, when she heard her aunt addressing
some one as an old acquaintance. She called her friend "Captain
Markham," expressed infinite pleasure at seeing him, and whispered her
niece that here was an old friend of her father's. Ethel turned and
beheld Mr. Villiers. His face lighted up with pleasure, and he
expressed his joy at the chance which had produced the meeting; but
the poor girl was unable to reply. All colour deserted her cheeks;
marble pale and cold, her voice failed, and her heart seemed to die
within her. The room where last she saw the lifeless remains of her
father rose before her; and the appearance of Mr. Villiers was as a
vision from another world, speaking of the dead. Mrs. Elizabeth,
considerably surprised, asked her how she came to know Captain
Markham. Ethel would have said, "Let us go!" but her voice died away,
and she felt that tears would follow any attempt at explanation.
Ashamed of the very possibility of occasioning a scene, and yet too
disturbed to know well what she was about, she suddenly rose, and
though the commencement of a new air was commanding silence and
attention; she hastily quitted the room, and found herself alone,
outside the door, before her aunt was well aware that she was gone.
She claimed Captain Markham's assistance to follow the fugitive; and,
attended by him, at length discovered her chariot, to which Ethel had
been led by the servant, and in which she was sitting, weeping
bitterly. Mrs. Elizabeth felt inclined to ask her whether she was mad;
but she also was struck dumb; for her Captain Markham had said--"I am
very sorry to have distressed Miss Fitzhenry. My name is Villiers. I
cannot wonder at her agitation; but it would give me much pleasure if
she would permit me to call on her, when she can see me with more
composure."

With these words, he assisted the good lady into the carriage, bowed,
and disappeared. He was not Captain Markham! How could she have been
so stupid as to imagine that he was? He looked, upon the whole, rather
younger than Captain Markham had done, when she formed acquaintance
with him, during her expedition to London on the occasion of Ethel's
christening. He was taller, too, and not quite so stout; yet he was so
like--the same frank, open countenance, the same ingenuous manner, and
the same clear blue eyes. Certainly Captain Markham was not so
handsome;--and what a fool Mr. Villiers must think her, for having
mistaken him for a person who resembled him sixteen years ago; quite
forgetting that Mr. Villiers was ignorant who her former friend was,
and when she had seen him. All these perplexing thoughts passed
through Mrs. Fitzhenry's brain, tinging her aged cheek with a blush of
shame; while Ethel, having recovered herself, was shocked to remember
how foolishly and rudely she had behaved; and longed to apologize, yet
knew not how; and fancied that it was very unlikely that she should
ever see Mr. Villiers again. Her aunt, engaged by her own distress,
quite forgot the intention he had expressed of calling, and could only
exclaim and lament over her folly. The rest of the day was spent with
great discomfort to both; for the sight of Mr. Villiers renewed all
Ethel's sorrows; and again and again she bestowed the tribute of
showers of tears to her dear father's memory.

The following day, much to Ethel's delight, and the annoyance of Mrs.
Elizabeth, who could not get over her sense of shame, Mr. Villiers
presented himself in their drawing-room. Villiers, however, was a man
speedily to overcome even any prejudice formed against him; far more
easily, therefore, could he obviate the good aunt's confusion, and put
her at her ease. His was one of those sunny countenances that spoke a
heart ready to give itself away in kindness;--a cheering voice, whose
tones echoed the frankness and cordiality of his nature. Blest with a
buoyant, and even careless spirit, as far as regarded himself, he had
a softness, a delicacy, and a gentleness, with respect to others,
which animated his manners with irresistible fascination. His heart
was open to pity--his soul the noblest and clearest ever fashioned by
nature in her happiest mood. He had been educated in the world--he
lived for the world, for he had not genius to raise himself above the
habits and pursuits of his countrymen: yet he took only the better
part of their practices; and shed a grace over them, so alien to their
essence, that any one might have been deceived, and have fancied that
he proceeded on a system and principles of his own.

He had travelled a good deal, and was somewhat inclined, when pleased
with his company, to narrate his adventures and experiences. Ethel was
naturally rather taciturn; and Mrs. Elizabeth was too much absorbed in
the pleasure of listening, to interrupt their visitor. He felt himself
peculiarly happy and satisfied between the two, and his visit was
excessively long; nor did he go away before he had appointed to call
the next day, and opened a long vista of future visits for himself,
assisted by the catalogue of all that the ladies had not seen, and all
that they desired to see, in London.

Villiers had been animated while with them, but he left the house full
of thought. The name of Fitzhenry, or rather that of Lodore, was
familiar to him; and the strange chance that had caused him to act as
second to the lamented noble who bore this title, and which brought
him in contact with his orphan and solitary daughter, appeared to him
like the enchantment of fairy land. From the presence of Ethel, he
proceeded to Lady Lodore's house, which was still shut up; yet he
knocked, and inquired of the servant whether she had returned to
England. She was still at Baden, he was told, and not expected for a
month or two; and this answer involved him in deeper thought than
before.




VOL. II.



CHAPTER I.



Excellent creature! whose perfections make
Even sorrow lovely!
--Beaumont and Fletcher.

Mr. Villiers now became the constant visitor of Mrs. Elizabeth and her
niece; and all discontent, all sadness, all listlessness, vanished in
his presence. There was in his mind a constant spring of vivacity,
which did not display itself in mere gaiety, but in being perfectly
alive at every moment, and continually ready to lend himself to the
comfort and solace of his companions. Sitting in their dingy London
house, the spirit of dulness had drawn a curtain between them and the
sun; and neither thought nor event had penetrated the fortification of
silence and neglect which environed them. Edward Villiers came; and as
mist flies before the wind, so did all Ethel's depression disappear
when his voice only met her ear: his step on the stairs announced
happiness; and when he was indeed before her, light and day displaced
every remnant of cheerless obscurity.

The abstracted, wounded, yet lofty spirit of Lodore was totally
dissimilar to the airy brightness of Villiers' disposition. Lodore had
outlived a storm, and shown himself majestic in ruin. No ill had
tarnished the nature of Villiers: he enjoyed life, he was in good-
humour with the world, and thought well of mankind. Lodore had
endangered his peace from the violence of passion, and reaped misery
from the pride of his soul. Villiers was imprudent from his belief in
the goodness of his fellow-creatures, and imparted happiness from the
store that his warm heart insured to himself. The one had never been a
boy--the other had not yet learned to be a man.

Ethel's heart had been filled by her father; and all affection, all
interest, borrowed their force from his memory. She did not think of
love; and while Villiers was growing into a part of her life, becoming
knit to her existence by daily habit, and a thousand thoughts expended
on him, she entertained his idea chiefly as having been the friend of
Lodore. "He is certainly the kindest-hearted creature in the world."
This was the third time that, when laying her gentle head on the
pillow, this feeling came like a blessing to her closing eyes. She
heard his voice in the silence of night, even more distinctly than
when it was addressed to her outward sense during the day. For the
first time after the lapse of months, she found one to whom she could
spontaneously utter every thought, as it rose in her mind. A fond,
elder brother, if such ever existed, cherishing the confidence and
tenderness of a beloved sister, might fill the place which her new
friend assumed for Ethel. She thought of him with overflowing
affection; and the name of "Mr. Villiers" sometimes fell from her lips
in solitude, and hung upon her ear like sweetest music. In early life
there is a moment--perhaps of all the enchantments of love it is the
one which is never renewed--when passion, unacknowledged to ourselves,
imparts greater delight than any after-stage of that ever-progressive
sentiment. We neither wish nor expect. A new joy has isen, like the
sun, upon our lives; and we rejoice in the radiance of morning,
without adverting to the noon and twilight that is to follow. Ethel
stood on the threshold of womanhood: the door of life had been closed
before her;--again it was thrown open--and the sudden splendour that
manifested itself blinded her to the forms of the objects of menace or
injury, which a more experienced eye would have discerned within the
brightness of her new-found day.

Ethel expressed a wish to visit Eton. In talking of the past, Lord
Lodore had never adverted to any events except those which had
occurred during his boyish days. His youthful pleasures and exploits
had often made a part of their conversation. He had traced for her a
plan of Eton college, and the surrounding scenery; spoken of the
trembling delight he had felt in escaping from bounds; and told how e
and Derham had passed happy hours beside the clear streams, and
beneath the copses, of that rural country. There was one fountain
which he delighted to celebrate; and the ivied ruins of an old
monastery, now become a part of a farm-yard, which had been to these
friends the bodily image of many imaginary scenes. Among the sketches
of Whitelock, were several taken in the vicinity of Windsor; and there
were, in his portfolio, studies of trees, cottages, and also of this
same abbey, which Lodore instantly recognized. To many he had some
appending anecdote, some school-boy association. He had purchased the
whole collection from Whitelock. Ethel had copied a few; and these,
together with various sketches made in the Illinois, formed her
dearest treasure, more precious in her eyes than diamonds and rubies.

We are most jealous of what sits nearest to our hearts; and we must
love fondly before we can et another into the secret of those trivial,
but cherished emotions, which form the dearest portion of our solitary
meditations. Ethel had several times been on the point of proposing a
visit to Eton, to her aunt; but there was an awful sacredness in the
very name, which acted like a spell upon her imagination. When first
it fell from her lips, the word seemed echoed by unearthly
whisperings, and she fled from the idea of going thither,--as it is
the feminine disposition often to do, from the full accomplishment of
its wishes, as if disaster must necessarily be linked to the
consummation of their desires. But a word was enough for Villiers: he
eagerly solicited permission to escort them thither, as, being an
Etonian himself, his guidance would be of great advantage. Ethel
faltered her consent; and the struggle of delight and sensibility made
that project appear painful, which was indeed the darling of her
thoughts.

On a bright day in the first week of May, they made this excursion.
They repaired to one of the inns at Salt Hill, and prolonged their
walks and drives about the country. In some of the former, where old
walls were to be scrambled up, and rivulets overleaped, Mrs. Elizabeth
remained at the hotel, and Ethel and Villiers pursued their rambles
together. Ethel's whole soul was given up to the deep filial love that
had induced the journey. Every green field was a stage on which her
father had played a part; each majestic tree, or humble streamlet, was
hallowed by being associated with his image. The pleasant, verdant
beauty of the landscape, clad in all the brightness of early summer;
the sunny, balmy day--the clouds which pranked the heavens with bright
and floating shapes--each hedgerow and each cottage, with its trim
garden--each embowered nook--had a voice which was music to her soul.
From the college of Eton, they sought the dame's house where Lodore
and Derham had lived; then crossing the bridge, they entered Windsor,
and prolonged their walk into the forest. Ethel knew even the rustic
names of the spots she most desired to visit, and to these Villiers
led her in succession. Day declined before they got home, and found
Mrs. Elizabeth, and their repast, waiting them; and the evening was
enlivened by many a tale of boyish pranks, achieved by Villiers, in
these scenes. The following morning they set forth again; and three
days were spent in these delightful wanderings. Ethel would willingly
never have quitted this spot: it appeared to her as if, seeing all,
still much remained to be seen--as if she could never exhaust the
variety of sentiments and deep interest which endeared every foot of
this to her so holy ground. Nor were her emotions silent, and the
softness of her voice, and the flowing eloquence with which she
expressed herself, formed a new charm for her companion.

Sometimes her heart was too full to admit of expression, and grief for
her father's loss was renewed in all its pristine bitterness. One day,
on feeling herself thus overcome, she quitted her companions, and
sought the shady walks of the garden of the hotel, to indulge in a
gush of sorrow which she could not repress. There was something in her
gesture and manner as she left them, that reminded Villiers of Lady
Lodore. It was one of those mysterious family resemblances, which are
so striking and powerful, and yet which it is impossible to point out
to a stranger. A bligh (as this indescribable resemblance is called in
some parts of England) of her mother-struck Villiers forcibly, and he
suddenly asked Mrs. Elizabeth, "If Miss Fitzhenry had never expressed
a desire to see Lady Lodore."

"God forbid!" exclaimed the old lady; "it was my brother's dying wish,
that she should never hear Lady Lodore's name, and I have religiously
observed it. Ethel only knows that sause of her father's misfortunes,
that she deserted every duty, and is unworthy of the name she bears."

Villiers was astonished at this tirade falling from the lips of the
unusually placid maiden, whose heightened colour bespoke implacable
resentment. "Do not mention that woman's name, Mr. Villiers," she
continued, "I am convinced that I should die on the spot if I saw her;
she is as much a murderess, as if she had stabbed her husband to the
heart with a dagger. Her letter to me that I sent to my poor brother
in America, was more the cause of his death, I am sure, than all the
duels in the world. Lady Lodore! I often wonder a thunderbolt from
heaven does not fall on and kill her!"

Mrs. Elizabeth's violence was checked by seeing Ethel cross the road
to return. "Promise not to mention her name to my niece," she cried.

"For the present be assured that I will not," Villiers answered. He
had been struck most painfully by some of Mrs. Elizabeth's
expressions, they implied so much more of misconduct on Lady Lodore's
part, than he had ever suspected--but she must know best; and it
seemed to him, indeed, the probable interpretation of the mystery that
enveloped her separation from her husband. The account spread by Lady
Santerre, and current in the world, appeared inadequate and
improbable; Lodore would not have dared to take her child from her,
but on heavier grounds; it was then true, that a dark and disgraceful
secret was hidden in her heart, and that her propriety, her good
reputation, her seeming pride of innocence, were but the mask to cover
the reality that divided her from her daughter for ever.

Villiers was well acquainted with Lady Lodore; circumstances had
caused him to take a deep interest in her--these were now at an end:
but the singular coincidences that had brought him in contact with her
daughter, renewed many forgotten images, and caused him to dwell on
the past with mixed curiosity and uneasiness. Mrs. Elizabeth's
expressions added to the perplexity of his ideas; their chief effect
was to tarnish to his mind the name of Lady Lodore, and to make him
rejoice at the termination that had been put to their more intimate
connexion.



CHAPTER II.



One, within whose subtle being.
As light and wind within some delicate cloud.
That fades amid the blue noon's burning sky.
Genius and youth contended.
--Shelley.

The party returned to town, and on the following evening they went to
the Italian Opera. For the first time since her father's death, Ethel
threw aside her mourning attire: for the first time also, she made one
of the audience at the King's Theatre. She went to hear the music, and
to spend the evening with the only person in the world who was drawn
towards her by feelings of kindness and sympathy--the only person--but
that sufficed. His being near her, was the occasion of more delight
than if she had been made the associate of regal splendour. Yet it was
no defined or disturbing sentiment, that sat so lightly on her bosom
and shone in her eyes. Her's was the first gentle opening of a girl's
heart, who does not busy herself with the future, and reposes on the
serene present with unquestioning confidence. She looked round on the
gay world assembled, and thought, "All are as happy as I am." She
listened to the music with a subdued but charmed spirit, and turned
now and then to her companions with a glad smile, expressive of her
delight. Fewer words were spoken in their little box, probably than in
any in the house; but in none were congregated three hearts so
guileless, and so perfectly satisfied with the portion allotted to
them.

At length both opera and ballt were over, and, leaning on the arm of
Villiers, the ladies entered the round-room. The house had been very
full and the crowd was great. A seat was obtained for Aunt Bessy on
one of the sofas near the door, which opened on the principal
staircase. Villiers and Ethel stood near her. When the crowd had
thinned a little, Villiers went to look for the servant, and Ethel
remained surveying the moving numbers with curiosity, wondering at her
own fate, that while every one seemed familiar one to the other, she
knew, and was known by, none. She did not repine at this; Villiers had
dissipated the sense of desertion which before haunted her, and she
was much entertained, as she heard the remarks and interchange of
compliments going on about her. Her attention was particularly
attracted by a very beautiful woman, or rather girl she seemed,
standing on the other side of the room, conversing with a very tall
personage, to whom she, being not above the middle size, looked up as
she talked; which action, perhaps, added to her youthful appearance.
There was an ease in her manners that bespoke a matron as to station.
She was dressed very simply in white, without any ornament; her cloak
hung carelessly from her shoulders, and gave to view her round
symmetrical figure; her silky, chesnut-coloured hair, fell in thick
ringlets round her face, and was gathered with inimitable elegance in
large knots on the top of her head. There was something bewitching in
her animated smile, and sensibility beamed from her long and dark grey
eyes; her simple gesture as she placed her little hand on her cloak,
her attitude as she stood, were wholly unpretending, but graceful
beyond measure. Ethel watched her unobserved, with admiration and
interest, so that she almost forgot where she was, until the voice of
Villiers recalled her. "Your carriage is up--will you come?" The lady
turned as he spoke, and recognized him with a cordial and most sweet
smile. They moved on, while Ethel turned back to look again, as her
carriage was loudly called, and Mrs. Elizabeth seizing her arm,
whispered out of breath, "O my dear, do make haste!" She hurried on,
therefore, and her glance was momentary; but she saw with wonder, that
the lady was looking with eagerness at the party; she caught Ethel's
eye, blushed and turned away, while the folding doors closed, and with
a kind of nervous trepidation her companions descended the stairs. In
a moment the ladies were in their carriage, which drove off, while
Mrs. Elizabeth exclaimed in the tone of one aghast, "Thank God, we got
away! O, Ethel, that was Lady Lodore!"

"My mother!--impossible!"

"O, that we had never come to town," continued her aunt. "Long have I
prayed that I might never see her again;--and she looking as if
nothing had happened, and that Lodore had not died through her means!
Wicked, wicked woman! I will not stay in London a day longer!"

Ethel did not interrupt her ravings: she remembered Captain Markham,
and could not believe but that her aunt laboured under some similar
mistake; it was ridiculous to imagine, that this girlish-looking,
lovely being, had been the wife of her father, whom she remembered
with his high forehead rather bare of hair, his deep marked
countenance, his look that bespoke more than mature age. Her aunt was
mistaken, she felt sure; and yet when she closed her eyes, the
beautiful figure she had seen stole, according to the Arabian image,
beneath her lids, and smiled sweetly, and again started forward to
look after her. This little act seemed to confirm what Mrs. Elizabeth
said; and yet, again, it was impossible! "Had she been named my
sister, there were something in it--but my mother,--impossible!"

Yet strange as it seemed, it was so; in this instance, Mrs. Elizabeth
had not deceived herself; and thus it was that two so near of kin as
mother and daughter, met, it might be said, for the first time.
Villiers was inexpressibly shocked; and believing that Lady Lodore
must suffer keenly from so strange and unnatural an incident, his
first kindly impulse was to seek to see her on the following morning.
During her absence, the violent attack of her sister-in-law had
weighed with him, but her look at once dissipated his uneasy doubts.
There was that in this lady, which no man could resist; she had joined
to her beauty, the charm of engaging manners, made up of natural
grace, vivacity, intuitive tact, and soft sensibility, which infused a
kind of idolatry into the admiration with which she was universally
regarded. But it was not the beauty and fashion of Lady Lodore which
caused Villiers to take a deep interest in her. His intercourse with
her had been of long standing, and the object of his very voyage to
America was intimately connected with her.

Edward Villiers was the son of a man of fortune. His father had been
left a widower young in life, with this only child, who, thus single
and solitary in his paternal home, became almost adopted into the
family of his mother's brother, Viscount Maristow. This nobleman being
rich, married, and blessed with a numerous progeny, the presence of
little Edward was not felt as a burthen, and he was brought up with
his cousins like one of them. Among these it would have been hard if
Villiers could not have found an especial friend: this was not the
elder son, who, much his senior, looked down upon him with friendly
regard; it was the second, who was likewise several years older.
Horatio Saville was a being fashioned for every virtue and
distinguished by every excellence; to know that a thing was right to
be done, was enough to impel Horatio to go through fire and water to
do it; he was one of those who seem not to belong to this world, yet
who adorn it most; conscientious, upright, and often cold in seeming,
because he could always master his passions; good over-much, he might
be called, but that there was no pedantry nor harshness in his nature.
Resolute, aspiring, and true, his noble purposes and studious soul,
demanded a frame of iron, and he had one of the frailest mechanism. It
was not that he was not tall, well-shaped, with earnest eyes, a brow
built up high to receive and entertain a capacious mind; but he was
thin and shadowy, a hectic flushed his cheek, and his voice was broken
and mournful. At school he held the topmost place, at college he was
distinguished by the energy with which he pursued his studies; and
these, so opposite from what might have been expected to be the
pursuits of his ardent mind, were abstruse metaphysics--the highest
and most theoretical mathematics, and cross-grained argument, based
upon hair-fine logic; to these he addicted himself. His desire was
knowledge; his passion truth; his eager and never-sleeping endeavour
was to inform and to satisfy his understanding. Villiers waited on
him, as an inferior spirit may attend on an archangel, and gathered
from him the crumbs of his knowledge, with gladness and content. He
could not force his boyish mind to similar exertions, nor feel that
keen thirst for knowledge that kept alive his cousin's application,
though he could admire and love these with fervour, when exhibited in
another. It was indeed a singular fact, that this constant
contemplation of so superior a being, added to his careless turn of
mind. Not to be like Horatio was to be nothing--to be like him was
impossible. So he was content to remain one of the half-ignorant,
uninformed creatures most men are, and to found his pride upon his
affection for his cousin, who, being several years older, might well
be advanced even beyond his emulation. Horatio himself did not desire
to be imitated by the light-hearted Edward; he was too familiar with
the exhaustion, the sadness, the disappointment of his pursuits; he
could not be otherwise himself, but he thought all that he aspired
after, was well exchanged for the sparkling eyes, exhaustless spirits,
and buoyant step of Villiers. We none of us wish to exchange our
identity for that of another; yet we are never satisfied with
ourselves. The unknown has always a charm, and unless blinded by
miserable vanity, we know ourselves too well to appreciate our
especial characteristics at a very high rate. When Horace, after deep
midnight study, felt his brain still working like a thousand
millwheels, that cannot be stopped; when sleep fled from him, and yet
his exhausted mind could no longer continue its labours--he envied the
light slumbers of his cousin, which followed exercise and amusement.
Villiers loved and revered him; and he felt drawn closer to him than
towards any of his brothers, and strove to refine his taste and
regulate his conduct through his admonitions and example, while he
abstained from following him in the steep and thorny path he had
selected.

Horatio quitted college; he was no longer a youth, and his manhood
became as studious as his younger days. He had no desire but for
knowledge, no thought but for the nobler creations of the soul, and
the discernment of the sublime laws of God and nature. He nourished
the ambition of showing to these latter days what scholars of old had
been, though this feeling was subservient to his instinctive love of
learning, and his wish to adorn his mind with the indefeasible
attributes of truth. He was universally respected and loved, though
little understood. His young cousin Edward only was aware of the
earnestness of his affections, and the sensibility that nestled itself
in his warm heart. He was outwardly mild, placid, and forbearing, and
thus obtained the reputation of being cold--though those who study
human nature ought to make it their first maxim, that those who are
tolerant of the follies of their fellows--who sympathize with, and
assist their wishes, and who apparently forget their own desires, as
they devote themselves to the accomplishment of those of their
friends, must have the quickest feelings to make them enter into and
understand those of others, and the warmest affections to be able to
conquer their wayward humours, so that they can divest themselves of
selfishness, and incorporate in their own being the pleasures and
pains of those around them.

The sparkling eye, the languid step, and flushed cheek of Horatio
Saville, were all tokens that there burnt within him a spirit too
strong for his frame; but he never complained; or if he ever poured
out his pent-up emotions, it was in the ear of Edward only; who but
partly understood him, but who loved him entirely. What that thirst
for knowledge was that preyed on him, and for ever urged him to drink
of the purest streams of wisdom, and yet which ever left him
unsatisfied, fevered, and mournful, the gay spirit of Edward Villiers
could not guess: often he besought his cousin to close his musty
books, to mount a rapid horse, to give his studies to the winds, and
deliver his soul to nature. But Horace pointed to some unexplained
passage in Plato the divine, or some undiscovered problem in the
higher sciences, and turned his eyes from the sun; or if indeed he
yielded, and accompanied his youthful friend, some appearance of earth
or air would awaken his curiosity, rouze his slumbering mind again to
inquire, and making his study of the wide cope of heaven, he gave
himself up to abstruse meditation, while nominally seeking for
relaxation from his heavier toils.

Horatio Saville was nine-and-twenty when he first met Lady Lodore, who
was nearly the same age. He had begun to feel that his health was
shaken, and he tried to forget for a time his devouring avocations. He
changed the scene, and went on a visit to a friend, who had a country
house not far from Hastings. Lady Lodore was expected as a guest,
together with her mother. She was much talked of, having become an
object of interest or curiosity to the many. A mystery hung over her
fate; but her reputation was cloudless, and she was warmly supported
by the leaders of fashion. Saville heard of her beauty and her
sufferings; the injustice with which she had been treated--of her
magnanimity and desolate condition; he heard of her talents, her
powers of conversation, her fashion. He figured to himself (as we are
apt to incarnate to our imagination the various qualities of a human
being, of whom we hear much) a woman, brilliant, but rather masculine,
majestic in figure, with wild dark eyes, and a very determined manner.
Lady Lodore came: she entered the room where he was sitting, and the
fabric of his fancy was at once destroyed. He saw a sweet-looking
woman; serene, fair, and with a countenance expressive of contented
happiness. He found that her manners were winning, from their
softness; her conversation was delightful, from its total want of
pretension or impertinence.

What the power was that from the first moment they met, drew Horatio
Saville and Lady Lodore together is one of those natural secrets which
it is impossible to explain. Though a student, Saville was a
gentleman, with the manners and appearance of the better specimens of
our aristocracy. There might be something in his look of ill health,
which demanded sympathy; something in his superiority to the rest of
the persons about her, in the genius that sat on his brow, and the
eloquence that flowed from his lips; something in the contrast he
presented to every one else she had ever seen--neither entering into
their gossiping slanders, nor understanding their empty self-
sufficiency, that possessed a charm for one satiated with the world's
common scene. It was less of wonder that Cornelia pleased the student.
There were no rough corners, no harshness about her; she won her way
into any heart by her cheerful smiles and kind tones; and she listened
to Saville when he talked of what other women would have lent a
languid ear to, with such an air of interest, that he found no
pleasure so great as that of talking on.

Saville was accustomed to find the men of his acquaintance ignorant.
All the knowledge of worldlings was as a point in comparison with his
vast acquirements. He did not seek Lady Lodore's society either to
learn or to teach, but to forget thought, and to feel himself occupied
and diverted from the sense of listlessness that haunted him in
society, without having recourse to theto him dangerous, attraction of
his books.

Lady Lodore had, in the very brightness of her earliest youth,
selected a proud and independent position. She had refused to bend to
her husband's will, or to submit to the tyranny, as she named it,
which he had attempted to exercise. Youth is bold and fearless. The
forked tongue of scandal, the thousand ills with which woman is
threatened in society, without a guide or a protector--all the worldly
considerations which might lead her to unite herself again to her
husband, she had rejected with unbounded disdain. Her mother was there
to stand between her and the shafts of envy and calumny, and she
conceived no mistrust of herself; she believed that she could hold her
course with taintless feelings and security of soul, through a
thousand dangers. At first she had been somewhat annoyed by ill-
natured observations, but Lady Santerre poured the balm of flattery on
her wounds, and a few tears shed in her presence dissipated the
gathering cloud.

Cornelia had every motive a woman could have for guarding her conduct
from reproach. She lived in the midst of polished society, and was
thoroughly imbued with its maxims and laws. She witnessed the downfall
of several, as young and lovely as herself, and heard the sarcasms and
beheld the sneers which were heaped as a tomb above their buried fame.
She had vowed to herself never to become one of these. She was
applauded for her pride, and held up as a pattern. No one feared her.
She was no coquette, though she strove universally to please. She
formed no intimate friendships, though every man felt honoured by her
notice. She had no prudery on her lips, but her conduct was as open
and as fair as day. Here lay her defence against her husband; and she
preserved even the outposts of such bulwarks with scrupulous yet
unobtrusive exactitude.

Her spirits, as well as her spirit, held her up through many a year.
More than ten years had passed since her separation from Lodore--a
long time to tell of; but it had glided away, she scarcely knew how--
taking little from her loveliness, adding to the elegance of her
appearance, and the grace of her manners. Season after season came,
and went, and she had no motive for counting them anxiously. She was
sought after and admired; it was a holiday life for her, and she
wondered what people meant when they spoke of the delusions of this
world, and the dangers of our own hearts. She saw a gay reality about
her, and felt the existence of no internal enemy. Nothing ever moved
her to sorrow, except the reflection that now and then came across,
that she had a child--divorced for ever from her maternal bosom. The
sight of a baby cradled in its mother's arms, or stretching out its
little hands to her, had not unoften caused her to turn abruptly away,
to hide her tears; and once or twice she had been obliged to quit a
theatre to conceal her emotion, when such sentiments were brought too
vividly before her. But when her eyes were drowned in tears, and her
bosom heaved with sad emotion, pride came to check the torrent, and
hatred of her oppressor gave a new impulse to her swelling heart.

She had rather avoided female friendships, and had been warned from
them by the treachery of one, and the misconduct of another, of her
more intimate acquaintances. Lady Lodore renounced friendship, but the
world began to grow a little dull. The frivolity of one, the hard-
heartedness of another, disgusted. She saw each occupied by themselves
and their families, and she was alone. Balls and assemblies palled
upon her--country pleasures were stupid--she had began to think all
things "stale and unprofitable," when she became acquainted with
Horatio Saville. She was glad again to feel animated with a sense of
living enjoyment; she congratulated herself on the idea that she could
take interest in some one thing or person among the empty shapes that
surrounded her; and without a thought beyond the amusement of the
present moment, most of her hours were spent in his company.



CHAPTER III.



Ah now, ye gentle pair,--now think awhile.
Now, while ye still can think and still can smile.
So did they think
Only with graver thoughts, and smiles reduced.
--Leigh Hunt.

A month stole away as if it had been a day, and Lady Lodore was
engaged to pass some weeks with another friend in a distant county. It
was easily contrived, without contrivance, by Saville, that he should
visit a relation who lived within a morning's ride of her new abode.
The restriction placed upon their intercourse while residing under
different roofs contrasted painfully with the perfect freedom they had
enjoyed while inhabiting the same. Their attachment was too young and
too unacknowledged to need the zest of difficulty. It required indeed
the facility of an unobstructed path for it to proceed to the
accustomed bourne; and a straw thrown across was sufficient to check
its course for ever.

The impatience and restlessness which Cornelia experienced during her
journey; the rush of transport that thrilled through her when she
heard of Saville's arrival at a neighbouring mansion, awoke her in an
instant to a knowledge of the true state of her heart. Her pride was,
happily for herself, united to presence of mind and fortitude. She
felt the invasion of the enemy, and she lost not a moment in repelling
the dangers that menaced her. She resolved to be true to the line of
conduct she had marked out for herself--she determined not to love.
She did not alter her manner nor her actions. She met Horatio with the
same sweet smile--she conversed with the same kind interest; but she
did not indulge in one dream, one thought--one reverie (sweet food of
love) during his absence, and guarded over herself that no indication
of any sentiment less general than the friendship of society might
appear. Though she was invariably kind, yet his feelings told him that
she was changed, without his being able to discover where the
alteration lay; the line of demarcation, which she took care never to
pass, was too finely traced, for any but feminine tact to discern,
though it obstructed him as if it had been as high and massive as a
city wall. Now and then his speaking eye rested on her with a pleading
glance, while she answered his look with a frank smile, that spoke a
heart at ease, and perfect self-possession. Indeed, while they
remained near each other, in despite of all her self-denying resolves,
Cornelia was happy. She felt that there was one being in the world who
took a deep and present interest in her, whose thoughts hovered round
her and whose mind she could influence to the conception of any act or
feeling she might desire. That tranquillity yet animation of spirit--
that gratitude on closing her eyes at night--that glad anticipation of
the morrow's sun--that absence of every harsh and jarring emotion,
which is the disposition of the human soul the nearest that we can
conceive to perfect happiness, and which now and then visits sad
humanity, to teach us of what unmeasured and pure joy our fragile
nature is capable, attended her existence, and made each hour of the
day a new-born blessing.

This state of things could not last. An accident revealed to Saville
the true state of his heart; he became aware that he loved Cornelia,
deeply and fervently, and from that moment he resolved to exile
himself for ever from her dear presence. Misery is the child of love
when happiness is not; this Horatio felt, but he did not shrink from
the endurance. All abstracted and lofty as his speculations were,
still his place had been in the hot-bed of patrician society, and he
was familiar with the repetition of domestic revolutions, too frequent
there. For worlds he would not have Cornelia's name become a byeword
and mark for scandal--that name which she had so long kept bright and
unreachable. His natural modesty prevented him from entertaining the
idea that he could indeed destroy her peace; but he knew how many and
easy are the paths which lead to the loss of honour in the world's
eyes. That it could be observed and surmised that one man had
approached Lady Lodore with any but sentiments of reverence, was an
evil to be avoided at any cost. Saville was firm as rock in his
resolves--he neither doubted nor procrastinated. He left the
neighbourhood where she resided, and, returning to his father's house,
tried to acquire strength to bear the severe pain which he could not
master.

His gentle and generous nature, ever thoughtful for others, and
prodigal of self, was not however satisfied with this mere negative
act of justice towards one who honoured him, he felt conscious, with
her friendship and kindest thoughts. He was miserable in the idea that
he could not further serve her. He revolved a thousand plans in his
mind, tending to her advantage. In fancy he entered the solitude of
her meditations, and tried to divine what her sorrows or desires were,
that he might minister to their solace or accomplishment. Their
previous intercourse had been very unreserved, and though Cornelia
spoke but distantly and coldly of Lodore, she frequently mentioned her
child, and lamented, with much emotion, the deprivation of all those
joys which maternal love bestows. Often had Saville said, "Why not
appeal more strongly to Lord Lodore? or, if he be inflexible, why
calmly endure an outrage shocking to humanity? The laws of your
country may assist you."

"They would not," said Cornelia, "for his reply would be so fraught
with seeming justice, that the blame would fall back on me. He asks
but the trivial sacrifice of my duty to my mother--my poor mother!
who, since I was born, has lived with me and for me, and who has no
existence except through me. I am to tear away, and to trample upon
the first of human ties, to render myself worthy of the guardianship
of my child! I cannot do it--I should hold myself a parricide. Do not
let us talk more of these things; endurance is the fate of woman, and
if I have more than my share, let us hope that some other poor
creature, less able to bear, has her portion lightened in consequence.
I should be glad if once indeed I were permitted to see my cherub
girl, though it were only while she slept; but an ocean rolls between
us, and patience must be my comforter."

The soft sweetness of her look and voice, the angelic grace that
animated every tone and glance, rendered these maternal complaints
mournful, yet enchanting music to the ear of Saville. He could have
listened for ever. But when exiled from her, they assumed another
form. He began to think whether it were not possible to convince Lord
Lodore of the inexcusable cruelty of his conduct; and again and again,
he imaged the exultation of heart he should feel, if he could succeed
in placing her lost babe in the mother's arms.

Saville was the frankest of human beings. Finding his cousin Edward on
a visit at Maristow castle, he imparted his project to him, of making
a voyage to America, seeking out Lord Lodore, and using every argument
and persuasion to induce him to restore her daughter to his wife.
Villiers was startled at the mention of this chivalrous intent. What
could have rouzed the studious Horace to such sudden energy? By one of
those strange caprices of the human mind, which bring forth discord
instead of harmony, Edward had never liked Lady Lodore--he held her to
be false and dangerous. Circumstances had brought him more in contact
with her mother than herself, and the two were associated and
confounded in his mind, till he heard Lady Santerre's falsetto voice
in the sweet one of Cornelia, and saw her deceitful vulgar devices in
the engaging manners of her daughter. He was struck with horror when
he discovered that Saville loved, nay, idolized this beauteous piece
of mischief, as he would have named her. He saw madness and folly in
his Quixotic expedition, and argued against it with all his might. It
would not do; Horatio was resolved to dedicate himself to the
happiness of her he loved; and since this must be done in absence and
distance, what better plan than to restore to her the precious
treasure of which she had been robbed?

Saville resolved to cross the Atlantic, and, though opposed to his
scheme, Villiers offered to accompany him. A voyage to America was but
a trip to an active and unoccupied young man; the society of his
cousin would render the journey delightful; he preferred it at all
times to the commoner pleasures of life, and besides, on this
occasion, he was animated with the hope of being useful to him. There
was nothing effeminate in Saville. His energy of purpose and depth of
thought forbade the idea. Still there was something that appeared to
require kindness and support. His delicate health, of which he took no
care, demanded feminine attentions; his careless reliance upon the
uprightness of others, and total self-oblivion, often hurried him to
the brink of dangers; and though fearlessness and integrity were at
hand to extricate him, Edward, who knew his keen sensibility and
repressed quickness of temper, was not without fear, that on so
delicate a mission his ardent feelings might carry him beyond the
mark, and that, in endeavouring to serve a woman whom he loved with
enthusiastic adoration, he might rouze the angry passions of her
husband.

With such feelings the cousins crossed the Atlantic and arrived at New
York. Thence they proceeded to the west of America, and passing Lodore
and his daughter on the road without knowing it, arrived at the
Illinois after their departure. They were astonished to find that Mr.
Fitzhenry, as he was named to them, had broken up his establishment,
sold his farm, and departed with the intention of returning to Europe.
What this change might portend they could not guess. Whether it were
the result of any communication with Lady Lodore--whether a
reconciliation was under discussion, or whether it were occasioned by
caprice merely they could not tell; at any rate, it seemed to put an
end to Saville's mediation. If Lodore returned to England, it was
probable that Cornelia would herself make an exertion to have her
child restored to her. Whether he could be of any use was
problematical, but untimely interference was to be deprecated; events
must be left to take their own course: Saville was scarcely himself
aware how glad he was to escape any kind of intercourse with the
husband of Cornelia.

This feeling, however unacknowledged, became paramount with him. Now
that Lodore was about to leave America, he wished to linger in it; he
planned a long tour through the various states, he studied their laws
and customs, he endeavoured to form a just estimate of the
institutions of the New World, and their influence on those governed
by them.

Edward had little sympathy in these pursuits; he was eager to return
to London, and felt more inclined to take his gun and shoot in the
forests, than to mingle in the society of the various towns. This
difference of taste caused the cousins at various times to separate.
Saville was at Washington when Villiers made a journey to the borders
of Canada, to the falls of the Niagara, and returned by New York; a
portion of the United States which his cousin avoided visiting, until
Lodore should have quitted it.

Thus it was that a strange combination of circumstances brought
Villiers into contact with this unfortunate nobleman, and made him a
witness of and a participator in the closing scene of his disastrous
and wasted life. Villiers did not sympathize in his cousin's
admiration of Cornelia, and was easily won to take a deep interest in
the fortunes of her husband. The very aspect of Lodore commanded
attention; his voice entered the soul: ill-starred, and struck by
calamity, he rose majestically from the ruin around him, and seemed to
defy fate. The first thought that struck Villiers was, how could Lady
Lodore desert such a man; how pitifully degraded must she be, who
preferred the throng of fools to the society of so matchless a being!
The gallantry with which he rushed to his fate, his exultation in the
prospect of redeeming his honour, his melting tenderness towards his
daughter, filled Villiers with respect and compassion. It was all over
now. Lodore was dead: his passions, his wrongs, his errors slept with
him in the grave. He had departed from the busy stage, never to be
forgotten--yet to be seen no more.

Lodore was dead, and Cornelia was free. Her husband had alluded to the
gladness with which she would welcome liberty; and Villiers knew that
there was another, also, whose heart would rejoice, and open itself at
once to the charming visitation of permitted love. Villiers sighed to
think that Saville would marry the beautiful widow; but he did not
doubt that this event would take place.

Having seen that Ethel was in kind hands, and learnt the satisfactory
arrangements made for her return to England, he hastened to join his
cousin, and to convey the astounding intelligence. Saville's generous
disposition prevented exultation, and subdued joy. Still the prospect
of future happiness became familiar to him, shadowed only by the fear
of not obtaining the affections of her he so fervently loved. For,
strange to say, Saville was diffident to a fault: he could not imagine
any qualities in himself to attract a beautiful and fashionable woman.
His hopes were slight; his thoughts timid: the pain of eternal
division was replaced by the gentler anxieties of love; and he
returned to England, scarcely daring to expect that crown to his
desires, which seemed too high an honour, too dear a blessing, for
earthly love to merit.



CHAPTER IV.



Ma la fede degli Amanti
 come l'Araba fenice;
Che vi sia, ciaschun' lo dice.
Ma dove sia, nessun lo sa.
--Metastasio.

Meanwhile Lady Lodore had been enduring the worst miseries of ill-
fated love. The illness of Lady Santerre, preceding her death, had
demanded all her time; and she nursed her with exemplary patience and
kindness. During her midnight watchings and solitary days, she had
full time to feel how deep a wound her heart had received. The figure
and countenance of her absent friend haunted her in spite of every
effort; and when death hovered over the pillow of her mother, she
clung, with mad desperation, to the thought, that there was still one,
when this parent should be gone, to love her, even though she never
saw him more.

Lady Santerre died. After the first burst of natural grief, Cornelia
began to reflect that Lord Lodore might now imagine that every
obstacle to their reconciliation was removed. She had looked upon her
husband as her enemy and injurer; she had regarded him with
indignation and fear;--but now she hated him. Strong aversion had
sprung up, during the struggles of passion, in her bosom. She hated
him as the eternal barrier between her and one who loved her with rare
disinterestedness. The human heart must desire happiness;--in spite of
every effort at resignation, it must aspire to the fulfilment of its
wish. Lord Lodore was the cause why she was cut off from it for ever.
He had foreseen that this feeling, this combat, this misery, would be
her doom, in the deserted situation she chose for herself: she had
laughed his fears to scorn. Now she abhorred him the more for having
divined her destiny. While she banished the pleasant thoughts of love,
she indulged in the poisoned ones of hate; and while she resisted each
softer emotion as a crime, she opened her heart to the bitterest
resentment, as a permitted solace; nor was she aware that thus she
redoubled all her woes. It was under the influence of these feelings,
that she had written to Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry that harsh, decided
letter, which Lodore received at New York. The intelligence of his
violent death came as an answer to her expressions of implacable
resentment. A pang of remorse stung her, when she thought how she had
emptied the vials of her wrath on a head which had so soon after been
laid low for ever.

The double loss of husband and mother caused Lady Lodore to seclude
herself, not in absolute solitude, but in the agreeable retreat of
friendly society. She was residing near Brighton, when Saville
returned from America, and, with a heart beating high with its own
desires, again beheld the mistress of his affections. His delicate
nature caused him to respect the weeds she wore, even though they
might be termed a mockery: they were the type of her freedom and his
hopes; yet, as the tokens of death, they were to be respected. He saw
her more beautiful than ever, more courted, more waited on; and he
half despaired. How could he, the abstracted student, the man of
dreams, the sensitive and timid invalid, ensnare the fancy of one
formed to adorn the circles of wealth and fashion?

Thus it was that Saville and Cornelia were further off than ever, when
they imagined themselves most near. Neither of them could afterwards
comprehend what divided them; or why, when each would have died for
the other's sake, cobweb barriers should have proved inextricable; and
wherefore, after weathering every more stormy peril, they should
perish beneath the influence of a summer breeze.

The pride of Cornelia's heart, hid by the artificial courtesies of
society, was a sentiment resolved, confirmed, active, and far beyond
her own controul. The smallest opposition appeared rebellion to her
majesty of will; while her own caprices, her own desires, were sacred
decrees. She was too haughty to admit of discussion--too firmly
intrenched in a sense of what was due to her, not to start indignantly
from remonstrance. It is true, all this was but a painted veil. She
was tremblingly alive to censure, and wholly devoted to the object of
her attachment; but Saville was unable to understand these
contradictions. His modesty led him to believe, that he, of all men,
was least calculated to excite love in a woman's bosom. He saw in
Cornelia a beautiful creation, to admire and adore; but he was slow to
perceive the tenderness of soul, which her disposition made her
anxious to conceal, and he was conscious of no qualities in himself
that could entitle him to a place in her affections. Except that he
loved her, what merit had he? And the interests of his affection he
was willing to sacrifice at the altar of her wishes, though his life
should be the oblation necessary to insure their accomplishment.

This is not the description of true love on either side; for, to be
perfect, that sentiment ought to exist through the entireness of
mutual sympathy and trust: but not the less did their passionate
attachment engross the minds of both. All might have been well,
indeed, had the lovers been left to themselves; but friends and
relations interfered to mar and to destroy. The sisters of Saville
accused Lady Lodore of encouraging, and intending to marry, the
Marquess of C--. Saville instantly resolved to be no obstacle in the
way of her ambition. Cornelia was fired with treble indignation to
perceive that he at once conceded the place to his rival. One word or
look of gentleness would have changed this; but she resolved to
vanquish by other arms, and to force him to show some outward sign of
jealousy and resentment. Saville had a natural dignity of mind,
founded on simplicity of heart and directness of purpose. Cornelia
knew that he loved her;--on that his claim rested: all that might be
done to embellish and elevate her existence, he would study to
achieve; but he could not enter into, nor understand, the puerile
fancies of a spoiled Beauty: and while she was exerting all her
powers, and succeeded in fascinating a crowd of flatterers, she saw
Saville apart, abstracted from such vanities, pursuing a silent
course; ready to approach her when her attention was disengaged, but
at no time making one among her ostentatious admirers.

There was no moment of her life in which Cornelia did not fully
appreciate her lover's value, and her own good fortune in having
inspired him with a serious and faithful attachment. But she imagined
that this must be known and acknowledged; and that to ask any
demonstration of gratitude, was ungenerous and tyrannical. An untaught
girl could not have acted with more levity and wilfulness. It was
worse when she found that she was accused of encouraging a wealthier
and more illustrious rival. She disdained to exculpate herself from
the charge of such low ambition, but rather furnished new grounds for
accusation; and, in the arrogance of conscious power, smiled at the
pettiness of the attempts made to destroy her influence. Proud in the
belief that she could in an instant dispel the clouds she had conjured
athwart her heaven, she cared not how ominously the thunder muttered,
nor how dark and portentous lowered the threatening storm. It came
when she least expected it: convinced of the fallacy of his
confidence, made miserable by her caprices, agonized by the idea that
he only lingered to add another trophy to his rival's triumph,
Saville, who was always impetuous and precipitate, suddenly quitted
England.

This was a severe blow at first; but soon Cornelia smiled at it. He
would return--he must. The sincerity of their mutual preference would
overcome the petty obstacles of time and distance. She never felt more
sure of his devotion than now; and she looked so happy, and spoke so
gaily, that those who were more ready to discern indifference, than
love, in her sentiments, assured the absent Saville, that Lady Lodore
rejoiced at his absence, as having shaken off a burthen, and got rid
of an impediment, which, in spite of herself, was a clog to her
brilliant career. The trusting love that painted her face in smiles
was a traitor to itself and while she rose each day in the belief that
the one was near at hand which would bring her lover before her,
dearer and more attached than ever, she was in reality at work in
defacing the whole web of life, and substituting dark, blank, and sad
disappointment, for the images of light and joy with which her fancy
painted it.

Saville had been gone five months. It was strange that he did not
return; and she began to ponder upon how she must unbend, and what
demonstration she must make, to attract him again to her side. The
Marquess of C--was dismissed; and she visited the daughters of Lord
Maristow, to learn what latest news they had received of their
brother. "Do you know, Lady Lodore," said Sophia Saville, "that this
is Horatio's wedding-day? It is too true: we regret it, because he
weds a foreigner--but there is no help now. He is married."

Had sudden disease seized on the frame-work of her body, and dissolved
and scattered with poisonous influence and unutterable pains, the
atoms that composed it, Lady Lodore would have been less agonized,
less terrified. A thousand daggers were at once planted in her bosom.
Saville was false! married! divided from her for ever! She was
stunned:--scarcely understanding the meaning of the phrases addressed
to her, and, unable to conceal her perturbation, she replied at
random, and hastened to shorten her visit.

But not interval of doubt or hope was afforded. The words she had
heard were concise, true to their meaning and all-sufficing. Her heart
died within her. What had she done? Was she the cause? She longed to
learn all the circumstances that led to this hasty marriage, and
whether inconstancy or resentment had impelled him to the fatal act.
Yet wherefore ask these things? It was over; the scene was closed. It
were little worth to analyze the poison she had imbibed, since she was
past all mortal cure.

Her first resolve was to forget--never, never to think of the false
one more. But her thoughts never wandered from his image, and she was
eternally busied in retrospection and conjecture. She was tempted at
one time to disbelieve the intelligence, and to consider it as a piece
of malice on the part of Miss Saville; then the common newspaper told
her, that at the Ambassador's house at Naples, the Honourable Horatio
Saville had married Clorinda, daughter of the Principe Villamarina, a
Neapolitan nobleman of the highest rank.

It was true therefore--and how was it true? Did he love his bride? why
else marry?--had he forgotten his tenderness towards her? Alas! it
needed not forgetting; it was a portion of past time, fleeting as time
itself; it had been borne away with the hours as they passed, and
remembered as a thing which had been, and was no more. The reveries of
love which for months had formed all her occupation, were a blank; or
rather to be replaced by the agonies of despair. Her native
haughtiness forsook her. She was alone and desolate--hedged in on all
sides by insuperable barriers, which shut out every glimpse of hope.
She was humbled in her own eyes, through her want of success, and
heartily despised herself, and all her caprices and vanities, which
had led her to this desart, and then left her to pine. She detested
her position in society, her mechanism of being, and every
circumstance, self-inherent, or adventitious, that attended her
existence. All seemed to her sick fancy so constructed as to ensure
disgrace, desertion, and contempt. She lay down each night feeling as
if she could never endure to raise her head on the morrow.

The unkindness and cruelty of her lover's conduct next presented
themselves to her contemplation. She had suffered much during the past
years, more than she had ever acknowledged, even to herself; she had
suffered of regret and sorrow, while she brooded over her solitary
position, and the privation of every object on whom she might bestow
affection. She had had nothing to hope. Saville had changed all this;
he had banished her cares, and implanted hope in her heart. Now again
his voice recalled the evils, his hand crushed the new-born
expectation of happiness. He was the cause of every ill; and the
adversity which she had endured proudly and with fortitude while it
seemed the work of fate, grew more bitter and heavy when she felt that
it arose through the agency of one, whose kind affection and
guardianship she had fondly believed would hereafter prove a blessing
sent as from Heaven itself, be to the star of her life.

This fit passed off; with struggles and relapses she wore down the
first gush of sorrow, and her disposition again assumed force over
her. She had found it difficult to persuade herself, in spite of
facts, that she was not loved; but it was easy, once convinced of the
infidelity of her lover, to regard him with indifference. She now
regretted lost happiness--but Saville was no longer regretted. She
wept over the vanished forms of delight, lately so dear to her; but
she remembered that he who had called them into life had driven them
away; and she smiled in proud scorn of his fleeting and unworthy
passion. It was not to this love that she had made so tender and
lavish a return. She had loved his constancy, his devotion, his
generous solicitude for her welfare--for the happiness which she
bestowed on him, and for the sympathy that so dearly united them.
These were fled; and it were vain to consecrate herself to an empty
and deformed mockery of so beautiful a truth.

Then she tried to hate him--to despise and to lessen him in her own
estimation. The attempt recoiled on herself. The recollection of his
worth stole across her memory, to frustrate her vain endeavours: his
voice haunted--his expressive eyes beamed on her. It were better to
forget. Indifference was her only refuge, and to attain this she must
wholly banish his image from her mind. Cornelia was possessed of
wonderful firmness of purpose. It had carried her on so long unharmed,
and now that danger was at hand, it served effectually to defend her.
She rose calm and free, above unmerited disaster. She grew proud of
the power she found that she possessed of conquering the most
tyrannical of passions. Peace entered her soul, and she hailed it as a
blessing.

The clause in her husband's will which deprived her of the
guardianship of her daughter had been forgotten during this crisis.
Before, under the supposition that she should marry, she had deferred
taking any step to claim her. The idea of a struggle to be made,
unassisted, unadvised, and unshielded, was terrible. She had not
courage to encounter all the annoyances that might ensue. To get rid
for a time of the necessity of action and reflection, she went abroad.
She changed the scene--she travelled from place to place. She gave
herself up in the solitude of continental journies to the whole force
of contending passions; now overcome by despair, and again repressing
regret, asserting to herself the lofty pride of her nature.

By degrees she recovered a healthier tone of mind--a distant and
faint, yet genuine sense of duty dawned upon her; and she began to
think on what her future existence was to depend, and how she could
best secure some portion of happiness. Her heart once again warmed
towards the image of her daughter--and she felt that in watching the
development of her mind, and leading her to love and depend on her, a
new interest and real pleasure might spring up in life. She reproached
herself for having so long, by silence and passive submission, given
scope to the belief that she was willing to be a party against
herself, in the injustice of Lodore; and she returned to England with
the intention of instantly enforcing her rights over her child, and
taking to her bosom and to her fondest care the little being, whose
affection and gratitude was to paint her future life with smiles.

She called to mind Lady Santerre's worldly maxims, and her own
experience. She knew that the first step to success is the appearance
of prosperity and power. To command the good wishes and aid of her
friends she must appear independent of them. She was earnest therefore
to hide the wounds her heart had received, and the real loathing with
which she regarded all things. She arrayed herself in smiles, and
banished, far below into the invisible recesses of her bosom, the
contempt and disgust with which she viewed the scene around her.

She returned to England. She appeared at the height of the season, in
the midst of society, as beautiful, as charming, as happy in look and
manner, as in her days of light-hearted enjoyment. She paused yet a
moment longer, to reflect on what step she had better take on first
enforcing her claim; but her mind was full of its intention, and set
upon the fulfilment.

At this time, but a few days after her arrival in London, she went to
the opera. She heard the name of Fitzhenry called in the lobby--she
saw and recognized Mrs. Elizabeth--the venerable sister Bessy, so
little altered, that time might be said to have touched, but not
trenched her homely kindly face. With her, in attendance on her, she
beheld Horatio Saville's favourite cousin--the gay and fashionable
Edward Villiers. It was strange; her curiosity was strongly excited.
It had not long to languish: the next morning Villiers called, and was
readily admitted.



CHAPTER V.



And as good lost is seld or never found.
--Shakspeare.

Lady Lodore and Villiers met for the first time since Horatio
Saville's marriage. Neither were exactly aware of what the other knew
or thought. Cornelia was ignorant how far her attachment to his cousin
was known to him; whether he shared the general belief in her worldly
coquetry, or what part he might have had in occasioning their unhappy
separation. She could not indeed see him without emotion. He had been
Lodore's second, and received the last dying breath of him who had, in
her brightest youth, selected her from the world, to share his
fortunes. Those days were long past; yet as she grew older,
disappointed, and devoid of pleasurable interest in the present, she
often turned her thoughts backward, and wondered at the part she had
acted.

Similar feelings were in Edward's mind. He was prejudiced against her
in every way. He despised her worldly calculations, as reported to
him, and rejoiced in their failure. He believed these reports, and
despised her; yet he could not see her without being moved at once
with admiration and pity. The moon-lit hill, and tragic scene, in
which he had played his part, came vividly before his eyes. He had
been struck by the nobleness of Lodore's appearance--the sensibility
that sat on his countenance--his gentle, yet dignified manners.
Ethel's idolatry of her father had confirmed the favourable
prepossession. He could not help compassionating Cornelia for the loss
of her husband, forgetting, for the moment, their separation. Then
again recurred to him the eloquent appeals of Saville; his eulogiums;
his fervent, reverential affection. She had lost him also. Could she
hold up her head after such miserable events? The evidence of the
senses, and the ideas of our own minds, are more forcibly present,
than any notion we can form of the feelings of others. In spite,
therefore, of his belief in her heartlessness, Villiers had pictured
Cornelia attired in dismal weeds, the victim of grief. He saw her,
beaming in beauty, at the opera;--he now beheld her, radiant in sweet
smiles, in her own home. Nothing touched--nothing harmed her; and the
glossy surface, he doubted not, imaged well the insensible,
unimpressive soul within.

Lady Lodore would have despised herself for ever had she betrayed the
tremor that shook her frame when Villiers entered. Her pride of sex
was in arms to enable her to convince him, that no regret, no pining,
shadowed her days. The reality was abhorrent, and should never be
confessed. Thus then they met--each with a whole epic of woe and death
alive in their memory; but both wearing the outward appearance of
frivolity and thoughtlessness. He saw her as lovely as ever, and as
kind. Her softest and sweetest welcome was extended to him. It was
this frequent show of frank cordiality which gained her "golden
opinions" from the many. Her haughtiness was all of the mind;--a
desire to please, and constant association with others, had smoothed
the surface, and painted it in the colours most agreeable to every
eye.

They addressed each other as if they had met but the day before. At
first, a few questions and answers passed,--as to where she had been
on the continent, how she liked Baden, & co.;--and then Lady Lodore
said--"Although I have not seen her for several years, I instantly
recognized a relative of mine with you yesterday evening. Does Miss
Fitzhenry make any stay in town?"

The idea of Ethel was uppermost in Villiers's mind, and struck by the
manner in which the woman of fashion spoke of her daughter, he
replied, "During the season, I believe; I scarcely know. Miss
Fitzhenry came up for her health; that consideration, I suppose, will
regulate her movements."

"She looked very well last night--perhaps she intends to remain till
she gets ill, and country air is ordered?" observed Lady Lodore.

"That were nothing new at least," replied Villiers, trying to hide the
disgust he felt at her mode of speaking; "the young and blooming too
often protract their first season, till the roses are exchanged for
lilies."

"If Miss Fitzhenry's roses still bloom," said the lady, "they must be
perennial ones; they have surely grown more fit for a herbal than a
vase."

Villiers now perceived his mistake, and replied, "You are speaking of
Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry, as the good lady styles herself--I spoke
of--her niece--" "Has Ethel been ill?" Lady Lodore's hurried question,
and the use of the christian name, as most familiar to her thoughts,
brought home to Villiers's heart the feeling of their near
relationship. There was something more than grating; it was deeply
painful to speak to a mother of a child who had been torn from her--
who did not know--who had even been taught to hate her. He wished
himself a hundred miles off, but there was no help, he must reply.
"You might have seen last night that she is perfectly recovered."

Lady Lodore's imagination refused to image her child in the tall,
elegant, full-formed girl she had seen, and she said, "Was Ethel with
you? I did not see her--probably she went home before the opera was
over, and I only perceived your party in the crush-room--you appear
already intimate."

"It is impossible to see Miss Fitzhenry and not to wish to be
intimate," replied Villiers with his usual frankness. "I, at least,
cannot help being deeply interested in every thing that relates to
her."

"You are very good to take concern in my little girl. I should have
imagined that you were too young yourself to like children."

"Children!" repeated Villiers, much amazed; "Miss Fitzhenry!--she is
not a child."

Lady Lodore scarcely heard him; a sudden pang had shot across her
heart, to think how strangers--how every one might draw near her
daughter, and be interested for her, while she could not, without
making herself the tale of the town, the subject, through the medium
of news-papers, for every gossip's tea-table in England--where her
sentiments would be scanned, and her conduct criticized--and this
through the revengeful feelings of her husband, prolonged beyond the
grave. Tears had been gathering in her eyes during the last moments;
she turned her head to hide them, and a quick shower fell on her
silken dress. Quite ashamed of this self-betrayal, she exerted herself
to overcome her emotion. Villiers felt awkwardly situated; his first
impulse had been to rise to take her hand, to soothe her; but before
he could do more than the first of these acts, as Lady Lodore fancied
for the purpose of taking his leave, she said, "It is foolish to feel
as I do; yet perhaps more foolish to attempt to conceal from one, as
well acquainted as you are with every thing, that I do feel pained at
the unnatural separation between me and Ethel, especially when I think
of the publicity I must incur by asserting a mother's claims. I am
ashamed of intruding this subject on you; but she is no longer the
baby cherub I could cradle in my arms, and you have seen her lately,
and can tell me whether she has been well brought up--whether she
seems tractable--if she promises to be pretty?"

"Did you not think her lovely?" cried Villiers with animation; "you
saw her last night, taking my arm."

"Ethel!" cried the lady. "Could that be Ethel? True, she is now
sixteen--I had indeed forgot"--her cheeks became suffused with a deep
blush as she remembered all the solicisms she had been committing.
"She is sixteen," she continued, "and a woman--while I fancied a
little girl in a white frock and blue sash: this alters every thing.
We have been indeed divided, and must now remain so for evermore. I
will not injure her, at her age, by making her the public talk--
besides, many, many other considerations would render me fearful of
making myself responsible for her future destiny."

"At least," said Villiers, "she ought to wait on you."

"That were beyond Lord Lodore's bond," said the lady; "and why should
she wait on me? Were she impelled by affection, it were well. But this
is talking very simply--we could only be acquaintance, and I would
rather be nothing. I confess, that I repined bitterly, that I was not
permitted to have my little girl, as I termed her, for my plaything
and companion--but my ideas are now changed: a dear little tractable
child would have been delightful--but she is a woman, with a will of
her own--prejudiced against me--brought up in that vulgar America,
with all kinds of strange notions and ways. Lord Lodore was quite
right, I believe--he fashioned her for himself and--Bessy. The worst
thing that can happen to a girl, is to have her prejudices and
principles unhinged; no new ones can flourish like those that have
grown with her growth; and mine, I fear, would differ greatly from
those in which she has been educated. A few years hence, she may feel
the want of a friend, who understands the world, and who could guide
her prudently through its intricacies; then she shall find that friend
in me. Now, I feel convinced that I should do more harm than good."

A loud knock at the street door interrupted the conversation. "One
thing only I cannot endure," said the lady hastily, "to present a
domestic tragedy or farce to the Opera House--we must not meet in
public. I shall shut up my house and return to Paris."

Mere written words express little. Lady Lodore's expressions were
nothing; but her countenance denoted a change of feeling, a violence
of emotion, of which Villiers hardly believed her capable; but before
he could reply, the servant threw open the door, and her brow
immediately clearing, serenity descended on her face. With her
blandest smile she extended her hand to her new visitor. Villiers was
too much discomposed to imitate her, so with a silent salutation he
departed, and cantered round the park to collect his thoughts before
he called in Seymour-street.

The ladies there were not less agitated than Lady Lodore, and
displayed their feelings with the artlessness of recluses. The first
words that Mrs. Elizabeth had addressed to her niece, at the breakfast
table, were an awkwardly expressed intimation, that she meant
instantly to return to Longfield. Ethel looked up with a face of
alarm: her aunt continued; "I do not want to speak ill of Lady Lodore,
my dear--God forgive her--that is all I can say. What your dear
father thought of her, his last will testifies. I suppose you do not
mean to disobey him."

"His slightest word was ever a law with me," said Ethel; "and now that
he is gone, I would observe his injunctions more religiously than
ever. But--"

"Then, my dear, there is but one thing to be done: Lady Lodore will
assuredly force herself upon us, meet us at every turn, oblige you to
pay her your duty; nor could you avoid it. No, my dear Ethel, there is
but one escape--your health, thank God, is restored, and Longfield is
now in all its beauty; we will return to-morrow."

Ethel did not reply; she looked very disconsolate--she did not know
what to say; at last, "Mr. Villiers will think it so odd," dropped
from her lips.

"Mr. Villiers is nothing to us, my dear," said aunt Bessy--"not the
most distant relation; he is an agreeable, good-hearted young
gentleman--but there are so many in the world."

Ethel left her breakfast untasted and went out of the room: she felt
that she could no longer restrain her tears. "My father!" she
exclaimed, while a passionate burst of weeping choked her utterance,
"my only friend! why, why did you leave me? Why, most cruel, desert
your poor orphan child? Gracious God! to what am I reserved! I must
not see my mother--a name so dear, so sweet, is for me a curse and a
misery! O my father, why did you desert me!"

Her calm reflections were not less bitter; she did not suffer her
thoughts to wander to Villiers, or rather the loss of her father was
still so much the first grief of her heart, that on any new sorrow, it
was to this she recurred with agony. The form of her youthful mother
also flitted before her; and she asked herself, "Can she be so
wicked?" Lord Lodore had never uttered her name; it was not until his
death had put the fatal seal on all things, that she heard a garbled
exaggerated statement from her aunt, over whose benevolent features a
kind of sacred horror mantled, whenever she was mentioned. The will of
Lord Lodore, and the stern injunction it contained, that the mother
and daughter should never meet, satisfied Ethel of the truth of all
that her aunt said; so that educated to obedience and deep reverence
for the only parent she had ever known, she recoiled with terror from
transgressing his commands, and holding communication with the cause
of all his ills. Still it was hard, and very, very sad; nor did she
cease from lamenting her fate, till Villiers's horse was heard in the
street, and his knock at the door; then she tried to compose herself.
"He will surely come to us at Longfield," she thought; "Longfield will
be so very stupid after London."

After London! Poor Ethel! she had lived in London as in a desert; but
lately it had appeared to her a city of bliss, and all places else the
abode of gloom and melancholy. Villiers was shocked at the appearance
of sorrow which shadowed her face; and, for a moment, thought that the
rencounter with her mother was the sole occasion of the tears, whose
traces he plainly discerned. His address was full of sympathetic
kindness;--but when she said, "We return to-morrow to Essex--will you
come to see us at Longfield?"--his soothing tones were exchanged for
those of surprise and vexation.

"Longfield!--impossible! Why?"

"My aunt has determined on it. She thinks me recovered; and so,
indeed, I am."

"But are you to be entombed at Longfield, except when dying? If so,
do, pray, be ill again directly! But this must not be. Dear Mrs.
Fitzhenry," he continued, as she came in, "I will not hear of your
going to Longfield. Look; the very idea has already thrown Miss
Fitzhenry into a consumption;--you will kill her. Indeed you must not
think of it."

"We shall all die, if we stay in town," said Mrs. Elizabeth, with
perplexity at her niece's evident suffering.

"Then why stay in town?" asked Villiers.

"You just now said, that we ought not to return to Longfield,"
answered the lady; "and I am sure if Ethel is to look so ill and
wretched, I don't know what I am to do."

"But there are many places in the world besides either London or
Longfield. You were charmed with Richmond the other day: there are
plenty of houses to be had there; nothing can be prettier or more
quiet."

"Well, I don't know," said Aunt Bessy, "I never thought of that, to be
sure; and I have business which makes our going to Longfield very
inconvenient. I expect Mr. Humphries, our solicitor, next week; and I
have not seen him yet. You really think, Mr. Villiers, that we could
get a house to suit us at Richmond?"

"Let us drive there to-day," said Villiers; "we can dine at the Star
and Garter. You can go in the britzska--I on horseback. The days are
long: we can see every thing; and take your house at once."

This plan sounded very romantic and wild to the sober spinster; but
Ethel's face, lighted up with vivid pleasure, said more in its favour,
than what the good lady called prudence could allege against it.
"Silly people you women are," said Villiers: "you can do nothing by
yourselves: and are always running against posts, unless guided by
others. This will make every thing easy--dispel every difficulty." His
thoughts recurred to Lady Lodore, and her intended journey to Paris,
as he said this: and again they flew to a charming little villa on the
river's side, whither he could ride every day, and find Ethel among
her flowers, alone and happy.

The excursion of this morning was prosperous. The day was warm yet
fresh; and as they quitted town, and got surrounded by fields, and
hedges, and trees, nature reassumed her rights, and awakened transport
in Ethel's heart. The boyish spirits of Villiers communicated
themselves to her; and Mrs. Elizabeth smiled, also, with the most
exquisite complacency. A few inquiries conducted them to a pretty
rural box, surrounded by a small, but well laid-out shrubbery; and
this they engaged. The dinner at the inn, the twilight walk in its
garden;--the fair prospect of the rich and cultivated country, with
its silvery, meandering river at their feet; and the aspect of the
cloudless heavens, where one or two stars silently struggled into
sight amidst the pathless wastes of sky, were objects most beautiful
to look on, and prodigal of the sweetest emotions. The wide, dark
lake, the endless forests, and distant mountains, of the Illinois,
were not here; but night bestowed that appearance of solitude, which
habit rendered dear to Ethel; and imagination could transform wooded
parks and well-trimmed meadows into bowery seclusions, sacred from the
foot of man, and fresh fields, untouched by his hand.

A few days found Ethel and her aunt installed at their little villa,
and delighted to be away from London. Education made loneliness
congenial to both: they might seek transient amusements in towns, or
visit them for business; but happiness, the agreeable tenor of
unvaried daily life, was to be found in the quiet of the country
only;--and Richmond was the country to them; for, cut off from all
habits of intercourse with their species, they had but to find trees
and meadows near them, at once to feel transported, from the thick of
human life, into the most noiseless solitude.

Ethel was very happy. She rose in the morning with a glad and grateful
heart, and gazed from her chamber window, watching the early sunbeams
as they crept over the various parts of the landscape, visiting with
light and warmth each open field or embowered nook. Her bosom
overflowed with the kindest feelings, and her charmed senses answered
the tremulous beating of her pure heart, bidding it enjoy. How
beautiful did earth appear to her! There was a delight and a sympathy
in the very action of the shadows, as they pranked the sunshiny ground
with their dark and fluctuating forms. The leafy boughs of the tall
trees waved gracefully, and each wind of heaven wafted a thousand
sweets. A magic spell of beauty and bliss held in one bright chain the
whole harmonious universe; and the soul of the enchantment was love--
simple, girlish, unacknowledged love;--the love of the young,
feminine heart, which feels itself placed, all bleakly and
dangerously, in a world, scarce formed to be its home, and which
plumes itself with Love to fly to the covert and natural shelter of
another's protecting care.

Ethel did not know--did not fancy--that she was in love; nor did any
of the throes of passion disturb the serenity of her mind. She only
felt that she was very, very happy; and that Villiers was the kindest
of human beings. She did not give herself up to idleness and reverie.
The first law of her education had been to be constantly employed. Her
studies were various: they, perhaps, did not sufficiently tend to
invigorate her understanding, but they sufficed to prevent every
incursion of listlessness. Meanwhile, during each, the thought of
Villiers strayed through her mind, like a heavenly visitant, to gild
all things with sunny delight. Some time, during the day, he was
nearly sure to come; or, at least, she was certain of seeing him on
the morrow; and when he came, their boatings and their rides were
prolonged; while each moment added to the strength of the ties that
bound her to him. She relied on his friendship; and his society was as
necessary to her life, as the air she breathed. She so implicitly
trusted to his truth, that she was unaware that she trusted at all--
never making a doubt about it. That chance, or time, should injure or
break off the tie, was a possibility that never suggested itself to
her mind. As the silver Thames traversed in silence and beauty the
landscape at her feet, so did love flow through her soul in one even
and unruffled stream--the great law and emperor of her thoughts; yet
more felt from its influence, than from any direct exertion of its
power. It was the result and the type of her sensibility, of her
constancy, of the gentle, yet lively sympathy, it was her nature to
bestow, with guileless confidence. Those around her might be ignorant
that her soul was imbued with it, because, being a part of her soul,
there was small outward demonstration. None, indeed, near her thought
any thing about it: Aunt Bessy was a tyro in such matters; and
Villiers--he had resolved, when he perceived love on her side, to
retreat for ever: till then he might enjoy the dear delight that her
society afforded him.



CHAPTER VI.



Alas! he knows
The laws of Spain appoint me for his heir;
That all must come to me, if I outlive him.
Which sure I must do, by the course of nature.
--Beaumont and Fletcher.

Edward Villiers was the only child of a man of considerable fortune,
who had early in life become a widower. From the period of this event,
Colonel Villiers (for his youth had been passed in the army, where he
obtained promotion) had led the careless life of a single man. His
son's home was at Maristow Castle, when not at school; and the father
seldom remembered him except as an incumbrance; for his estate was
strictly entailed, so that he could only consider himself possessed of
a life interest in a property, which would devolve, without
restriction, on his more fortunate son.

Edward was brought up in all the magnificence of his uncle's lordly
abode. Luxury and profusion were the elements of the air he breathed.
To be without any desired object that could be purchased, appeared
baseness and lowest penury. He, also, was considered the favoured one
of fortune in the family circle. The elder brother among the Savilles
rose above, but the younger fell infinitely below, the undoubted heir
of eight thousand a year, and one of the most delightful seats in
England. He was brought up to look upon himself as a rich man, and to
act as such; and meanwhile, until his father's death, he had nothing
to depend on, except any allowance he might make him.

Colonel Villiers was a man of fashion, addicted to all the
extravagances and even vices of the times. He set no bounds to his
expenses. Gambling consumed his nights, and his days were spent at
horse-races, or any other occupation that at once excited and
impoverished him. His income was as a drop of water in the mighty
stream of his expenditure. Involvement followed involvement, until he
had not a shilling that he could properly call his own.

Poor Edward heard of these things, but did not mark them. He indulged
in no blameworthy pursuits, nor spent more than beseemed a man in his
rank of life. The idea of debt was familiar to him: every one--even
Lord Maristow--was in debt, far beyond his power of immediate payment.
He followed the universal example, and suffered no inconvenience,
while his wants were obligingly supplied by the fashionable tradesmen.
He regarded the period of his coming of age as a time when he should
become disembarrassed, and enter upon life with ample means, and still
more brilliant prospects.

The day arrived. It was celebrated with splendour at Maristow Castle.
Colonel Villiers was abroad; but Lord Maristow wrote to him to remind
him of this event, which otherwise he might have forgotten. A kind
letter of congratulation was, in consequence, received from him by
Edward; to which was appended a postscript, saying, that on his
return, at the end of a few weeks, he would consult concerning some
arrangements he wished to make with regard to his future income.

His return was deferred; and Edward began to experience some of the
annoyances of debt. Still no real pain was associated with his
feelings; though he looked forward with eagerness to the hour of
liberation. Colonel Villiers came at last. He spoke largely of his
intended generosity, which was shown, meanwhile, by his persuading
Edward to join in a mortgage for the sake of raising an immediate sum.
Edward scarcely knew what he was about. He was delighted to be of
service to his father; and without thought or idea of having made a
sacrifice, agreed to all that was asked of him. He was promised an
allowance of six hundred a year.

The few years that had passed since then were full of painful
experience and bitter initiation. His light and airy spirit was slow
to conceive ill, or to resent wrong. When his annuity remained unpaid,
he listened to his father's excuses with implicit credence, and
deplored his poverty. One day, he received a note from him, written,
as usual, in haste and confusion, but breathing anxiety and regret on
his account, and promising to pay over to him the first money he could
obtain. On the evening of that day, Edward was led by a friend into
the gambling room of a celebrated club. The first man on whom his eyes
fell, was his father, who was risking and losing rouleaus and notes in
abundance. At one moment, while making over a large sum, he suddenly
perceived his son. He grew pale, and then a deep blush spread itself
over his countenance. Edward withdrew. His young heart was pierced to
the core. The consciousness of a father's falsehood and guilt acted on
him as the sudden intelligence of some fatal disaster would have done.
He breathed thick--the objects swam round him--he hurried into the
streets--he traversed them one after the other. It was not this scene
alone--this single act; the veil was withdrawn from a whole series of
others similar; and he became aware that his parent had stepped beyond
the line of mere extravagance; that he had lost honourable feeling;
that lies were common in his mouth; and every other--even his only
child--was sacrificed to his own selfish and bad passions.

Edward never again asked his father for money. The immediate result of
the meeting in the gambling-room, had been his receiving a portion of
what was due to him; but his annuity was always in arrear, and paid so
irregularly, that it became worse than nothing in his eyes;
especially, as the little that he received was immediately paid over
to creditors, and to defray the interest of borrowed money.

He never applied again to Colonel Villiers. He would have considered
himself guilty of a crime, had he forced his father to forge fresh
subterfuges, and to lie to his own son. Brought up in the midst of the
wealthy, he had early imbibed a horror of pecuniary obligation; and
this fastidiousness grew more sensitive and peremptory with each added
day of his life. Yet with all this, he had not learnt to set a right
value upon money; and he squandered whatever he obtained with
thoughtless profusion. He had no friend to whose counsel he could
recur. Lord Maristow railed against Colonel Villiers; and when he
heard of Edward's difficulties, offered to remonstrate and force his
brother-in-law to extricate him: but here ended his assistance, which
was earnestly rejected. Horatio's means were exceedingly limited; but
on a word from his cousin, he eagerly besought him to have recourse to
his purse. To avoid his kindness, and his uncle's interference, Edward
became reserved: he had recourse to Jews and money-lenders; and
appeared at ease, while he was involving himself in countless and
still increasing embarrassments.

Edward was naturally extravagant; or, to speak more correctly, his
education and position implanted and fostered habits of expense and
prodigality, while his careless disposition was unapt to calculate
consequences: his very attempts at economy frequently cost him more
than his most expensive whims. He was not, like his father, a gambler;
nor did he enter into any very reprehensible pleasures: but he had
little to spend, and was thoughtless and confiding; and being always
in arrear, was forced, in a certain way, to continue a system which
perpetually led him further into the maze, and rendered his return
impossible. He had no hope of becoming independent, except through his
father's death: Colonel Villiers, meanwhile, had no idea of dying. He
was not fifty years of age; and considering his own a better life than
his son's, involuntarily speculated on what he should do if he should
chance to survive him. He was a handsome and a fashionable man: he
often meditated a second marriage, if he could render it advantageous;
and repined at his inability to make settlements, which was an
insuperable impediment to his project. Edward's death would overcome
this difficulty. Such were the speculations of father and son; and the
portion of filial and paternal affection which their relative position
but too usually inspires.

Until he was twenty-one, Edward had never spent a thought upon his
scanty resources. Three years had past since then--three brief years,
which had a little taught him of what homely stuff the world is made;
yet care and even reflection had not yet disturbed his repose. Days,
months sped on, and nothing reminded him of his relative wealth or
poverty in a way to annoy him, till he knew Ethel. He had been
interested for her in America--he had seen her, young and lovely,
drowned in grief--sorrowing with the heart's first prodigal sorrow for
her adored father. He had left her, and thought of her no more--
except, as a passing reflection, that in the natural course of things,
she was now to become the pupil of Lady Lodore, and consequently, that
her unsophisticated feelings and affectionate heart would speedily be
tarnished and hardened under her influence. He anticipated meeting her
hereafter in ball-rooms and assemblies, changed into a flirting,
giddy, yet worldly-minded girl, intent upon a good establishment, and
a fashionable partner.

He encountered her under the sober and primitive guardianship of Mrs.
Fitzhenry, unchanged and unharmed. The same radiant innocence beamed
from her face; her sweet voice was still true and heart-reaching in
its tones; her manner mirrored the purity and lustre of a mind
incapable of guile, and adorned with every generous and gentle
sentiment. Hedrew near her with respect and admiration, and soon no
other object showed fair in his eyes except Ethel. She was the star of
the world, and he felt happy only when the light of her presence shone
upon him. Her voice and smile visited his dreams, and spoke peace and
delight to his heart. She was to him as a jewel (yet sweeter and
lovelier than any gem) shut up in a casket, of which he alone
possessed the key--as a pearl, of whose existence an Indian diver is
aware beneath the waves of ocean, deep buried from every other eye.

There was all in Ethel that could excite and keep alive imaginative
and tender love. In characterizing a race of women, a delightful
writer has described her individually. "She was in her nature a
superior being. Her majestic forehead, her dark, thoughtful eye,
assured you that she had communed with herself. She could bear to be
left in solitude--yet what a look was her's if animated by mirth or
love! She was poetical, if not a poet; and her imagination was high
and chivalrous." The elevated tone of feeling fostered by her father,
her worship of his virtues, and the loneliness of her life in the
Illinois, combined to render her dissimilar to any girl Villiers had
ever before known or admired. When unobserved, he watched her
countenance, and marked the varying tracery of high thoughts and deep
emotions pass over it; her dark eye looked out from itself on vacancy,
but read there a meaning only to be discerned by vivid imagination.
And then when that eye, so full of soul, turned on him, and affection
and pleasure at once animated and softened its glances--when her sweet
lips, so delicate in their shape, so balmy and soft in their repose,
were wreathed into a smile--he felt that his whole being was
penetrated with enthusiastic admiration, and that his nature had bent
to a law, from which it could never again be liberated.

That she should mingle with the world--enter into its contaminating
pursuits--be talked of in it with that spirit of depreciation and
impertinence, which is its essence, was odious to him, and he was
overjoyed to have her safe at Richmond--secure from Lady Lodore--shut
up apart from all things, except nature--her unsophisticated aunt, and
his own admiration--a bird of beauty, brooding in its own fair nest,
unendangered by the fowler. These were his feelings; but by degrees
other reflections forced themselves on him; and love which, when it
has knocked and been admitted, will be a tyrant, obliged him to
entertain regrets and fears which agonized him. His hourly aspiration
was to make her his own. Would that dear heart open to receive into
its recesses his image, and thenceforward dedicate itself to him only?
Might he become her lover, guardian, husband--and they tread together
the jungle of life, aiding each other to thread its mazes, and to ward
off every danger that might impend over them.

Bitter worldly considerations came to mar the dainty colours of this
fair picture. He could not conceal from himself the poverty that must
attend him during his father's life. Lord Lodore's singular will
reduced Ethel's property to almost nothing: should he then ally her to
his scanty means and broken fortune? His resolution was made. He would
not deny himself the present pleasure of seeing her, to spare any
future pain in which he should be the only sufferer; but on the first
token of exclusive regard on her side, he would withdraw for ever.



CHAPTER VII.



The world is too much with us.
--Wordsworth.

Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry's morning task was to read the newspapers--
the only intercourse she held with the world, and all her knowledge of
it, was derived from these daily sheets. Ethel never looked at them--
her thoughts held no communion with the vulgar routine of life, and
she was too much occupied by her studies and reveries to spend any
time upon topics so uninteresting as the state of the nation, or the
scandal of the day.

One morning, while she was painting, her aunt observed, in her usual
tone of voice, scarce lifting her eyes from the paper, "Mr. Villiers
did not tell us this--he is going to be married; I wonder who to!"

"Married!" repeated Ethel.

"Yes, my dear, here it is. 'We hear from good authority that Mr.
Villiers, of Chiverton Park, is about to lead to the hymeneal altar a
young and lovely bride, the only child of a gentleman, said to be the
richest commoner in England.'--Who can it be?"

Ethel did not reply, and the elder lady went on to other parts of the
newspaper. The poor girl, on whom she had dealt all unaware this
chance mortal blow, put down her brush, and hurried into the shrubbery
to conceal her agitation. Why did she feel these sharp pangs? Why did
a bitter deluge of anguish overflow and seem to choke her breathing,
and torture her heart?--she could scarcely tell. "Married!--then I
shall never see him more!" And a passion of tears, not refreshing, but
forced out by agony, and causing her to feel as if her heart was
bursting, shook her delicate frame. At that moment the well-known
sound, the galloping of Villiers's horse up the lane, met her ear.
"Does he come here to tell us at last of his wedding-day?" The horse
came on--it stopped--the bell was rung. Little acts these, which she
had watched for, and listened to, for two months, with such placid and
innocent delight, now they seemed the notes of preparation for a scene
of despair. She wished to retreat to her own room to compose herself;
but it was too late; he was already in that through which she must
pass--she heard his voice speaking to her aunt. "Now is he telling
her," she thought. No idea of reproach, or of accusation of unkindness
in him, dawned on her heart. No word of love had passed between them--
even yet she was unaware that she loved herself; it was the
instinctive result of this despot sentiment, which exerted its sway
over her, without her being conscious of the cause of her sufferings.

The first words of Mrs. Fitzhenry had been to speak of the paragraph
in the newspaper, and to show it her visitor. Villiers read it, and
considered it curiously. He saw at once, that however blunderingly
worded, his father was its hero; and he wondered what foundation there
might be for the rumour. "Singular enough!" he said, carelessly, as he
put the paper down.

"You have kept your secret well," said Mrs. Elizabeth.

"My secret! I did not even know that I had one."

"I, at least, never heard that you were going to be married."

"I!--married! Where is Miss Fitzhenry?"

The concatenation of ideas presented by these words fell unremarked on
the blunt senses of the good lady, and she replied, "In the shrubbery,
I believe, or upstairs: she left me but a moment ago."

Villiers hastened to the garden and soon discerned the tearful girl,
who was bending down to pluck and arrange some flowers, so to hide her
disturbed countenance.

Could we, at the moment of trial, summon our reason and our foregone
resolves--could we put the impression of the present moment at a
distance, which, on the contrary, presses on us with a power as
omnipotent over our soul, as a pointed sword piercing the flesh over
our life, we might become all that we are not--angels or demigods, or
any other being that is not human. As it is, the current of the blood
and the texture of the brain are the machinery by which the soul acts,
and their mechanism is by no means tractable or easily worked; once
put in motion, we can seldom controul their operations; but our
serener feelings are whirled into the vortex they create. Thus Edward
Villiers had a thousand times in his reveries thought over the
possibility of a scene occurring, such as the one he was called upon
to act in now--and had planned a line of conduct, but, like mist
before the wind, this gossamer of the mind was swept away by an
immediate appeal to his heart through his outward sensations. There
stood before him, in all her loveliness, the creature whose image had
lived with him by day and by night, for several long months; and the
gaze of her soft tearful eyes, and the faultering tone of her voice,
were the laws to which his sense of prudence, of right, was
immediately subjected.

A few confused sentences interchanged, revealed to him that she
participated in her aunt's mistake, and her simple question, "Why did
you conceal this from me?" spoke the guilelessness of her thoughts,
while the anguish which her countenance expressed, betrayed that the
concealment was not the only source of her grief.

This young pair were ignorant how dear they were to each other.
Ethel's affection was that generous giving away of a young heart which
is unaware of the value of the gift it makes--she had asked for and
thought of no return, though her feeling was the result of a
reciprocal one on his side; it was the instinctive love of the dawn of
womanhood, subdued and refined by her gentle nature and imaginative
mind. Edward was more alive to the nature of his own sentiments--but
his knowledge stood him in no stead to fortify him against the power
of Ethel's tears. In a moment they understood each other--one second
sufficed to cause the before impervious veil to fall at their feet:
they had stept beyond this common-place world, and stood beside each
other in the new and mysterious region of which Love is emperor.

"Dearest Ethel," said Villiers, "I have much to tell you. Do arrange
that we should ride together. I have very much to tell you. You shall
know every thing, and judge for us both, though you should condemn
me."

She looked up in his face with innocent surprise; but no words could
destroy the sunshine that brightened her soul: to know that she was
loved sufficed then to fill her being to overflowing with happiness,
so that there was no room for a second emotion.

The lovers rode out together, and thus secured the tte--tte which
Villiers especially yearned for. Although she was country-bred, Mrs.
Fitzhenry was too timid to mount on horseback, yet she could not feel
fear for her niece who, under her father's guidance, sat her steed
with an ease and perfect command of the animal, which long habit
rendered second nature to her. As they rode on, considerably in
advance of the groom, they were at first silent--the deep sweet
silence which is so eloquent of emotion--till with an effort,
slackening his pace, and bringing his horse nearer, Villiers began. He
spoke of debt, of difficulties, of poverty--of his unconquerable
aversion to the making any demands on his father--fruitless demands,
for he knew how involved Colonel Villiers was, and how incapable even
of paying the allowance he nominally made his son. He declared his
reluctance to drag Ethel into the sea of cares and discomforts that he
felt must surround his youth. He besought her forgiveness for having
loved her--for having linked her heart to his. He could not willingly
resign her, while he believed that he, all unworthy, was of any worth
in her eyes; but would she not discard him for ever, now that she knew
that he was a beggar? and that all to which he could aspire, was an
engagement to be fulfilled at some far distant day--a day that might
never come--when fortune should smile on him. Ethel listened with
exquisite complacency. Every word Villiers spoke was fraught with
tenderness; his eye beamed adoration and sincerest love. Consciousness
chained her tongue, and her faltering voice refused to frame any echo
to the busy instigations of her virgin heart. Yet it seemed to her as
if she must speak; as if she were called upon to avow how light and
trivial were all worldly considerations in her eyes. With bashful
confusion she at length said, "You cannot think that I care for
fortune--I was happy in the Illinois."

Her simplicity of feeling was at this moment infectious. It appeared
the excess of selfishness to think of any thing but love in a
desart--while she had no desire beyond. Indeed, in England or
America, she lived in a desart, as far as society was concerned, and
felt not one of those tenacious though cobweb-seeming ties, that held
sway over Villiers. All his explanations therefore went for nothing.
They only felt that this discourse concerning him had drawn them
nearer to each other, and had laid the first stone of an edifice of
friendship, henceforth to be raised beside the already established one
of love. A sudden shower forced them also to return home with speed,
and so interrupted any further discussion.

In the evening Villiers left them; and Ethel sought, as speedily as
she might, the solitude of her own chamber. She had no idea of hiding
any circumstance from Mrs. Fitzhenry; but confidence is, more than any
other thing, a matter of interchange, and cannot be bestowed unless
the giver is certain of its being received. They had too little
sympathy of taste or idea, and were too little in the habit of
communicating their inmost thoughts, to make Ethel recur to her aunt.
Besides, young love is ever cradled in mystery;--to reveal it to the
vulgar eye, appears at once to deprive it of its celestial loveliness,
and to marry it to the clodlike earth. But alone--alone--she could
think over the past day--recall its minutest incident; and as she
imaged to herself the speaking fondness of her lover's eyes, her own
closed, and a thrilling sense of delight swept through her frame. What
a different world was this to what it had been the day before! The
whole creation was invested by a purer atmosphere, balmy as paradise,
which no disquieting thought could penetrate. She called upon her
father's spirit to approve her attachment; and when she reflected that
Edward's hand had supported his dying head--that to Edward Villiers's
care his latest words had intrusted her,--she felt as if she were a
legacy bequeathed to him, and that she fulfilled Lodore's last behests
in giving herself to him. So sweetly and fondly did her gentle heart
strive to make a duty of her wishes; and the idea of her father's
approbation set the seal of perfect satisfaction on her dream of
bliss.

It was somewhat otherwise with Villiers. Things went on as before, and
he came nearly every day to Richmond; but while Ethel rested satisfied
with seeing him, and receiving slight, cherished tokens of his
unabated regard,--as his voice assumed a more familiar tone, and his
attentions became more affectionate;--while these were enough for
Ethel, he thought of the future, and saw it each day dressed in
gloomier colours. In Ethel's presence, indeed, he forgot all but her.
He loved her fervently, and beheld in her all that he most admired in
woman: her clearness of spirit, her singleness of heart, her
unsuspicious and ingenuous disposition, were irresistibly
fascinating;--and why not spend their lives thus in solitude?--his--
their mutual fortune might afford this:--why not for ever thus--the
happy--the beloved?--his life might pass like a dream of joy; and that
paradise might be realized on earth, the impossibility of which
philosophers have demonstrated, and worldlings scoffed at.

Thus he thought while in the same room with Ethel;--while on his
evening ride back to town, her form glided before him, and her voice
sounded in his ears, it seemed that where Ethel was, no one earthly
bliss could be wanting; where she was not, a void must exist, dark and
dreary as a starless night. But his progress onward took him out of
the magic circle her presence drew; a portion of his elevated feeling
deserted him at each step; it fell off, like the bark pealing from a
tree, in successive coats, till he was left with scarce a vestige of
its brightness;--as the hue and the scent deserts the flower, when
deprived of light,--so, when away from Ethel, her lover lost half the
excellence which her presence bestowed.

Edward Villiers was eminently sociable in his disposition. He had been
brought up in the thick of life, and knew not how to live apart from
it. His frank and cordial heart danced within his bosom, when he was
among those who sympathized with, and liked him. He was much courted
in society, and had many favourites: and how Ethel would like these,
and be liked by them, was a question he perpetually asked himself. He
knew the worldliness of many,--their defective moral feeling, and
their narrow views; but he believed that they were attached to him,
and no man was ever less a misanthrope than he. He wished, if married
to Ethel, to see her a favourite in his own circle; but he revolted
from the idea of presenting her, except under favourable auspices,
surrounded by the decorations of rank and wealth. To give up the
world, the English world, formed no portion of his picture of bliss;
and to occupy a subordinate, degraded, permitted place in it, was, to
one initiated in its supercilious and insolent assumptions, not to be
endured.

The picture had also a darker side, which was too often turned towards
him. If he felt hesitation when he regarded its brighter aspect, as
soon as this was dimmed, the whole current of his feelings turned the
other way; and he called himself villain, for dreaming of allying
Ethel, not to poverty alone, but to its worst consequences and
disgrace, in the shape of debt. "I am a beggar," he thought; "one of
many wants, and unable to provide for any;--the most poverty-stricken
of beggars, who has pledged away even his liberty, were it claimed of
him. I look forward to the course of years with disgust. I cannot
calculate the ills that may occur, or with how tremendous a weight the
impending ruin may fall. I can bear it alone; but did I see her
humiliated, whom I would gladly place on a throne,--by heavens! I
could not endure life on such terms! and a pistol, or some other
dreadful means, would put an end to an existence become intolerable."

As these thoughts fermented within him, he longed to pour them out
before Ethel; to unload his mind of its care, to express the sincere
affection that led him to her side, and yet urged him to exile himself
for ever. He rode over each day to Richmond, intent on such a design;
but as he proceeded, the fogs and clouds that thickened round his soul
grew lighter. At first his pace was regulated; as he drew nearer, he
pressed his horse's flank with impatient heel, and bounded forward.
Each turn in the road was a step nearer the sunshine. Now the bridge,
the open field, the winding lane, were passed; the walls of her abode,
and its embowered windows, presented themselves;--they met; and the
glad look that welcomed him drove far away every thought of
banishment, and dispelled at once every remnant of doubt and
despondency.

This state of things might have gone on much longer,--already had it
been protracted for two months,--but for an accidental conversation
between Lady Lodore and Villiers. Since the morning after the opera,
they had scarcely seen each other. Edward's heart was too much
occupied to permit him to join in the throng of a ball-room; and they
had no chance of meeting, except in general society. One evening, at
the opera, the lady who accompanied Lady Lodore, asked a gentleman,
who had just come into their box, "What had become of Edward
Villiers?--he was never to be seen?"

"He is going to be married," was the reply: "he is in constant
attendance on the fair lady at Richmond."

"I had not heard of this," observed Lady Lodore, who, for Horatio's
sake, felt an interest for his favourite cousin.

"It is very little known. The fiance lives out of the world, and no
one can tell any thing about her. I did hear her name. Young Craycroft
has seen them riding together perpetually in Richmond Park and on
Wimbledon Common, he told me. Miss Fitzroy--no;--Miss Fitz-something
it is;--Fitzgeorge?--no;--Fitzhenry?--yes; Miss Fitzhenry is the
name."

Cornelia reddened, and asked no more questions. She controlled her
agitation; and at first, indeed, she was scarcely aware how much she
felt: but while the whole house was listening to a favourite air, and
her thoughts had leisure to rally, they came on her painfully, and
involuntary tears filled her eyes. It was sad, indeed, to hear of her
child as of a stranger; and to be made to feel sensibly how wide the
gulf was that separated them. "My sweet girl--my own Ethel!--are you,
indeed, so lost to me?" As her heart breathed this ejaculation, she
felt the downy cheek of her babe close to her's, and its little
fingers press her bosom. A moment's recollection brought another
image:--Ethel, grown up to womanhood, educated in hatred of her,
negligent and unfilial;--this was not the little cherub whose loss she
lamented. Let her look round the crowd then about her; and among the
fair girls she saw, any one was as near her in affection and duty, as
the child so early torn from her, to be for ever estranged and lost.

The baleful part of Cornelia's character was roused by these
reflections; her pride, her selfwill, her spirit of resistance. "And
for this she has been taken from me," she thought, "to marry, while
yet a child, a ruined man--to be wedded to care and indigence. Thus
would it not have been had she been entrusted to me. O, how hereafter
she may regret the injuries of her mother, when she feels the effects
of them in her own adversity! It is not for me to prevent this ill-
judged union. The aunt and niece would see in my opposition a motive
to hasten it: wise as they fancy themselves--wise and good--what I,
the reviled, reprobated, they would therefore pursue with more
eagerness. Be it so--my day will yet come!"

A glance of triumph shot across her face as she indulged in this
emotion of revenge; the most deceitful and reprehensible of human
feelings--revenge against a child--how sad at best--how sure to
bring with it its recompense of bitterness of spirit and remorse! But
Cornelia's heart had been rudely crushed, and in the ruin of her best
affections, her mother had substituted noxious passions of many
kinds--pride chief of all.

While thus excited and indignant, she saw Edward Villiers. He came
into her box; the lady with her was totally unaware of what had been
passing in her thoughts, nor reverted to the name mentioned as having
any connexion with her. She asked Villiers if it were true that he was
going to be married? Lady Lodore heard the question; she turned on him
her eyes full of significant meaning, and with a smile of scorn
answered for him, "O yes, Mr. Villiers is going to be married. His
bride is young, beautiful, and portionless; but he has the tastes of a
hermit--he means to emigrate to America--his simple and inexpensive
habits are admirably suited to the wilderness."

This was said as if in jest, and answered in the same tone. The third
in the trio joined in, quite unaware of the secret meaning of the
conversation. Several bitter allusions were made by Lady Lodore, and
the truth of all she said sent her words home to Edward's heart. She
drew, as if playfully, a representation of highbred indigence, that
made his blood curdle. As if she could read his thoughts, she echoed
their worst suggestions, and unrolled the page of futurity, such as he
had often depicted it to himself, presenting in sketchy, yet forcible
colours, a picture from which his soul recoiled. He would have
escaped, but there was a fascination in the topic, and in the very
bitterness of spirit which she awakened. He rather encouraged her to
proceed, while he abhorred her for so doing, acknowledging the while
the justice of all she said. Lady Lodore was angry, and she felt
pleasure in the pain she inflicted; her wit became keener, her sarcasm
more pointed, yet stopping short with care of any thing that should
betray her to their companion, and avoiding, with inimitable tact, any
expression that should convey to one not in the secret, that she meant
any thing more than raillery or good-humoured quizzing, as it is
called.

At length Villiers took his leave. "Were I," he said, "the unfortunate
man you represent me to be, you would have to answer for my life this
night. But re-assure yourself--it is all a dream. I have no thoughts
of marrying; and the fair girl, whose fate as my wife Lady Lodore so
kindly compassionates, is safe from every danger of becoming the
victim of my selfishness and poverty."

This was said laughing, yet an expressive intonation of voice conveyed
his full meaning to Cornelia. "I have done a good deed if I have
prevented this marriage," she thought; "yet a thankless one. After
all, he is a gentleman, and under sister Bessy's guardianship, poor
Ethel might fall into worse hands."

While Lady Lodore thus dismissed her anger and all thought of its
cause, Villiers felt more resentment than had ever before entered his
kind heart. The truths which the lady had spoken were unpalatable, and
the mode in which they were uttered was still more disagreeable. He
hated her for having discovered them, and for presenting them so
vividly to his sight. At one moment he resolved never to see Ethel
more; while he felt that he loved her with tenfold tenderness, and
would have given worlds to become the source of all happiness to
her--wishing this the more ardently, because her mother had pictured
him as being the cause to her of every ill.

Edward's nature was very impetuous, but perfectly generous. The
tempest of anger allayed, he considered all that Lady Lodore had said
impartially; and while he felt that she had only repeated what he had
told himself a thousand times, he resolved not to permit resentment to
controul him, and to turn him from the right path. He felt also, that
he ought no longer to delay acting on his good resolutions. His
intercourse with Miss Fitzhenry had begun to attract attention, and
must therefore cease. Once again he would ride over to Richmond--once
again see her--say farewell, and then stoically banish every pleasant
dream--every heart-enthralling hope--willingly sacrificing his dearest
wishes at the shrine of her welfare.



CHAPTER VIII.



  She to a window came, that opened west.
  Towards which coast her love his way addrest.
  There looking forth, she in her heart did find
  Many vain fancies working her unrest,
  And sent her winged thoughts more swift than wind
To bear unto her love the message of her mind.
--The Faerie Queen.

Ethel, happy in her seclusion, was wholly unaware of her mother's
interference and its effects. She had not the remotest suspicion that
it would be considered as conducive to her welfare to banish the only
friend that she had in the world. In her solitary position, life was a
blank without Edward; and while she congratulated herself on her good
fortune in the concurrence of circumstances that had brought them
together, and, as she believed, established her happiness on the
dearest and most secure foundations, she was far from imagining that
he was perpetually revolving the necessity of bidding her adieu for
ever. If she had been told two years before, that all intercourse
between her and her father were to cease, it would scarcely have
seemed more unnatural or impossible, than that such a decree should be
issued to divide her from one to whom her young heart was entirely
given. She relied on him as the support of her life--her guide and
protector--she loved him as the giver of good to her--she almost
worshipped him for the many virtues, which he either really possessed,
or with which her fondness bounteously gifted him.

Meanwhile the unacute observations of Mrs. Fitzhenry began to be
awakened. She gave herself great credit for discovering that there was
something singular in the constant attendance of Edward, and yet, in
fact, she owed her illumination on this point to her man of law. Mr.
Humphries, whom she had seen on business the day before, finding how
regular a visitor Villiers was, and their only one, first elevated his
eyebrows and then relaxed into a smile, as he said, "I suppose I am
soon to wish Miss Fitzhenry joy." This same day Edward had ridden down
to them; a violent storm prevented his return to town; he slept at the
inn and breakfasted with the ladies in the morning. There was
something familiar and home-felt in his appearance at the breakfast-
table, that filled Ethel with delight. "Women," says the accomplished
author of Paul Clifford, "think that they must always love a man whom
they have seen in his nightcap." There is deep philosophy in this
observation, and it was a portion of that feeling which made Ethel
feel so sweetly complacent, when Villiers, unbidden, rang the bell,
and gave his orders to the servant, as if he had been at home.

Aunt Bessy started a little; and while the young people were strolling
in the shrubbery and renewing the flowers in the vases, she was
pondering on the impropriety of their position, and wondering how she
could break off an intimacy she had hitherto encouraged. But one way
presented itself to her plain imagination, the old resource, a return
to Longfield. With light heart and glad looks, Ethel bounded up stairs
to dress for dinner, and she was twining her ringlets round her taper
fingers before the glass, when her aunt entered with a look of serious
import. "My dear Ethel, I have something important to say to you."

Ethel stopped in her occupation and turned inquiring eyes on her aunt;
"My dear," continued Mrs. Fitzhenry, "we have been a long time away;
if you please, we will return to Longfield."

This time Ethel did not grow pale; she turned again to the mirror,
saying with a smile that lighted her whole countenance, "Dear aunt,
that is impossible--I would rather not."

No negative could have been more imposing on the good lady than this;
she did not know how to reply, how to urge her wish. "Dearest aunt,"
continued her niece, "you are losing time--dinner will be announced,
and you are not dressed. We will talk of Longfield to-morrow--we must
not keep Mr. Villiers waiting."

It was often the custom of Aunt Bessy, like the father of Hamlet, to
sleep after dinner, she did not betake herself to her orchard, but her
arm-chair, for a few minutes' gentle doze. Ethel and Villiers
meanwhile walked out, and, descending to the river side, they were
enticed by the beauty of the evening to go upon the water. Ethel was
passionately fond of every natural amusement; boating was a pleasure
that she enjoyed almost more than any other, and one with which she
was seldom indulged; for her spinster aunt had so many fears and
objections, and considered every event but sitting still in her
drawing-room, or a quiet drive with her old horses, as so fraught with
danger and difficulty, that it required an absolute battle ever to
obtain her consent for her niece to go on the river--she would have
died before she could have entered a boat herself, and, walking at the
water's edge, she always insisted that Ethel should keep close to the
bank, while, by the repetition of expressions of alarm and entreaties
to return, she destroyed every possibility of enjoyment.

The river sped swiftly on, calm and free. There is always life in a
stream, of which a lake is frequently deprived, when sleeping beneath
a windless sky. A river pursues for ever its course, accomplishing the
task its Creator has imposed, and its waters are for ever changing
while they seem the same. It was a balmy summer evening; the air
seemed to brood over the earth, warming and nourishing it. All nature
reposed, and yet not as a lifeless thing, but with the same enjoyment
of rest as gladdened the hearts of the two beings, who, with gratitude
and love, drank in the influence of this softest hour of day. The
equal splash of the oar, or its dripping when suspended, the clear
reflection of tree and lawn in the river, the very colour of the
stream, stolen as it was from heaven itself, the plash of the wings of
the waterfowl who skimmed the waves towards their rushy nests,--every
sound and every appearance was beautiful, harmonious, and soothing.
Ethel's soul was at peace; grateful to Heaven, and satisfied with
every thing around her, a tenderness beamed from her eyes, and was
diffused over her attitude, and attuned her voice, which acted as a
spell to make Edward forget every thing but herself.

They had both been silent for some time, a sweet silence more eloquent
than any words, when Ethel observed, "My aunt wishes to return to
Longfield."

Villiers started as if he had trodden upon a serpent, exclaiming, "To
Longfield! O yes! that were far best--when shall you go?"

"Why is it best? Why should we go?" asked Ethel with surprise.

"Because," replied Villiers impetuously, "it had been better that you
had never left it--that we had never met! It is not thus that I can
fulfil my promise to your father to guard and be kind to his child. I
am practising on your ignorance, taking advantage of your loneliness,
and doing you an injury, for which I should call any other a villain,
were he guilty."

It was the very delight that Edward had been a moment before enjoying,
the very beauty and calmness of nature, and the serenity and kindness
of the sweet face turned towards him, which stirred such bitterness;
checking himself, however, he continued after a pause, in a more
subsided tone.

"Are there any words by which I can lay bare my heart to you, Ethel?--
None! To speak of my true and entire attachment, is almost an insult;
and to tell you, that I tear myself from you for your own sake, sounds
like impertinence. Yet all this is true; and it is the reverence that
I have for your excellence, the idolatry which your singleness of
heart and sincere nature inspires, which prompts me to speak the
truth, though that be different from the usual language of gallantry,
or what is called love.

"Will you hate me or pity me most, when I speak of my determination
never to see you more? You cannot guess how absolutely I am a ruined
man--how I am one of those despicable hangers-on of the rich and
noble, who cover my rags with mere gilding. I am a beggar--I have not
a shilling that I can call my own, and it is only by shifts and
meannesses that I can go on from day to day, while each one menaces me
with a prison or flight to a foreign country.

"I shall go--and you will regret me, Ethel, or you will despise me. It
were best of all that you forgot me. I am not worthy of you--no man
could be; that I have known you and loved you--and for your sake,
banished myself from you, will be the solitary ray of comfort that
will shed some faint glow over my chilled and darkened existence. Will
you say even now one word of comfort to me?"

Ethel looked up; the pure affectionateness of her heart prevented her
from feeling for herself, she thought only of her lover. "Would that I
could comfort you," she said. "You will do what you think right, and
that will be your best consolation. Do not speak of hatred, or
contempt, or indifference. I shall not change though we part for ever:
how is it possible that I should ever cease to feel regard for one who
has ever been kind, considerate, and generous to me? Go, if you think
it right--I am a foolish girl, and know nothing of the world; and I
will not doubt that you decide for the best."

Villiers took her hand and held it in his; his heart was penetrated by
her disinterested self-forgetfulness and confidence. He felt that he
was loved, and that he was about to part from her for ever. The pain
and pleasure of these thoughts mingled strangely--he had no words to
express them, he felt that it would be easier to die than to give her
up.

Aunt Bessy, on the river's bank imploring their return, recalled them
from the fairy region to which their spirits had wandered. For one
moment they had been united in sentiment; one kindred emotion of
perfect affection had, as it were, married their souls one to the
other; at the alien sound of poor Bessy's voice the spell fled away on
airy wings, leaving them disenchanted. The rudder was turned, the boat
reached the shore, and unable to endure frivolous talk about any
subject except the one so near his heart, Villiers departed and rode
back to town, miserable yet most happy--despairing yet full of joy; to
such a riddle, love, which finds its completion in sympathy, and knows
no desire beyond, is the only solution.

The feelings of Ethel were even more unalloyed. She had no doubts
about the future, the present embraced the world. She did not attempt
to unravel the dreamy confusion of her thoughts, or to clear up the
golden mist that hung before, curtaining most gloriously the reality
beyond. Her step was buoyant, her eyes sparkling and joyous. Love and
gladness sat lightly on her bosom, and gratitude to Heaven for
bestowing so deep a sense of happiness was the only sentiment that
mingled with these. Villiers, on leaving them, had promised to return
the next day; and on the morrow she rose, animated with such a spirit
as may be kindled within the bosom of an Enchantress, when she
pronounces the spell which is to controul the movements of the
planetary orbs. She was more than queen of the world, for she was
empress of Edward's heart, and ruling there, she reigned over the
course of destiny, and bent to her will the conflicting elements of
life.

He did not come. It was strange. Now hope, now fear, were interchanged
one for the other, till night and certain disappointment arrived. Yet
it was not much--the morrow's sun would light him on his way to her.
To cheat the lagging hours of the morrow, she occupied herself with
her painting and music, tasking herself to give so many hours to her
employments, thus to add speed to the dilatory walk of time. The long
day was passed in fruitless expectation--another and another
succeeded. Was he ill? What strange mutation in the course of nature
had occurred to occasion so inexplicable an absence?

A week went by, and even a second was nearly spent. She had not
anticipated this estrangement. Day by day she went over in her mind
their last conversation, and Edward's expressions gathered decision
and a gloomy reality as she pondered on them. The idea of an heroic
sacrifice on his part, and submission to his will on hers, at first
soothed her--but never to see him more, was an alternative that tasked
her fortitude too high; and while her heart felt all the tumults of
despair, she found herself asking what his love could be, that could
submit to lose her? Love in a cottage is the dream of many a high-born
girl, who is not allowed to dance with a younger brother at Almack's;
but asecluded, an obscure, an almost cottage life, was all that Ethel
had ever known, and all that she coveted. Villiers rejected this--not
for her sake, that could not be, but for the sake of a world, which he
called frivolous and vain, and yet to whose tyranny he bowed. To
disentwine the tangled skein of thought which was thus presented, was
her task by day and night. She awoke in the morning, and her first
thought was, "Will he come?" She retired at night, and sleep visited
her eyes, while she was asking herself, "Why has he not been?" During
the day, these questions, in every variety, forced her attention. To
escape from her aunt, to seek solitude, to listen to each sound that
might be his horse, and to feel her heart sicken at the still renewed
disappointment, became, in spite of herself, all her occupation: she
might bend over her drawing, or escape from her aunt's conversation to
the piano; but these were no longer employments, but rather means
adopted to deliver herself up more entirely to her reveries.

The third, the fourth week came, and the silence of death was between
Ethel and her friend. O but for one word, one look to break the spell!
Was she indeed never to see him more? Was all, all over?--was the
harmony their two hearts made, jarred into discord?--was she again
the orphan, alone in the world?--and was the fearless reliance she
had placed upon fate and Edward's fidelity, mere folly or insanity?--
and was desecration and forgetfulness to come over and to destroy the
worship she had so fondly cherished? Nothing had she to turn to--
nothing to console her. Her life became one thought, it twined round
her soul like a serpent, and compressed and crushed every other
emotion with its folds. "I could bear all," she thought, "were I
permitted to see him only once again."

She and Mrs. Fitzhenry were invited by Mrs. Humphries to dine with
her. They were asked to the awful ceremony of spending a long day,
which, in the innocence of her heart, Mrs. Fitzhenry fancied the most
delightful thing in the world. She thought that kindness and
friendship demanded of her that she should be in Montague-square by
ten in the morning. Notwithstanding every exertion, she could not get
there till two, and then, when luncheon was over, she wondered why the
gap of time till seven appeared so formidable. This was to be got over
by a drive in Hyde-park. Ethel had shown peculiar pleasure in the idea
of visiting London; she had looked bright and happy during their
journey to town, but anxiety and agitation clouded her face, at the
thought of the park, of the crisis about to arrive, at the doubt and
hope she entertained of finding Villiers there.

The park became crowded, but he was not in the drive; at length he
entered in the midst of a bevy of fair cousins, whom Ethel did not
know as such. He entered on horseback, flanked on either side by
pretty equestrians, looking as gay and light-hearted, as she would
have done, had she been one, the chosen one among his companions.
Twice he passed. The first time his head was averted--he saw nothing,
she even did not see his face: the next time, his eye caught the
aspect of the well-known chariot--he glanced eagerly at those it
contained, kissed his hand, and went on. Ethel's heart died within
her. It was all over. She was the neglected, the forgotten; but while
she turned her face to the other window of the carriage, so to hide
its saddened expression from her companion, a voice, the dearest,
sweetest voice she had ever heard, the soft harmonious voice, whose
accents were more melodious than music, asked, "Are you in town? have
you left Richmond?" In spite of herself, a smile mantled over her
countenance, dimpling it into gladness, and she turned to see the
beloved speaker who had not deserted her--who was there; she turned,
but there was no answering glance of pleasure in the face of
Villiers--he looked grave, and bowed, as if in this act of courtesy he
fulfilled all of friendly interchange that was expected of him, and
rode off. He was gone--and seen no more.



CHAPTER IX.



Sure, when the separation has been tried.
That we, who part in love, shall meet again.
--Wordsworth.

This little event roused Ethel to the necessity of struggling with the
sentiment to which hitherto she had permitted unquestioned power.
There had been a kind of pleasure mingled with her pain, while she
believed that she suffered for her lover's sake, and in obedience to
his will. To love in solitude and absence, was, she well knew, the lot
of many of her sex, and all that is imaginative and tender lends
poetry to the emotion. But to love without return, her father had
taught her was shame and folly--a dangerous and undignified sentiment
that leads many women into acts of humiliation and misery. He spoke
the more warmly on this subject, because he desired to guard his
daughter by every possible means from a fate too common. He knew the
sensibility and constancy of her nature. He dreaded to think that
these should be played upon, and that her angelic sweetness should be
sacrificed at the altar of hopeless passion. That all the powers he
might gift her with, all the fortitude and all the pride that he
strove to instil, might be insufficient to prevent this one grand
evil, he too well knew; but all that could should be done, and his own
high-souled Ethel should rise uninjured from the toils of the snarer,
the heartless game of the unfaithful lover.

She steeled her heart against every softer thought, she tasked herself
each day to devote her entire attention to some absorbing employment;
to languages and the composition of music, as occupations that would
not permit her thoughts to stray. She felt a pain deep-seated in her
inmost heart; but she refused to acknowledge it. When a thought, too
sweet and bitter, took perforce possession of the chambers of her
brain, she drove it out with stern and unshaken resolve. She pondered
on the best means to subdue every rebel idea. She rose with the sun,
and passed much time in the open air, that when night came, bodily
fatigue might overpower mental regrets. She conversed with her aunt
again about her dear lost father; that, by renewing images, so long
the only ones dear to her, every subsequent idea might be driven from
the place it had usurped. Always she was rewarded by the sense of
doing right, often by really mitigating the anguish which rose and
went to rest with her, and awakening her in the morning, stung her to
renew her endeavours, while it whispered too audibly, "I am here." She
grew pale and thin, and her eyes again resumed that lustre which spoke
a quick and agitated life within. Her endeavours, by being
unremitting, gave too much intensity to every feeling, and made her
live each moment of her existence a sensitive, conscious life, wearing
out her frame, and threatening, while it accelerated the pulses, to
exhaust betimes the animal functions.

She felt this; and she roused herself to contend afresh with her own
heart. As a last resource she determined to quit Richmond. Her
struggles, and the energy called into action by her fortitude, gave a
tone of superiority to her mind, which her aunt felt and submitted to.
Now when a change of residence was determined upon, she at once
negatived the idea of returning to Longfield--yet whither else betake
themselves? Ethel no longer concealed from herself that she and the
worthy spinster were solitary wanderers on earth, cut off from human
intercourse. A bitter sense of desolation had crept over her from the
moment that she knew herself to be deserted by Villiers. All that was
bright in her position darkened into shadow. She shrunk into herself
when she reflected, that should the ground at her feet open and
swallow her, not one among her fellow-creatures would be sensible that
the whole universe of thought and feeling, which emanated from her
breathing spirit, as water from a living spring, was shrunk up and
strangled in a narrow, voiceless grave. A short time before she had
regarded death without terror, for her father had been its prey, and
his image was often shadowed forth in her fancy, beckoning her to join
him. Now it had become more difficult to die. Nature and love were
wedded in her mind, and it was a bitter pang for one so young to bid
adieu to both for ever. Turning her thoughts from Villiers, she would
have been glad to discover any link that might enchain her to the
mass. She reverted to her mother. Her inexperience, her youth, and the
timidity of her disposition, prevented her from making any endeavour
to break through the wall of unnatural separation raised between them.
She could only lament. One sign, one word from Lady Lodore, would have
been balm to her poor heart, and she would have met it with fervent
gratitude. But she feared to offend. She had no hope that any advance
would have been met by other than a disdainful repulse; and she shrunk
from intruding herself on her unwilling parent. She often wept to
think that there was none near to support and comfort her, and yet
that at the distance of but a few miles her mother lived--whose very
name was the source of the dearest, sweetest, and most cruel emotions.
She thought, therefore, of her surviving parent only to despair, and
to shrink with terror from the mere possibility of an accidental
meeting.

She earnestly desired to leave England, which had treated her with but
a step-mother's welcome, and to travel away, she knew not whither. Yet
most she wished to go to Italy. Her father had often talked of taking
her to that country, and it was painted in her eyes with the hues of
paradise. She spoke of her desire to her aunt, who thought her mad,
and believed that it was as easy to adventure to the moon, as for two
solitary women to brave alps and earthquakes, banditti and volcanoes,
a savage people and an unknown land. Still, even while she trembled at
the mere notion, she felt that Ethel might lead her thither if she
pleased. It is one of the most beneficent dispensations of the
Creator, that there is nothing so attractive and attaching as
affection. The smile of an infant may command absolutely, because its
source is in dependent love, and the human heart for ever yearns for
such demonstration from another. What would this strange world be
without that "touch of nature?" It is to the immaterial universe, what
light is to the visible creation, scent to the flower, hue to the
rainbow; hope, joy, succour, and self-forgetfulness, where otherwise
all would be swallowed up in vacant and obscure egotism.

No one could approach Ethel without feeling that she possessed an
irresistible charm. The overflowing and trusting affectionateness of
her nature was a loadstone to draw all hearts. Each one felt, even
without knowing wherefore, that it was happiness to obey, to gratify
her. Thus while a journey to Italy filled Mrs. Elizabeth with alarm, a
consent hovered on her lips, because she felt that any risk was
preferable to disappointing a wish of her gentle niece.

And yet even then Ethel paused. She began to repent her desire of
leaving the country inhabited by her dearest friend. She felt that she
should have an uncongenial companion in her aunt--the child of the
wilderness and the good lady of Longfield, were like a living and dead
body in conjunction--the one inquiring, eager, enthusiastic even in
her contemplativeness, sensitively awake to every passing object;
while the other dozed her hours away, and fancied that pitfalls and
wild beasts menaced her, if she dared step one inch from the beaten
way.

At this moment, while embarrassed by the very yielding to her desires,
and experiencing a lingering sad regret for all that she was about to
leave behind, Ethel received a letter from Villiers. Her heart beat,
and her fingers trembled, when first she saw, as now she held a paper,
which might be every thing, yet might be nothing to her; she opened it
at last, and forced herself to consider and understand its contents.
It was as follows:--

"Dear Miss Fitzhenry, "Will your aunt receive me with her wonted
kindness when I call to-morrow? I fear to have offended by an
appearance of neglect, while my heart has never been absent from
Richmond. Plead my cause, I entreat you. I leave it in your hands.

"Ever and ever yours.

"Edward Villiers."

Grosvenor Square, Saturday.

"Dearest Ethel, have you guessed at my sufferings? Shall you hail with
half the joy that I do, a change which enables you to revoke the
decree of absence so galling at least to one of us? If indeed you have
not forgotten me, I shall be rewarded for the wretchedness of these
last weeks."

Ethel kissed the letter and placed it near her heart. A calm joy
diffused itself over her mind; and that she could indeed trust and
believe in him she loved, was the source of a grateful delight, more
medicinal than all the balmy winds of Italy and its promised
pleasures.

When Villiers had last quitted Richmond, he had resolved not to expose
himself again to the influence of Ethel. It was necessary that they
should be divided--how far better that they should never meet again!
He was not worthy of her. Another, more fortunate, would replace him,
if he sacrificed his own selfish feelings, and determinately absented
himself from her. As if to confirm his view of their mutual interest,
his elder cousin, Mr. Saville, had just offered his hand to the
daughter of a wealthy Earl, and had been accepted. Villiers took
refuge from his anxious thoughts among his pretty cousins, sisters of
the bridegroom, and with them the discussion of estates, settlements,
princely mansions, and equipages, was the order of the day. Edward
sickened to reflect how opposite would be the prospect, if his
marriage with Ethel were in contemplation. It was not that a noble
establishment would be exchanged for a modest, humble dwelling--he
loved with sufficient truth to feel that happiness with Ethel
transcended the wealth of the world. It was the absolute penury, the
debt, the care, that haunted him and made such miserable contrast with
the tens and hundreds of thousands that were the subject of discussion
on the present occasion. His resolution not to entangle Ethel in this
wilderness of ills, gained strength by every chance word that fell
from the lips of those around him; and the image, before so vivid, of
her home at Richmond, which he might at each hour enter, of her dear
face, which at any minute might again bless his sight, faded into a
far-off vision of paradise, from which he was banished for ever.

For a time he persevered in his purpose, if not with ease, yet with
less of struggle than he himself anticipated. That he could at any
hour break the self-enacted law, and behold Ethel, enabled him day
after day to continue to obey it, and to submit to the decree of
banishment he had passed upon himself. He loved his pretty cousins,
and their kindness and friendship soothed him; he spent his days with
them, and the familiar, sisterly intercourse, hallowed by long
association, and made tender by the grace and sweetness of these good
girls, compensated somewhat for the absence of deeper interest. They
talked of Horatio also, and that was a more touching string than all.
The almost worship, joined to pity and fear for him, with which Edward
regarded his cousin, made him cling fondly to those so closely related
to him, and who sympathized with, and shared, his enthusiastic
affection.

This state of half indifference did not last long. His meeting with
Ethel in Hyde Park operated an entire change. He had seen her face but
a moment--her dear face, animated with pleasure at beholding him, and
adorned with more than her usual loveliness. He hurried away, but the
image still pursued him. All at once the world around grew dark and
blank; at every instant his heart asked for Ethel. He thirsted for the
sweet delight of gazing on her soft lustrous eyes, touching her hand,
listening to her voice, whose tones were so familiar and beloved. He
avoided his cousins to hide his regrets; he sought solitude, to
commune with memory; and the intense desire kindled within him to
return to her, was all but irresistible. He had received a letter from
Horace Saville entreating him to join him at Naples; he had
contemplated complying, as a means of obtaining forgetfulness. Should
he not, on the contrary, make this visit with Ethel for his companion?
It was a picture of happiness most enticing; and then he recollected
with a pang, that it was impossible for him to quit England; that it
was only by being on the spot, that he obtained the supplies necessary
for his existence. With bitterness of spirit he recognized once again
his state of beggary, and the hopelessness that attended on all his
wishes.

All at once he was surprised by a message from his father, through
Lord Maristow. He was told of Colonel Villiers's intended marriage
with the only daughter of a wealthy commoner, which yet could not be
arranged without the concurrence of Edward, or rather without
sacrifices on his part for the making of settlements. The entire
payment of his debts, and the promise of fifteen hundred a year for
the future, were the bribes offered to induce him to consent. Edward
at once notified his compliance. He saw the hour of freedom at hand,
and the present was too full of interest, too pregnant with misery or
happiness, to allow the injury done to his future prospects to weigh
with him for a moment. Thus he might purchase his union with Ethel--
claim her for his own. With the thought, a whole tide of tenderness
and joy poured quick and warm into his heart, and it seemed as if he
had never loved so devotedly as now. How false an illusion had blinded
him! he fancied that he had banished hope, while indeed his soul was
wedded to her image, and the very struggle to free himself, had served
to make the thought of her more peremptory and indelible.

With these thoughts, he again presented himself at Richmond. He asked
Mrs. Fitzhenry's consent to address her niece, and became the accepted
lover of Ethel. The meeting of their two young hearts in the security
of an avowed attachment, after so many hours wasted in despondency and
painful struggles, did not visit the fair girl with emotions of
burning transport: she felt it rather like a return to a natural state
of things, after unnatural deprivation. As if, a young nestling, she
had been driven from her mother's side, and was now restored to the
dear fosterage of her care. She delivered herself up to a calm
reliance upon the future, and saw in the interweaving of duty and
affection, the fulfilment of her destiny, and the confirmation of her
earthly happiness. They were to be joined never to part more! While
each breathed the breath of life, no power could sever them; health or
sickness, prosperity or adversity--these became mere words; her health
and her riches were garnered in his heart, and while she bestowed the
treasures of her affection upon him, could he be poor? It was not
therefore to be her odious part to crush the first and single
attachment of her soul--to tear at once the "painted veil of life,"
delivering herself up to cheerless realities--to know that, to do
right, she must banish from her recollection those inward-spoken vows
which she should deem herself of a base inconstant disposition ever to
forget. It was not reserved for her to pass joyless years of solitude,
reconciling herself to the necessity of divorcing her dearest thoughts
from their wedded image. The serene and fair-showing home she coveted
was open before her--she might pass within its threshold, and listen
to the closing of the doors behind, as they shut out the world from
her, with pure and unalloyed delight.

Ethel was very young, yet in youth such feelings are warmer in our
hearts than in after years. We do not know then that we can ever
change; or that, snake-like, casting the skin of an old, care-worn
habit, a new one will come fresh and bright in seeming, as the one
before had been, at the hour of its birth. We fancy then, that if our
present and first hope is disappointed, our lives are a mere blank,
not worth a "pin's fee;" the singleness of our hearts has not been
split into the million hair-like differences, which, woven by time
into one texture, clothes us in prudence as with a garment. We are as
if exposed naked to the action of passions and events, and receive
their influence with keen and fearful sensitiveness. Ethel scarcely
heard, and did not listen to nor understand, the change of
circumstances that brought Villiers back to her--she only knew, that
he was confirmed her own. Satisfied with this delightful conclusion to
her sufferings, she placed her destiny in his hands, without fear or
question.

Mrs. Elizabeth thought her niece very young to marry; but Villiers,
who had, while hesitating, done his best to hide his sweet Ethel away
from every inquisitive eye, now that she was to be his own, hastened
to introduce Lord Maristow (Lady Maristow had died two years before)
to her, and to bring her among his cousins, whom her regarded as
sisters. The change was complete and overwhelming to the fair
recluses. Where before they lived in perpetual tte--tte, or
separated but to be alone, they were now plunged into what appeared to
them a crowd. Sophia, Harriet, and Lucy Saville, were high-born, high-
bred, and elegant girls, accustomed to what they called the quiet of
domestic life, amidst a thousand relations and ten thousand
acquaintances. No female relative had stepped into their mother's
place, and they were peculiarly independent and high-spirited; they
had always lived in what they called the world, and knew nothing but
what that world contained. Their manners were easy, their tempers
equable and affectionate. If their dispositions were not all exactly
alike, they had a family resemblance that drew them habitually near
each other. They received Ethel among their number with cordiality,
bestowing on her every attention which politeness and kindness
dictated. Yet Ethel felt somewhat as a wild antelope among tame ones.
Their language, the topics of their discourse, their very occupations,
were all new to her. She lent herself to their customs with smiles and
sweetness, but her eye brightened when Edward came, and she often
unconsciously retreated to his side as a shelter and a refuge.
Edward's avocations had been as worldly perhaps as those of his pretty
cousins; but a man is more thrown upon the reality of life, while
girls live altogether in a factitious state. He had travelled much,
and seen all sorts of people. Besides, between him and Ethel, there
was that mute language which will make those of opposite sexes
intelligible to one another, even when literally not understanding
each other's dialect. Villiers found no deficiency of intelligence or
sympathy in Ethel, while the fashionable girls to whom he had
introduced her felt a little at a loss how to entertain the stranger.

Lord Maristow and his family had been detained in town till after Mr.
Saville's marriage, and were now very eager to leave it. They remained
out of compliment to Edward, and looked forward impatiently to his
wedding as the event that would set them free. London was empty, the
shooting season had begun; yet still he was delayed by his father. He
wished to sign the necessary papers, and free himself from all
business, that he and his bride might immediately join Horatio at
Naples. Yet still Colonel Villiers's marriage was delayed; till at
last he intimated to his son, that it was postponed for the present,
and begged that he would not remain in England on his account.

Edward was somewhat staggered by this intelligence. Yet as the letter
that communicated it contained a considerable remittance, he quieted
himself. To give up Ethel now was a thought that did not for a moment
enter his mind; it was but the reflection of the difficulties that
would surround them, if his prospects failed, that for a few seconds
clouded his brow with care. But it was his nature usually to hope the
best, and to trust to fortune. He had never been so prudent as with
regard to his marriage with Ethel; but that was for her sake. This
consideration could not again enter; for, like her, he would, under
the near hope of making her his, have preferred the wilds of the
Illinois, with her for his wife, than the position of the richest
English nobleman, deprived of such a companion. His heart, delivered
up to love, was complete in its devotion and tenderness. He was
already wedded to her in soul, and would sooner have severed his right
arm from his body, than voluntarily have divided himself from this
dearer part of himself. This "other half," towards whom he felt as if
literally he had, to give her being, "Lent Out of his side to her,
nearest his heart; Substantial life, to have her by his side,
Henceforth an individual solace dear."

With these feelings, an early day was urged and named; and, drawing
near, Ethel was soon to become a bride. On first making his offer,
Villiers had written to Lady Lodore; and Mrs. Fitzhenry, much against
her will, by the advice of her solicitor, did the same. Lady Lodore
was in Scotland. No answer came. The promised day approached; but
still she preserved this silence: it became necessary to proceed
without her consent. Banns were published; and Ethel became the wife
of Villiers on the 25th of October. Lord Maristow hastened down to his
Castle to kill pheasants: while, on her part, Mrs. Fitzhenry took her
solitary way to Longfield, half consoled for separating from Ethel, by
this return to the habits of more than sixty years. In vain had London
or Richmond wooed her stay; in vain was she pressed to pay a visit to
Maristow Castle: to return to her home was a more enticing prospect.
Her good old heart danced within her when she first perceived the
village steeple; the chimneys of her own house made tears spring into
her eyes; and when, indeed, she found herself by the familiar hearth,
in the accustomed arm-chair, and her attentive housekeeper came to ask
if she would not take any thing after her journey, it seemed to her as
if all the delights of life were summed up in this welcome return to
monotony and silence.



CHAPTER X.



Let me
Awake your love to my uncomforted brother.
--Old Play.

Meanwhile Villiers and his bride proceeded on their way to Naples. It
mattered little to Ethel whither they were going, or to whom. Edward
was all in all to her; and the vehicle that bore them along in their
journey was a complete and perfect world, containing all that her
heart desired. They avoided large towns, and every place where there
was any chance of meeting an acquaintance. They passed up the Rhine,
and Ethel often imaged forth, in her fancy, a dear home in a secluded
nook; and longed to remain there, cut off from the world, for ever.
She had no thought but for her husband, and gratitude to Heaven for
the happiness showered on her. Her soul might have been laid bare,
each faculty examined, each idea sifted, and one spirit, one
sentiment, one love, would have been found pervading and uniting them
all. The heart of a man is seldom as single and devoted as that of a
woman. In the present instance, it was natural that Edward should not
be so absolutely given up to one thought as was his bride. Ethel's
affections had never been called forth except by her father, and by
him who was now her husband. When it has been said, that she thought
of heaven to hallow and bless her happiness, it must be understood
that the dead made a part of that heaven, to which she turned her eyes
with such sweet thankfulness. She was constant to the first affection
of her heart. She might be said to live perpetually in thought beside
her father's grave. Before she had wept and sorrowed near it; now she
placed the home of her happy married life close to the sacred earth,
and fancied that its mute inhabitant was the guardian angel to watch
over and preserve her.

Villiers had lived among many friends, and was warmly attached to
several. His cousin Horatio was dearer to him than any thing had ever
been, till he knew Ethel. Even now he revered him more, and felt a
kind of duteous attachment drawing him towards him. He wanted Horatio
to see and approve of Ethel:--not that he doubted what his opinion of
her would be; but the delight which his own adoration of her
excellence imparted to him would be doubled, when he saw it shared and
confirmed by his friend. Besides this, he was anxious to see Horace on
his own account. He wished to know whether he was happy in his
marriage; whether Clorinda were worthy of him; and if Lady Lodore were
entirely forgotten. As they advanced on their journey, his desire to
see his cousin became more and more present to his mind; and he talked
of him to Ethel, and imparted to her a portion of his fervent and
affectionate feelings.

Entering Switzerland, they came into a world of snow. Here and there,
on the southern side of a mountain, a lawny upland might disclose
itself in summer verdure; and the brawling torrents, increased by the
rains, were not yet made silent by frost. Edward had visited these
scenes before; and he could act the guide to his enraptured Ethel, who
remembered her father's glowing descriptions; and while she gazed with
breathless admiration, saw his step among the hills, and thought that
his eye had rested on the wonders she now beheld. Soon the mountains,
the sky-seeking "palaces of nature," were passed, and they entered
fair, joyous Italy. At each step they left winter far behind. Ethel
would willingly have lingered in Florence and Rome; but once south of
the Appenines, Edward was eager to reach Naples; and the letters he
got from Saville spurred him on to yet greater speed.

Before leaving England, Lucy Saville had said to Ethel,--"You are now
taking our other comfort from us; and what we are to do without either
Horatio or Edward, I am unable to conjecture. We shall be like a house
without its props. Divided, they are not either of them half what they
were joined. Horace is so prudent, so wise, so considerate, so
sympathizing; Edward so active and so kind-hearted. In any difficulty,
we always asked Horace what we ought to do; and Edward did the thing
which he pointed out.

"Horatio's marriage was a sad blow to us all. You will bring Edward
back, and we shall be the happier for your being with him; but shall
we ever see our brother again?--or shall we only see him to lament the
change? Not that he can ever really alter; his heart, his
understanding, his goodness, are as firm as rock; but there is that
about him which makes him too much the slave of those he is in
immediate contact with. He abhors strife; the slightest disunion is
mortal to him. He is not of this world. Pure-minded as a woman,
honourable as a knight of old, he is more like a being we read of, and
his match is not to be found upon earth. Horatio never loved but once,
and his attachment was unfortunate. He loved Lady--" Here
recollection dyed Miss Saville's cheeks with crimson: she had
forgotten that Lady Lodore was the mother of Ethel. After a moment's
hesitation she continued:--"I have no right to betray the secrets of
others. Horace was a discarded lover; and he was forced to despise the
lady whom he had imagined possessed of every excellence. For the first
time he was absorbed in what may be termed a selfish sentiment. He
could not bear to see any of us: he fled even from Edward, and
wandering away, we heard at last that he was at Naples, whither he had
gone quite unconscious of the spot of earth to which he was bending
his steps. The first letter we got from him was dated from that place.
His letter was to me; for I am his favourite sister; and God knows my
devoted affection, my worship of him, deserves this preference. You
shall read it; it is the most perfect specimen of enthusiastic and
heart-moving eloquence ever penned. He had been as in a trance, and
awoke again to life as he looked down from Pausilippo on the Bay of
Naples. The attachment to one earthly object, which preyed on his
being, was suddenly merged in one universal love and adoration. He saw
that the "creation was good;" he purged his heart at once of the black
spot which had blotted and marred its beauty; and opened his whole
soul to pure, elevated, heavenly love. I tamely quote his burning and
transparent expressions, through which you may discern, as in a glass,
the glorious excellence of his soul.

"But, alas! this state of holy excitement could not endure; something
human will still creep in to mingle with and sully our noblest
aspirations. Horatio was taken by an acquaintance to see a beautiful
girl at a convent; in a fatal moment an English lady said to him,
'Come, and I will show you what perfect beauty is:' and those words
decided my poor brother's destiny. Of course I only know our new
sister through his letters. He told us that Clorinda was shut up in
this convent through the heartless vanity of her mother, who dreaded
her as a rival, to wait there till her parents should find some
suitable match, which she must instantly accept, or be doomed to
seclusion for ever. In his younger days Horace had said, 'I am in love
with an idea, and therefore women have no power over me.' But the time
came when his heart was to be the dupe of his imagination--so was it
with his first love--so now, I fear, did he deceive himself with
regard to Clorinda. He declared indeed that his love for her was not
an absorbing passion like his first, but a mingling of pity,
admiration, and that tenderness which his warm heart was ever ready to
bestow. He described her as full of genius and sensibility, a creature
of fire and power, but dimmed by sorrow, and struggling with her
chains. He visited her again; he tried to comfort, he offered to serve
her. It was the first time that a manly, generous spirit had ever
presented itself to the desponding girl. The high-souled Englishman
appeared as a god beside her sordid countrymen; indeed, Horatio would
have seemed such compared with any of his sex; his fascination is
irresistible--Clorinda felt it; she loved him with Italian fervour,
and the first word of kindness from him elicited a whole torrent of
gratitude and passion. Horace had no wish to marry; his old wound was
by no means healed, but rather opened, and bled afresh, when he was
called upon to answer the enthusiastic ardour of the Italian girl. He
felt at once the difference of his feeling for her, and the engrossing
sentiment of which he had been nearly the victim. But he could rescue
her from an unworthy fate, and make her happy. He acted with his usual
determination and precipitancy, and within a month she became his
wife. Here ends my story; his letters were more concise after his
marriage. At first I attributed this to his having a new and dearer
friend, but latterly when he has written he has spoken with such
yearning fondness for home, that I fear--And then when I offered to
visit him, he negatived my proposition. How unlike Horatio! it can
only mean that his wife was averse to my coming. I have questioned
slightly any travellers from Italy. Mrs. Saville seldom appears in
English society except at balls, and then she is always surrounded by
Italians. She is decidedly correct in her conduct, but more I cannot
tell. Her letters to us are beautifully written, and of her talents,
even her genius, I do not entertain a doubt. Perhaps I am prejudiced,
but I fear a Neapolitan, or rather, I should say, I fear a convent
education; and that taste which leads her to associate with her own
demonstrative, unrefined countrymen, instead of trying to link herself
to her husband's friends. I may be wrong--I shall be glad to be found
so. Will you tell me whether I am? I rather ask you than Edward,
because your feminine eyes will discern the truth of these things
quicker than he. Happy girl! you are going to see Horatio--to find a
new, gifted, fond friend; one as superior to his fellow-creatures, as
perfection is superior to frailty."

This account, remembered with more interest now that she approached
the subject of it, excited Ethel's curiosity, and she began, as they
went on their way from Rome to Naples, in a great degree to
participate in Edward's eagerness to see his cousin.



CHAPTER XI.



Sad and troubled?
How brave her anger shows! How it sets off
Her natural beauty! Under what happy star
Was Virolet born, to be beloved and sought
By two incomparable women?
--Fletcher.

It was the month of December when the travellers arrived at this
"piece of heaven dropt upon earth," as the natives themselves name it.
The moon hung a glowing orb in the heavens, and lighted up the sea to
beauty. A blood-red flash shot up now and then from Vesuvius; a summer
softness was in the atmosphere, while a thousand tokens presented
themselves of a climate more friendly, more joyous, and more redundant
than that of the northern Isle from which they came. It was very late
at night when they reached their hotel, and they were heartily
fatigued, so that it was not till the next morning, that immediately
after breakfast, Villiers left Ethel, and went out to seek the abode
of his cousin.

He had been gone some little time, when a waiter of the hotel,
throwing open Ethel's drawing-room door, announced "Signor Orazio."
Quite new to Italy, Ethel was ignorant of the custom in that country,
of designating people by their christian names; and that Horatio
Saville, being a resident in Naples, and married to a Neapolitan, was
known everywhere by the appellation which the servant now used. Ethel
was not in the least aware that it was Lucy's brother who presented
himself to her. She saw a gentleman, tall, very slight in person, with
a face denoting habitual thoughtfulness, and stamped by an
individuality which she could not tell whether to think plain, and yet
it was certainly open and kind. An appearance of extreme shyness,
almost amounting to awkwardness, was diffused over him, and his words
came hesitatingly; he spoke English, and was an Englishman--so much
Ethel discovered by his first words, which were, "Villiers is not at
home?" and then he began to ask her about her journey, and how she
liked the view of the bay of Naples, which she beheld from her
windows. They were in this kind of trivial conversation when Edward
came bounding up-stairs, and with exclamations of delight greeted his
cousin. Ethel, infinitely surprised, examined her guest with more
care. In a few minutes she began to wonder how she came to think him
plain. His deep-set, darkgrey eyes struck her as expressive, if not
handsome. His features were delicately moulded, and his fine forehead
betokened depth of intellect; but the charm of his face was a kind of
fitful, beamy, inconstant smile, which diffused incomparable sweetness
over his physiognomy. His usual look was cold and abstracted--his eye
speculated with an inward thoughtfulness--a chilling seriousness sat
on his features, but this glancing and varying half-smile came to
dispel gloom, and to invite and please those with whom he conversed.
His voice was modulated by feeling, his language was fluent, graceful
in its turns of expression, and original in the thoughts which it
expressed. His manners were marked by high breeding, yet they were
peculiar. They were formed by his individual disposition, and under
the dominion of sensibility. Hence they were often abrupt and
reserved. He forgot the world around him, and gave token, by absence
of mind, of the absorbing nature of his contemplations. But at a touch
this vanished, and a sweet earnestness, and a beaming kindliness of
spirit, at once displaced his abstraction, rendering him attentive,
cordial, and gay.

Never had Horatio Saville appeared to so little advantage as during
his short tte--tte with his new relative. At all times, when
quiescent, he had a retiring manner, and an appearance, whose want of
pretension did not at first allure, and yet which afterwards formed
his greatest attraction. He was always unembarrassed, and Ethel could
not guess that towards her alone he felt as timid and shy as a girl.
It was with considerable effect that Horatio had commanded himself to
appear before the daughter of Lady Lodore. There was something
incongruous and inconceivable in the idea of the child of Cornelia a
woman, married to his cousin. He feared to see in her an image of the
being who had subdued his heart of hearts, and laid prostrate his
whole soul; he trembled to catch the sound of her voice, lest it might
echo tones which could disturb to their depths his inmost thoughts.
Ethel was so unlike her mother, that by degrees he became reassured;
her eyes, her hair, her stature, and tall slender shape, were the
reverse of Lady Lodore; so that in a little while he ventured to raise
his eyes to her face, and to listen to her, without being preoccupied
by a painful sensation, which, in its violence, resembled terror. It
is true that by degrees this dissimilarity to her mother became less;
she had gestures, smiles, and tones, that were all Lady Lodore, and
which, when discerned, struck his heart with a pang, stealing away his
voice, and causing him to stand suspended in the act he was about,
like one acted upon by magic.

While this mute and curious examination was going on in the minds of
Ethel and her visitant, the conversation had not tarried. Edward had
never been so far south, and the wonders of Naples were as new to him
as to Ethel. Saville was eager to show them, and proposed going that
very day to Pompeii. For, as he said, all their winter was not like
the present day, so that it was best to seize the genial weather while
it lasted. Was Mrs. Villiers too much fatigued? On the contrary, Ethel
was quite on the alert; but first she asked whether Mrs. Saville would
not accompany them.

"Clorinda," said Horatio, "promises herself much pleasure from your
acquaintance, and intends calling on you to-day at twenty-four
o'clock, that is, at the Ave Maria: how stupid I am," he continued,
laughing, "I quite forget that you are not Italianized, as I am, and
do not know the way in which the people here count their time.
Clorinda will call late in the afternoon, the usual visiting hour at
Naples, but she would find no pleasure in visiting a ruined city and
fallen fragments. One house in the Chiaja is worth fifty Pompeiis in
the eyes of a Neapolitan, and Clorinda is one, heart and soul. I hope
you will be pleased with her, for she is an admirable specimen of her
countrywomen, and they are wonderful and often sublime creatures in
their way; but do not mistake her for an English woman, or you will be
disappointed--she has not one atom of body, one particle of mind,
that bears the least affinity to England. And now, is your carriage
ordered?--there it is at the door; so, as I should say to one of my
own dear sistes, put on your bonnet, Ethel, quickly, and do not keep
us waiting; for though at Naples, days are short in December, and we
have none of their light to lose."

When, after this explanation, Ethel first saw Clorinda, she was
inclined to think that Saville had scarcely done his wife justice.
Certainly she was entirely Italian, but she was very beautiful; her
complexion was delicate, though dark and without much colour. Her hair
silken and glossy as the raven's wing; her large bright black eyes
resplendent; the perfect arch of her brows, and the marmoreal and
harmonious grace of her forehead, such as is never seen in northern
lands, except in sculpture imitated from the Greeks. The lower part of
her face was not so good; her smile was deficient in sweetness, her
voice wanted melody, and sounded loud to an English ear. Her gestures
were expressive, but quick and wanting in grace. She was more
agreeable when silent and could be regarded as a picture, than when
called into action. She was complimentary in her conversation, and her
manners were winning by their frankness and ease. She gesticulated too
much, and her features were too much in motion,--too pantomimely
expressive, so to speak, not to impress disagreeably one accustomed to
the composure of the English. Still she was a beautiful creature;
young, artless, desirous to please, and endowed, moreover, with the
vivacious genius, the imaginative talent of her country. She spoke as
if she were passionately attached to her husband; but when Ethel
mentioned his English home and his relations, a cloud came over the
lovely Neapolitan's countenance, and a tremor shook her frame. "Do not
think hardly of me," she said, "I do not hate England, but I fear it.
I am sure I should be disliked there--I should be censured, perhaps
taunted, for a thousand habits and feelings as natural to me as the
air I breathe. I am proud, and I should retort impertinence, and,
displeasing my husband, become miserable beyond words. Stay with us;
you I love, and should be wretched to part from. Stay and enjoy this
paradise with us. Intreat his sisters, if they wish to see Horatio, to
come over. I will be more than a sister to them; but let us all forget
that such a place as that cold, distant England exists."

This was Clorinda's usual mode of speaking of her husband's native
country: but once, when Ethel had urged her going there with more
earnestness than usual, suddenly her countenance became disturbed; and
with a lowering and stormy expression of face, that her English friend
could never afterwards forget, she said, "Say not another word, I
pray. Horatio loved--he loves an Englishwoman--it is torture enough
for me to know this. I would rather be torn in quarters by wild
horses, broken in pieces on the rack, than set foot in England. My
cousin, as you have pity for me, and value the life of Horace, use
your influence to prevent his only dreaming of a return to England.
Methinks I could strike him dead, if I only knew that such a thought
lived for a second in his heart."

These words said, Clorinda resumed her smiles, and was, more than
usual, desirous of flattering and pleasing Ethel; so that she
softened, though she could not erase, the impression her vehemence had
made. However, there appeared no necessity for Ethel to exert her
influence. Horace was equally averse to going to England. He loved to
talk of it; he remembered, with yearning fondness, its verdant beauty,
its pretty villages, its meandering streams, its embowered groves; the
spots he had inhabited, the trivial incidents of his daily life, were
recalled with affection: but he did not wish to return. Villiers
attributed this somewhat to his unforgotten attachment to Lady Lodore;
but it was more strange that he negatived the idea of one of his
sisters visiting him:--"She would not like it," was all the
explanation he gave.

Several months passed lightly over the heads of the new-married pair;
while they, bee-like, sipped the honey of life, and, never cloyed, fed
perpetually on sweets. Naples, its galleries, its classic and
beautiful environs, offered an endless succession of occupation and
amusement. The presence of Saville elevated their pleasures; for he
added the living spirit of poetry to their sensations, and associated
the treasures of human genius with the sublime beauty of nature. He
had a tact, a delicacy, a kind of electric sympathy in his
disposition, that endeared him to every one that approached him. His
very singularities, by keeping alive an interest in him, added to the
charm. Sometimes he was so abstracted as to do the most absent things
in the world; and the quick alternations of his gaiety and seriousness
were often ludicrous from their excess. There was one thing, indeed,
to which Ethel found it difficult to accustom herself, which was his
want of punctuality, which often caused hours to be lost, and their
excursions spoiled. Nor did he ever furnish good excuses, but seemed
annoyed at being questioned on the subject.

Clorinda never joined them in their drives and rides out of the city.
She feared to trust herself to winds and waves; the heat, the breeze,
the dust, annoyed her; and she found no pleasure in looking at
mountains, which, after all, were only mountains; or ruins, which were
only ruins--stones, fit for nothing but to be removed and thrown away.
But Clorinda had an empire of her own, to which she gladly admitted
her English relatives, and the delights of which they fully
appreciated. Music, heard in such perfection at the glory of Naples,
the theatre of San Carlo, and the heavenly strains which filled the
churches with an atmosphere of sound more entrancing than incense--all
these were hers; and her own voice, rich, full, and well-cultivated,
made a temple of melody of her own home.

There was--it could not be called a wall--but there was certainly a
paling, of separation between Ethel and Clorinda. The young English
girl could not discover in what it consisted, or why she could not
pass beyond. The more she saw of the Neapolitan, the more she believed
that she liked her--certainly her admiration increased;--still she
felt that on the first day that Clorinda had visited her, with her
caressing manners and well-turned flatteries, she was quite as
intimate with her as now, after several weeks. She had surely nothing
to conceal; all was open in her conduct; yet often Ethel thought of
her as a magician guarding a secret treasure. Something there was that
she watched over and hid. There was often a look of anxiety about her
which Ethel unconsciously dispelled by some chance word; or a cloud
all at once dimmed her face, and her magnificent and dazzling eyes
flashed sudden fire, without apparent cause. There was something in
her manner that always said, "You are English, I am Italian; and there
is natural war between my fire and your snow." But no word, no act,
ever betrayed alienation of feeling. Thus a sort of mystery pervaded
their intercourse, which, though it might excite curiosity, and was
not unakin to admiration, kept the affections in check.

Sometimes Ethel thought that Clorinda feared to compromise her
salvation, for she was a Catholic. During the revelries of the
Carnival, this difference of religion was not so apparent; but when
Lent began, it showed itself, and divided them, on various occasions,
more than before. At last, Lent also was drawing to a close; and as
Villiers and Ethel were anxious to see the ceremonies of Passion Week
at Rome, it was arranged that they, and Mr. and Mrs. Saville, should
visit the Eternal City together. Horatio manifested a distaste even to
the short residence that it was agreed they should make together
during the month they were to spend at Rome; but Clorinda showed
herself particularly anxious for the fulfilment of this plan, and, the
majority prevailing, the whole party left Naples together.

Full soon was the veil of mystery then withdrawn, and Villiers and his
wife let into the arcana of their cousin's life. Horatio had yielded
unwillingly to Clorinda's intreaties, and extracted many promises from
her before he gave his consent; but all would not do--the natural, the
uncontrollable violence of her disposition broke down every barrier;
and in spite of his caution, and her struggles with herself, the
reality opened fearfully upon the English pair. The lava torrent of
Neapolitan blood flowed in her veins; and restraining it for some
time, it at last poured itself forth with volcanic violence. It was at
the inn at Terracina, on their way to Rome, that a scene took place,
such as an English person must cross Alps and Apennines to behold.
Ethel had seen that something was wrong. She saw the beauty of
Clorinda vanished, changed, melted away and awfully transformed into
actual ugliness: she saw tiger like glances from her eyes, and her
lips pale and quivering. Poor Saville strove, with gentle words, to
allay the storm to which some jealous freak gave rise: perceiving that
his endeavours were vain, he rose to quit the room. They were at
dinner: she sprung on him with a knife in her hand: Edward seized her
arm; and she sunk on the floor in convulsions. Ethel was scarcely less
moved. Seeing her terrified beyond all expression, Horatio led her
from the room. He was pale--his voice failed him. He left her; and
sending Edward to her, returned to his wife.

The same evening he said to Villiers,--"Do not ask me to stay;--let me
go without another word. You see how it is. With what Herculean labour
I have concealed this sad truth so long, is scarcely conceivable. When
Ethel's sweet smile has sometimes reproached my tardiness, I have
escaped, but half alive, from a scene like the one you witnessed.

"In a few hours, it is true, Clorinda will be shocked--full of
remorse--at my feet;--that is worse still. Her repentance is as
violent as her rage; and both transform her from a woman into
something too painful to dwell upon. She is generous, virtuous, full
of power and talent; but this fatal vehemence more than neutralizes
her good qualities. I can do nothing; I am chained to the oar. I have
but one hope: time, reason, and steadiness of conduct on my part, may
subdue her; and as she will at no distant period become a mother,
softer feelings may develop themselves. Sometimes I am violently
impelled to fly from her for ever. But she loves me, and I will not
desert her. If she will permit me, I will do my duty to the end. Let
us go back now. You will return to Naples next winter; and with this
separation, which will gall her proud spirit to its core, as a lesson,
I hope by that time that she will prove more worthy of Ethel's
society."

Nothing could be said to this. Saville, though he asked, "Let us go
back," had decreed, irrevocably, in his own mind, not to advance
another step with his companions. The parting was melancholy and
ominous. He would not permit Clorinda to appear again; for, as he
said, he feared her repentance more than her violence, and would not
expose Ethel as the witness of a scene of humiliation and shame. A
thousand times over, his friends promised to return immediately to
Naples, not deferring their visit till the following winter. He was to
take a house for them, for the summer, at Castel  Mare, or Sorrento;
and immediately after Easter they were to return. These kind promises
were a balm to his disturbed mind. He watched their carriage from the
inn at Terracina, as it skimmed along the level road of the Pontine
Marshes, and could not despair while he expected its quick return.
Turning his eyes away, he resumed his yoke again; and, melancholy
beyond his wont, joined his remorseful wife. They were soon on their
way back to Naples:--she less demonstrative in her repentance, because
more internally and deeply touched, than she had ever been before.



CHAPTER XII.



Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.
And summer's lease hath all too short a date;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade.
--Shakspeare.

Parting thus sadly from their unfortunate cousin, Villiers and Ethel
were drawn together yet nearer, and, if possible, with a deeper
tenderness of affection than before. Here was an example before their
eyes, that all their fellow-creatures were not equally fortunate in
the lottery of life, and that worse than a blank befell many, while
the ticket which they had drawn was a prize beyond all summing. Edward
felt indeed disappointed at losing his cousin's society, as well as
deeply grieved at the wretched fate which he had selected for himself.
Ethel, on the contrary, was in her heart glad that he was absent. She
had no place in that heart to spare away from her husband; and however
much she liked Horatio, and worthy as he was of her friendship, she
felt him as an encroacher. Now she delivered herself up to Edward, and
to the thought of Edward solely, with fresh and genuine delight. No
one stood between her and him--none called off his attention, or
forced her to pass one second of time unoccupied by his idea. When she
expressed these feelings to Villiers, he called her selfish and
narrow-hearted, yet his pride and his affection were gratified; for he
knew how true was every word she uttered, and how without flaw or blot
was her faith and her attachment.

"And yet, my Ethel," he said, "I sometimes ask myself, how this
boasted affection of yours will stand the trials which I fear are
preparing for it."

"What trials?" she asked anxiously.

"Care, poverty; the want of all the luxuries, perhaps of the comforts
of life."

Ethel smiled again. "That is your affair," she replied, "do you rouse
your courage, if you look upon these as evils. I shall feel nothing of
all this, while near you; care--poverty--want! as if I needed any
thing except your love--you yourself--who are mine."

"Yes, dear," replied Villiers, "that is all very well at this moment;
rolling along in a comfortable carriage--an hotel ready to receive us,
with all its luxuries; but suppose us without any of these, Ethel--
suppose yourself in a melancholy, little, dingy abode, without
servants, without carriage, going out on foot."

"Not alone," replied his wife, laughing, and kissing his hand; "I
shall have you to wait on me--to wait upon--" "You take it very well
now," said Edward; "I hope that you will never be put to the trial. I
am far from anticipating this excess of wretchedness, of course, but I
cannot help feeling, that the prospects of to-morrow are uncertain,
and I am anxious for my long-delayed letters from England."

With Ethel's deep and warm affection, had she been ten or only five
years older, she also must have participated in Edward's inquietude.
But care is a word, not an emotion, for the very young. She was only
seventeen. She had never attended to the disbursements of money--she
was ignorant of the mechanism of giving and receiving, on which the
course of our life depends. It was in vain that she sought in the
interior of her mind for an image that should produce fear or regret,
with regard to the absence or presence of money. No one reflection or
association brought into being an idea on the subject. Again she
kissed Edward's hand, and looked on him with her soft clear eyes,
thinking only, "He is here--and Heaven has given me all I ask."

Left again to themselves, they were anxious to avoid acquaintances.
Yet this was impossible during the Holy Week at Rome. Villiers found
many persons whom he knew; women of high rank and fashion, men of
wealth, or with the appearance of it, enjoying the present, and, while
away from England, unencumbered by care. Mr. and Mrs. Villiers were
among these, and of them; their rank and their style of living
resembling theirs, associated them together. All this was necessary to
Edward, for he had been accustomed to it--it was natural to Ethel,
because, being wholly inexperienced, she did as others did, and as
Villiers wished her to do, without reflection or forethought.

Yet each day added to Edward's careful thoughts. Easter was gone, and
the period approached when they had talked of returning to Naples. The
covey of English had taken flight towards the north; they were almost
the only strangers in the ancient and silent city, whose every stone
breathes of a world gone by--whose surpassing beauty crowns her still
the glory of the world. The English pair, left to themselves, roamed
through the ruins and loitered in the galleries, never weary of the
very ocean of beauty and grandeur which they coursed over in their
summer bark. The weather grew warm, for the month of May had
commenced, and they took refuge in the vast churches from the heat; at
twilight they sought the neighbouring gardens, or scrambled about the
Coliseum, or the more ruined and weedgrown baths of Caracalla. The
fire-flies came out, and the splashing of the many fountains reached
their ears from afar, while the clear azure of the Roman sky bent over
them in beauty and peace.

Ethel never alluded to their proposed return to Naples--she feared
each day to hear Villiers mention it--she was so happy where she was,
she shrunk from any change. The majesty, the simplicity, the quiet of
Rome, were in unison with the holy stillness that dwelt in her soul,
absorbed as it was by one unchanging image. She had reached the summit
of human happiness--she had nothing more to ask; her full heart, not
bursting, yet gently overflowing in its bliss, thanked Heaven, and
drew nearer Edward, and was at peace.

"God help us!" exclaimed Villiers, "I wonder what on earth will become
of us!"

They were sitting together on fragment of the Coliseum; they had
clambered up its fallen wall, and reached a kind of weed-grown chasm
whose depth, as it was moonlight, they could not measure by the eye;
so they sat beside it on a small fragment, and Villiers held Ethel
close to him lest she should fall. The heartfelt and innocent caress
of two united in the sight of Heaven, wedded together for the
endurance of the good and ills of life, hallowed the spot and hour;
and then, even while Ethel nestled nearer to him in fondness, Edward
made the exclamation that she heard with a wonder which mingled with,
yet could not disturb, the calm joy which she felt.

"What but good can come of us, while we are thus?" she asked.

"You will not listen to me, nor understand me," replied her husband.
"But I do assure you, that our position is more than critical. No
remittances, no letters come from England; we are in debt here--in
debt in Italy! A thousand miles from our resources! I grope in the
dark and see no outlet--every day's post, with the nothing that it
brings, adds to my anxiety."

"All will be well," replied Ethel gently; "no real evil will happen to
us, be assured."

"I wish," said Villiers, "your experience, instead of your ignorance,
suggested the assertion. I would rather die a thousand deaths than
apply to dear Horace, who is ill enough off himself; but every day
here adds to our difficulties. Our only hope is in our instant return
to England--and, by heavens!--you kiss me, Ethel, as if we lived in
fairy land, and that such were our food--have you no fears?"

"I am sorry to say, none," she answered in a soft voice; "I wish I
could contrive some, because I appear unsympathizing to you--but I
cannot fear;--you are in health and near me. Heaven and my dear
father's spirit will watch over us, and all will be well. This is the
end and beginning of my anxiety; so dismiss yours, love--for, believe
me, in a day or two, these forebodings of yours will be as a dream."

"It is very strange," replied Edward, "were you not so close to me, I
should fancy you a spirit instead of a woman; you seem to have no
touch of earthly solicitude. Well, I will do as you bid me, and hope
for to-morrow. And now let us get down from this place before the moon
sets and leaves us in darkness."

As if to confirm the auguries of Ethel, the following morning brought
the long-expected letters. One contained a remittance, another was
from Colonel Villiers, to say, that Edward's immediate presence was
requisite in England to make the final arrangements before his
marriage. With a glad heart Villiers turned his steps northward; while
Ethel, if she could have regretted aught while with him, would have
sighed to leave their lonely haunts in Rome. She well knew that
whatever of sublime nature might display, or man might congregate of
beautiful in art elsewhere, there was a calm majesty, a silent and
awful repose in the ruins of Rome, joined to the delights of a
southern climate, and the luxuriant vegetation of a sunny soil, more
in unison with her single and devoted heart, than any other spot in
the universe could boast. They would both have rejoiced to have seen
Saville again; yet they were unacknowledgedly glad not to pursue their
plan of domesticating near him at Naples. A remediless evil, which is
for ever the source of fresh disquietude, is one that tasks human
fortitude and human patience, more than those vaster misfortunes which
elevate while they wound. The proud aspiring spirit of man craves
something to raise him from the dust, and to adorn his insignificance;
he seeks to strengthen his alliance with the lofty and the eternal,
and shrinks from low-born cares, as being the fetters and bolts that
link him to his baser origin. Saville, the slave of a violent woman's
caprice, struggling with passions, at once so fiery and so feeble as
to excite contempt, was a spectacle which they were glad to shun.
Their own souls were in perfect harmony, and discord was peculiarly
abhorrent to them.

They travelled by the beaten route of Mont Cenis, Lyons, and Calais,
and in less than a month arrived in England. As the presence of
Villiers was requisite in London, after staying a few days at an hotel
in Brook-street, they took a furnished house in the same street for a
short time. The London season had passed its zenith, but its decline
was scarcely perceptible. Ethel had no wish to enter into its
gaieties, and it had been Edward's plan to avoid them until they were
richer. But here they were, placed by fate in the very midst of them;
and as, when their affairs were settled, they intended again to return
abroad, he could not refuse himself the pleasure of seeing Ethel, in
the first flower of her loveliness, mingling with, and outshining,
every other beauty of her country. It would have been difficult
indeed, placed within the verge of the English aristocracy assembled
in London, to avoid its engagements and pleasures--for he "also was an
Arcadian," and made one of the self-enthroned "world." The next two
months, therefore, while still every settlement was delayed by his
father, they spent in the fashionable circles of London.

They did not indeed enter into its amusements with the zest and
resolution of tyros. To Villiers the scene was not new, and therefore
not exceedingly enticing; and Ethel's mind was not of the sort to be
borne along in the stream of folly. They avoided going to crowded
entertainments--they were always satisfied with one or two parties in
the evening. Nay, once or twice in the week they usually remained at
home, and not unseldom dined tte--tte. The serpent fang of
pleasure, and the paltry ambition of society, had no power over Ethel.
She often enjoyed herself, because she often met people of either sex,
whose fame, or wit, or manners, interested and pleased her. But as
little vanity as mortal woman ever had fell to her share. Very young,
and (to use the phrase of the day) very new, flattery and admiration
glanced harmlessly by her. Her personal vanity was satisfied when
Villiers was pleased, and, for the rest, she was glad to improve her
mind, and to wear away the timidity, which she felt that her lonely
education had induced, by mingling with the best society of her
country.

She had also some curiosity, and as she promised herself but a brief
sojourn in this land of lions, she wished to see several things and
persons she might never come in contact with again. Various names
which had reached her in the Illinois, here grew from shadows into
real human beings--ministers of state, beauties, authors, and wits.
She visited once or twice the ventilator of St. Stephen's, and graced
a red bench of the House of Lords on the prorogation of Parliament.
Villiers was very much pleased with her throughout. His pride was
gratified by the approval she elicited from all. Men admired her, but
distantly--as a being they could not rudely nor impertinently
approach. Women were not afraid of her, because they saw, that though
she made no display of conjugal attachment, she loved her husband. Her
extreme youth, the perpetual sunshine of her countenance, and the
gentle grace of her manners, won more the liking than the praise of
her associates. They drew near her as to one too untaught to
understand their mysteries, and too innocent to judge them severely;
an atmosphere of kindness and of repose followed her wherever she
went: this her husband felt more than any other, and he prized his
Ethel at the worth she so truly deserved.

One of the reasons which caused Mrs. Villiers to avoid large
assemblies, was that Lady Lodore was in town, and that in such places
they sometimes met. Ethel did not well know how to act. Youth is ever
fearful of making unwelcome demonstration, and false shame often acts
more powerfully to influence it, than the call of duty or the voice of
affection. Villiers had no desire to bring the mother and daughter
together, and stood neutral. Lady Lodore had once or twice recognized
her by a bow and a smile, but after such, she always vanished and was
seen no more that evening. Ethel often yearned to approach, to claim
her tenderness and to offer her filial affection. Villiers laughed at
such flights. "The safe thing to do," he said, "is to take the tone of
Lady Lodore. She is held back by no bashfulness--she does the thing
she wishes, without hesitation or difficulty. Did she desire her
lovely grown-up daughter to play a child's part towards her, she would
soon contrive to bring it about. Lady Lodore is a woman of the world--
she was nursed in its lessons, and piously adheres to its code; its
ways are her's, and the objects of ambition which it holds out, are
those which she desires to attain. She is talked of as admired and
followed by the Earl of D--. You may spoil all, if you put yourself
forward."

Ethel was not quite satisfied. The voice of nature was awake within,
and she yearned to claim her mother's affection. Until now, she had
regarded her more as a stranger; but at this time, a filial instinct
stirred her heart, impelling her to some outward act--some
demonstration of duty. Whenever she saw Lady Lodore, which was rarely,
and at a distance, she gazed earnestly on her, and tried to read
within her soul, whether Villiers was right, and her mother happy. The
shining, uniform outside of a woman of fashion baffled her endeavours
without convincing her. One evening at the Opera, she discerned Lady
Lodore in the tier below her. Ethel drew back and shaded herself with
the curtain of her box, so that she could not be perceived, while she
watched her mother intently. A succession of visitors came into Lady
Lodore's box, and she spoke to all with the animation of a heart at
ease. There was an almost voluptuous repose in her manner and
appearance, that contrasted with, while it adorned, the easy flow of
her conversation, and the springtide of wit, which, to judge from the
amusement of her auditors, flowed from her lips. Yet Ethel fancied
that her smile was often forced, so suddenly did it displace an
expression of listlessness and languor, which when she turned from the
people in her box to the stage, came across her countenance like a
shadow. It might be the gas, which shadows so unbecomingly the fair
audience at the King's Theatre; it might be the consequences of
raking, for Lady Lodore was out every night; but Ethel thought that
she saw a change; she was less brilliant, her person thinner, and had
lost some of its exquisite roundness. Still, as her daughter gazed,
she thought, She is not happy. Yet what could she do? How pour
sweetness into the bitter stream of life? As Villiers had said, any
advance of hers might spoil all. The sister of the nobleman he had
mentioned, was her companion at the opera. Lord D--himself came,
though late, to fetch her away. She had therefore her own prospects,
her own plans, which doubtless she desired to pursue undisturbed,
however they might fail to charm away the burthen of life.

Once, and only once, Ethel heard her mother's voice, and was spoken to
by her. She had gone to hear the speech from the throne, on the
prorogation of Parliament. She got there late, so that every bench was
filled. Room was made for her near the throne, immediately under the
gallery, (as the house was constructed until last year,) but she was
obliged to be separated from her party, and sat half annoyed at being
surrounded by strangers. A peer, whom she recognized as the Earl of
D--, came up, and entered into conversation with the lady sitting
behind her. Could it be her mother? She remembered, that as she sat
down she had glanced at some one whom she thought she knew, and she
did not doubt that this was Lady Lodore. A sudden thrill passed as an
electric shock through her frame, every joint in her body trembled,
her knees knocked together, and the colour forsook her cheeks. She
tried to rally. Why should she feel agitated, as if possessed by
terror, on account of this near contact with the dearest relation
Heaven has bestowed on its creatures? Why not turn; and if she did not
speak, claim, with beseeching eyes, her mother's love? Was it indeed
her? The lady spoke, and her voice entered and stirred Ethel's beating
heart with strange emotion; every drop of blood within her seemed to
leap at the sound; but she sat still as a statue, saying to herself,
"When Lord D--leaves her I will turn and speak." After some trivial
conversation on topics of the day, the peers were ordered to take
their seats, and Lord D--departed;--then Ethel tried to summon all her
courage; but now the doors were thrown open, the king entered, and
every one stood up. At this moment,--as she, in the confusion of
being called upon, while abstracted, to do any act, however slight,
had for a moment half forgotten her mother,--her arm was touched; and
the same voice which had replied to Lord D--, said to her, "Your ear-
ring is unfastened, Ethel; it will fall out." Ethel could not speak;
she raised her hands, mechanically, to arrange the ornament; but her
trembling fingers refused to perform the office. "Permit me," said the
lady, drawing off her glove;" and Ethel felt her mother's hand touch
her cheek: her very life stood suspended; it was a bitter pain, yet a
pleasure inconceivable; there was a suffocation in her throat, and the
tears filled her eyes; but even the simple words, "I thank you," died
on her lips--her voice could frame no sound. The world, and all within
its sphere, might have passed away at that moment, and she been
unconscious of any change. "Yes, she will love me!" was the idea that
spoke audibly within; and a feeling of confidence, a flow of sympathy
and enthusiastic affection, burst on her heart. As soon as she could
recollect herself, she turned: Lady Lodore was no longer there; she
had glided from her seat; and Ethel just caught a glimpse of her, as
she contrived another for herself, behind a column, which afterwards
so hid her, that her daughter could only see the waving of her plumes.
On these she fixed her eyes until all was over; and then Lady Lodore
went out hurriedly, with averted face, as if to escape her
recognition. This put the seal on Ethel's dream. She believed that her
mother obviously signified her desire that they should continue
strangers to each other. It was hard, but she must submit. She had no
longer that prejudice against Lady Lodore, that exaggerated notion of
her demerits, which the long exile of her father, and the abhorrence
of Mrs. Fitzhenry, had before instilled. Her mother was no longer a
semi-gorgon, hid behind a deceptive mask--a Medea, without a touch of
human pity. She was a lovely, soft-voiced, angelic-looking woman, whom
she would have given worlds to be permitted to love and wait upon. She
found excuses for her errors; she lavished admiration on all her
attractions; she could do all but muster courage to vanquish the
obstacles that existed to their intercourse. She fondly cherished her
image, as an idol placed in the sanctuary of her heart, which she
could regard with silent reverence and worship, but whose concealing
veil she could not raise. Villiers smiled when she spoke in this way
to him. He saw, in her enthusiasm, the overflowing of an affectionate
heart, which longed to exhaust itself in loving. He kissed her, and
bade her think any thing, so that she did nothing. The time for doing
had indeed, for the present, passed away. Lady Lodore left town; and
when mother and daughter met again, it was not destined to be beneath
a palace roof, surrounded by the nobility of the land.



CHAPTER XIII.



I choose to comfort myself by considering, that even while I am
lamenting my present uneasiness, it is passing away.
--Horace Walpole.

An event occurred at this time, which considerably altered the plans
of Mr. and Mrs. Villiers. They had been invited to spend some time at
Maristow Castle, and were about to proceed thither with Lord Maristow
and his daughters, when the sudden death of Mr. Saville changed every
thing. He died of a malignant fever, leaving a young widow, and no
child, to inherit his place in society.

Through this unlooked-for event, Horatio became the immediate heir of
his father's title. He stept, from the slighted position of a younger
son into the rank of the eldest; and thus became another being in all
men's eyes--but chiefly in his father's.

Viscount Maristow had deeply regretted his son's foreign marriage, and
argued against his choice of remaining abroad. He was a statesman, and
conceived that Horatio's talents and eloquence would place him high
among the legislators of St. Stephen's. The soundness of his
understanding, and the flowing brilliancy of his language, were
pledges of his success. But Saville was not ambitious. His imagination
rose high above the empty honours of the world--to be useful was a
better aim; but he did not conceive that his was a mind calculated to
lead others in its train: its framework was too delicate, too finely
strung, to sound in accord with the many. He wanted the desire to
triumph; and was content to adore truth in the temple of his own mind,
without defacing its worship by truckling to the many falsehoods and
errors which demand subserviency in the world.

Lord Maristow had hitherto submitted to his disappointment, not
without murmurs, but without making any great effort at victory. He
had written many letters intreating his son to cast off the drowsy
Neapolitan sloth;--he had besought Villiers, previous to his departure
the preceding year, to bring his cousin back with him;--and this was
all.

The death of his eldest son quickened him to exertion. He resolved to
trust no longer to written arguments, but to go himself to Italy, and
by force of paternal authority, or persuasions, to induce his son to
come back to his native country, and to fill with honour the post to
which fortune had advanced him. He did not doubt that Horatio would
himself feel the force of his new duties; but it would be clenching
his purpose, and paying an agreeable compliment to Clorinda, to make
this journey, and to bring them back with him when he returned.
Whatever Mrs. Saville's distaste to England might be, it must yield to
the necessity that now drew her thither. Lord Maristow could not
imagine any resistance so violent as to impede his wishes. The
projected journey charmed his daughters, saddened as they were by
their recent loss. Lucy was overjoyed at the prospect of seeing her
beloved brother. She felt sure that Clorinda would be brought to
reason and thus, with their hearts set upon one object, one idea, they
bade adieu to Ethel and her husband, as if their career was to be as
sunny and as prosperous as they doubted not that their own would be.

Lord Maristow alone guessed how things might stand. "Edward, my dear
boy," he said, "give me credit for great anxiety on your account. I
wish this marriage of yours had not taken place, then you might have
roughed it as other young men do, and have been the better for a
little tart experience. I do not like this shuffling on your father's
part. I hear for a certainty that this marriage of his will come to
nothing--the friends of the young lady are against it, and she is very
young, and only an heiress by courtesy--her father can give her as
many tens of thousands as he pleases, but he has sworn not to give her
a shilling if she marries without his consent; and he has forbidden
Colonel Villiers his house. He still continues at Cheltenham, and
assures every one that he is on safe ground; that the girl loves him,
and that when once his, the father must yield. It is too ridiculous to
see him playing a boy-lover's part at his time of life, trying to
undermine a daughter's sense of duty--he, who may soon be a
grandfather! The poor little thing, I am told, is quite fascinated by
his dashing manners and station in society. We shall see how it will
end--I fear ill; her father might pardon a runaway match with a lover
of her own age; but he will never forgive the coldblooded villany,
excuse me, of a man of three times her age; who for gain, and gain
only, is seeking to steal her from him. Such is the sum of what I am
told by a friend of mine, just arrived from Cheltenham. The whole
thing is the farce of the day, and the stolen interviews of the
lovers, and the loud, vulgarly-spoken denunciations of her father,
vary the scene from a travestie of Romeo and Juliet to the comedies of
Plautus or Molire. I beg your pardon, Edward, for my frankness, but I
am angry. I have been used as a cat's-paw--I have been treated
unfairly--I was told that the marriage wanted but your signature--my
representations induced you to offer to Miss Fitzhenry, and now you
are a ruined man. I am hampered by my own family, and cannot come
forward to your assistance. My advice is, that you wait a little, and
see what turn matters take; once decided, however they conclude,
strong representations shall be made to your father, and he shall be
forced to render proper assistance; then if politics take a better
turn, I may do something for you--or you can live abroad till better
times."

Villiers thanked Lord Maristow for his advice, and made no remarks
either on his details or promises. He saw his own fate stretched
drearily before him; but his pride made him strong to bear without any
outward signs of wincing. He would suffer all, conceal all, and be
pitied by none. The thought of Ethel alone made him weak. Were she
sheltered during the storm which he saw gathering so darkly, he would
have felt satisfied.

What was to be done? To go abroad, was to encounter beggary and
famine. To remain, exposed him to a thousand insults and dangers from
which there was no escape. Such were the whisperings of despair--but
brighter hopes often visited him. All could not be so evil as it
seemed. Fortune, so long his enemy, would yield at last one inch of
ground--one inch to stand upon, where he might wait in patience for
better days. Had he indeed done his utmost to avert the calamities he
apprehended? Certainly not. Thus spoke his sanguine spirit: more could
and should be done. His father might find means, he himself be enabled
to arrange with his lawyer some mode of raising a sum of money which
would at least enable him to go on the continent with his wife. He
spent his thoughts in wishes for the attainment of this desirable
conclusion to his adversity, till the very earnestness of his
expectations seemed to promise their realization. It could not be that
the worst would come. Absurd! Something must happen to assist them.
Seeking for this unknown something which, in spite of all his efforts,
would take no visible or tangible form, he spent weary days and
sleepless nights, his brain spinning webs of thought, not like those
of the spider, useful to their weaver--a tangled skein they were
rather, where the clue was inextricably hid. He did not speak of these
things to Ethel, but he grew sad, and she was anxious to go out of
town, to have him all to herself, when she promised herself to dispel
his gloom; and, as she darkly guessed at the source of his
disquietude, by economy and a system of rigid privation, to show him
how willing and able she was to meet the adversity which he so much
dreaded.



CHAPTER XIV.



The pure, the open, prosperous love.
That pledged on earth, and sealed above.
Grows in the world's approving eyes.
  In friendship's smile and home's caress.
Collecting all the heart's sweet ties
  Into one knot of happiness.
--Lalla Rookh.

Another month withered away in fruitless expectation. Villiers felt
that he was following an ignis fatuus, yet knew not how to give up his
pursuit. At length, he listened more docilely to Ethel's
representations of the expediency of quitting town. She wished to pay
her long-promised visit to her aunt, and Villiers at last consented to
accompany her. They gave up their house, dispersed a tolerably
numerous establishment, and left town for their sober and rural
seclusion in Essex.

Taken from the immediate scene where care met him at every turn,
Edward's spirits rose; and the very tranquillity and remoteness of
Longfield became a relief and an enjoyment. It was bright October
weather. The fields were green, the hedges yet in verdant trim. The
air was so still that the dead leaves hung too lazy to fall, from the
topmost boughs of the earlier trees. The oak was still dressed in a
dark sober green--the fresh July shoot, having lost its summer hue,
was unapparent among the foliage; the varying tints of beach, ash, and
elm, diversified the woods. The morning and evening skies were
resplendent with crimson and gold, and the moonlight nights were
sweeter than the day.

Fatigued by the hurry of town, and one at least worn out with care,
the young pair took a new lease of love in idleness in this lonely
spot. A slight attack of rheumatism confined Aunt Bessy to her
chimney-corner, but in spite of her caution to Ethel not to incur the
same penalty from all the array of wet walks and damp shoes, it was
her best pleasure each morning to tie on her bonnet, take her
husband's arm, and they wandered away together, returning only to find
their horses ready, and then they departed for hours, coming back late
and unwillingly after the sun was down. Mrs. Elizabeth wondered where
all the beautiful spots were, which Ethel described so
enthusiastically as to be found in the neighbourhood. The good lady
longed to go out herself to see if she could not reap equal delight
from viewing the grouping of trees, whose various autumnal tints were
painted in Ethel's speech with hues too bright for earth, or to
discover what there could be so extraordinarily picturesque in a moss-
grown cottage, near a brook, with a high bank clothed with wood
behind, which she believed must be one Dame Nixon's cottage, in the
Vale of Bewling, and which she knew she must have passed a thousand
times, and yet she had never noticed its beauty. Very often Ethel
could give no information of whither they had been, only they had lost
themselves in majestic woods, lingered in winding lanes, which led to
resplendent views, or even reached the margin of the barren sea, to
behold the enveloping atmosphere reflected in its fitful mirror--to
watch the progress of evanescent storms, or to see the moon light up
her silvery pathway on the dusky waste. Villiers took his gun with him
in his walks, but, though American bred, Ethel was so unfeignedly
distressed by the sight of death, that he never brought down a bird:
he shot in its direction now and then, to keep his pointer in
practice, and to laugh at his wife's glad triumph when he missed his
feathery mark.

Ethel was especially delighted to renew her acquaintance with
Longfield, her father's boyhood home, under such sunny circumstances.
She had loved it before: with anguish in her heart, and heavy sadness
weighing on her steps, she had loved it for his sake. But now that it
became the home, the dedicated garden of love, it received additional
beauty in her eyes from its association with the memory of Lord
Lodore. All things conjoined; the season, calmed and brightened, as if
for her especial enjoyment; remembrance of the past, and the undivided
possession of her Edward's society, combined to steep her soul in
happiness. Even he, whose more active and masculine spirit might have
fretted in solitude and sloth, was subdued by care and uncertainty to
look on the peace of the present moment as the dearest gift of the
gods. Both so young, and the minds of both open as day to each other's
eyes, no single blot obscured their intercourse. They never tired of
each other, and the teeming spirit of youth filled the empty space of
each hour as it came, with a new growth of sentiments and ideas. The
long evening had its pleasures, with its close-drawn curtains and
cheerful fire. Even whist with the white-haired parson, and Mrs.
Fitzhenry in her spectacles, imparted pleasure. Could any thing duller
have been devised, which would have been difficult, it had not been so
to them; and a stranger coming in and seeing their animated looks, and
hearing their cheerful tones and light-hearted laugh, must have envied
the very Elysium of delight, which aunt Bessy's usually so sober
drawing-room contained. Merely to see Ethel leaning on her husband's
arm, and looking up in his face as he drew her yet closer, and, while
his fingers were twined among her silken ringlets, kissed so fondly
her fair brow, must have demonstrated to a worldling the irrefragable
truth that happiness is born a twin, love being the parent.

The beauty of a pastoral picture has but short duration in this cloudy
land,--and happiness, the sun of our moral existence, is yet more
fitful in its visitations. Villiers and his young wife took their
accustomed ride through shady lanes and copses, and through parks,
where, though the magnificent features of nature were wanting, the eye
was delighted by a various prospect of wood and lawny upland. The soft
though wild west wind drove along vast masses of snowy clouds, which
displayed in their intervals the deep stainless azure of the boundless
sky. The shadows of the clouds now darkened the pathway of our riders,
and now they saw the sunlight advance from a distance, coming on with
steps of light and air, till it reached them, and they felt the warmth
and gladness of sunshine descend on them. The various coloured woods
were now painted brightly in the beams, and now half lost in shadow.
There was life and action everywhere--yet not the awakening activity
of spring, but rather a vague, uneasy restlessness, allied to languor,
and pregnant with melancholy.

Villiers was silent and sad. Ethel too well knew the cause wherefore
he was dispirited. He had received letters that morning which stung
him into a perception of the bitter realities which were gathering
about them. One was to say that no communication had been received
from his father, but that it was believed that he was somewhere in
London--the other was from his banker, to remind him that he had
overdrawn his credit--nearly the most disagreeable intelligence a man
can hear when he possesses no immediate means of replenishing his
drained purse. Ethel was grieved to see him pained, but she could not
acutely feel these pecuniary distresses. She tried to divert his
thoughts by conversation, and pointing out the changes which the
advancing season made in the aspect of the country.

"Yes," said Villiers, "it is a beautiful world; poets tell us this,
and religious men have drawn an argument for their creed from the
wisdom and loveliness displayed in the external universe, which speaks
to every heart and every understanding. The azure canopy fretted with
golden lights, or, as now, curtained by wondrous shapes, which, though
they are akin to earth, yet partake the glory of the sky--the green
expanse, variegated by streams, teeming with life, and prolific of
food to sustain that life, and that very food the chief cause of the
beauty we enjoy--with such magnificence has the Creator set forth our
table--all this, and the winds that fan us so balmily, and the flowers
that enchant our sight--do not all these make earth a type of heaven?"

Ethel turned her eyes on him to read in his face the expression of the
enthusiasm and enjoyment that seemed to dictate his words. But his
countenance was gloomy, and as he continued to speak, his expressions
took more the colour of his uneasy feelings. "How false and senseless
all this really is!" he pursued. "Find a people who truly make earth,
its woods and fells, and inclement sky, their unadorned dwelling-
place, who pluck the spontaneous fruits of the soil, or slay the
animals as they find them, attending neither to culture nor property,
and we give them the name of barbarians and savages--untaught,
uncivilized, miserable beings--and we, the wiser and more refined,
hunt and exterminate them:--we, who spend so many words, either as
preachers or philosophers, to vaunt that with which they are
satisfied, we feel ourselves the greater, the wiser, the nobler, the
more barriers we place between ourselves and nature, the more
completely we cut ourselves off from her generous but simple
munificence."

"But is this necessary?" asked the forestbred girl: "when I lived in
the wilds of the Illinois--the simplest abode, food and attire, were
all I knew of human refinements, and I was satisfied."

Villiers did not appear to heed her remark, but continued the train of
his own reflections. "The first desire of man is not for wealth nor
luxury, but for sympathy and applause. He desires to remove to the
furthest extremity of the world contempt and degradation; and
according to the ideas of the society in which he is bred, so are his
desires fashioned. We, the most civilized, high-bred, prosperous
people in the world, make no account of nature, unless we add the
ideas of possession, and of the labours of man. We rate each
individual, (and we all desire to be rated as individuals, distinct
from and superior to the mass,) not by himself, but by his house, his
park, his income. This is a trite observation, yet it appears new when
it comes home: what is lower, humbler, more despicable than a poor
man? Give him learning, give him goodness--see him with manners
acquired in poverty, habits dyed in the dusky hues of penury; and if
we do not despise him, yet we do not admit him to our tables or
society. Refinement may only be the varnish of the picture, yet it is
necessary to make apparent to the vulgar eye even the beauties of
Raphael."

"To the vulgar eye!" repeated Ethel, emphatically.

"And I seem one of those, by the way I speak," said Edward, smiling.
"Yet, indeed, I do not despise any man for being poor, except myself.
I can feel pride in showing honour where honour is due, even though
clad in the uncouth and forbidding garb of plebeianism; but I cannot
claim this for myself--I cannot demand the justice of men, which they
would nickname pity. The Illinois would be preferable far."

"And the Illinois might be a paradise," said Ethel.

"We hope for a better--we hope for Italy. Do you remember Rome and the
Coliseum, my love?--Naples, the Chiaja, and San Carlo?--these were
better than the savannas of the west. Our hopes are good; it is the
present only which is so thorny, so worse than barren: like the souls
of Dante, we have a fiery pass to get through before we reach our
place of bliss; that we have it in prospect will gift us with
fortitude. Meanwhile I must string myself to my task. Ethel, dearest,
I shall go to town to-morrow."

"And I with you, surely?"

"Do not ask it; this is your first lesson in the lore you were so
ready to learn, of bearing all for me--"

"With you," interrupted his wife.

"With me--it shall soon be," replied Edward; "but to speak according
to the ways of this world, my presence in London is necessary for a
few days--for a very few days; a journey there and back for me is
nothing, but it would be a real and useless expense if you went.
Indeed, Ethel, you must submit to my going without you--I ask it of
you, and you will not refuse."

"A few days, you say," answered Ethel--"a very few days? It is hard.
But you will not be angry, if I should join you if your return is
delayed?"

"You will not be so mad," said Villiers. "I go with a light heart,
because I leave you in security and comfort. I will return--I need not
protest--you know that I shall return the moment I can. I speak of a
few days; it cannot be a week: let me go then, with what satisfaction
I may, to the den of darkness and toil, and not be farther annoyed by
the fear that you will not support my absence with cheerfulness. As
you love me, wait for me with patience--remain with your aunt till I
return."

"I will stay for a week, if it must be so," replied Ethel.

"Indeed, my love, it must--nor will I task you beyond--before a week
is gone by, you shall see me."

Ethel looked wistfully at him, but said no more. She thought it hard--
she did not think it right that he should go--that he should toil and
suffer without her; but she had no words for argument or contention,
so she yielded. The next morning--a cold but cheerful morning--at
seven o'clock, she drove over with him in Mrs. Fitzhenry's little pony
chaise to the town, four miles off, through which the stages passed. A
first parting is a kind of landmark in life--a starting post whence we
begin our career out of illusion and the land of dreams, into reality
and endurance. They arrived not a moment too soon: she had yet a
thousand things to say--one or two very particular things, which she
had reserved for the last moment; there was no time, and she was
forced to concentrate all her injunctions into one word, "Write!"

"Every day--and do you."

"It will be my only pleasure," replied his wife. "Take care of
yourself."

He was on the top of the stage and gone; and Ethel felt that a blank
loneliness had swallowed up the dearest joy of her life.

She drew her cloak round her--she gazed along the road--there were no
traces of him--she gave herself up to thought, and as he was the
object of all her thoughts, this was her best consolation. She
reviewed the happy days they had spent together--she dwelt on the
memory of his unalterable affection and endearing kindness, and then
tears rushed into her eyes. "Will any ill every befall him?" she
thought. "O no, none ever can! he must be rewarded for his goodness
and his love. How dear he ought to be to me! Did he not take the poor
friendless girl from solitude and grief; and disdaining neither her
poverty nor her orphan state, give her himself, his care, his
affection? O, my Edward! what would Ethel have been without you? Her
father was gone--her mother repulsed her--she was alone in the wide
world, till you generously made her your own!"

With the true enthusiasm of passion, Ethel delighted to magnify the
benefits she had received, and to make those which she herself
conferred nothing, that gratitude and love might become yet stronger
duties. In her heart, though she reproached herself for what she
termed selfishness, she could not regret his poverty and difficulties,
if thus she should acquire an opportunity of being useful to him; but
she felt herself defrauded of her best privileges, of serving and
consoling, by their separation.

Thus,--now congratulating herself on her husband's attachment, now
repining at the fate that divided them,--agitated by various emotions
too sweet and bitter for words, she returned to Longfield. Aunt Bessy
was in her arm-chair, waiting for her to begin breakfast. Edward's
seat was empty--his cup was not placed--he was omitted in the domestic
arrangements;--tears rushed into her eyes; and in vain trying to calm
herself, she sobbed aloud. Aunt Bessy was astonished; and when all the
explanation she got was, "He is gone!" she congratulated herself, that
her single state had spared her the endurance of these conjugal
distresses.



CHAPTER XIV.



How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen.
What old December's bareness every where!
--Shakspeare.

Ethel cheered herself to amuse her aunt; and, as in her days of
hopeless love, she tried to shorten the hours by occupation. It was
difficult; for all her thoughts were employed in conjectures as to
where Edward was, what doing--in looking at her watch, and following
in her mind all his actions--or in meditating how hereafter she might
remedy any remissness on her part, (so tender was her conscience,) and
best contribute to his happiness. Such reveries beguiled many hours,
and enabled her to endure with some show of courage the pains of
absence. Each day she heard from him--each day she wrote, and this
entire pouring out of herself on paper formed the charm of her
existence. She endeavoured to persuade him how fortunate their lot
might hereafter be--how many of his fears were unfounded or misplaced.

"Remember, dearest love," she said, "that I have nothing of the fine
lady about me. I do not even feel the want of those luxuries so
necessary to most women. This I owe to my father. It was his first
care, while he brought me up in the most jealous retirement, to render
me independent of the services of others. Solitude is to me no evil,
and the delight of my life would be to wait upon you. I am not
therefore an object of pity, when fortunes deprives me of the
appurtenances of wealth, which rather annoy than serve me. My devotion
and sacrifice, as you are pleased to call the intense wish of my heart
to contribute to your happiness, are nothing. I sacrifice all, when I
give up one hour of your society--there is the sting--there the merit
of my permitting you to go without me. I can ill bear it. I am
impatient and weak; do not then, Edward dearest, task me too far--
recall me to your side, if your return is delayed--recall your fond
girl to the place near your heart, where she desires to remain for
ever."

Villiers answered with few but expressive words of gratitude and
fidelity. His letters breathed disappointment and anxiety. "It is too
true," he said, "as I found it announced when I first came to town, my
father is married. He got the banns published in an obscure church in
London; he persuaded Miss Gregory to elope with him, and they are
married. Her father is furious, he returns every letter unopened; his
house and heart, he says, are still open to his daughter--but the--, I
will not repeat his words, who stole her from him, shall never benefit
by a shilling of his money--let her return, and all shall be
pardoned--let her remain with her husband, and starve, he cares not.
My father has spent much time and more money on this pursuit: in the
hope of securing many thousands, he raised hundreds at a prodigal and
ruinous interest, which must now be paid. He has not ten pounds in the
world--so he says. My belief is, that he is going abroad to secure to
himself the payment of the scanty remnant of his income. I have no
hopes. I would beg at the corner of a street, rather than apply to a
man who never has been a parent to me, and whose last act is that of a
villain. Excuse me; you will be angry that I speak thus of my father,
but I know that he speaks of the poor girl he has deluded, with a
bitterness and insult, which prove what his views were in marrying
her. In this moment of absolute beggary, my only resource is to raise
money. I believe I shall succeed; and the moment I have put things in
train, with what heartfelt, what unspeakable joy, shall I leave this
miserable place for my own Ethel's side, long to remain!"

Villiers's letters varied little, but yet they got more desponding;
and Ethel grew very impatient to see him again. She had counted the
days of her week--they were fulfilled, and her husband did not return.
Every thing depended, he said, on his presence; and he must remain yet
for another day or two. At first he implored her to be patient. He
besought her, as she loved him, to endure their separation yet for a
few more days. His letters were very short, but all in this style.
They were imperative with his wife--she obeyed; yet she did so, she
told him, against her will and against her sense of right. She ought
to be at his side to cheer him under his difficulties. She had married
him because she loved him, and because the first and only wish of her
heart was to conduce to his happiness. To travel together, to enjoy
society and the beauties of nature in each other's society, were
indeed blessings, and she valued them; but there was another dearer
still, of which she felt herself defrauded, and for which she yearned.
"The aim of my life, and its only real joy," she said, "is to make
your existence happier than it would have been without me. When I know
and feel that such a moment or hour has been passed by you with
sensations of pleasure, and that through me, I have fulfilled the
purpose of my destiny. Deprived of the opportunity to accomplish this,
I am bereft of that for which I breathe. You speak as if I were better
off here than if I shared the inconveniences of your lot--is not this
strange language, my own Edward? You talk of security and comfort;
where can I be so secure as near you? And for comfort! what heart-
elevating joy it would be to exchange this barren, meagre scene of
absence, for the delight, the comfort of seeing you, of waiting on
you! I do not ask you to hasten your return, so as to injure your
prospects, but permit me to join you. Would not London itself, dismal
as you describe it, become sunny and glad, if Ethel were with you?"

To these adjurations Villiers scarcely replied. Time crept on; three
weeks had already elapsed. Now and then a day intervened, and he did
not write, and his wife's anxiety grew to an intolerable pitch. She
did not for an instant suspect his faith, but she feared that he must
be utterly miserable, since he shrunk from communicating his feelings
to her. His last letter was brief; "I have just come from my
solicitor," he said, "and have but time to say, that I must go there
again to-morrow, so I shall not be with you. O the heavy hours in this
dark prison! You will reward me and make me forget them when I see
you--but how shall I pass the time till then!"

These words made Ethel conceive the idea of joining him in town. He
would not, he could not be angry? He could not bring his mind to ask
her to share his discomforts--but ought she not to volunteer--to
insist upon his permitting her to come? Permit! the same pride that
prevented his asking, would induce him to refuse her request; but
should she do wrong, if, without his express permission, she were to
join him? A thrill, half fear, half transport, made her heart's blood
stand still at the thought. The day after this last, she got no
letter; the following day was Monday, and there would be no post from
town. Her resolution was taken, and she told her aunt, that she should
go up to London the following day. Mrs. Elizabeth knew little of the
actual circumstances of the young pair. Villiers had made it an
express condition, that she should not be informed of their
difficulties, for he was resolute not to take from her little store,
which, in the way she lived, was sufficient, yet barely so, for her
wants. She did not question her niece as to her journey; she imagined
that it was a thing arranged. But Ethel herself was full of
perplexity; she remembered what Villiers had said of expense; she knew
that he would be deeply hurt if she used a public conveyance, and yet
to go post would consume the little money she had left, and she did
not like to reach London pennyless. She began to talk to her aunt, and
faltered out something about want of money for posting--the good
lady's purse was instantly in her hand. Ethel had not the same horror
as her husband of pecuniary obligation--she was too inexperienced to
know its annoyances; and in the present instance, to receive a small
sum from her aunt, appeared to her an affair that did not merit
hesitation. She took twenty pounds for her journey, and felt her heart
lighter. There yet remained another question. Hitherto they had
travelled in their own carriage, with a valet and lady's maid.
Villiers had taken his servant to town with him. In a postscript to
one of his letters, he said, "I was able to recommend Laurie to a good
place, so I have parted with him, and I shall not take another servant
at this moment." Laurie had been long and faithfully attached to her
husband, who had never lived without an attendant, and who, from his
careless habits, was peculiarly helpless. Ethel felt that this
dismissal was a measure of economy, and that she ought to imitate it.
Still as any measure to be taken always frightened her, she had not
courage to discharge her maid, but resolved to go up to town without
her. Aunt Bessy was shocked at her going alone, but Ethel was firm;
nothing could happen to her, and she should prove to Edward her
readiness to endure privation.

On Monday, at eleven in the forenoon, on the 28th of November, Ethel,
having put together but a few things,--for she expected a speedy
return,--stept into her travelling chariot, and began her journey to
town. She was all delight at the idea of seeing Edward. She reproached
herself for having so long delayed giving this proof of her earnest
affection. She listened with beaming smiles to all her aunt's
injunctions and cautions: and, the carriage once in motion, drawing
her shawl round her, as she sat in the corner, looking on the
despoiled yet clear prospect, her mind was filled with the most
agreeable reveries--her heart soothed by the dearest anticipations.

To pay the post-horses--to gift the postillion herself, were all
events for her: she felt proud. "Edward said, I must begin to learn
the ways of the world; and this is my first lesson in economy and
care," she thought, as she put into the post-boy's hand just double
the sum he had ever received before. "And how good, and attentive, and
willing every body is! I am sure women can very well travel alone.
Every one is respectful, and desirous to serve," was her next internal
remark, as she undrew her little silken purse, to give a waiter half-
a-crown, who had brought her a glass of water, and whose extreme
alacrity struck her as so very kind-hearted.

Her spirits flagged as the day advanced. In spite of herself, an
uneasy feeling diffused itself through her mind, when, the sun going
down, a misty, chilly twilight crept over the landscape. Had she done
right? she asked herself; would Edward indeed be glad to see her? She
felt half frightened at her temerity--alarmed at the length of her
journey--timid when she thought of the vast London she was about to
enter, without any certain bourn. She supposed that Villiers went each
day to his club, and she knew that he lodged in Duke street, St.
James's; but she was ignorant of the number of the house, and the
street itself was unknown to her; she did not remember ever to have
been in it in her life.

Her carriage entered labyrinthine London by Blackwall, and threaded
the wilds of Lothbury. A dense and ever-thickening mist, palpable,
yellow, and impervious to the eye, enveloped the whole town. Ethel had
heard of a November fog; but she had never witnessed one, and the idea
of it did not occur to her memory: she was half-frightened, thinking
that some strange phnomena were going on, and fancying that her
postillion was hurrying forward in terror. At last, in Cheapside, they
stopped jammed up by carts and coaches; and then she contrived to make
herself heard, asking what was the matter? The word "eclipse" hung
upon her lips.

"Only, ma'am, the street has got blocked up like in the fog: we shall
get on presently."

The word "fog" solved the mystery; and again her thoughts were with
Villiers. What a horrible place for him to live in! And he had been
enduring all this wretchedness, while she was breathing the pure
atmosphere of the country. Again they proceeded through the "murky
air," and through an infinitude of mischances;--the noise--the
hubbub--the crowd, as she could distinguish it, as if veiled by dirty
gauze, by the lights in the shops--all agitated and vexed her. Through
Fleet Street and the Strand they went; and it seemed as if their
progress would never come to an end. The whole previous journey from
Longfield was short in comparison to this tedious procession: twenty
times she longed to get out and walk. At last they got free, and with
a quicker pace drove up to the door of the Union Club, in Charing
Cross.

The post-boy called one of the waiters to the carriage door; and Ethel
asked--"Is Mr. Villiers here?"

"Mr. Villiers, ma'am, has left town."

Ethel was aghast. She had watched assiduously along the road; yet she
had felt certain that if he had meant to come, she would have seen him
on Sunday; and till this moment, she had not entertained a real doubt
but that she should find him. She asked, falteringly, "When did he
go?"

"Last week, ma'am: last Thursday, I think it was."

Ethel breathed again: the man's information must be false. She was too
inexperienced to be aware that servants and common people have a
singular tact in selecting the most unpleasant intelligence, and being
very alert in communicating it. "Do you know," she inquired, "where
Mr. Villiers lodges?"

"Can't say, indeed, ma'am; but the porter knows;--here, Saunders!"

No Saunders answered. "The porter is not in the way; but if you can
wait, ma'am, he'll be back presently."

The waiter disappeared: the post-boy came up--he touched his hat.
"Wait," said Ethel;--"we must wait a little;" and he removed himself
to the horses' heads. Ethel sat in her lonely corner, shrouded by fog
and darkness, watching every face as it passed under the lamp near,
fancying that Edward might appear among them. The ugly faces that
haunt, in quick succession, the imagination of one oppressed by night-
mare, might vie with those that passed successively in review before
Ethel. Most of them hurried on, looking neither to the right nor left.
Some entered the house; some glanced at her carriage: one or two,
perceiving a bonnet, evidently questioned the waiter. He stood there
for her own service, Ethel thought; and she watched his every
movement--his successive disappearances and returns--the people he
talked to. Once she signed to him to come; but--"No, ma'am, the porter
is not come back yet,"--was all his answer. At last, after having
stood, half whistling, for some five minutes, (it appeared to Ethel
half-an-hour,) without having received any visible communication, he
suddenly came up to the carriage door, saying, "The porter could not
stay to speak to you, ma'am, he was in such a hurry. He says, Mr.
Villiers lodges in Duke Street, St. James's: he should know the house,
but has forgotten the number."

"Then I must wait till he comes back again. I knew all that before.
Will he be long?"

"A long time, ma'am; two hours at least. He said that the woman of the
house is a widow woman--Mrs. Derham."

Thus, as if by torture, (but, as with the whipping boys of old, her's
was the torture, not the delinquent's,) Ethel extracted some
information from the stupid, conceited fellow. On she went to Duke
Street, to discover Mrs. Derham's residence. A few wrong doors were
knocked at; and a beer-boy, at last, was the Mercury that brought the
impatient, longing wife, to the threshold of her husband's residence.
Happy beer-boy! She gave him a sovereign: he had never been so rich in
his life before;--such chance-medleys do occur in this strange world!



CHAPTER XV.



O my reviving joy! thy quickening presence
Makes the sad night
Sit like a youthful spring upon my blood.
I cannot make thy welcome rich enough
With all the wealth of words.
--Middleton.

The boy knocked at the door. A servant-girl opened it. "Does Mr.
Villiers lodge here?" asked the postillion, from his horse.

"Yes," said the girl.

"Open the door quickly, and let me out!" cried Ethel, as her heart
beat fast and loud.

The door was opened--the steps let down--operations tedious beyond
measures, as she thought. She got out, and was in the hall, going up
stairs.

"Mr. Villiers is not at home," said the maid.

Through the low blinds of the parlour window, Mrs. Derham had been
watching what was going on. She heard what her servant said, and now
came out. "Mr. Villiers is not at home," she reiterated; "will you
leave any message?"

"No; I will wait for him. Show me into his room."

"I am afraid that it is locked," answered Mrs. Derham repulsively:
"perhaps you can call again. Who shall I say asked for him?"

"O no!" cried Ethel, "I must wait for him. Will you permit me to wait
in your parlour? I am Mrs. Villiers."

"I beg pardon," said the good woman; "Mrs. Villiers is in the
country."

"And so I am," replied Ethel--"at least, so I was this morning. Don't
you see my travelling carriage?--look; you may be sure that I am Mrs.
Villiers."

She took out of her little bag one of Edward's letters, with the
perusal of which she had beguiled much of her way to town. Mrs. Derham
looked at the direction--"The Honourable Mrs. Villiers;"--her
countenance brightened. Mrs. Derham was a little, plump, well-
preserved woman of fifty-four or five. She was kind-hearted, and of
course shared the worship for rank which possesses every heart born
within the four seas. She was now all attention. Villiers's room was
open; he was expected very soon:--"He is so seldom out in an evening:
it is very unlucky; but he must be back directly," said Mrs. Derham,
as she showed the way up the narrow staircase. Ethel reached the
landing, and entered a room of tolerable dimensions, considerably
encumbered with litter, which opened into a smaller room, with a tent
bed. A little bit of fire glimmered in the grate. The whole place
looked excessively forlorn and comfortless.

Mrs. Derham bustled about to bestow a little neatness on the room,
saying something of the "untidiness of gentlemen," and "so many
lodgers in the house." Ethel sat down she longed to be alone. There
was the post-boy to be paid, and to be ordered to take the carriage to
a coach-house; and then--Mrs. Derham asked her if she would not have
something to eat: she herself was at tea, and offered a cup, which
Ethel thankfully accepted, acknowledging that she had not eaten since
the morning. Mrs. Derham was shocked. The rank, beauty, and sweet
manners of Ethel had made a conquest, which her extreme youth
redoubled. "So young a lady," she said, "to go about alone: she did
not know how to take care of herself, she was sure. She must have some
supper: a roast chicken should be ready in an hour--by the time Mr.
Villiers came in."

"But the tea," said Ethel, smiling; "you will let me have that now?"

Mrs. Derham hurried away on this hint, and the young wife was left
alone. She had been married a year; but there was still a freshness
about her feelings, which gave zest to every change in her wedded
life. "This is where he has been living without me," she thought;
"Poor Edward! it does not look as if he were very comfortable."

She rose from her seat, and began to arrange the books and papers. A
glove of her husband's lay on the table: she kissed it with a glad
feeling of welcome. When the servant came in, she had the fire
replenished--the hearth swept; and in a minute or two, the room had
lost much of its disconsolate appearance. Then, with a continuation of
her feminine love of order she arranged her own dress and hair; giving
to her attire, as much as possible, an at-home appearance. She had
just finished--just sat down, and begun to find the time long--when a
quick, imperative knock at the door, which she recognized at once,
made her heart beat, and her cheek grow pale. She heard a step--a
voice--and Mrs. Derham answer--"Yes, sir; the fire is in--every thing
comfortable;"--and Ethel opened the door, as she spoke, and in an
instant was clasped in her husband's arms.

It was not a moment whose joy could be expressed by words. He had been
miserable during her absence, and had thought of sending for her; but
he looked round his single room, remembered that he was in lodgings,
and gave up his purpose with a bitter murmur: and here she was,
uncalled for, but most welcome: she was here, in her youth, her
loveliness, her sweetness: these were charms; but others more
transcendent now attended on, and invested her;--the sacred tenderness
of a wife had led her to his side; and love, in its most genuine and
beautiful shape, shed an atmosphere of delight and worship about her.
Not one circumstance could alloy the unspeakable bliss of their
meeting. Poverty, and its humiliations, vanished from before the eyes
of Villiers; he was overflowingly rich in the possession of her
affections--her presence. Again and again he thanked her, in broken
accents of expressive transport.

"Nothing in the whole world could make me unhappy now!" he cried; and
Ethel, who had seen his face look elongated and gloomy at the moment
he had entered, felt indeed that Medea, with all her potent herbs, was
less of a magician than she, in the power of infusing the sparkling
spirit of life into one human frame. It was long before either were
coherent in their inquiries and replies. There was nothing, indeed,
that either wished to know. Life, and its purposes, were fulfilled,
rounded, complete, without a flaw. They loved, and were together--
together, not for a transitory moment, but for the whole duration of
the eternity of love, which never could be exhausted in their hearts.

After more than an hour spent in gradually becoming acquainted and
familiar with the transporting change, from separate loneliness to
mutual society and sympathy, the good-natured face of Mrs. Derham
showed itself, to announce that Ethel's supper was ready. These words
brought back to Edward's recollection his wife's journey, and
consequent fatigues: he grew more desirous than Mrs. Derham to feed
his poor famished bird, whose eyes, in spite of the joy that shone in
them, began to look languid, and whose cheek was pale. The little
supper-table was laid, and they sat down together.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu has recorded the pleasure to be reaped "When
we meet with champagne and a chicken at last;" and perhaps social life
contains no combination so full of enjoyment as a tte--tte supper.
Here it was, with its highest zest. They feared no prying eyes--they
knew no ill: it was not a scanty hour of joy snatched from an age of
pain--a single spark illuminating a long blank night. It came after
separation, and possessed, therefore, the charm of novelty; but it was
the prelude to a long reunion--the seal set on their being once again
joined, to go through together each hour of the livelong day. Full of
unutterable thankfulness and gladness, as were the minds of each,
there was, besides, "A sacred and home-felt delight, A sober certainty
of waking bliss," which is the crown and fulfilment of perfect human
happiness. "Imparadised" by each other's presence--no doubt--no fear
of division on the morrow-no dread of untoward event, suspicion, or
blame, clouded the balmy atmosphere which their hearts created around
them. No. Eden was required to enhance their happiness; there needed
no "Crisped brooks, Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold;"--no
"Happy, rural seat, with various view," decked with "Flowers of all
hue," "All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;"--nor "cool
recess," nor "Vernal airs, Breathing the smell of field and grove." In
their narrow abode--their nook of a room, cut off from the world,
redolent only of smoke and fog--their two fond hearts could build up
bowers of delight, and store them with all of ecstasy which the soul
of man can know, without any assistance of eye, or ear, or scent. So
rich, and prodigal, and glorious, in its gifts, is faithful and true-
hearted love,--when it knows the sacrifices which it must make to
merit them, and consents willingly to forego vanity, selfishness, and
the exactions of self-will, in unlimited and unregretted exchange.

Mutual esteem and gratitude sanctified the unreserved sympathy which
made each so happy in the other. Did they love the less for not loving
"in sin and fear?" Far from it. The certainty of being the cause of
good to each other tended to foster the most delicate of all passions,
more than the rougher ministrations of terror, and a knowledge that
each was the occasion of injury to the other. A woman's heart is
peculiarly unfitted to sustain this conflict. Her sensibility gives
keenness to her imagination, and she magnifies every peril, and
writhes beneath every sacrifice which tends to humiliate her in her
own eyes. The natural pride of her sex struggles with her desire to
confer happiness, and her peace is wrecked.

Far different was the happy Ethel's situation--far otherwise were her
thoughts employed than in concealing the pangs of care and shame. The
sense of right adorned the devotion of love. She read approbation in
Edward's eyes, and drew near him in full consciousness of deserving
it. They sat at their supper, and long after, by the cheerful fire,
talking of a thousand things connected with the present and the
future--the long, long future which they were to spend together; and
every now and then their eyes sparkled with the gladness of renewed
delight in seeing each other. "Mine, my own, for ever!"--And was this
exultation in possession to be termed selfish? by no other reasoning
surely, than that used by a cold and meaningless philosophy, which
gives this name to generosity and truth, and all the nobler passions
of the soul. They congratulated themselves on this mutual property,
partly because it had been a free gift one to the other; partly
because they looked forward to the right it ensured to each, of
conferring mutual benefits; and partly through the instinctive love
God has implanted for that which, being ours, is become the better
part of ourselves. They were united for "better and worse," and there
was a sacredness in the thought of the "worse" they might share, which
gave a mysterious and celestial charm to the present "better."



CHAPTER XVII.



Do you not think yourself truly happy?
You have the abstract of all sweetness by you.
The precious wealth youth labours to arrive at.
Nor is she less in honour than in beauty.
--Beaumont and Fletcher.

The following day was one of pouring, unintermitting rain. Villiers
and Ethel drew their chairs near their cheerful fire, and were happy.
Edward could not quite conquer his repugnance to seeing his wife in
lodgings, and in those also of so mean and narrow a description. But
the spirit of Ethel was more disencumbered of earthly particles: that
had found its rest in the very home of Love. The rosy light of the
divinity invested all things for her. Cleopatra on the Cydnus, in the
bark which--"Like a burnished throne Burnt on the water," borne along
"By purple sails ... ... So perfumed, that The winds were love-sick
with them;" was not more gorgeously attended than Ethel was to her own
fancy, lapped and cradled in all that love has of tender, voluptuous,
and confiding.

Several days past before Villiers could withdraw her from this
blissful dream, to gaze upon the world as it was. He could not make
her disgusted with her fortunes nor her abode, but he awakened anxiety
on his own account. His father, as he had conjectured, was gone to
Paris, leaving merely a message for his son, that he would willingly
join him in any act for raising money, by mortgage or the absolute
disposal of a part of the estate. Edward had consulted with his
solicitor, who was to look over a vast variety of papers, to discover
the most eligible mode of making some kind of sale. Delay, in all its
various shapes, waited on these arrangements; and Villiers was very
averse to leaving town till he held some clue to the labyrinth of
obstacles which presented themselves at every turn. He talked of their
taking a house in town; but Ethel would not hear of such extravagance.
In the first place, their actual means were at a very low ebb, with
little hope of a speedy supply. There was another circumstance, the
annoyance of which he understood far better than Ethel could. He had
raised money on annuities, the interest of which he was totally unable
to pay; this exposed him to a personal risk of the most disagreeable
kind, and he knew that his chief creditor was on the point of
resorting to harsh measures against him. These things, dingy-visaged,
dirty-handed realities as they were, made a strange contrast with
Ethel's feeling of serene and elevated bliss; but she, with
unshrinking heart, brought the same fortitude and love into the
crooked and sordid ways of modern London, which had adorned heroines
of old, as they wandered amids trackless forests, and over barren
mountains.

Several days passed, and the weather became clear, though cold. The
young pair walked together in the parks at such morning hours as would
prevent their meeting any acquaintances, for Edward was desiours that
it should not be known that they were in town. Villiers also traced
his daily, weary, disappointing way to his solicitor, where he found
things look more blank and dismal each day. Then when evening came,
and the curtains were drawn, they might have been at the top of Mount
Caucasus, instead of in the centre of London, so completely were they
cut off from every thing except each other. They then felt absolutely
happy: the lingering disgusts of Edward were washed clean away by the
bounteous, everspringing love, that flowed, as waters from a fountain,
from the heart of Ethel, in one perpetual tide.

In those hours of unchecked talk, she learned many things she had not
known before--the love of Horatio Saville for Lady Lodore was revealed
to her; but the story was not truly told, for the prejudices as well
as the ignorance of Villiers rendered him blind to the sincerity of
Cornelia's affection and regret. Ethel wondered, and in spite of the
charm with which she delighted to invest the image of her mother, she
could not help agreeing with her husband that she must be irrevocably
wedded to the most despicable worldly feelings, so to have played with
the heart of a man such as Horatio: a man, whose simplest word bore
the stamp of truth and genius; one of those elected few whom nature
elevats to her own high list of nobility and greatness. How could she,
a simple girl, interest feelings which were not alive to Saville's
merits? She could only hope that in some dazzling marriage Lady Lodore
would find a compensation for the higher destiny which might have been
hers, but that, like the "base Indian," she had thrown "A pearl away,
Richer than all his tribe."

There was a peaceful quiet in their secluded and obscure life, which
somewhat resembled the hours spent on board ship, when you long for,
yet fear, the conclusion of the voyage, and shrink involuntarily from
exchanging a state, whose chief blessing is an absence of every care,
for the variety of pains and pleasures which chequer life. Ethel
possessed her all--so near, so undivided, so entirely her own, that
she could not enter into Villiers's impatience, nor quite sympathize
with the disquietude he could not repress. After considerable delays,
his solicitor informed him that his father had so entirely disposed of
all his interest in the property, that his readiness to join in any
act of sale would be useless. The next thing to be done was for Edward
to sell a part of his expectations, and the lawyer promised to find a
purchaser, and begged to see him three days hence, when no doubt he
should have some proposal to communicate.

Whoever has known what such things are--whoever has waited on the
demurs and objections, and suffered the alternations of total failure
and suddenly renewed hopes, which are the Tantalus-food held to the
lips of those under the circumstances of Villiers, can follow in
imagination his various conferences with his solicitor, as day after
day something new was discovered, still to drag on, or to impede, the
tortoise pace of his negociations. It will be no matter of wonder to
such, that a month instead of three days wasted away, and found him
precisely in the same position, with hopes a little raised, though so
frequently blasted, and nothing done.

In recording the annoyances, or rather the adversity which the young
pair endured at this period, a risk is run, on the one hand, of being
censured for bringing the reader into contact with degrading and
sordid miseries; and on the other, of laying too much stress on
circumstances which will appear to those in a lower sphere of life, as
scarcely deserving the name of misfortune. It is very easy to embark
on the wild ocean of romance, and to steer a danger-fraught passage,
amidst giant perils,--the very words employed, excite the imagination,
and give grace to the narrative. But all beautiful and fairylike as
was Ethel Villiers, in tracing her fortunes, it is necessary to
descend from such altitudes, to employ terms of vulgar use, and to
describe scenes of common-place and debasing interest; so that, if she
herself, in her youth and feminine tenderness, does not shed light and
holiness around her, we shall grope darkling, and fail utterly in the
scope which we proposed to ourselves in selecting her history for the
entertainment of the reader.



CHAPTER XVIII.



I saw her upon nearer view.
A Spirit, yet a Woman too!
A Creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles.
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
--Wordsworth.

The end of December had come. New year's day found and left them still
in Duke Street. On the 4th of January Villiers received a letter from
his uncle, Lord Maristow, entrusting a commission to him, which
obliged him to go to the neighbourhood of Egham. Not having a horse,
he went by the stage. He set out so late in the day that there was no
chance of his returning the same night; and he promised to be back
early on the morrow. Ethel had letters to write to Italy and to her
aunt; and with these she tried to beguile the time. She felt lonely;
the absence of Villiers for so many hours engendered an anxiety, which
she found some difficulty in repressing. Accustomed to have him
perpetually at her side, and without any other companion or resource,
she repined at her solitude. There was his empty chair, and no hope
that he would occupy it; and she sat in her little room so near to
thousands, and yet so cut off from every one, with such a sense of
desolation as Mungo Park might have felt in central Africa, or a
shipwrecked mariner on an uninhabited island.

Her pen was taken up, but she did not write. She could not command her
thoughts to express any thing but the overflowing, devoted,
allengrossing affection of her heart, her adoration for her husband;
that would not amuse Lucy,--she thought: and she had commenced
another sheet with "My dearest Aunt," when the maid-servant ushered a
man into her presence--a stranger, a working man. What could he want
with her? He seemed confused, and stammered out, "Mr. Villiers is not
in?"

"He will be at home to-morrow, if you want him; or have you any
message that I can give?"

"You are Mrs. Villiers, ma'am?"

"Yes, my good man, I am Mrs. Villiers."

"If you please, ma'am, I am Saunders, one of the porters at the Union
Club."

"I remember: has any message come there? or does Mr. Villiers owe you
any money?" and her purse was in her hand.

"O no, ma'am. Mr. Villiers is a good gentleman; and he has been
petiklar generous to me--and that is why I come, because I am afraid,"
continued the man, lowering his tone, "that he is in danger."

"Good heavens! Where? how?" cried Ethel, starting from her chair.
"tell me at once."

"Yes, ma'am, I will; so you must know that this evening--" "Yes, this
evening. What has happened? he left me at six o'clock--what is it?"

"Nothing, I hope, this evening, ma'am. I am only afraid for to-morrow
morning. And I will tell you all I know, as quick as ever I can."

The man then proceeded to relate, that some one had been inquiring
about Mr. Villiers at the Club House. One of the servants had told him
that he lived in Duke Street, St. James's, and that was all he knew;
but Saunders came up, and the man questioned him. He instantly
recognized the fellow, and knew what his business must be. And he
tried to deceive him, and declared that Mr. Villiers was gone out of
town; but the fellow said that he knew better than that; and that he
had been seen that very day in the Strand. He should look for him, no
thanks to Saunders, in Duke Street. "And so, ma'am, you see they'll be
sure to be here early to-morrow morning. So don't let Mr. Villiers
stay here, on no account whatsomever."

"Why?" asked Ethel, simply; "they can't hurt him."

"I am sure, ma'am," said Saunders, his face brightening, "I am very
glad to hear that--you know best. They will arrest him for sure,
but--" "Arrest him!"

"Yes, ma'am, for I've seen the tall one before. There were two of
them--bailiffs."

Ethel now began to tremble violently; these were strange, cabalistic
words to her, the more awful from their mystery. "What am I to do?"
she exclaimed; "Mr. Villiers will be here in the morning, he sleeps at
Egham, and will be here early; I must go to him directly."

"I am glad to hear he is so far," said Saunders; "and if I can be of
any use you have but to say it; shall I go to Egham? there are night
coaches that go through, and I might warn him."

Ethel thought--she feared to do any thing--she imagined that she
should be watched, that all her endeavours would be of no avail. She
looked at the man, honesty was written on his face; but there was no
intelligence, nothing to tell her that his advice was good. The
possibility of such an event as the present had never occurred to her.
Villiers had been silent with regard to his fears on this head. She
was suddenly transported into a strange sea, hemmed in by danger,
without a pilot or knowledge of a passage. Again she looked at the
man's face: "What is best to be done!" she exclaimed.

"I am sure, ma'am" he replied, as if she had asked him the question,
"I think what I said is best, if you will tell me where I can find Mr.
Villiers. I should think nothing of going, and he could send word by
me what he wished you to do."

"Yes, that would indeed be a comfort. I will write three lines, and
you shall take them." In a moment she had written. "Give this note
into his own hand, he will sleep there--I have written the direction
of the house--or at some inn, at Egham. Do not rest till you have
given the letter, and here is for your trouble." She held out two
sovereigns.

"Depend on me, ma'am; and I will bring an answer to you by nine in the
morning. Mr. Villiers will pay me what he thinks fit--you may want
your money. Only, ma'am, don't be frightened when them men come to-
morrow--if the people here are good sort of folks, you had better give
them a hint--it may save you trouble."

"Thank you: you are a good man, and I will remember you, and reward
you. By nine to-morrow--you will be punctual?"

The man again assured her that he would use all diligence, and took
his leave.

Ethel felt totally overwhelmed by these tidings. The unknown is always
terrible, and the ideas of arrest, and prison, and bolts, and bars,
and straw, floated before her imagination. Was Villiers safe even
where he was? Would not the men make inquiries, learn where he had
gone, and follow him, even if it were to the end of the world? She had
heard of the activity empolyed to arrest criminals, and mingled every
kind of story in her head, till she grew desperate from terror. Not
knowing what else to do, she became eager for Mrs. Derham's advice,
and hurried down stairs to ask it.

She had not seen much of the good lady since her first arrival. Every
day, when Villiers went out, she came up, indeed, on the momentous
question of "orders for dinner;" and then she bestowed the benefit of
some five or ten minutes garrulity on her fair lodger. Ethel learnt
that she had seen better days, and that were justice done her, she
ought to be riding in her coach, instead of letting lodgings. She
learnt that she had a married daughter living at Kennington: poor
enough, but struggling on cheerfully with her mother's help. The best
girl in the world she was, and a jewel of a wife, and had two of the
most beautiful children that ever were beheld.

This was all that Ethel knew, except that once Mrs. Derham had brought
her one of her grandchildren to be seen and admired. In all that the
good woman said, there was so much kindness, such a cheerful endurance
of the ills of life, and she had shown such a readiness to oblige,
that the idea of applying to her for advice, relieved Ethel's mind of
much of its load of anxiety.

She was too much agitated to think of ringing for the servant, to ask
to see her; but hurried down stairs, and knocked at the parlour-door
almost before she was aware of what she was doing. "Come in," said a
feminine voice. Ethel entered, and started to see one she knew;--and
yet again she doubted;--was it indeed Fanny Derham whom she beheld?

The recognition afforded mutual pleasure: checked a little on Ethel's
part, by her anxieties; and on Fanny's, by a feeling that she had been
neglected by her friend. A few letters had passed between them, when
first Ethel had visited Longfield: since then their correspondence had
been discontinued till after her return to England, from Italy, when
Mrs. Villiers had wrote; but her letter was returned by the
postoffice, no such person being to be found according to the address.

The embarrassment of the moment passed away. Ethel forgot, or rather
did not advert to, her friend's lowly destiny, in the joy of meeting
her again. After a minute or two, also, they had become familiar with
the change that time had operated in their youthful appearance, which
was not much, and most in Ethel. Her marriage, and conversance with
the world, had changed her into a woman, and endowed her with easy
manners and self-possession. Fanny was still a mere girl; tall, beyond
the middle height, yet her young, ingenuous countenance was unaltered,
as well as that singular mixture of mildness and independence, in her
manners, which had always characterized her. Her light blue eyes
beamed with intelligence, and her smile expressed the complacency and
condescension of a superior being. Her beauty was all intellectual:
open, sincere, passionless, yet benignant, you approached her without
fear of encountering any of the baser qualities of human beings,--
their hypocrisy, or selfishness. Those who have seen the paintings of
the calm-visaged, blue-eyed deities of the frescos of Pompeii, may
form an idea of the serene beauty of Fanny Derham.

When Mrs. villiers entered, she was reading earnestly--a large
dictionary open before her. The book on which she was intent was in
Greek characters. "You have not forgotten your old pursuits," said
Ethel, smiling.

"Say rather I am more wedded to them than ever," she replied; "since,
more than ever, I need them to give light and glory to a dingy world.
But you, dear Ethel, if so I may call you,--you looked anxious as you
entered: you wish to speak to my mother;--she is gone to Kennington,
and will not return to-night. Can I be of any use?"

Her mother! how strange! and Mrs. Derham, while she had dilated with
pride on her elder daughter, had never mentioned this pearl of price,
which was her's also.

"Alas! I fear not!" replied Ethel; "it is experience I need--
experience in things you can know nothing about, nor your mother
either, probably; yet she may have heard of such things, and know how
to advise me."

Mrs. Villiers then explained the sources of her disquietude. Fanny
listened with looks of the kindest sympathy. "Even in such things,"
she said, "I have had experience. Adversity and I are become very
close friends since I last saw you: we are intimate, and I know much
good of her; so she is grateful, and repays me by prolonging her stay.
Be composed: no ill will happen, I trust, to Mr. Villiers;--at least
you need not be afraid of his being pursued. It the man you have sent
be active and faithful, all will be well. I will see these troublesome
people to-morrow, when they come, and prevent your being annoyed. If
Saunders returns early, and brings tidings of Mr. Villiers, you will
know what his wishes are. You can do nothing more to-night; and there
is every probability that all will be well."

"Do you really think so?" cried Mrs. Villiers. "O that I had gone with
him!--never will I again let him go any where without me."

Fanny entered into more minute explanations, and succeeded, to a great
degree, in calming her friend. She accompanied her back to her own
room, and sat with her long. She entered into the details of her own
history:--the illness and death of her father; the insulting treatment
her mother had met from his family; the kindness of a relation of her
own, who had assisted them, and enabled them to pursue their present
mode of life, which procured them a livelihood. Fanny spoke generally
of these circumstances, and in a spirit that seemed to disdain that
such things were; not because they were degrading in the eyes of
others, but because they interfered with the philosophic leisure, and
enjoyment of nature, which she so dearly prized. She thought nothing
of privation, or the world's impertinence; but much of being immured
in the midst of London, and being forced to consider the inglorious
necessities of life. Her desire to be useful to her mother induced her
often to spend precious time in "making the best of things," which she
would readily have dispensed with altogether, as the easiest, as well
as the wisest, way of freeing herself from their trammels. Her
narration interested Ethel, and served to calm her mind. She thought--
"Can I not bear those cares with equanimity for Edward's sake, which
Fanny regards as so trivial, merely because Plato and Epictetus bid
her do so? Will not the good God, who has implanted in her heart so
cheerless a consolation, bring comfort to mine, which has no sorrow
but for another's sake?"

These reflections tranquillized her, when she laid her head on her
pillow at night. She resigned her being and destiny to a Power
superior to any earthly authority, with a conviction, that its most
benign influence would be extended over her.




VOL. III.



CHAPTER I.



If the dull substance of my flesh were thought.
Injurious distance should not stop my way;
For then, despite of space, I would be brought;
From limits far remote, where thou dost stay.
--Shakspeare.

The still hours of darkness passed silently away, and morning dawned,
when All rose to do the task, he set to each Who shaped us to his
ends, and not our own. Ethel had slept peacefully through the livelong
night; nor woke till a knock at her door roused her. A rush of fear--a
sense of ill, made her heart palpitate as she opened her eyes to the
light of day. While she was striving to recall her thoughts, and to
remember what the evil was with which she was threatened, again the
servant tapped at her door, to say that Saunders had returned, and to
deliver the letter he had brought. She looked at her watch: it was
past ten o'clock. She felt glad that it had grown so late, and she not
disturbed: yet as she took the letter brought to her from her husband,
all her tremor returned; and she read it with agitation, as if it
contained the announcement of her final doom.

"You send me disagreeable tidings, my sweet Ethel," wrote Villiers,--
"I hope unfounded; but caution is necessary: I shall not, therefore,
come to Duke Street. Send me a few lines, by Saunders, to tell me if
any thing has happened. If what he apprehended has really taken place,
you must bear, my love, the separation of a day. You do not understand
these things, and will wonder when I tell you, that when the clock
strikes twelve on Saturday night, the magic spells and potent charms
of Saunders's friends cease to have power: at that hour I shall be
restored to you. Wait till then--and then we will consult for the
future. Have patience, dearest love: you have wedded poverty,
hardship, and annoyance; but, joined to these, is the fondest, the
most faithful heart in the world;--a heart you deign to prize, so I
will not repine at ill fortune. Adieu, till this evening;--and then,
as Belvidera says, 'Remember twelve!'

"Saturday Morning."

After reading these lines, Ethel dressed herself hastily. Fanny Derham
had already asked permission to see her; and she found her waiting in
her sitting-room. It was an unspeakable comfort to have one as
intelligent and kind as Fanny, to communicate with, during Edward's
absence. The soft, pleading eyes of Ethel asked her for comfort and
counsel; and, in spite of her extreme youth, the benignant and
intelligent expression of Fanny's countenance promised both.

"I am sorry to say," she said, "that Saunders's prognostics are too
ture. Such men as he describes have been here this morning. They were
tolerably civil, and I convinced them, with greater ease than I had
hoped, that Mr. Villiers was absent from the house; and I assured
them, that after this visit of theirs, he was not likely to return."

"And do you really believe that they were"--Ethel faltered.

"Bailiffs? Assuredly," replied Fanny: "they told me that they had the
power to search the house; but if they were 'strong,' they were also
'merciful.' And now, what do you do? Saunders tells me he is waiting
to take back a letter to Mr. Villiers, at the London Coffee House.
Write quickly, while I make your breakfast."

Ethel gladly obeyed. She wrote a few words to her husband. That it was
already Saturday, cheered her: twelve at night would soon come.

After her note was dispatched, she addressed Fanny. "What trouble I
give," she said: "what will your mother think of such degrading
proceedings?"

"My mother," said Fanny, "is the kindest-hearted woman in the world.
We have never exactly suffered this disaster; but we are in a rank of
life which causes us to be brought into contact with such among our
friends and relations; and she is familiar with trouble in almost all
shapes. You are a great favourite of hers; and now that she can claim
a sort of acquaintance, she will be heart and soul your friend."

"It is odd," observed Ethel, "that she never mentioned you to me. Had
the name of Fanny been mentioned, I should have recollected who Mrs.
Derham was."

"Perhaps not," said Fanny; "it would have required a great effort of
the imagination to have fancied Mrs. Derham the wife of my father. You
never knew him; but Lord Lodore made you familiar with his qualities:
the most shrinking susceptibility to the world's scorn, joined to the
most entire abstraction from all that is vulgar; a morbid sensibility
and delicate health placed him in glaring contrast with my mother.
They never in the least assimilated; and her character has gained in
excellence since his loss. Before she was fretted and galled by his
finer feelings--now she can be good in her own way. Nothing reminds
her of his exalted sentiments, except myself; and she is willing
enough to forget me."

"And you do not repine?" asked her friend.

"I do not: she is happy in and with Sarah. I should spoil their
notions of comfort, did I mingle with them;--they would torture and
destroy me, did they interfere with me. I lost my guide, preserver, my
guardian angel, when my father died. Nothing remains but the
philosophy which he taught me--the disdain of lowthoughted care which
he sedulously cultivated: this, joined to my cherished independence,
which my disposition renders necessary to me."

"And thus you foster sorrow, and waste your life in vain regrets?"

"Pardon me! I do not waste my life," replied Fanny, with her sunny
smile;--"nor am I unhappy--far otherwise. An ardent thirst for
knowledge, is as the air I breathe; and the acquisition of it, is pure
and unalloyed happiness. I aspire to be useful to my fellow-creatures:
but that is a consideration for the future, when fortune shall smile
on me; now I have but one passion; it swallows up every other; it
dwells with my darling books, and is fed by the treasures of beauty
and wisdom which they contain."

Ethel could not understand. Fanny continued:--"I aspire to be
useful;--sometimes I think I am--once I know I was. I was my father's
almoner.

"We lived in a district where there was a great deal of distress, and
a great deal of oppression. We had no money to give, but I soon found
that determination and earnestness will do much. Is was my father's
lesson, that I should never fear any thing but myself. He taught me to
penetrate, to anatomize, to purify my motives; but once assured of my
own integrity, to be afraid of nothing. Words have more power than any
one can guess; it is by words that the world's great fight, now in
these civilized times, is carried on; I never hesitated to use them,
when I fought any battle for the miserable and oppressed. People are
so afraid to speak, it would seem as if half our fellow-creatures were
born with deficient organs; like parrots they can repeat a lesson, but
their voice fails them, when that alone is wanting to make the tyrant
quail."

As Fanny spoke, her blue eyes brightened, and a smile irradiated her
face; these were all the tokens of enthusiasm she displayed, yet her
words moved Ethel strangely, and she looked on her with wouder as a
superior being. Her youth gave grace to her sentiments, and were an
assurance of their sincerity. She continued:--

"I am becoming flightly, as my mother calls it; but, as I spoke, many
scenes of cottage distress passed through my memory, when, holding my
father's hand, I witnessed his endeavours to relieve the poor. That is
all over now--he is gone, and I have but one consolation--that of
endeavouring to render myself worthy to rejoin him in a better world.
It is this hope that impels me continually and without any flagging of
spirit, to cultivate my understanding and to refine it. O what has
this life to give, as worldlings describe it, worth one of those
glorious emotions, which raise me from this petty sphere, into the
sun-bright regions of mind, which my father inhabits! I am rewarded
even here by the elevated feelings which the authors, whom I love so
passionately, inspire; while I converse each day with Plato, and
Cicero, and Epictetus, the world, as it is, passes from before me like
a vain shadow."

These enthusiastic words were spoken with so calm a manner, and in so
equable a voice, that there seemed nothing strange nor exaggerated in
them. It is vanity and affectation that shock, or any manifestation of
feeling not in accordance with the real character. But while we follow
our natural bent, and only speak that which our minds spontaneously
inspire, there is a harmony, which, however novel, is never grating.
Fanny Derham spoke of things, which, to use her own expression, were
to her as the air she breathed, and the simplicity of her manner
entirely obviated the wonder which the energy of her expressions might
occasion.

Such a woman as Fanny was more made to be loved by her own sex than by
the opposite one. Superiority of intellect, joined to acquisitions
beyond those usual even to men; and both announced with frankness,
though without pretension, forms a kind of anomaly little in accord
with masculine taste. Fanny could not be the rival of women, and,
therefore, all her merits were appreciated by them. They love to look
up to a superior being, to rest on a firmer support than their own
minds can afford; and they are glad to find such in one of their own
sex, and thus destitute of those dangers which usually attend any
services conferred by men.

From talk like this, they diverged to subjects nearer to the heart of
Ethel. They spoke of Lord Lodore, and her father's name soothed her
agitation even more than the consolatory arguments of her friend. She
remembered how often he had talked of the trials to which the
constancy of her temper and the truth of her affection might be put,
and she felt her courage rise to encounter those now before her,
without discontent, or rather with that cheerful fortitude, which
sheds grace over the rugged form of adversity.



CHAPTER II.



Marian. Could you so long be absent?
Robin. What a week?
Was that so long?
Marian. How long are lovers' weeks.
Do you think, Robin, when they are asunder?
Are they not pris'ners' years?
--Ben Jonson.

The day passed on more lightly than Ethel could have hoped; much of it
indeed was gone before she opened her eyes to greet it. Night soon
closed in, and she busied herself with arrangements for the welcome of
her husband. Fanny loved solitude too well herself not to believe that
others shared her taste. She retired therefore when evening commenced.
No sooner was Ethel alone, than every image except Edward's passed out
of her mind. Her heart was bursting with affection. Every other idea
and thought, to use a chemical expression, was held in solution by
that powerful feeling, which mingled and united with every particle of
her soul. She could not write nor read; if she attempted, before she
had finished the shortest sentence, she found that her understanding
was wandering, and she re-read it with no better success. It was as if
a spring, a gush from the fountain of love poured itself in, bearing
away every object which she strove to throw upon the stream of
thought, till its own sweet waters alone filled the channel through
which it flowed. She gave herself up to the bewildering influence, and
almost forgot to count the hours till Edward's expected arrival. At
last it was ten o'clock, and then the sting of impatience and
uncertainty was felt. It appeared to her as if a whole age had passed
since she had seen or heard of him--as if countless events and
incalculable changes might have taken place. She read again and again
his note, to assure herself that she might really expect him: the
minutes meanwhile stood still, or were told heavily by the distinct
beating of her heart. The east wind bore to her ear the sound of the
quarters of hours, as they chimed from various churches. At length
eleven, half-past eleven was passed, and the hand of her watch began
to climb slowly upwards toward the zenith, which she desired so
ardently that it should reach. She gazed on the dial-plate, till she
fancied that the pointers did not move; she placed her hands before
her eyes resolutely, and would not look for a long long time; three
minutes had not been travelled over when again she viewed it; she
tried to count her pulse, as a measurement of time; her trembling
fingers refused to press the fluttering artery. At length another
quarter of an hour elapsed, and then the succeeding one hurried on
more speedily. Clock after clock struck; they mingled their various
tones, as the hour of twelve was tolled throughout London. It seemed
as if they would never end. Silence came at last--a brief silence
succeeded by a firm quick step in the street below, and a knock at the
door. "Is he not too soon?" poor fearful Ethel asked herself. But no;
and in a moment after, he was with her, safe in her glad embrace.

Perhaps of the two, Villiers showed himself the most enraptured at
this meeting. He gazed on his sweet wife, followed every motion, and
hung upon her voice, with all the delight of an exile, restored to his
long-lost home. "What a transporting change," he said, "to find myself
with you--to see you in the same room with me--to know again that,
lovely and dear as you are, that you are mine--that I am again
myself--not the miserable dog that has been wandering about all day--a
body without a soul! For a few short hours, at least, Ethel will call
me hers."

"Indeed, indeed, love," she replied, "we will not be separated again."

"We will not even think about that tonight," said Villiers. "The
future is dark and blank, the present as radiant as your own sweet
self can make it."

On the following day--and the following day did come, in spite of
Ethel's wishes, which would have held back the progress of time: it
came and passed away; hour after hour stealing along, till it dwindled
to a mere point. On the following day, they consulted earnestly on
what was to be done. Villiers was greatly averse to Ethel's leaving
her present abode, where every one was so very kind and attentive to
her, and he was sanguine in his hopes of obtaining in the course of
the week, just commenced, a sum, sufficient to carry them to Paris or
Brussels, were they could remain till his affairs were finally
arranged, and the payment of his debts regulated in a way to satisfy
his creditors. One week of absence; Villiers used all his persuasion
to induce Ethel to submit to it. "Where you can be, I can be also,"
was her answer; and she listened unconvinced to the detail of the
inconveniences which Villiers pointed out: at last he almost got
angry. "I could call you unkind, Ethel," he said, "not to yield to
me."

"I will yield to you," said Ethel, "but you are wrong to ask me."

"Never mind that," replied her husband, "do concede this point,
dearest; if not because it is best that you should, then because I
wish it, and ask it of you. You say that your first desire is to make
me happy, and you pain me exceedingly by your--I had almost said
perverseness."

Thus, not convinced, but obedient, Ethel agreed to allow him to depart
alone. She bargained that she should be permitted to come each day in
a hackney coach to a place where he might meet her, and they could
spend an hour or two together. Edward did not like this plan at all,
but there was no remedy. "You are at least resolved," he said, "to
spur my endeavours; I will not rest day or night, till I am enabled to
get away from this vast dungeon."

The hours stole on. Even Edward's buoyant spirits could not bear up
against the sadness of watching the fleeting moments till the one
should come, which must separate him from his wife. "This nice, dear
room," he said, "I am sure I beg its pardon for having despised it so
much formerly--it is not as lofty as a church, nor as grand as a
palace, but it is very snug; and now you are in it, I discern even
elegance in its exceedingly queer tables and chairs. When our carriage
broke down on the Apennines, how glad we should have been if a room
like this had risen, 'like an exhalation' for our shelter! Do you
remember the barn of a place we got into there, and our droll bed of
the leaves of Indian corn, which crackled all night long, and awoke us
twenty times with the fear of robbers? Then, indeed, twelve o'clock
was not to separate us!"

As he said this he sighed; the hour of eleven was indicated by Ethel's
watch, and still he lingered; but she grew frightened for him, and
forced him to go away, while he besought the delay of but a few
minutes.

Ethel exerted herself to endure as well as she could the separation of
the ensuing week. She was not of a repining disposition, yet she found
it very hard to bear. The discomfort to which Villiers was exposed
annoyed her, and the idea that she was not permitted to alleviate it
added to her painful feelings. In her prospect of life every evil was
neutralized when shared--now they were doubled, because the pain of
absence from each other was superadded. She did not yield to her
husband, in her opinion that this was wrong. She was willing to go
anywhere with him, and where he was, she also could be. There could be
no degradation in a wife waiting on the fallen fortunes of her
husband. No debasement can arise from any services dictated by love.
It is despicable to submit to hardship for unworthy and worldly
objects, but every thing that is suffered for the sake of affection,
is hallowed by the disinterested sentiment, and affords triumph and
delight to the willing victim. Sometimes she tried in speech or on
paper to express these feelings, and so by the force of irresistible
reasoning to persuade Edward to permit her to join him; but all
argument was weak; there was something beyond, that no words could
express, which was stronger than any reason in her heart. Who can
express the power of faithful and single-hearted love? As well attempt
to define the laws of life, which occasions a continuity of feeling
from the brain to the extremity of the frame, as try to explain how
love can so unite two souls, as to make each feel maimed and half
alive, while divided. A powerful impulse was perpetually urging Ethel
to go--to place herself near Villiers--to refuse to depart. It was
with the most violent struggles that she overcame the instigation.

She never could forget herself while away from him, or find the
slightest alleviation to her disquietude, except while conversing with
Fanny Derham, or rather while drawing her out, and listening to her,
and wondering at a mechanism of mind so different from her own. Each
had been the favourite daughter of men of superior qualities of mind.
They had been educated by their several fathers with the most sedulous
care, and nothing could be more opposite than the result, except that,
indeed, both made duty the master motive of their actions. Ethel had
received, so to speak, a sexual education. Lord Lodore had formed his
ideal of what a woman ought to be, of what he had wished to find his
wife, and sought to mould his daughter accordingly. Mr. Derham
contemplated the duties and objects befitting an immortal soul, and
had educated his child for the performance of them. The one fashioned
his offspring to be the wife of a frail human being, and instructed
her to be yielding, and to make it her duty to devote herself to his
happiness, and to obey his will. The other sought to guard his from
all weakness, to make her complete in herself, and to render her
independent and self-sufficing. Born to poverty as Fanny was, it was
thus only that she could find happiness in rising above her sphere;
and, besides, a sense of pride, surviving his sense of injury, caused
him to wish that his child should set her heart on higher things, than
the distinctions and advantages of riches or rank; so that if ever
brought into collision with his own family, she could look down with
calm superiority on the "low ambition" of the wealthy. While Ethel
made it her happiness and duty to give herself away with unreserved
prodigality to him, whom she thought had every claim to her entire
devotion; Fanny zealously guarded her individuality, and would have
scorned herself could she have been brought to place the treasures of
her soul at the disposal of any power, except those moral laws which
it was her earnest endeavour never to transgress. Religion, reason,
and justice--these were the landmarks of her life. She was kind-
hearted, generous, and true--so also was Ethel; but the one was guided
by the tenderness of her heart, while the other consulted her
understanding, and would have died rather than have acted contrary to
its dictates.

To guard Ethel from every contamination, Lord Lodore had secluded her
from all society, and forestalled every circumstance that might bring
her into conjunction with her fellow-creatures. He was equally careful
to prevent her fostering any pride, except that of sex; and never
spoke to her as if she were of an elevated rank: and the
communication, however small, which she necessarily had with the
Americans, made such ideas foreign to her mind. But she was excedingly
shy; tremblingly alive to the slightest repulse; and never perfectly
fearless, (morally so, that is), except when under the shelter of
another's care. Fanny's first principle was, that what she ought to
do, that she could do, without hesitation or regard for obstacles. She
had something Quixotic in her nature; or rather she would have had, if
a clear head and some experience, even young as she was, had not stood
in the way of her making any glaring mistakes; so that her enterprises
were never ridiculous; and being usually successful, could not be
called extravagant. For herself, she needed but her liberty and her
books;--for others, she had her time, her thoughts, her decided and
resolute modes of action, all at their command, whenever she was
convinced that they had a just claim upon them.

It was singular that the resolute and unshrinking Fanny should be the
daughter of Francis Derham; and the timid, retiring Ethel, of his bold
and daring protector. But this is no uncommon case. We feel the evil
results of our own faults, and endeavour to guard our children from
them; forgetful that the opposite extreme has also its peculiar
dangers. Lord Lodore attributed his early misfortunes to the too great
freedom he had enjoyed, or rather to the unlimited scope given to his
will, from his birth. Mr. Derham saw the unhappiness that had sprung
from his own yielding and undecided disposition. The one brought up
his child to dependence; the other taught his to disdain every
support, except the applause of her own conscience. Lodore fostered
all the sensibility, all the softness, of Ethel's feminine and delicat
nature; while Fanny's father strove to harden and confirm a character,
in itself singularly stedfast and upright.

In spite of the great contrast thus exhibited between Ethel and Fanny,
one quality created a good deal of similarity between them. There was
in both a total absence of every factitious sentiment. They acted from
their own hearts--from their own sense of right, without the
intervention of worldly considerations. A feeling of duty ruled all
their actions; and, however excellent a person's dispositions may be,
it yet requires considerable elevation of character never to deviate
from the strict line of honour and integrity.

Fanny's society a little relieved Ethel's solitude: yet that did not
weigh on her; and had she not been the child of her father's earliest
friend, and the companion of past days, she would have been
disinclined, at this period, to cultivate an intimacy with her. She
needed no companion except the thought of Edward, which was never
absent from her mind. But amidst all her affection for her husband,
which gained strength, and, as it were, covered each day a larger
portion of her being, any one associated with the name of Lodore--of
her beloved father, had a magic power to call forth her warmest
feelings of interest. Both ladies repeated to each other what they had
heard from their several parents. Mr. Derham had, among his many
lessons of usefulness, descanted on the generosity and boldness of
Fitzhenry, as offering an example to be followed. And during the last
months of Lodore's life, he had recurred, with passionate fondness, to
the memory of his early years, and painted in glowing colours the
delicacy of feeling, the deep sense of gratitude, and the latent but
fervid enthusiasm, which adorned the character of Francis Derham.



CHAPTER III.



It does much trouble me to live without you:
Our loves and loving souls have been so used
To one household in us.
--Beaumont and Fletoher.

The week passed on. It was the month of January, and very cold. A
black frost bound up every thing with ice, and the piercing air
congealed the very blood. Each day Ethel went to see her husband;--
each day she had to encounter Mrs. Derham's intreaties not to go, and
the reproaches of Villiers for coming. Both were unavailing to prevent
the daily pilgrimage. Mrs. Derham sighed heavily when she saw her
enter the ricketty hackney-coach, whose damp lining, gaping windows,
and miserable straw, made it a cold-bed for catarrh--a very temple for
the spirit of winter. Villiers each day besought her to have horses
put to their chariot, if she must come; but Ethel remembered all he
had ever said of expense, and his prognostications of how ill she
would be able to endure the petty, yet galling annoyances of poverty;
and she resolved to prove, that she could cheerfully bear every thing
except separation from him. With this laudable motive to incite her,
she tasked her strength too far. She kept up her spirits to meet him
with a cheerful countenance; and she contrived to conceal the
sufferings she endured while they were together. They got out and
walked now and then; and this tended to keep up the vital warmth.
Their course was generally taken over Blackfriars Bridge; and it was
on their return across the river, on whose surface large masses of ice
floated, while a bitter north-east wind swept up, bearing on its
blasts the unthawed breath of the German Ocean, that she felt the cold
enter her heart, and make her head feel dizzy. Still she could smile,
and ask Villiers why he objected to her taking an exercise even
necessary for her health; and repeat again and again, that, bred in
America, an English winter was but a faint reflex of what she had
encountered there, and insist upon being permitted to come on the
following day. These were precious moments in her eyes, worth all the
pain they occasioned,--well worth the struggle she made for the
repetition. Edward's endearing attentions--the knowledge she had that
she was loved--the swelling and earnest affection that warmed her own
heart,--hallowed these hard-earned minutes, and gave her the sweet
pleasure of knowing that she demonstrated, in some slight degree, the
profound and all engrossing attachment which pervaded her entire
being. They parted; and often she arrived nearly senseless at Duke
Street, and once or twice fainted on entering the warm room: but it
was not pain she felt then--the emotions of the soul conquered the
sensation of her body, and pleasure, the intense pleasure of
affection, was predominant through all.

Sunday came again, and brought Villiers to her home. Mrs. Derham took
the opportunity to represent to him the injury that Ethel was doing
herself; and begged him, as he cared for her health, to forbid her
exposing herself to the inclement weather.

"You hear this, Ethel," said Villiers; "and yet you are obstinate. It
this right? What can I urge, what can I do, to prevent this wrong-
headed pertinacity?"

"You use such very hard words," replied Ethel, smiling, "that you
frighten me into believing myself criminal. But so far am I from
conceding, that you only give me courage to say, that I cannot any
longer endure the sad and separate life we lead. It must be changed,
dearest; we must be together."

Villiers was pacing the room impatiently: with an exclamation almost
approaching to anger, he stopped before his wife, to remonstrate and
to reproach. But as he gazed upon her upturned face, fixed so
beseechingly and fondly on him, he fancied that he saw the hues of
ill-health stealing across her cheeks, and thinness displacing the
roundness of her form. A strange emotion flashed across him; a new
fear, too terrible even to be acknowledged to himself, which passed,
like the shadow of a storm, across his anticipations, and filled him
with inquietude. His reprehension was changed to a caress, as he said,
"You are right, my love, quite right; we must not live thus. You are
unable to take care of yourself; and I am very wrong to give up my
dearest privilege, of watching day and night over the welfare of my
only treasure. We will be together, Ethel; if the worst come, it
cannot be very bad, while we are true to each other."

Tears filled the poor girl's eyes--tears of joy and tenderness--at
hearing Edward echo the sentiments she cherished as the most sacred in
the world. For a few minutes, they forgot every thing in the
affectionate kiss, which ratified, as it were, this new law; and then
Edward considered how best he could carry it into effect.

"Gayland," he said, (he was his solicitor,) "has appointed to see me
on Thursday morning, and has good hopes of definitively arranging the
conditions for the loan of the five hundred pounds, which is to enable
us to wait for better things. On Thursday evening, we will leave town.
We will go to some pretty country inn, to wait till I have signed
these papers; and trust to Providence that no ill will arise. We must
not be more than fifteen or twenty miles from London; so that when I
am obliged to go up, I can return again in a few hours. Tell me,
sweet, does this scheme please you?"

Ethel expressed her warmest gratitude; and then Villiers insinuated
his condition, that she should not come to see him in the interval,
but remain, taking care of herself, till, on Thursday afternoon, at
six o'clock, she came, with their chariot, to the northern side of St.
Paul's Churchyard, where he would immediately join her. They might
write, meanwhile: he promised letters as long as if they were to go to
India; and soothed her annoyance with every expression of thankfulness
at her giving up this point. She did give it up, with all the
readiness she could muster; and this increased, as he dwelt upon the
enjoyment they would share, in exchanging foggy, smoky London, for the
ever-pleasing aspect of nature, which, even during frost and snow,
possesses her own charms--her own wonders; and can gratify our senses
by a thousand forms of beauty, which have no existence in a dingy
metropolis.

When the evening hour came for the young pair to separate, their
hearts were cheered by the near prospect of re-union; and a belief
that theto them, trivial privations of poverty were the only ones they
would have to endure. The thrill of fear which had crossed the mind of
Villiers, as to the health and preservation of his wife, had served to
dissipate the lingering sense of shame and degradation inspired by the
penury of their situation. He felt that there was something better
than wealth, and the attendance of his fellow-creatures; something
worse than poverty, and the world's scorn. Within the fragile form of
Ethel, there beat a heart of more worth than a king's ransom; and its
pulsations were ruled by him. To lose her! What would all that earth
can afford, of power or splendour, appear without her? He pressed her
to his bosom, and knew that his arms encircled all life's worth for
him. Never again could he forget the deep-felt appreciation of her
value, which then took root in his mind; while she, become conscious,
by force of sympathy, of the kind of revolution that was made in his
sentiments, felt that the foundations of her life grew strong, and
that her hopes in this world became stedfast and enduring. Before, a
wall of separation, however slight, had divided them; they had
followed a system of conduct independent of each other, and passed
their censure upon the ideas of either. This was over now--they were
one--one sense of right--one feeling of happiness; and when they
parted that night, each felt that they truly possessed the other; and
that by mingling every hope and wish, they had confirmed the marriage
of their hearts.



CHAPTER IV.



Think but whither
Now you can go; what you can do to live;
How near you have barred all ports to your own succour.
Except this one that here I open, love.
--Beaumont and Fletcher.

The most pleasing thoughts shed their balmy influence on Ethel's
repose that night. Edward's scheme of a country inn, where the very
freedom would make them more entirely dependent upon each other, was
absolutely enchanting. Where we establish ourselves, and look forward
to the passage of a long interval of time, we form ties with, and
assume duties towards, many of our fellow-creatures, each of which
must diminish the singleness of the soul's devotion towards the
selected one. No doubt this is the fitting position for human beings
to place themselves in, as affording a greater scope for utility: but
for a brief space, to have no occupation but that of contributing to
the happiness of him to whom her life was consecrated, appeared to
Ethel a very heaven upon earth. It was not that she was narrow-
hearted: so much affection demands a spacious mansion for its abode;
but in their present position of struggle and difficulty, there was no
possibility of extending her sphere of benevolence, and she gladly
concentrated her endeavours in the one object whose happiness was in
her hands.

All night, even in sleep, a peculiar sense of calm enjoyment soothed
the mind of Ethel, and she awoke in the morning with buoyant spirits,
and a soul all alive to its own pleasurable existence. She sat at her
little solitary breakfast table, musing with still renewed delight
upon the prospect opened before her, when suddenly she was startled by
the vision of an empty purse. What could Villiers intend? She felt
assured that his stock was very nearly exhausted, and for herself two
sovereigns, which were not sufficient to meet the demands of the last
week, was all that she possessed. She tried to recollect if Edward had
said any thing that denoted any expectation of receiving money; on the
contrary--diving into the recesses of her memory, she called to mind
that he had said, "We shall receive your poor little dividend of a
hundred pounds, in less than a fortnight, so we shall be able to live,
even if Gayland should delay getting the other money--I suppose we
have enough to get on till then."

He had said this inquiringly, and she knew that she had made a sign of
assent, though at the time, she had no thought of the real purport of
his question or of her answer. What was to be done? The obvious
consequence of her reflections was at once to destroy the cherished
scheme of going out of town with Villiers. This was a misfortune too
great to bear, and she at last decided upon having again recourse to
her aunt. Unused to every money transaction, she had not that terror
of obligation, nor dislike of asking, which is so necessary to
preserve our independence, and even our sense of justice, through
life. Money had always been placed like counters in her hand; she had
never known whence it came, and until her marriage, she had never
disposed of more than very small sums. Subsequently Villiers had been
the director of their expenses. This was the faulty part of her
father's system of education. But Lodore's domestic habits were for a
great part founded on experience in foreign countries, and he forgot
that an English wife is usually the cashier--the sole controller of
the disbursements of her family. It seemed as easy a thing for Ethel
to ask for money from Mrs. Fitzhenry, as she knew it would be easy for
her to give. In compliance, however, with Villier's notions, she
limited her request to ten pounds, and tried to word her letter so as
to create no suspicion in her aunt's mind with regard to their
resources. This task achieved, she dismissed every annoying thought,
and when Fanny came to express her hope, that, bleak and snowy as was
the day, she did not intend to make her accustomed pilgrimage, with a
countenance beaming with delight, she dilated on their plan, and spoke
as if on the much-desired Thursday, the gates of Elysium were to be
thrown open for her.

There would have appeared something childish in her gladness to the
abstracted and philosophic mind of Fanny, but that the real evils of
her situation, and the fortitude, touching in its unconscious
simplicity, with which she encountered them, commanded respect. Ethel,
as well as her friend, was elevated above the common place of life;
she also fostered a state of mind, "lofty and magnificent, fitted
rather to command than to obey, not only suffering patiently, but even
making light of all human cares; a grand and dignified self-
possession, which fears nothing, yields to no one, and remains for
ever unvanquished." When Fanny, in one of their conversations, while
describing the uses of philosophy, had translated this eulogium of its
effects from Cicero, Ethel had exclaimed, "This is love--it is love
alone that divides us from sordid earthborn thoughts, and causes us to
walk alone, girt by its own beauty and power."

Fanny smiled; yet while she saw slavery rather than a proud
independence in the creed of Ethel, she admired the warmth of heart
which could endow with so much brilliancy a state of privation and
solitude. At the present moment, when Mrs. Villiers was rapturously
announcing their scheme for leaving London, an expression of pain
mantled over Fanny's features; her clear blue eyes became suffused, a
large tear gathered on her lashes. "What is the matter?" asked Ethel
anxiously.

"That I am a fool--but pardon me, for the folly is already passed
away. For the first time you have made it hard for me to keep my soul
firm in its own single existence. I have been debarred from all
intercourse with those whose ideas rise above the soil on which they
tread, except in my dear books, and I thought I should never be
attached to any thing but them. Yet do not think me selfish, Mr.
Villiers is quite right--it is much better that you should not be
apart--I am delighted with his plan."

"Away or near, dear Fanny," said Ethel, in a caressing tone, "I never
can forget your kindness--never cease to feel the warmest friendship
for you. Remember, our fathers were friends, and their children ought
to inherit the same faithful attachment."

Fanny smiled faintly. "You must not seduce me from my resolves," she
said. "I know my fate in this world, and I am determined to be true to
myself to the end. Yet I am not ungrateful to you, even while I
declare, that I shall do my best to forget this brief interval, during
which, I have no longer, like Demogorgon, lived alone in my own world,
but become aware that there are ties of sympathy between me and my
fellow-creatures, in whose existence I did not believe before."

Fanny's language, drawn from her books, not because she tried to
imitate, but because conversing perpetually with them, it was natural
that she should adopt their style, was always energetic and
imaginative; but her quiet manner destroyed every idea of exaggeration
of sentiment: it was necessary to hear her soft and low, but very
distinct voice utter her lofty sentiments, to be conscious that the
calm of deep waters was the element in which she dwelt--not the
fretful breakers that spend themselves in sound.

The day seemed rather long to Ethel, who counted the hours until
Thursday. Gladly she laid her head on the pillow at night, and bade
adieu to the foregone hours. The first thing that awoke her in the
morning, was the postman's knock; it brought, as she had been
promised, a long, long letter from Edward. He had never before written
with so much affection or with such an overflowing of tenderness, that
made her the centre of his world--the calm fair lake to receive into
its bosom the streams of thought and feeling which flowed from him,
and yet which, after all, had their primal source in her. "I am a very
happy girl," thought Ethel, as she kissed the beloved papers, and
gazed on them in ecstasy; "more happy than I thought it was ever given
us to be in this world."

She rose and began to dress; she delayed reading more than a line or
two, that she might enjoy her dearest pleasure for a longer time--then
again, unable to controul her impatience, she sat half dressed, and
finished all--and was begining anew, when there was a tap at her door.
It was Fanny. She looked disturbed and anxious, and Ethel's fears were
in a moment awake.

"Something annoying has occurred," she said; "yet I do not think that
there is any thing to dread, though there is a danger to prevent."
"Speak quickly," cried Ethel, "do not keep me in suspense."

"Be calm--it is nothing sudden, it is only a repetition of the old
story. A boy has just been here--a boy you gave a sovereign to--do you
remember?-the night of your arrival. It seems that he has vowed
himself to your service ever since. Those two odious men, who were
here once, are often at his master's place-an alehouse, you know.
Well, yesterday night, he overheard them saying, that Mr. Villier's
resort at the London coffee-house, was discovered, or at least
suspected, and that a writ was to be taken out against him in the
city."

"What does that mean?" cried Ethel.

"That Mr. Villiers will probably be arrested to-day, or to-morrow, if
he remains where he is."

"I will go directly to him," cried Ethel; "we must leave town at once.
God grant that I am not too late!"

Seeing her extreme agitation, Fanny remained with her--forced her to
take some breakfast, and then, fearing that if any thing had really
taken place, she would be quite bewildered, asked her permission to
accompany her. "Will you indeed come with me?" Ethel exclaimed, "How
dear, how good you are! O yes, do come--I can never go through it all
alone; I shall die, if I do not find him."

A hackney coach had been called, and they hastened with what speed
they might, to their destination. A kind of panic seized upon Ethel, a
tremor shook her limbs, so that when they at last stopped, she was
unable to speak. Fanny was about to ask for Mr. Villiers, when an
exclamation of joy from Ethel stopped her; Edward had seen them, and
was at the coach door. The snow lay thick around on the roofs of the
houses, and on every atom of vantage ground it could obtain; it was
then snowing, and as the chilly fleece dropped through or was driven
about in the dark atmosphere, it spread a most disconsolate appearance
over every thing; and nothing could look more dreary than poor Ethel's
jumbling vehicle, with its drooping animals, and the half-frozen
driver. Villiers had made up his mind that he should never be
mortified by seeing her again in this sort of equipage, and he hurried
down, the words of reproach already on his lips, "Is this your
promise?" he asked.

"Yes, dearest, it is. Come in, there is danger here.--Come in--we must
go directly."

Seeing Fanny, Villiers became aware that there was some absolute cause
for their journey, so he obeyed and quickly heard the danger that
threatened him. "It would have been better," he said, "that you had
come in the carriage, and that we had instantly left town."

"Impossible!" cried Ethel; "till to-morrow--that is quite impossible.
We have no money until to-morrow."

"Well, my love, since it is so, we must arrange as well as we can. Do
you return home immediately--this cold will kill you. I will take care
of myself, and you can come for me on Thursday evening, as we
proposed."

"Do not ask it of me, Edward," said Ethel; "I cannot leave you. I
could never live through these two days away from you--you must not
desire it--you will kill me."

Edward kissed her pale cheek. "You tremble," he said; "how violently
you tremble! Good God! what can we do? What would you have me do?"

"Any thing, so that we remain together. It is of so little consequence
where we pass the next twenty-four hours, so that we are together.
There are many hotels in town."

"I must not venture to any of these; and then to take you in this
miserable manner, without servants, or any thing to command
attendance. But you shall have your own way; having deprived you of
every other luxury, at least, you shall have your will; which, you
know, compensates for every thing with your obstinate sex."

Ethel smiled, rejoicing to find him in so good and accommodating a
humour. "Yes, pretty one," he continued, marking her feelings, "you
shall be as wretched and uncomfortable as your heart can desire. We
will play the incognito in such a style, that if our adventures were
printed, they would compete with those of Don Quixote and the fair
Dulcinea. But Miss Derham must not be admitted into our
vagabondizing--we will not detain her."

"Yet she must know whither we are going, to bring us the letters that
will confer freedom on us."

Villiers wrote hastily an address on a card. "You will find us there,"
he said. "Do not mention names when you come. We shall remain, I
suppose, till Thursday."

"But we shall see you some time to-morrow, dear Fanny?" asked Ethel.
Already she looked bright and happy; she esteemed herself fortunate to
have gained so easily a point she had feared she must struggle for--or
perhaps give up altogether. Fanny left them, and the coachman having
received his directions, drove slowly on through the deep snow, which
fell thickly on the road; while they, nestling close to each other,
were so engrossed by the gladness of re-union, that had Cinderella's
godmother transmuted their crazy vehicle for a golden coach, redolent
of the perfumes of fairy land, they had scarcely been aware of the
change. Their own hearts formed a more real fairy land, which
accompanied them whithersoever they went, and could as easily spread
its enchantments over the shattered machine in which they now jumbled
along, as amidst the cloth of gold and marbles of an eastern palace.



CHAPTER V.



Few people know how little is necessary to live.
What is called or thought hardship is nothing; one
unhappy feeling is worse than a thousand years of it.
--Lord Edward Fitzgerald.

Uncertain what to do, Villiers had hastily determined that they should
take up their abode at a little inn near Brixton, to wait till
Thursday. He did not know the place except by having passed it, and
observed a smart landlady at the door; so he trusted that it would be
neat and clean. There was nothing imposing in the apperance of the
young pair and their hackney coach, accordingly there was no bustling
civility displayed to receive them. However, when the fire was once
lighted, the old-fashioned sofa drawn near, and dinner ordered, they
sat together and felt very happy; outcasts though they were, wanderers
from civilized existence, shut out, through poverty, from the
refinements and gilt elegancies of life.

One only cloud there was, when Villiers asked his wife an explanation
about their resources, and inquired whence she expected to receive
money on the following day. Ethel explained. Villiers looked
disturbed. There was something almost of anger in his voice, when he
said, "And so, Ethel, you feel no compunction in acting in exact
opposition to my wishes, my principles, my resolves?"

"But, dear Edward, what can principles have to do with borrowing a few
pounds from dear good Aunt Bessy? Besides, we can repay her."

"Be assured that we shall," replied Villiers; "and you will never
again, I trust, behave so unjustly by me. There are certain things in
which we must judged and act for ourselves, and the question of money
transactions is one. I may suffer--and you, alas! may also, through
poverty; though you have taken pains to persuade me, that you do not
feel that struggles, which, for your sake chiefly, embitter my
existence. Yet they are nothing in comparison with the loss of my
independence--the sense of obligation--the knowledge that my kind
friends can talk over my affairs, take me to task, and call me a
burthen to them. Why am I as I am? I have friends and connexions who
would readily assist me at this extremity, if I asked it, and I might
turn their kind feelings into sterling gold if I would; but I have no
desire to work this transmutation--I prefer their friendship."

"Do you mean," inquired his wife, "that your friends would not love
you the better for having been of service to you?"

"If they could serve me without annoyance to themselves they might;
but high in rank and wealthy as many of my relations are, there is not
one among them, at least of those to whom I could have recourse, who
do not dispose of their resources to the uttermost shilling, in their
own way. I then come to interfere with and to disarrange their plans;
at first, this might not be much--but presently they would weigh me
against the gold I needed, and it might happen, that my scale would
kick the beam.

"I speak for myself not for others; I may be too proud, too
sensitive--but so I am. Ever since I knew what pecuniary obligations
were, I resolved to lay under such to no man, and this resolve was
stronger than my love for you; judge therefore of its force, and the
violence you do me, when you would oblige me to act against it. Did I
begin to borrow, a train of thoughts would enter the lender's mind;
the consciousness of which, would haunt me like a crime. My actions
would be scanned--I should be blamed for this, rebuked for that--even
your name, my Ethel, which I would place, like a star in the sky, far
above their mathematical measurements, would become stale in their
mouths, and the propriety of our marriage canvassed: could you bear
that?"

"I yield to all you say," she answered; "yet this is strange morality.
Are generosity, benevolence, and gratitude, to be exploded among us?
Is justice, which orders that the rich give of his superfluity to the
poor, to be banished from the world?"

"You are eloquent," said Villiers; "but, my little wild American, this
is philosophy for the back-woods only. We have got beyond the primeval
simplicity of barter and exchange among gentlemen; and it is such if I
give gratitude in return for fifty pounds: by-and-by my fellow-trader
may grumble at the bargain. All this will become very clear to you
hereafter, I fear--when knowledge of the world teaches you what sordid
knaves we all are; it is to prevent your learning this lesson in a
painful way, that I guard you so jealously from making a wrong step at
this crisis."

"You speak of dreams," said Ethel, "as if dear aunt Bessy would feel
any thing but pleasure in sending her mite to her own dear niece."

"I have told you what I wish," replied her husband, "my honour is in
your hands; and I implore you, on this point, to preserve it in the
way I desire. There is but one relationship that authorizes any thing
like community of goods, it is that of parent and child; but we are
orphans, dearest--step-children, who are not permitted to foster our
filial sentiments. My father is unworthy of his name--the animal who
destroys its offspring at its birth is merciful in comparison with
him: had he cast me off at once, I should have hardened my hands with
labour, and earned my daily bread; but I was trained to 'high-born
necessities,' and have all the 'wide wants and narrow powers' of the
heir of wealth. But let us dismiss this ungrateful subject. I never
willingly advert, even in my own mind, to my father's unpaternal
conduct. Let us instead fancy, sweet love, that we were born to what
we have--that we are cottagers, the children of mechanics, or
wanderers in a barbarous country, where money is not; and imagine that
this repose, this cheerful fire, this shelter from the pelting snow
without, is an unexpected blessing. Strip a man bare to what nature
made him, and place him here, and what a hoard of luxury and wealth
would not this room contain! In the Illinois, love, few mansions could
compete with this."

This was speaking in a language which Ethel could easily comprehend;
she had several times wished to express this very idea, but she feared
to hurt the refined and exclusive feelings of her husband. A splendid
dwelling, costly living, and many attendants, were with her the
adjuncts, not the material, of life. If the stage on which she played
her part was to be so decorated, it was well; if otherwise, the change
did not merit her attention. Love scoffed at such idle trappings, and
could build his tent of canvas, and sleep close nestled in her heart
as softly, being only the more lovely and the more true, from the
absence of every meretricious ornament.

This was another of Ethel's happy evenings, when she felt drawn close
to him she loved, and found elysium in the intimate union of their
thoughts. The dusky room showed them but half to each other; and the
looks of each, beaming with tenderness, drank life from one another's
gaze. The soft shadows thrown on their countenances, gave a lamp-like
lustre to their eyes, in which the purest spirit of affection sat,
weaving such unity of sentiment, such strong bonds of attachment, as
made all life dwindle to a point, and freighted the passing minute
with the hopes and fears of their entire existence. Not much was said,
and their words were childish--words Intellette dar loro soli
ambedui, which a listener would have judged to be meaningless. But the
mystery of love gave a deep sense to each syllable. The hours flew
lightly away. There was nothing to interrupt, nothing to disturb.
Night came and the day was at an end; but Ethel looked forward to the
next, with faith in its equal felicity, and did not regret the fleet
passage of time.

They had been asked during the evening if they were going by any early
coach on the following morning, and a simple negative was given. On
that morning they sat at their breakfast, with some diminution of the
sanguine hopes of the previous evening. For morning is the time for
action, of looking forward, of expectation,--and they must spend this
in waiting, cooped up in a little room, overlooking no cheering scene.
A high road, thickly covered with snow, on which various vehicles were
perpetually passing, was immediately before them. Opposite was a row
of mean-looking houses, between which might be distinguished low
fields buried in snow; and the dreary dark-looking sky bending over
all, added to the forlorn aspect of nature. Villiers was very
impatient to get away, yet another day must be passed here, and there
was no help.

On the breakfast-table the waiter had placed the bill of the previous
day; it remained unnoticed, and he left it on the table when the
things were taken away. "I wonder when Fanny will come," said Ethel.

"Perhaps not at all to-day," observed Villiers, "she knows that we
intend to remain till tomorrow here; and if your aunt's letter is
delayed till then, I see no chance of her coming, nor any use in it."

"But Aunt Bessy will not delay; her answer is certain of arriving this
morning."

"So you imagine, love. You know little of the various chances that
wait upon borrowing."

Soon after, unable to bear confinement to the house, uneasy in his
thoughts, and desirous a little to dissipate them by exercise,
Villiers went out. Ethel, taking a small Shakspeare, which her husband
had had with him at the coffee-house, occupied herself by reading, or
turning from the written page to her own thoughts, gave herself up to
reverie, dwelling on many an evanescent idea, and reverting
delightedly to many scenes, which her memory recalled. She was one of
those who "know the pleasures of solitude, when we hold commune alone
with the tranquil solemnity of nature." The thought of her father, of
the Illinois, and the measureless forest rose before her, and in her
ear was the dashing of the stream which flowed near their abode. Her
light feet again crossed the prairie, and a thousand appearances of
sky and earth departed for ever, were retraced in her brain. "Would
not Edward be happy there?" she thought: "why should we not go? We
should miss dear Horatio; but what else could we regret that we leave
behind? and perhaps he would join us, and then we should be quite
happy." And then her fancy pictured her new home and all its delights,
till her eyes were suffused with tender feeling, as her imagination
sketched a variety of scenes--the pleasant labours of cultivation,
the rides, the hunting, the boating, all common-place occurrences,
which, attended on by love, were exalted into a perpetual gorgeous
procession of beatified hours. And then again she allowed to herself
that Europe or America could contain the same delights. She
recollected Italy, and her feelings grew more solemn and blissful as
she meditated on the wondrous beauty and changeful but deep interest
of that land of memory.

Villiers did not return for some hours;--he also had indulged in
reverie--long-drawn, but not quite so pleasant as that of his
inexperienced wife. The realities of life were kneaded up too entirely
with his prospects and schemes, for them to assume the fairy hues that
adorned Ethel's. He could not see the end to his present struggle for
the narrowest independence. Very slender hopes had been held out to
him; and thus he was to drag out an embittered existence, spent upon
sordid cares, till his father died--an ungrateful idea, from which he
turned with a sigh. He walked speedily, on account of the cold; and as
his blood began to circulate more cheerily in his frame, a change came
over the tenor of his thoughts. From the midst of the desolation in
which he was lost, a vision of happiness arose, that forced itself on
his speculations, in spite, as he imagined, of his better reason. The
image of an elegant home, here or in Italy, adorned by Ethel--cheered
by the presence of friends, unshadowed by any cares, presented itself
to his mind with strange distinctness and pertinacity. At no time had
Villiers loved so passionately as now. The difficulties of their
situation had exalted her, who shared them with such cheerful
fortitude, into an angel of consolation. The pride of man in
possessing the affections of this lovely and noble-minded creature,
was blended with the tenderest desire of protecting and serving her.
His heart glowed with honest joy at the reflection that her happiness
depended upon him solely, and that he was ready to devote his life to
secure it. Was there any action too arduous, any care too minute, to
display his gratitude and his perfect affection? As his recollection
came back, he found that he was at a considerable distance from her,
so he swiftly turned his steps homeward, (that was his home where she
was,) and scarcely felt that he trod earth as he recollected that each
moment carried him nearer, and that he should soon meet the fond gaze
of the kindest, sweetest eyes in the world.

Thus they met, with a renewed joy, after a short absence, each
reaping, from their separate meditations, a fresh harvest of loving
thoughts and interchange of grateful emotion. Great was the pity that
such was their situation--that circumstances, all mean and trivial,
drew them from their heaven-high elevation, to the more sordid cares
of this dirty planet. Yet why name it pity? their pure natures could
turn the grovelling substance presented to them, to ambrosial food for
the sustenance of love.



CHAPTER VI.



There's a bliss beyond all that the minstrel has told.
When two that are linked in one heavenly tie.
With heart never changing, and brow never cold.
Love on through all ills, and love on till they die.
--Lalla Rookh.

Villiers had not been returned long, when the waiter came in, and
informed them, that his mistress declined serving their dinner, till
her bill of the morning was paid; and then he left the room. The
gentle pair looked at each other, and laughed. "We must wait till
Fanny comes, I fear," said Ethel; "for my purse is literally empty."

"And if Miss Derham should not come?" remarked Villiers.

"But she will!--she has delayed, but I am perfectly certain that she
will come in the course of the day: I do not feel the least doubt
about it."

To quicken the passage of time, Ethel employed herself in netting a
purse, (the inutility of which Villiers smilingly remarked,) while her
husband read to her some of the scenes from Shakspeare's play of
"Troilus and Cressida." The profound philosophy, and intense passion,
of this drama, adorned by the most magnificent poetry that can even be
found in the pages of this prince of poets, caused each to hang
attentive and delighted upon their occupation. As it grew dark,
Villiers stirred up the fire, and still went on; till having with
difficulty decyphered the lines--"She was beloved--she loved;--she
is, and doth; But still sweet love is food for fortune's tooth,"--he
closed the books. "It is in vain," he said; "our liberator does not
come; and these churls will not give us lights."

"It is early yet, dearest," replied Ethel;--"not yet four o'clock.
Would Troilus and Cressida have repined at having been left darkling a
few minutes? How much happier we are than all the heroes and heroines
that ever lived or were imagined! they grasped at the mere shadow of
the thing, whose substance we absolutely possess. Let us know and
acknowledge our good fortune. God knows, I do, and am beyond words
grateful!"

"It is much to be grateful for--sharing the fortunes of a ruined man!"

"You do not speak as Troilus does," replied Ethel smiling: "he knew
better the worth of love compared with worldly trifles."

"You would have me protest, then," said Villiers;--"But, alas! I am
as true as truth's simplicity, And simpler than the infancy of truth;"
so that all I can say is, that you are a very ill-used little girl, to
be mated as you are--so buried, with all your loveliness, in this
obscurity--so bound, though akin to heaven, to the basest dross of
earth."

"You are poetical, dearest, and I thank you. For my own part, I am in
love with ill luck. I do not think we should have discovered how very
dear we are to each other, had we sailed for ever on a summer sea."

Such talk, a little prolonged, at length dwindled to silence. Edward
drew her nearer to him; and as his arm encircled her waist, she placed
her sweet head on his bosom, and they remained in silent reverie. He,
as with his other hand he played with her shining ringlets, and parted
them on her fair brow, was disturbed in thought, and saddened by a
sense of degradation. Not to be able to defend the angelic creature,
who depended on him, from the world's insults, galled his soul, and
embittered even the heart's union that existed between them. She did
not think--she did know of these things. After many minutes of
silence, she said,--"I have been trying to discover why it is absolute
pleasure to suffer pain for those we love."

"Pleasure in pain!--you speak riddles."

"I do," she replied, raising her head; "but I have divined this. The
great pleasure of love is derived from sympathy--the feeling of
union--of unity. Any thing that makes us alive to the sense of love--
that imprints deeper on our plastic consciousness the knowledge of the
existence of our affection, causes an increase of happiness. There are
two things to which we are most sensitive--pleasure and pain. But
habit can somewhat dull the first; and that which was in its newness,
ecstasy--our being joined for ever--becomes, like the air we breathe,
a thing we could not live without, but yet in which we are rather
passively than actively happy. But when pain comes to awaken us to a
true sense of how much we love--when we suffer for one another's dear
sake--the consciousness of attachment swells our hearts: we are
recalled from the forgetfulness engendered by custom; and the
awakening and renewal of the sense of affection brings with it a joy,
that sweetens to its dregs the bitterest cup."

"Encourage this philosophy, dear Ethel," replied Villiers; "you will
need it: but it shames me to think that I am your teacher in this
mournful truth." As he spoke, his whole frame was agitated by
tenderness and grief. Ethel could see, by the dull fire-light, a tear
gather on his eye-lashes: it fell upon her hand. She threw her arms
round him, and pressed him to her heart with a passionate gush of
weeping, occasioned partly by remorse at having so moved him, and
partly by her heart's overflowing with the dear security of being
loved.

They had but a little recovered from this scene, when the waiter,
bringing in lights, announced Miss Derham. Her coming had been full of
disasters. After many threatenings, and much time consumed in clumsy
repairs, her hackney-coach had fairly broken down: she had walked the
rest of the way; but they were much further from town than she
expected; and thus she accounted for her delay. She brought no news;
but held in her hand the letter that contained the means of freeing
them from their awkward predicament.

"We will not stay another minute in this cursed place," said Villiers:
"we will go immediately to Salt Hill, where I intended to take you to-
morrow. I can return by one of the many stages which pass continually,
to keep my appointment with Gayland; and be back with you again by
night. So if these stupid people possess a post-chaise, we will be
gone directly."

Ethel was well pleased with this arrangement; and it was put it
execution immediately. The chaise and horses were easily procured.
They set Fanny down in their way through town. Ethel tried to repay
her kindness by heartfelt thanks; and she, in her placid way, showed
clearly how pleased she was to serve them.

Leaving her in Piccadilly, not far from her own door, they pursued
their way to Salt Hill; and it seemed as if, in this more change of
place, they had escaped from a kind of prison, to partake again in the
immunities and comforts of civilized life. Ethel was considerably
fatigued when she arrived; and her husband feared that he had tasked
her strength too far. The falling and fallen snow clogged up the
roads, and their journey had been long. She slept, indeed, the greater
part of the way, her head resting on him; and her languor and physical
suffering were soothed by emotions the most balmy and by the
gladdening sense of confidence and security.

They arrived at Salt Hill late in the evening. The hours were
precious; for early on the following day, Villiers was obliged to
return to town. On inquiry, he found that his best mode was to go by a
night-coach from Bath, which would pass at seven in the morning. They
were awake half the night, talking of their hopes, their plans, their
probable deliverance from their besetting annoyances. By this time
Ethel had taught her own phraseology, and Villiers had learned to
believe that whatever must happen would fall upon both, and that no
separation could take place fraught with any good to either.

When Ethel awoke, late in the morning, Villiers was gone. Her watch
told her, indeed, that it was near ten o'clock, and that he must have
departed long before. She felt inclined to reproach him for leaving
her, though only for a few hours, without an interchange of adieu. In
truth, she was vexed that he was not there: the world appeared to her
so blank, without his voice to welcome her back to it from out of the
regions of sleep. While this slight cloud of ill-humour (may it be
called?) was passing over her mind, she perceived a little note, left
by her husband, lying on her pillow. Kissing it a thousand times, she
read its contents, as if they possessed talismanic power. They
breathed the most passionate tenderness: they besought her, as she
loved him, to take care of herself, and to keep up her spirits until
his return, which would be as speedy as the dove flies back to its
nest, where its sweet mate fondly expects him. With these assurances
and blessings to cheer her, Ethel arose. The sun poured its wintry yet
cheering beams into the parlour, and the sparkling, snow-clad earth
glittered beneath. She wrapped herself in her cloak, and walked into
the garden of the hotel. Long immured in London, living as if its fogs
were the universal vesture of all things, her spirits rose to
exultation and delight, as she looked on the blue sky spread
cloudlessly around. As the pure breeze freshened her cheek, a kind of
transport seized her; her spirit took wings; she felt as if she could
float on the bosom of the air--as if there was a sympathy in nature,
whose child and nursling she was, to welcome her back to her haunts,
and to reward her bounteously for coming. The trees, all leafless and
snow-bedecked, were friends and intimates: she kissed their rough
barks, and then laughed at her own folly at being so rapt. The snow-
drop, as it peeped from the ground, was a thing of wonder and mystery;
and the shapes of frost, beautiful forms to be worshipped. All
sorrow--all care passed away, and left her mind as clear and bright
as the unclouded heavens that bent over her.



CHAPTER VII.



Herein
Shall my captivity be made my happiness;
Since what I lose in freedom, I regain
With interest.
--Beaumont and Fletcher.

The glow of enthusiasm and gladness, thus kindled in her soul, faded
slowly as the sun descended; and human tenderness returned in full
tide upon her. She longed for Edward to speak to; when would he come
back? She walked a little way on the London road; she returned: still
her patience was not exhausted. The sun's orb grew red and dusky as it
approached the horizon: she returned to the house. It was yet early:
Edward could not be expected yet: he had promised to come as soon as
possible; but he had prepared her for the likelihood of his arrival
only by the mail at night. It was long since she had written to
Saville. Cooped up in town, saddened by her separation from her
husband, or enjoying the brief hours of reunion, she had felt
disinclined to write. Her enlivened spirits now prompted her to pour
out some of their overflowings to him. She did not allude to any of
the circumstances of their situation, for Edward had forbidden that
topic: still she had much to say; for her heart was full of
benevolence to all mankind; besides her attachment to her husband, the
prospect of becoming a mother within a few months, opened another
source of tenderness; there seemed to be a superabundance of happiness
within her, a portion of which she desired to impart to those she
loved.

Daylight had long vanished, and Villiers did not return. She felt
uneasy:--of course he would come by the mail; yet if he should not--
what could prevent him? Conjectures would force themselves on her,
unreasonable, she told herself; yet her doubts were painful, and she
listened attentively each time that the sound of wheels grew, and
again faded, upon her ear. If the vehicle stopped, she was in a state
of excitation that approached alarm. She knew not what she feared; yet
her disquiet increased into anxiety. "Shall I ever see him again?"
were words that her lips did not utter, and yet which lingered in her
heart, although unaccompanied by any precise idea to her
understanding.

She had given a thousand messages to the servants;--and at last the
mail arrived. She heard a step--it was the waiter:--"The gentleman is
not come, ma'am," he said. "I knew it," she thought;--"yet why? why?"
At one time she resolved to set off for town; yet whither to go--where
to find him? An idea struck her, that he had missed the mail; but as
he would not leave her a prey to uncertainty, he would come by some
other conveyance. She got a little comfort from this notion, and
resumed her occupation of waiting; though the vagueness of her
expectations rendered her a thousand times more restless than before.
And all was vain. The mail had arrived at eleven o'clock--at twelve
she retired to her room. She read again and again his note: his
injunction, that she should take care of herself, induced her to go to
bed at a little after one; but sleep was still far from her. Till she
could no longer expect--till it became certain that it must be morning
before he could come, she did not close her eyes. As her last hope
quitted her, she wept bitterly. Where was the joyousness of the
morning?--the exuberant delight with which her veins had tingled,
which had painted life as a blessing? She hid her face in her pillow,
and gave herself up to tears, till sleep at last stole over her
senses.

Early in the morning her door opened and her curtain was drawn aside.
She awoke immediately, and saw Fanny Derham standing at her bed-side.

"Edward! where is he?" she exclaimed, starting up.

"Well, quite well," replied Fanny: "do not alarm yourself, dear Mrs.
Villiers,--he has been arrested."

"I must go to him immediately. Leave me for a little while, dear
Fanny,--I will dress and come to you; do you order the chaise
meanwhile. I can hear every thing as we are going to town."

Ethel trembled violently--her speech was rapid but inarticulate; the
paleness that overspread her face, blanching even her marble brow, and
the sudden contraction of her features, alarmed Fanny. The words she
had used in communicating her intelligence were cabalistic to Ethel,
and her fears were the more intolerable because mysterious and
undefined; the blood trickled cold in her veins, and a chilly moisture
stood on her forehead. She exerted herself violently to conquer this
weakness, but it shackled her powers, as bands of rope would her
limbs, and after a few moments she sank back on her pillow almost
bereft of life. Fanny sprang to the bell, then sprinkled her with
water; some salts were procured from the landlady, and gradually the
colour revisited her cheeks, and her frame resumed its functions--an
hysteric fit, the first she had ever had, left her at last exhausted
but more composed. She herself became frightened lest illness should
keep her from Villiers; she exerted herself to become tranquil, and
lay for some time without speaking or moving. A little refreshment
contributed to restore her, and she turned to Fanny with a faint sweet
smile, "You see," said she, "what a weak, foolish thing I am; but I am
well now, quite rallied--there must be no more delay."

Her cheerful voice and lively manner gave her friend confidence. Fanny
was one who believed much in the mastery of mind, and felt sure that
nothing would be so prejudicial to Mrs. Villiers as contradiction, and
obstacles put in the way of her attaining the object of her wishes. In
spite therefore of the good people about, who insisted that the most
disastrous consequences would ensue, she ordered the horses, and
prepared for their immediate journey to town. Ethel repaid her cares
with smiles, while she restrained her curiosity, laid as it were a
check on her too impatient movements, and forced a calm of manner
which gave her friend courage to proceed.

It was not until they were on their way that the object of their
journey was mentioned. Fanny then spoke of the arrest as a trifling
circumstance--mentioned bail, and twenty things, which Ethel only
comprehended to be mysterious methods of setting him free; and then
also she asked the history of what had happened. The tale was soon
told. The moment Mr. Villiers had entered Piccadilly he had caused a
coach to be called, but on passing to it from the stage, two men
entered it with him, whose errand was too easily explained. He had
driven first to his solicitor's, hoping to put every thing in train
for his instant liberation. The day was consumed in these fruitless
endeavours--he did not give up hope till past ten at night, when he
sent to Fanny, asking her to go down to Mrs. Villiers as early as
possible in the morning, and to bring her up to town. His wish was, he
said, that Ethel should take up her abode at Mrs. Derham's till this
affair could be arranged, and they were enabled to leave London. His
note was hurried; he promised that another, more explicit, should
await his wife on her arrival.

"You will tell the driver," said Ethel, when this story was finished,
"to drive to Edward's prison. I would not stay away five minutes from
him in his present situation to purchase the universe."

Any one but Miss Derham might have resisted Ethel's wish--have argued
with her, and irritated her by the display of obstacles and
inconveniences. It was not Fanny's method ever to oppose the desires
of others. They knew best, she affirmed, their own sensations, and
what was most fitting for them. What is best for me, habit, education,
and a different texture of character, may render the worst for them.
In the present instance, also, she saw that Ethel's feelings were
almost too high wrought for her strength--that opposition, by making a
further call on her powers, might upset them wholly. She had besides,
the deepest respect for her attachment to her husband, and was willing
to reward it by bringing her to him without delay. Having thus
fortunately fallen into reasonable hands, guided by one who could
understand her character, and not torture her by forcing notions the
opposite of those on which she felt herself compelled to act, Ethel
became tranquil, and saw the mere panic of inexperience in her
previous excessive alarm.

They now approached London. Fanny called the post-boy to the window of
the chaise, and gave him directions, at which he a little stared, but
said nothing. She gave things their own names, and never dreamt of
saving appearances, as it is called. What ought to be done, that she
dared do in the face of the whole world, and therefore to make a
mystery of their destination never once occurred to her. They drove
through the long interminable suburbs--through Piccadilly and the
Strand. Ethel's cheeks flushed with the excitement, and something like
apprehension made her heart flutter. She had endeavoured to form an
image in her own mind of whither they were going--it was vague and
therefore frightful--but Edward was there, and she also would share
the horrors of his prison-house.

They passed through Temple Bar, and going down an obscure street or
two, stopped at a dingy door-way. "This is not right," said Ethel,
almost gasping for breath, "this is not a prison."

"Something very like it, as you will find too soon," said her friend.

Still Ethel's imagination was relieved by the absence of the massy
walls, the portentous gates, the gloomy immensity of an absolute
prison. The door of the house being opened, Ethel stepped out from the
chaise and asked for Mr. Villiers. The man whom she addressed
hesitated, but Ethel had learnt one only worldly lesson, which was,
whenever she needed the services of people of the lower orders, to
disseminate money plentifully. Her purse was in her hand, and she gave
a sovereign to the man, who then at once showed them upstairs; which
she ascended, though every limb nearly refused to perform its office
as she approached the spot where again she was to find--to see him,
whose image lived eternally in her heart, and whom it was the sole joy
of her life to wait on, to be sheltered by, to live near.

The door was opened. In the dingy, dusty room, beside the fire, which
looked as if it could not burn, and was never meant to warm even the
black neglected grate, Villiers sat, reading. His first emotion was
shame when he saw Ethel enter. There was no accord between her
spotless loveliness and his squalid prison-room. Any one who has seen
a sunbeam suddenly enter and light up a scene of housewifely neglect,
and vulgar discomfort, and felt how obtrusive it rendered all that
might be half-forgotten in the shade, can picture how the simple
elegance of Ethel displayed yet more distinctly to her husband the
worse than beggarly scene in which she found him. His cheeks flushed,
and almost he would have turned away. He would have reproached, but a
tenderness and an elevation of feeling animated her expressive
countenance, which turned the current of his thoughts. Whether it were
their fate to suffer the extremes of fortune in the savage wilderness,
or in the more appalling privations of civilized life--love, and the
poetry of love accompanied her, and gilded, and irradiated the
commonest forms of penury. She looked at him, and her eyes then
glanced to the barred windows. As Fanny and their conductor left them,
she heard the key turn in the lock with an impertinent intrusive
loudness. She felt pained for him, but for herself it was as if the
world and all its cares were locked out, and as if in this near
association with him, she reaped the reward of all her previous
anxiety. There was no repining in her thoughts, no dejection in her
manner; Villiers could read in her open countenance, as plainly as
through the clearest crystal, the sentiments that were passing in her
mind--it was something more satisfied than resignation, more contented
than fortitude. It was a knowledge that whatever evil might attend her
lot, the good so far outweighed it, that, for his sake only, could she
advert to any feeling of distress. It was a consciousness of being in
her place, and of fulfilling her duty, accompanied by a sort of
rapture in remembering how thrice dear and hallowed that duty was.
Angels could not feel as she did, for they cannot sacrifice to those
they love; yet there was in her that absence of all self-emanating
pain, which is the characteristic of what we are told of the angelic
essences.

As when at night autumnal winds are howling, and vast masses of winged
clouds are driven with indescribable speed across the sky--we note the
islands of dark ether, built round by the white fleecy shapes; and as
we mark the stars which gem their unfathomable depth, silence and
sublime tranquillity appear to have found a home in that deep vault,
and we love to dwell on the peace and beauty that live there, while
the clouds still rush on, and the face of the lower heaven is more
mutable than water. Thus the mind of Ethel, surrounded by the world's
worst forms of adversity, showed clear and serene, entirely possessed
by the repose of love. It was impossible but that, in spite of shame
and regret, Villiers should not participate in these feelings. He gave
himself up to the softening influence: he knew not how to repine on
his own account; Ethel's affection demanded to stand in place of
prosperity, and he could not refuse to admit so dear a claim.

The door had closed on them, and every outlet to liberty, or the
enjoyment of life, was barred up. Edward drew Ethel towards him and
kissed her fondly. Their eyes met, and the speechless tenderness that
beamed from hers reached his heart and soothed every ruffled feeling.
Sitting together, and interchanging a few words of comfort and hope,
mingled with kind looks and affectionate caresses, they neither of
them remembered indignity nor privation. The tedious mechanism of
civilized life, and the odious interference of their fellow-creatures
were forgotten, and they were happy.



CHAPTER VIII.



Veggo pur troppo
Che favola  la vita.
E la favola mia non  compita.
--Petrarca.

The darker months of winter had passed away, and the chilly, blighting
English spring begun. Towards the end of March Lady Lodore came to
town. She had long ago, in her days of wealth, fitted up a house in
Park Lane, so she returned to it, as to a home--if home it might be
called--where no one welcomed her--where none sat beside her at the
domestic hearth.

For the first time she felt keenly this circumstance. During her
mother's lifetime she had had her constantly for a companion, and
afterwards as events pressed upon her, and while the anguish she felt
upon Horatio Saville's marriage was still fresh, she had not reverted
to her lonely position as the source of pain.

The haughty, the firm, the self-exalting soul of Cornelia had borne up
long. She had often felt that she walked on the borders of a
precipice, and that if once she admitted sentiments of regret, she
should plunge without retrieve into a gulph, dark, portentous,
inextricable. She had often repeated to herself that fate should not
vanquish her, and that in spite of despair she would be happy: it is
true that the misery occasioned by Saville's marriage was a canker at
her heart, for which there was no cure, but she had recourse to
dissipation that she might endeavour to forget it. A sad and
ineffectual remedy. She was surrounded by admirers, whom she
disdained, and by friends to whom she would have died rather than
betray the naked misery of her soul. She had never planned nor thought
of marriage. The report concerning the Earl of D--was one of those
which the world always makes current, when two persons of opposite
sexes are, by any chance, thrown much together. His sister was Lady
Lodore's friend, and she had chaperoned her, and been of assistance to
her, during the courtship of the gentleman who was at present her
husband. It was their house that Lady Lodore had just quitted on
arriving in town. The new-born happiness of early wedded life had been
a scene to call her back to thoughts which were the sources of the
bitterest anguish. She abhorred herself that she could envy, that she
could desire to exchange places with, any created being. She abridged
her visit, and fancied that she should regain peace in the
independence of her own home. But the enjoyment of liberty was cold in
her heart, and loneliness added a freezing chilliness to her feeling.

The mind of Cornelia was much above the world she lived in, though she
had sacrificed all to it; and, so to speak, much above herself. Take
pride from her, and there was understanding, magnanimity, and great
kindliness of disposition: but pride had been the wall of China to
shut up all her better qualities, and to keep them from communicating
with the world beyond;--pride, which grew strong by resistance, and
towered above every aggressor;--pride, which crumbled away, when time
and change were its sole assailants, till her inner being was left
unprotected and bare.

She found herself alone in the world. She felt that her life was
aimless, unprofitable, blank. She was humiliated and saddened by her
relative position in the world. She did not think of her daughter as a
resource; she was in the hands of her enemies, and no hope lay there.
She entertained the belief that Mrs. Villiers was weak both in
character and understanding; and that to make any attempt to interest
herself in her, would end in disappointment, if not disgust.
Imagining, as we are all apt to do, how we should act in another
person's place, she had formed a notion of what she would have done,
had she been Ethel; and as nothing was done, she almost despised, and
quite pitied her. No! there was no help. She was alone;--none loved,
none cared for her; and the flower of the field, which a child plucks
and wears for an hour, and then casts aside, was of more worth than
she.

Every amusement grew tedious--all society vacant and dull. When she
came back from dinners or assemblies, to her luxurious but empty
abode, the darkest thoughts, engendered by spleen, hung over its
threshold, and welcomed her return. At such times, she would dismiss
her attendant, and remain half the night by her fireside, encouraging
sickly reveries, struggling with the fate that bound her, yet unable
in any way to make an effort for freedom.

"Time"--thus would her thoughts fashion themselves--"yes, time rolls
on, and what does it bring? I live in a desert; its barren sands feed
my hour-glass, and they come out fruitless as they went in. Months
change their names--years their cyphers: my brow is sadly trenched;
the bloom of youth is faded: my mind gathers wrinkles. What will
become of me?

"Hopes of my youth, where are ye?--my aspirations, my pride, my belief
that I could grasp and possess all things? Alas! there is nothing of
all this! My soul lies in the dust; and I look up to know that I have
been playing with shadows, and that I am fallen for ever! What do I
see around me? The tide of life is ebbing fast! I had fancied that
pearls and gold would have been left by the retiring waves; and I find
only barren, lonely sands! No voice reaches me from across the
waters--no one stands beside me on the shore! Would--O would I could
lay my head on the spray-sprinkled beach, and sleep for ever!

"This is madness!--these incoherent images that throng my brain are
the ravings of insanity!--yet what greater madness, than to know that
love, affection, the charities of life, the hopes of existence, are
empty words for me. Am I indeed to have done with these? What is it
that still moves up and down in my soul, making me feel as if
something might yet be accomplished? Is it that the ardour of youth is
not yet tamed? Alas! my youth has departed for ever. Yet wherefore
these sighs, which wrap an eternity of wretchedness in their
evanescent breath?--why these tears, that, flowing from the inmost
fountains of the soul, endeavour to give passage to the flood of
sorrow that deluges and overwhelms it? The husband of my youth!--the
thought of him passes like a shadow across me! Had he borne with me a
little longer--had I submitted to his controul--how different my
destiny had been! But I will not think of that--I do not! A mightier
storm than any he could raise has swept across me since, and laid all
waste. My soul has been set upon a hope, which has vanished, and
desolation has come in its room. Could God, in his anger, bestow a
bitterer curse on a condemned spirit, than that which weighs on me,
when I reflect, that through my own fault I lost him, whom but to see
was paradise? The thought haunts me like a crime; yet when is it
absent from me?--it sleeps with me, rises with me--it is by me now,
and I would willingly die only to dismiss it for ever.

"Miserable Cornelia! Thou hast been courted, lauded, waited on,
loved!--it is all over! I am alone! My poor, poor mother!--my much
reviled, my dearest mother!--by you, at least, I was valued! Ah! why
are you gone, leaving your wretched child alone?

"O that I could take wings and rise from out of the abyss into which I
am fallen! Can I not, myself being miserable, take pleasure in the
pleasure of others; and by force of strong sympathy, forget my selfish
woes? With whom can I sympathize? None desire my care, and all would
repay my officiousness with ingratitude, perhaps with scorn. Once I
could assist the poor; now I am poor myself: my limited means scarce
suffice to keep me in that station in society, from which, did I once
descend, I were indeed trampled upon and destroyed for ever. Tears
rush from my eyes--my heart sinks within me, as I look forward. Again
the same cares, the same coil, the same bitter result. Hopes held out,
only to be crushed; affections excited, only to be scattered to the
winds. I blamed myself for struggling too much with fate, for rowing
against wind and tide, for resolving to controul the events that form
existence: now I yield--I have long yielded--I have let myself drift,
as I hoped, into a quiet creek, where indifference and peace ruled the
hour; and lo! it is a whirlpool, to swallow all I had left of
enjoyment upon earth!"

It was not until she had exhausted herself by these gloomy and
restless reflections, that she laid her head upon her pillow, and
tried to sleep. Morning usually dawned before she closed her eyes; and
it was nearly noon before she rose, weary and unrefreshed. It was with
a struggle that she commenced a new day--a day that was to be cheered
by no event nor feeling capable of animating her to any sense of joy.
She had never occupied herself by intellectual exertion: her
employments had been the cultivation of what are called
accomplishments merely; and when now she reverted to these, it was
with bitterness. She remembered the interval when she had been
inspirited by the delightful wish to please Horatio. Now none cared
how the forlorn Cornelia passed her time;--no one would hang
enraptured on her voice, or hail with gladness the developement of
some new talent. "It is the same," she thought, "how I get rid of the
heavy hours, so that they go. I have but to give myself up to the
sluggish stream that bears me on to old age, not more bereft or
unregarded than these wretched years."

Thus she lingered idly through the morning; her only enjoyment being,
when she secured to herself a solitary drive, and reclining back in
her carriage, felt herself safe from every intrusion, and yet enjoying
a succession of objects, that a little varied the tenor of her
thoughts. She had deserted the park, and sought unfrequented drives in
the environs of London. Evening at last came, and with it her
uninteresting engagements, which yet she found better than entire
seclusion. Forced to rouse herself to adopt, as a mask, the smiling
appearance which had been natural to her for many years, she often
abhorred every one around her; and yet, hating herself more, took
refuge among them, from her own society. Her chief care was to repress
any manifestation of her despair, which too readily rose to her lips
or in her eyes. The glorious hues of sunset--the subduing sounds of
music--even the sight of a beautiful girl, resplendent with happiness
and youth, moving gracefully in dance--had power to move her to tears:
her blood seemed to curdle and grow thick, while gloomy shadows
mantled over her features. Often, she could scarcely forbear
expressing the bitterness of her feelings, and indulging in
acrimonious remarks on the deceits of life, and the inanity of all
things. It seemed to her, sometimes, that she must die if she did not
give vent to the still increasing horror with which she regarded the
whole system of the world.

Nor were her sufferings always thus negative. One evening, especially,
a young travelled gentleman approached her, with all the satisfaction
painted on his countenance, which he felt at having secured a topic
for the entertainment of the fashionable Lady Lodore.

"You are intimate with the Misses Saville," he said; "what charming
girls they are! I have just left them at Naples, where they have been
spending the carnival. I saw them almost every day, and capitally we
enjoyed ourselves. Their Italian sister-in-law spirited them up to
mask, and to make a real carnival of it. A most lovely woman that. Did
you ever see Mrs. Saville, Lady Lodore?"

"Never," replied his auditress.

"Such eyes! Gazelles, and stars, and suns, and the whole range of
poetic imagery, might be sought in vain, to do justice to her large
dark eyes. She is very young--scarcely twenty: and to see her with her
child, is positively a finer tableau than any Raphael or Correggio in
the world. She has a little girl, not a year old, with golden hair,
and eyes as black as the mother's--the most beautiful little thing,
and so intelligent. Saville doats on it: no wonder--he is not himself
handsome, you know; though the lovely Clorinda would stab me if she
heard me say so. She positively adores him. You should have seen them
together."

Lady Lodore turned on him one of her sweetest smiles, and in her
blandest tone, said, "If you could only get me an ice from that
servant, who I see immovable behind those dear, wonderful dowagers,
you would so oblige me."

He was gone in a minute; and on his return, Lady Lodore was so deeply
engrossed in being persuaded to go to the next drawing room, by the
young and new-married Countess of G--, that she could only reward him
with another heavenly smile. He was obliged to take his carnival at
Naples to some other listener.

Cornelia scarcely closed her eyes that night. The thought of the happy
wife and lovely child of Saville, pierced her as with remorse. She had
entirely broken off her acquaintance with his family, so that she was
ignorant of Clorinda's disposition, and readily fancied that she was
as happy as she believed that the wife of Horatio Saville must be. She
would not acknowledge that she was wicked enough to repine at her
felicity; but that he should be rendered happy by any other woman than
herself--that any other woman should have become the sharer of his
dearest affections, stung her to the core. Yet why should she regret?
She were well exchanged for one so lovely and so young. At the age of
thirty-four, which she had now reached, Cornelia persuaded herself,
that the name of beauty was a mockery as applied to her--though her
own glass might have told her otherwise; for time had dealt lightly
with her, so that the extreme fascination of her manner, and the
animation and intelligence of her countenance, made her compete with
many younger beauties. She felt that she was deteriorated from the
angelic being she had seemed when she first appeared as Lodore's
bride; and this made all compliments show false and vain. Now she
figured to herself the dark eyes of the Neapolitan; and easily
believed that the memory of her would contrast, like a faded picture,
with the rich hues of Clorinda's face; while her sad and withered
feelings were in yet greater opposition to the vivacity she had heard
described and praised--to the triumphant and glad feelings of a
beloved wife. It seemed to her as if she must weep for ever, and yet
that tears were unavailing to diminish in any degree the sorrow that
weighed so heavily at her heart. These reflections sat like a night-
mare on her pillow, troubling the repose she in vain courted. She
arose in the morning, scarcely conscious that she had slept at all--
languid from exhaustion--her sufferings blunted by their very excess.



CHAPTER IX.



O, where have I been all this time? How 'friended
That I should lose myself thus desp'rately.
And none for pity show me how I wandered!
--Beaumont and Fletcher.

While it was yet too early for visitors, and before she had ordered
herself to be denied to every one, as she intended to do, she was
surprised by a double knock at the door, and she rang hastily to
prevent any one being admitted. The servants, with contradictory
orders, found it difficult to evade the earnest desire of the visitor
to see their lady; and at last they brought up a card, on which was
written, "Miss Derham wishes to be permitted to see Lady Lodore for
Mrs. Villiers." From had first been written, erased, and for
substituted. Lady Lodore was alarmed; and the ideas of danger and
death instantly presenting themselves, she desired Miss Derham to be
shown up. She met her with a face of anxiety, and with that frankness
and kindness of manner which was the irresistible sceptre she wielded
to subdue all hearts. Fanny had hitherto disliked Lady Lodore. She
believed her to be cold, worldly, and selfish--now, in a moment, she
was convinced, by the powerful influence of manner, that she was the
contrary of all this; so that instead of the chilling address she
meditated, she was impelled to throw off her reserve, and to tell her
story with animation and detail. She spoke of what Mrs. Villiers had
gone through previous to the arrest of her husband--and how constantly
she had kept her resolve of remaining with him--though her situation
day by day becoming more critical, demanded attentions and luxuries
which she had no means of attaining. "Yet," said Fanny, "I should not
have intruded on you even now, but that they cannot go on as they are;
their resources are utterly exhausted,--and until next June I see no
prospect for them."

"Why does not Mr. Villiers apply to his father? even if letters were
of no avail, a personal appeal--" "I am afraid that Colonel Villiers
has nothing to give," replied Fanny, "and at all events, Mr.
Villiers's imprisonment--" "Prison!" cried Lady Lodore, "you do not
mean--Ethel cannot be living in prison!"

"They live within the rules, if you understand that term. They rent a
lodging close to the prison on the other side of the river."

"This must indeed be altered," said Lady Lodore, "this is far too
shocking--poor Ethel, she must come here! Dear Miss Derham, will you
tell her how much I desire to see her, and entreat her to make my
house her home."

Fanny shook head. "She will not leave her husband--I should make your
proposal in vain."

Lady Lodore looked incredulous. After a moment's thought she persuaded
herself that Ethel's having refused to return to the house of Mrs.
Derham, or having negatived some other proposed kindness originated
this notion, and she believed that she had only to make her invitation
in the most gracious possible way, not to have it refused. "I will go
to Ethel myself," she said; "I will myself bring her here, and so
smooth all difficulties."

Fanny did not object. Under her new favourable opinion of Lady Lodore,
she felt that all would be well if the mother and daughter were
brought together, though only for a few minutes. She wrote down
Ethel's address, and took her leave, while at the same moment Lady
Lodore ordered her carriage, and assured her that no time should be
lost in removing Mrs. Villiers to a more suitable abode.

Lady Lodore's feelings on this occasion were not so smiling as her
looks. She was grieved for her daughter, but she was exceedingly vexed
for herself. She had desired some interest, some employment in life,
but she recoiled from any that should link her with Ethel. She desired
occupation, and not slavery; but to bring the young wife to her own
house, and make it a home for her, was at once destructive of her own
independence. She looked forward with repugnance to the familiarity
that must thence ensue between her and Villiers. Even the first step
was full of annoyance, and she was displeased that Fanny had given her
the task of going to her daughter's habitation, and forced her to
appear personally on so degrading a scene; there was however no help--
she had undertaken it, and it must be done.

Every advance she made towards the wretched part of the town where
Ethel lived, added to her ill-humour. She felt almost personally
affronted by the necessity she was under of first coming in contact
with her daughter under such disastrous circumstances. Her spleen
against Lord Lodore revived: she viewed every evil that had ever
befallen her, as arising from his machinations. If Ethel had been
entrusted to her guardianship, she certainly had never become the wife
of Edward Villiers--nor ever have tasted the dregs of opprobrious
poverty.

At length, her carriage drew near a row of low, shabby houses; and as
the name caught her eye she found that she had reached her
destination. She resolved not to see Villiers, if it could possibly be
avoided; and then making up her mind to perform her part with grace,
and every show of kindness, she made an effort to smooth her brow and
recall her smiles. The carriage stopped at a door--a servant-maid
answered to the knock. She ordered Mr. Villiers to be asked for; he
was not at home. One objection to her proceeding was removed by this
answer. Mrs. Villiers was in the house, and she alighted and desired
to be shown to her.



CHAPTER X.



As flowers beneath May's footsteps waken
As stars from night's loose hair are shaken;
As waves arise when loud winds call.
Thoughts sprung where'er that step did fall.
--Shelley.

Never before had the elegant and fastidious Lady Lodore entered such
an abode, or ascended such stairs. The servant had told her to enter
the room at the head of the first flight, so she made her way by
herself, and knocked at the door. The voice that told her to come in,
thrilled through her, she knew not why, and she became disturbed at
finding that her self-possession was failing her. Slight things act
powerfully on the subtle mechanism of the human mind. She had dressed
with scrupulous plainness, yet her silks and furs were strangely
contrasted with the room she entered, and she felt ashamed of all the
adjuncts of wealth and luxury that attended her. She opened the door
with an effort: Ethel was seated near the fire at work--no place or
circumstance could deteriorate from her appearance--in her simple,
unadorned morning-dress, she looked as elegant and as distinguished as
she had done when her mother had last seen her in diamonds and plumes
in the presence of royalty. There was a charm about both, strikingly
in contrast, and yet equal in fascination--the polish of Lady Lodore,
and the simplicity of Ethel were both manifestations of inward grace
and dignity; and as they now met, it would have been difficult to say
which had the advantage of the other. Ethel's extreme youth, by adding
to the interest with which she must be regarded, was in her favour.
Yet full of sensibility and loveliness as was her face, she had never
been, nor was she even now, as strikingly beautiful as her mother.

Lady Lodore could not restrain the tear that started into her eye on
beholding her daughter situated as she was. Ethel's feelings, on the
contrary, were all gladness. She had no pride to allay her gratitude
for her mother's kindness. "How very good of you to come!" she said,
"how could you find out where we were?"

"How long have you been here?" asked Lady Lodore, looking round the
wretched little room.

"Only a few weeks--I assure you it is not so bad as it seems. I should
not much mind it, but that Edward feels it so deeply on my account."

"I do not wonder," said her mother, "he must be cut to the soul--but
thank God it is over now. You shall come to me immediately, my house
is quite large enough to accommodate you--I am come to fetch you."

"My own dearest mother!"--the words scarcely formed themselves on
Ethel's lips; she half feared to offend the lovely woman before her by
showing her a daughter's affection.

"Yes, call me mother," said Lady Lodore; "I may, at last, I hope, be
allowed to prove myself one. Come then, dear Ethel, you will not
refuse my request--you will come with me?"

"How gladly--but--will they let Edward go? I thought there was no hope
of so much good fortune."

"I fear indeed," replied her mother, "that Mr. Villiers must endure
the annoyance of remaining here a little longer; but I hope his
affairs will soon be arranged."

Ethel bent her large eyes inquiringly on her mother, as if not
understanding; and then, as her meaning opened on her, a smile
diffused itself over her countenance as she said, "Your intentions are
the kindest in the world--I am grateful, how far more grateful than I
can at all express, for your goodness. That you have had the kindness
to come to this odious place is more than I could ever dare expect."

"It is not worth your thanks, although I think I deserve your
acquiescence to my proposal. You will come home with me?"

Ethel shook her head, smilingly. "All my wishes are accomplished," she
said, "through this kind visit. I would not have you for the world
come here again; but the wall between us is broken down, and we shall
not become strangers again."

"My dearest Ethel," said Lady Lodore, seriously, "I see what you mean.
I wish Mr. Villiers were here to advocate my cause. You must come with
me--he will be much more at ease when you are no longer forced to
share his annoyances. This is in every way an unfit place for you,
especially at this time."

"I shall appear ungrateful, I fear," replied Ethel, "if I assure you
how much better off I am here than I could be any where else in the
world. This place appears miserable to you--so I dare say it is; to
me it seems to possess every requisite for happiness, and were it not
so, I would rather live in an actual dungeon with Edward, than in the
most splendid mansion in England, away from him."

Her face was lighted up with such radiance as she spoke--there was so
much fervour in her voice--such deep affection in her speaking eyes--
such an earnest demonstration of heartfelt sincerity, that Lady Lodore
was confounded and overcome. Swift, as if a map had been unrolled
before her, the picture of her own passed life was retraced in her
mind--its loneless and unmeaning pursuits--and the bitter
disappointments that had blasted every hope of seeing better days. She
burst into tears. Ethel was shocked and tried to soothe her by
caresses and assurances of gratitude and affection. "And yet you will
not come with me?" said Lady Lodore, making an effort to resume her
self-command.

"I cannot. It is impossible for me voluntarily to separate myself from
Edward--I am too weak, too great a coward."

"And is there no hope of liberation for him?" This question of Lady
Lodore forced them back to matter-of-fact topics, and she became
composed. Ethel related how ineffectual every endeavour had yet been
to arrange his affairs, how large his debts, how inexorable his
creditors, how neglectful his attorney.

"And his father?" inquired her mother.

"He seems to me to be kind-hearted," replied Ethel, "and to feel
deeply his son's situation; but he has no means--he himself is in
want."

"He is keeping a carriage at this moment in Paris," said Lady Lodore,
"and giving parties--however, I allow that that is no proof of his
having money. Still you must not stay here."

"Nor shall we always," replied Ethel; "something of course will happen
to take us away, though as yet it is all hopeless enough."

"Aunt Bessy, Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry, might give you assistance. Have
you asked her?--has she refused?"

"Edward has exacted a promise from me not to reveal our perplexities
to her--he is punctilious about money obligations, and I have given my
word not to hurt his delicacy on that point."

"Then that, perhaps, is the reason why you refused my request to go
home with me?" said Lady Lodore reproachfully.

"No," replied Ethel, "I do not think that he is so scrupulous as to
prevent a mother from serving her child, but he shall answer for
himself; I expect him back from his walk every minute."

"Then forgive me if I run away," said Lady Lodore; "I am not fit to
see him now. Better times will come, dearest Ethel, and we shall meet
again. God bless you, my child, as so much virtue and patience deserve
to be blest. Remember me with kindness."

"Do not you forget me," replied Ethel, "or rather, do not think of me
and my fortunes with too much disgust. We shall meet again, I hope?"

Lady Lodore kissed her, and hurried away. Scarcely was she in her
carriage than she saw Villiers advancing: his prepossessing
appearance, ingenuous countenance, and patrician figure, made more
intelligible to her world-practised eyes the fond fidelity of his
wife. She drew up the window that he might not see her, as she gave
her directions for "home," and then retreating to the corner of her
carriage, she tried to compose her thoughts, and to reflect calmly on
what was to be done.

But the effort was vain. The further she was removed from the strange
scene of the morning, the more powerfully did it act on, and agitate
her mind. Her soul was in tumults. This was the being she had pitied,
almost despised! Her eager imagination now exalted her into an angel.
There was something heart-moving in the gentle patience, and
unrepining contentment with which she bore her hard lot. She appeared
in her eyes to be one of those rare examples sent upon earth to purify
human nature, and to demonstrate how near akin to perfection we can
become. Latent maternal pride might increase her admiration, and
maternal tenderness add to its warmth. Her nature had acknowledged its
affinity to her child, and she felt drawn towards her with
inexpressible yearnings. A vehement desire to serve her sprung up--but
all was confused and tumultuous. She pressed her hand on her forehead,
as if so to restrain the strong current of thought. She compressed her
lips, so to repress her tears.

Arrived at home, she found herself in prison within the walls of her
chamber. She abhorred its gilding and luxury--she longed for Ethel's
scant abode and glorious privations. To alleviate her restlessness,
she again drove out, and directed her course through the Regent's
Park, and along the new road to Hampstead, where she was least liable
to meet any one she knew. It was one of the first fine days of spring.
The green meadows, the dark boughs swelling and bursting into bud, the
fresh enlivening air, the holiday of nature's birth--all this was lost
on her, or but added to her agitation. Still her thoughts were with
her child in her narrow abode; every lovely object served but to
recall her image, and the wafting of the soft breeze seemed an
emanation from her. It was dark before she came back, and sent a
hurried note of excuse to the house where she was to have dined. "No
more, O never more," she cried, "will I so waste my being, but learn
from Ethel to be happy, and to love."

Many thoughts and many schemes thronged her brain. Something must be
done, or her heart would burst. Pride, affection, repentance, all
occupied the same channel, and increased the flood that swept away
every idea but one. Her very love for Horatio, true and engrossing as
it had been, the source of many tears and endless regrets, appeared as
slight as the web of gossamer, compared to the chain that bound her to
her daughter. She could not herself understand, nor did she wish to
know, whence and why this enthusiasm had risen like an exhalation in
her soul, covering and occupying its entire space. She only knew it
was there, interpenetrating, paramount. Ethel's dark eyes and silken
curls, her sweet voice and heavenly smile, formed a moving, speaking
picture, which she felt that it were bliss to contemplate for ever.
She retired at last to bed, but not to rest; and as she lay with open
eyes, thinking not of sleep--alive in every pore--her brain working
with ten thousand thoughts, one at last grew more importunate than the
rest, and demanded all her attention. Her ideas became more
consecutive, though not less rapid and imperious. She drew forth in
prospect, as it were, a map of what was to be done, and the results.
Her mind became fixed, and sensations of ineffable pleasure
accompanied her reveries. She was resolved to sacrifice every thing to
her daughter--to liberate Villiers, and to establish her in ease and
comfort. The image of self-sacrifice, and of the ruin of her own
fortunes, was attended with a kind of rapture. She felt as if, in
securing Ethel's happiness, she could never feel sorrow more. This was
something worth living for: the burden of life was gone--its darkness
dissipated--a soft light invested all things, and angels' voices
invited her to proceed. While indulging in these reveries, she sunk
into a balmy sleep--such a one she had not enjoyed for many months--
nay, her whole past life had never afforded her so sweet a joy. The
thoughts of love, when she believed that she should be united to
Saville, were not so blissful; for self-approbation, derived from a
consciousness of virtue and well-doing, hallowed every thought.



CHAPTER XI.



Like gentle rains on the dry plains.
  Making that green which late was grey;
Or like the sudden moon, that stains
  Some gloomy chamber's window panes.
With a broad light like day.
--Shelley.

How mysterious a thing is the action of repentance in the human mind!
We will not dive into the debasing secrets of remorse for guilt. Lady
Lodore could accuse herself of none. Yet when she looked back, a new
light shone on the tedious maze in which she had been lost; a light--
and she blessed it--that showed her a pathway out of tempest and
confusion into serenity and peace. She wondered at her previous
blindness; it was as if she had closed her eyelids, and then fancied
it was night. No fear that she should return to darkness; her heart
felt so light, her spirit so clear and animated, that she could only
wonder how it was she had missed happiness so long, when it needed
only that she should stretch out her hand to take it.

Her first act on the morrow was to have an interview with her son-in-
law's solicitor. Nothing could be more hopeless than Mr. Gayland's
representation of his client's affairs. The various deeds of
settlement and entail, through which he inherited his estate, were
clogged in such a manner as to render an absolute sale of his
reversionary prospects impossible, so that the raising of money on
them could only be effected at an immense future sacrifice. Under
these circumstances Gayland had been unwilling to proceed, and
appeared lukewarm and dilatory, while he was impelled by that love for
the preservation of property, which often finds place in the mind of a
legal adviser.

Lady Lodore listened attentively to his statements. She asked the
extent of Edward's debts, and somewhat started at the sum named as
necessary to clear him. She then told Mr. Gayland that their ensuing
conversation must continue under a pledge of secrecy on his part. He
assented, and she proceeded to represent her intention of disposing of
her jointure for the purpose of extricating Villiers from his
embarrassments. She gave directions for its sale, and instructions for
obtaining the necessary papers to effect it. Mr. Gayland's countenance
brightened; yet he offered a few words of remonstrance against such
unexampled generosity.

"The sacrifice," said Lady Lodore, "is not so great as you imagine. A
variety of circumstances tend to compensate me for it. I do not depend
upon this source of income alone; and be assured, that what I do, I
consider, on the whole, as benefiting me even more than Mr. Villiers."

Mr. Gayland bowed; and Cornelia returned home with a light heart. For
months she had not felt such an exhilaration of spirits. A warm joy
thrilled through her frame, and involuntary smiles dimpled her cheeks.
Dusky and dingy as was the day, the sunshine of her soul dissipated
its shadows, and spread brightness over her path. She could scarcely
controul the expression of her delight; and when she sat down to write
to Ethel, it was several minutes before she was able to collect her
thoughts, so as to remember what she had intended to say. Two notes
were destroyed before she had succeeded in imparting that sobriety to
her expressions, which was needful to veil her purpose, which she had
resolved to lock within her own breast for ever. At length she was
obliged to satisfy herself with a few vague expressions. This was her
letter:--

"I cannot help believing, my dearest girl, that your trials are coming
to a conclusion. I have seen Mr. Gayland; and it appears to me that
energy and activity are chiefly wanting for the arrangement of your
husband's affairs: I think I have in some degree inspired these. He
has promised to write to Mr. Villiers, who, I trust, will find
satisfaction in his views. Do you, my dearest Ethel, keep up your
spirits, and take care of your precious health. We shall meet again in
better days, when you will be rewarded for your sufferings and
goodness. Believe me, I love as much as I admire you; so, in spite of
the past, think of me with indulgence and affection."

Lady Lodore dressed to dine out, and for an evening assembly. She
looked so radiant and so beautiful, that admiration and compliments
were showered upon her. How vain and paltry they all seemed; and yet
her feelings were wholly changed from that period, when she desired to
reject and scoff at the courtesy of her fellow-creatures. The
bitterness of spirit was gone, which had prompted her to pour out gall
and sarcasm, and had made it her greatest pleasure to revel in the
contempt and hate that filled her bosom towards herself and others.
She was now at peace with the world, and disposed to view its follies
charitably. Yet how immeasurably superior she felt herself to all
those around her! not through vanity or supercilious egotism, but from
the natural spring of inward joy and self-approbation, which a
consciousness of doing well opened in her before dried-up heart. She
somewhat contemned her friends, and wholly pitied them. But she could
not dwell on any disagreeable sentiment. Her thoughts, while she
reverted to the circumstances that so changed their tenor, were
stained with the fairest hues, harmonized by the most delicious music.
She had risen to a sphere above, beyond the ordinary soarings of
mortals--a world without a cloud, without one ungenial breath. She
wondered at herself. She looked back with mingled horror and surprise
on the miserable state of despondence to which she had been reduced.
Where were now her regrets?--where her ennui, her repinings, her
despair? "In the deep bosom of the ocean buried!"--and she arose, as
from a second birth, to new hopes, new prospects, new feelings; or
rather to another state of being, which had no affinity to the former.
For poverty was now her pursuit, obscurity her desire, ruin her hope;
and she smiled on, and beckoned to these, as if life possessed no
greater blessings.

Her impetuosity and pride served to sustain the high tone of her soul.
She had none of that sloth of purpose, or weakness of feeling, that
leads to hesitation and regret. To resolve with her had been, during
the whole course of her life, to do; and what her mind was set upon
she accomplished--it might be rashly, but still with that independence
and energy, that gave dignity even to her more ambiguous actions. As
before, when she cast off Lodore, she had never admitted a doubt that
she was justified before God and her conscience for refusing to submit
to the most insulting tyranny; so now, believing that she had acted
ill in not demanding the guardianship of her daughter, and resolving
to atone for the evils which were the consequence of this neglect of
duty on her part, she had no misgivings as to the future, but rushed
precipitately onwards. As a racer at the Olympic games, she panted to
arrive at the goal, though it were only to expire at the moment of its
attainment.

Meanwhile, Ethel had been enchanted by her mother's visit, and spoke
of it to Villiers as a proof of the real goodness of her heart,
insisting that she was judged harshly and falsely. Villiers smiled
incredulously. "She gains your esteem at an easy rate," he observed;
"cultivate it, if it makes you happier. It will need more than a mere
act of ordinary courtesy--more than a slight invitation to her house,
to persuade me that Lady Lodore is not--what she is--a worshipper of
the world, a frivolous, unfeeling woman. Mark me whether she comes
again."

Her letter, on the following day, strengthened his opinion. "This is
even insulting," he said: "she takes care to inform you that she will
not look again on your poverty, but will wait for better days to bring
you together. The kindness of such an intimation is quite admirable.
She has inspired Gayland with energy and activity!--O, then, she must
be a Medea, in more senses than the more obvious one."

Ethel looked reproachfully. She saw that Villiers was deeply hurt that
Lady Lodore had become acquainted with their distresses, and been a
witness of the nakedness of the land. She could not inspire him with
the tenderness that warmed her heart towards her mother, and the
conviction she entertained, in spite of appearances, (for she was
forced to confess to herself that Lady Lodore's letter was not exactly
the one she expected,) that her heart was generous and affectionate.
It was a comfort to her that Fanny Derham participated in her
opinions. Fanny was quite sure that Lady Lodore would prove herself
worthy of the esteem she had so suddenly conceived for her; and Ethel
listened delightedly to her assertions--it was so soothing to think
well of, to love, and praise her mother.

The solicitor's letter, which came, as Lady Lodore announced, somewhat
surprised Villiers; yet, after a little reflection, he gave no heed to
its contents. It said, that upon further consideration of particular
points, Gayland perceived certain facilities; by improving upon which,
he hoped soon to make a favourable arrangement, and to extricate Mr.
Villiers from his involvements. Any thing so vague demanded
explanation. Edward wrote earnestly, requesting one; but his letter
remained unanswered. Perplexed and annoyed, he obtained permission to
quit his bounds for a few hours, and called upon the man of law.
Gayland was so busy, that he could not afford him more than five
minutes' conversation. He said that he had hopes--even expectations;
that a little time would show more; and he begged his client to be
patient. Villiers returned in despair. The only circumstance that at
all served to inspire him with any hope, was, that on the day
succeeding to his visit, he received a remittance of an hundred pounds
from Gayland, who begged to be considered as his banker till the
present negociations should be concluded.

There was some humiliation in the knowledge of how welcome this supply
had become, and Ethel used her gentle influence to mitigate the pain
of such reflections. If she ever drooped, it was not for herself, but
for Villiers; and she carefully hid even these disinterested
repinings. Her own condition did not inspire her with any fears, and
the anxiety that she experienced for her unborn child was untinctured
by bitterness or despair. She felt assured that their present
misfortunes would be of short duration; and instead of letting her
thoughts dwell on the mortifications or shame that marked the passing
hour, she loved to fill her mind with pleasing sensations, inspired by
the tenderness of her husband, the kindness of poor Fanny, and the
reliance she had in the reality of her mother's affection. In vain,
she said, did the harsher elements of life try to disturb the serenity
which the love of those around her produced in her soul. Her happiness
was treasured in their hearts, and did not emanate from the furniture
of a room, nor the comfort of an equipage. Her babe, if destined to
open its eyes first on such a scene, would be still less acted upon by
its apparent cheerlessness. Cradled in her arms, and nourished at her
bosom, what more benign fate could await the little stranger? What was
there in their destiny worthy of grief, while they remained true to
each other?

With such arguments she tried to inspire Villiers with a portion of
that fortitude and patience which was a natural growth in herself They
had but slender effect upon him. Their different educations had made
her greatly his superior in these virtues; besides that she, with her
simpler habits and unprejudiced mind, was less shocked by the
concomitants of penury, than he, bred in high notions of aristocratic
exclusiveness. She had spent her youth among settlers in a new
country, and did not associate the idea of disgrace with want.
Nakedness and gaunt hunger had often been the invaders of her forest
home, scarcely to be repelled by her father's forethought and
resources. How could she deem these shameful, when they had often
assailed the most worthy and industrious, who were not the less
regarded or esteemed on that account. She had acquired a practical
philosophy, while inhabiting the western wilderness, and beholding the
vast variety of life that it presents, which stood her in good stead
under her European vicissitudes. The white inhabitants of America did
not form her only school. The Red Indian and his squaw were also human
beings, subject to the same necessities, moved, in the first instance,
by the same impulses as herself. All that bore the human form were
sanctified to her by the spirit of sympathy; and she could not, as
Edward did, feel herself wholly outcast and under ban, while kindness,
however humble, and intelligence, however lowly, attended upon her.

Villiers could not yield to her arguments, nor partake her wisdom; yet
he was glad that she possessed any source of consolation, however
unimaginable by himself. He buried within his heart the haughty sense
of wrong. He uttered no complaint, though his whole being rebelled
against the state of inaction to which he was reduced. It maddened him
to feel that he could not stir a finger to help himself, even while he
fancied that he saw his young wife withering before his eyes; and
looked forward to the birth of his child, under circumstances, that
rendered even the necessary attendance difficult, if not
impracticable. The heaviest weight of slavery fell upon him, for it
was he that was imprisoned, and forbidden to go beyond certain limits;
and though Ethel religiously confined herself within yet narrower
bounds than those allotted to him, he only saw, in this delicacy,
another source of evil. Nor were these real tangible ills those which
inflicted the greatest pain. Had these misfortunes visited him in the
American wilderness, or in any part of the world where the majesty of
nature had surrounded them, he fancied that he should have been less
alive to their sinister influence. But here shame was conjoined with
the perpetual spectacle of the least reputable class of the civilized
community. Their walks were haunted by men who bore the stamp of
profligacy and crime; and the very shelter of their dwelling was
shared by the mean and vulgar. His aristocratic pride was sorely
wounded at every turn;--not for himself so much, for he was manly
enough to feel "that a man's a man for all that,"--but for Ethel's
sake, whom he would have fondly placed apart from all that is deformed
and unseemly, guarded even from the rougher airs of heaven, and
surrounded by every thing most luxurious and beautiful in the world.

There was no help. Now and then he got a letter from his father, full
of unmeaning apologies and unmanly complaints. The more irretrievable
his poverty became, the firmer grew his resolve not to burden with his
wants any more distant relation. He would readily give up every
prospect of future wealth to purchase ease and comfort for Ethel; but
he could not bend to any unworthy act; and the harder he felt pressed
upon and injured by fortune, the more jealously he maintained his
independence of feeling; on that he would lean to the last, though it
proved a sword to pierce him.

He looked forward with despair, yet he tried to conceal his worst
thoughts, which would still be brooding upon absolute want and
starvation. He answered Ethel's cheering tones in accents of like
cheer, and met the melting tenderness of her gaze with eyes that spoke
of love only. He endeavoured to persuade her that he did not wholly
shut his heart from the hopes she was continually presenting to him.
Hopes, the very names of which were mockery. For they must necessarily
be embodied in words and ideas--and his father or uncle were
mentioned--the one had proved a curse, the other a temptation. He
could trace his reversees as to the habits of expence and the false
views of his resources, acquired under Lord Maristow's tutelage, as to
the prodigality and neglect of his parent. Even the name of Horation
Saville produced bitterness. Why was he not here? He would not intrude
his wants upon him in his Italian home; but had he been in England,
they had been saved from these worst blows of fate.

The only luxury of Villiers was to steal some few hours of solitude,
when he could indulge in his miserable reflections without restraint.
The loveliness and love of Ethel were then before his imagination to
drive him to despair. To suffer alone would have been nothing; but to
see this child of beauty and tenderness, this fairest nursling of
nature and liberty, droop and fade in their narrow, poverty-striken
home, bred thoughts akin to madness. During each live-long night he
was kept awake by the anguish of such reflections. Darker thoughts
sometimes intruded themselves. He fancied that if he were dead, Ethel
would be happier. He mother, his relations, each and all would come
forward to gift her with opulence and ease. The idea of self-
destruction thus became soothing; and he pondered with a kind of
savage pleasure on the means by which he should end the coil of misery
that had wound round him.

At such times the knowledge of Ethel's devoted affection checked him.
Or sometimes, as he gazed on her as she lay sleeping at his side, he
fel that every sorrow was less than that which separation must
produce; and that to share adversity with her was greater happiness
than the enjoyment of prosperity apart from her. Once, when brought
back from the gloomiest desperation by such a return of softer
emotions, the words of Francesca da Rimini rushed upon his mind and
completed the change. He recollected how she and her lover were
consoled by their eternal companionship in the midst of the infernal
whirlwind. "And do I love you less, my angel?" he thought; "are you
not more dear to me than woman ever was to man, and would I divide
myself from you because we suffer? Perish the thought! Whether for
good or ill, let our existences still continue one, and from the
sanctity and sympathy of our union, a sweet will be extracted,
sufficient to destroy the bitterness of this hour. We prefer remaining
together, mine own sweet love, for ever together, though it were for
an eternity of pain. And these woes are finite. Your pure and exalted
nature will be rewarded for its sufferings, and I, for your sake,
shall be saved. I could not live without you in this world; and yet
with insane purpose I would rush into the unknown, away from you,
leaving you to seek comfort and support from other hands than mine. I
was base and cowardly to entertain the thought, but for one moment--a
traitor to my own affection, and the stabber of your peace. Ah,
dearest Ethel, when in a few hours your eyes will open on the light,
and seek me as the object most beloved by them, were I away, unable to
return their fondness, incapable of the blessing of beholding them,
what hell could be contrived to punish more severely my dereliction of
duty?"

With this last thought another train of feeling was introduced, and he
strung himself to more manly endurance. He saw that his post was
assigned him in this world, and that he ought to fulfil its duties
with courage and patience. Hope came hand in hand with such ideas--and
the dawn of content on his soul was a proof that the exercise of
virtue brought with it its own reward. He could not always keep his
feelings in the same tone, but he no longer saw greatness of mind in
the indulgence of sorrow.

He remembered that throughout the various stations into which society
has divided human beings, adversity and pain belong to each, and that
death and treachery are more frightful evils than all the hardships of
life. He thought of his unborn child, and of his duties towards it--
not only in a worldly point of view, but as its teacher and guide in
morals and religion. The beauty and use of the ties of blood, to which
his peculiar situation had hitherto blinded him, became intelligible
at once to his heart and his understanding; and while he felt how ill
his father had fulfilled the paternal duties, he resolved that his own
offspring should never have cause to reproach him for similar
misconduct. Before he had repined because the evils of his lot seemed
gratuitous suffering; but now he felt, as Ethel had often expressed
it, that the sting of humiliation is taken from misfortune, when we
nerve ourselves to endure it for another's sake.



CHAPTER XII.



The world had just begun to steal
  Each hope that led me lightly on.
I felt not as I used to feel.
  And life grew dark and love was gone.
--Thomas Moore.

While the young pair were thus struggling with the severe visitation
of adversity, Lady Lodore was earnestly engaged in her endeavours to
extricate them from their difficulties. The ardour of her zeal had
made her take the first steps in this undertaking, with a resolution
that would not look behind, and a courage not to be dismayed by the
dreary prospect which the future afforded. The scheme which she had
planned, and was now proceeding to execute, was unbounded in
generosity and self-sacrifice. It was not in her nature to stop short
at half-measures, nor to pause when once she had fixed her purpose. If
she ever trembled on looking forward to the utter ruin she was about
to encounter, her second emotion was to despise herself for such
pusillanimity, and to be roused to renewed energy. She intended to
devote as much as was necessary of the money arising from the sale of
her jointure, as fixed by her marriage settlement, for the liquidation
of her son-in-law's debts. The remaining six hundred a-year,
bequeathed to her in Lord Lodore's will, under circumstances of cruel
insult, she resolved to give up to her daughter's use, for her future
subsistence. She hoped to save enough from the sum produced by the
disposal of her jointure, to procure the necessaries of life for a few
years, and she did not look beyond. She would quit London for ever.
She must leave her house, which she had bought during her days of
prosperity, and which she had felt so much pride and delight in
adorning with every luxury and comfort: to crown her good work, she
intended to give it up to Ethel. And then with her scant means she
would take refuge in the solitude where Lodore found her, and spend
the residue of her days among the uncouth and lonely mountains of
Wales, in poverty and seclusion. It was from no agreeable association
with her early youth, that she selected the neighbourhood of Rhaider
Gowy for her future residence; nor from a desire of renewing the
recollections of the period spent there, nor of revisiting the scenes,
where she had stepped beyond infancy into the paths of life. Her
choice simply arose from being obliged to think of economy in its
strictest sense, and she remembered this place as the cheapest in the
world, and the most retired. Besides, that in fixing on a part of the
country which she had before inhabited, and yet where she would be
utterly unknown, the idea of her future home assumed distinctness, and
a greater sense of practicability was imparted to her schemes, than
could have been the case, had she been unable to form any image in her
mind of the exact spot whither she was about to betake herself.

The first conception of this plan had dawned on her soul, as the
design of some sublime poem or magnificent work of art may present
itself to the contemplation of the poet and man of genius. She dwelt
on it in its entire result, with a glow of joy; she entered into its
details with childish eagerness. She pictured to herself the
satisfaction of Villiers and Ethel at finding themselves suddenly, as
by magic, restored to freedom and the pleasures of life. She figured
their gladness in exchanging their miserable lodging for the luxury of
her elegant dwelling; their pleasure in forgetting the long train of
previous misfortunes, or remembering them only to enhance their
prosperity, when pain and fear, disgrace and shame, should be
exchanged for security and comfort. She repeated to herself, "I do all
this--I, the despised Cornelia! I who was deemed unworthy to have the
guardianship of my own child. I, who was sentenced to desertion and
misery, because I was too worldly and selfish to be worthy of Horace
Saville! How little through life has my genuine character been known,
or its qualities appreciated! Nor will it be better understood now. My
sacrifices will continue a mystery, and even the benefits I am forced
to acknowledge to flow from me, I shall diminish in their eyes, by
bestowing them with apparent indifference. Will they ever deign to
discover the reality under the deceitful appearances which it will be
my pride to exhibit? I care not; conscience will approve me--and when
I am alone and unthought of, the knowledge that Ethel is happy through
my means will make poverty a blessing."

It was not pride alone that induced Lady Lodore to resolve on
concealing the extent of her benefits. All that she could give was not
much if compared with the fortunes of the wealthy--but it was a
competence, which would enable her daughter and her husband to expect
better days with patience; but if they knew how greatly she was a
sufferer for their good, they would insist at least upon her sharing
their income--and what was scanty in its entireness, would be wholly
insufficient when divided. Villiers also might dispute or reject her
kindness, and deeply injured as she believed herself to have been by
him--injured by his disesteem, and the influence he had used over
Saville, in a manner so baneful to her happiness, she felt
irrepressible exultation at the idea of heaping obligation on him,--
and knowing herself to be deserving of his deepest gratitude. All
these sentiments might be deemed fantastic, or at least extravagant.
Yet her conclusions were reasonable, for it was perfectly true that
Villiers would rather have returned to his prison, than have purchased
freedom at the vast price she was about to pay for it. No, her design
was faultless in its completeness, meagre and profitless if she stopt
short of its full execution. Nor would she see Ethel again in the
interim--partly fearful of not preserving her secret inviolate--
partly because she felt so strongly drawn towards her, that she
dreaded finding herself the slave of an affection--a passion, which,
under her circumstances, she could not indulge. Without counsellor,
without one friendly voice to encourage, she advanced in the path she
had marked out, and drew from her own heart only the courage to
proceed.

It required, however, all her force of character to carry her forward.
A thousand difficulties were born at every minute, and the demands
made were increased to such an extent as to make it possible that they
would go beyond her means of satisfying them. She had not the
assistance of one friend acquainted with the real state of things to
direct her--her only adviser was a man of law, who did what he was
directed--not indeed with passive obedience, but whose deviations
from mere acquiescence, arose from technical objections and legal
difficulties, at once unintelligible and tormenting.

Besides these more palpable annoyances, other clouds arose, natural to
wavering humanity, which would sometimes shadow Cornelia's soul, so
that she drooped from he height she had reached, with a timid and
dejected spirit. At first she looked forward to ruin, exile, and
privation, as to possessions which she coveted--but the further she
proceeded, the more she lost view of the light and gladness which had
attended on the dawn of her new visions. Futurity became enveloped in
an appalling obscurity, while the present was sad and cheerless. The
ties which she had formed in the world, which she had fancied it would
be so easy to cut asunder, assumed strength; and she felt that she
must endure many pangs in the act of renouncing them for ever. The
scenes and persons which, a little while ago, she had regarded as
uninteresting and frivolous--she was now forced to acknowledge to be
too inextricably interwoven with her habits and pursuits, to be all at
once quitted without severe pain. When the future was spoken of by
others with joyous anticipation, her heart sunk within her, to think
how her hereafter was to become disjointed and cast away from all that
had preceded it. The mere pleasures of society grew into delights,
when thought of as about to become unattainable; and slight
partialities were regarded as if founded upon strong friendship and
tender affection. She was not aware till now how habit and association
will endear the otherwise indifferent, and how the human heart, prone
to love, will entwine its ever-sprouting tendrils around any object,
not absolutely repulsive, which is brought into near contact with it.
When any of her favourites addressed her in cordial tones, when she
met the glance of one she esteemed, directed towards her with an
expression of kindliness and sympathy, her eyes grew dim, and a thrill
of anguish passed through her frame. All that she had a little while
ago scorned as false and empty, she now looked upon as the pleasant
reality of life, which she was to exchange for she scarcely knew
what--a living grave, a friendless desart--for silence and despair.

It is a hard trial at all times to begin the world anew, even when we
exchange a mediocre station for one which our imagination paints as
full of enjoyment and distinction. How much more difficult it was for
Lady Lodore to despoil herself of every good, and voluntarily to
encounter poverty in its most unadorned guise. As time advanced, she
became fully aware of what she would have to go through, and her
heroism was the greater, because, though the charm had vanished, and
no hope of compensation or reward was held out, she did not shrink
from accomplishing her task. She could not exactly say, like old Adam
in the play, At seventeen years many their fortunes seek, But at
fourscore it is too late a week. Yet at her age it was perhaps more
difficult to cast off the goods of this world, than at a more advanced
one. Midway in life, we are not weaned from affections and pleasures--
we still hope. We even demand more of solid advantages, because the
romantic ideas of youth have disappeared, and yet we are not content
to give up the game. We no longer set our hearts on ephemeral joys,
but require to be enabled to put our trust in the continuance of any
good offered to our choice. This desire of durability in our pleasures
is equally felt by the young; but ardour of feeling and ductility of
imagination is then at hand to bestow a quality, so dear and so
unattainable to fragile humanity, on any object we desire should be so
gifted. But at a riper age we pause, and seek that our reason may be
convinced, and frequently prefer a state of prosperity less extatic
and elevated, because its very sobriety satisfies us that it will not
slip suddenly from our grasp.

The comforts of life, the esteem of friends--these are things which
we then regard with the greatest satisfaction; and other feelings,
less reasonable, yet not less keenly felt, may enter into the circle
of sensations, which forms the existence of a beautiful woman. It is
less easy for one who has been all her life admired and waited upon,
to give up the few last years of such power, than it would have been
to cast away the gift in earlier life. She has learned to doubt her
influence, to know its value, and to prize it. In girlhood it may be
matter of mere triumph--in after years it will be looked on as an
inestimable quality by which she may more easily and firmly secure the
benevolence of her fellow-creatures. All this depends upon the polish
of the skin and the fire of the eye, which a few years will deface and
quench--and while the opprobrious epithet of old woman approaches
within view, she is glad to feel secure from its being applied to her,
by perceiving the signs of the influence of her surviving attractions
marked in the countenances of her admirers. Lady Lodore never felt so
kindly inclined towards hers, as now that she was about to withdraw
from them. Their admiration, for its own sake, she might contemn, but
she valued it as the testimony that those charms were still hers,
which once had subdued the soul of him she loved--and this was no
disagreeable assurance to one who was on the eve of becoming a
grandmother.

Her sensibility, awakened by the considerations forced on her by her
new circumstances, caused her to make more progress in the knowledge
of life, and in the philosophy of its laws, than love or ambition had
ever done before. The last had rendered her proud from success, the
first had caused her to feel dependent on one only; but now that she
was about to abandon all, she found herself bound to all by stronger
ties than she could have imagined. She became aware that any new
connexion could never be adorned by the endearing recollections
attending those she had already formed. The friends of her youth, her
mere acquaintances, she regarded with peculiar partiality, as being
the witnesses or sharers of her past joys and successes. Each familiar
face was sanctified in her eyes by association; and she walked among
those whom she had so lately scorned, as if they were saintly
memorials to be approached with awe, and quitted with eternal regret.
Her hopes and prospects had hinged upon them, but her life became out
of joint when she quitted them. Her sensitive nature melted in
unwonted tenderness while occupied by such contemplations, and they
turned the path, she had so lately entered as one of triumph and
gladness, to gloom and despondence.

Sometimes she pondered upon means for preserving her connexion with
the world. But any scheme of that kind was fraught, on the one hand,
with mortification to herself, on the other, with the overthrow of her
designs, through the repugnance which Ethel and her husband would feel
at occasioning such unmeasured sacrifices. She often regretted that
there were no convents, to which she might retire with safety and
dignity. Conduct, such as she contemplated pursuing, would, under the
old regime in France, have been recompensed by praise and gratitude;
while its irrevocability must prevent any resistance to her wishes. In
giving up fortune and station, she would have placed herself under the
guardianship of a community; and have found protection and security,
to compensate for poverty and slavery. The very reverse of all this
must now happen. Alone, friendless, unknown, and therefore despised,
she must shift for herself, and rely on her own resources for prudence
to insure safety, and courage to endure the evils of her lot. To one
of another sex, the name of loneliness can never convey the idea of
desolation and disregard, which gives it so painful a meaning in a
woman's mind. They have not been taught always to look up to others,
and to do nothing for themselves; so that business becomes a matter of
heroism to a woman, when conducted in the most common-place way; but
when it is accompanied by mystery, she feels herself transported from
her fitting place, and as if about to encounter shame and contumely.
Lady Lodore had never been conversant with any mode of life, except
that of being waited on and watched over. In the poverty of her early
girlhood, her mother had been constantly at her side. The necessity of
so conducting herself as to prevent the shadow of slander from
visiting her, had continued this state of dependence during all her
married life. She had never stept across a street without attendance;
nor put on her gloves, but as brought to her by a servant. Her look
had commanded obedience, and her will had been law with those about
her. This was now to be altered. She scarcely reverted in her mind to
these minuti; and when she did, it was to smile at herself for being
able to give weight to such trifles. She was not aware how, hereafter,
these small things would become the shapings and embodyings which
desertion and penury would adopt, to sting her most severely. The new
course she was about to enter, was too unknown to make her fears
distinct. There was one vast blank before her, one gigantic and
mishapen image of desertion, which filled her mind to the exclusion of
every other, but whose parts were not made out, though this very
indistinctness was the thing that often chiefly appalled her.

She said, with the noble exile,--"I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,
Too far in years to be a pupil now." It is true that she had not, like
him, to lament that--"My native English, now I must forego;" but
there is another language, even more natural than the mere dialect in
which we have been educated. When our lips no longer utter the
sentiments of our heart--when we are forced to exchange the
spontaneous effusions of the soul for cramped and guarded phrases,
which give no indication of the thought within,--then, indeed, may we
say, that our tongue becomes ..."an unstringed viol, or a harp, ...
put into his hands, That knows no touch to tune the harmony."

And this was to be Lady Lodore's position. Her only companions would
be villagers; or, at best, a few Welsh gentry, with whom she could
have no real communication. Sympathy, the charm of life, was dead for
her, and her state of banishment would be far more complete than if
mountains and seas only constituted its barriers.

Lady Lodore was often disturbed by these reflections, but she did not
on that account waver in her purpose. The flesh might shrink, but the
spirit was firm. Sometimes, indeed, she wondered how it was that she
had first conceived the design, which had become the tyrant of her
life. She had long known that she had a daughter, young, lovely, and
interesting, without any great desire to become intimate with her.
Sometimes pride, sometimes indignation, had checked her maternal
feelings. The only time before, in which she had felt any emotion
similar to that which now governed her, was on the day when she had
spoken to her in the House of Lords. But instead of indulging it, she
had fled from it as an enemy, and despised herself as a dupe, for
being for one instant its subject. When her fingers then touched her
daughter's cheek, she had not trembled like Ethel; yet an awful
sensation passed through her frame, which for a moment stunned her,
and she hastily retreated, to recover herself. Now, on the contrary,
she longed to strain her child to her heart; she thought no sacrifice
too great, which was to conduce to her advantage; and that she
condemned herself never to see her more, appeared the hardest part of
the lot she was to undergo. Why was this change? She could not tell--
memory could not inform her. She only knew that since she had seen
Ethel in her adversity, the stoniness of her heart had dissolved
within her, that her whole being was subdued to tenderness, and that
the world was changed from what it had been in her eyes. She felt that
she could not endure life, unless for the sake of benefiting her
child; and that this sentiment mastered her in spite of herself, so
that every struggle with it was utterly vain.

Thus if she sometimes repined at the hard fate that drove her into
exile, yet she never wavered in her intentions; and in the midst of
regret, a kind of exultation was born, which calmed her pain. Smiles
sat upon her features, and her voice was attuned to cheerfulness. The
new-sprung tenderness of her soul imparted a fascination to her manner
far more irresistible than that to which tact and polish had given
rise. She was more kind and affectionate, and, above all, more
sincere, and therefore more winning. Every one felt, though none could
divine the cause of, this change. It was remarked that she was
improved: some shrewdly suspected that she was in love. And so she
was--with an object more enchanting than any earthly lover. For the
first time she knew and loved the Spirit of good and beauty, an
affinity to which affords the greatest bliss that our nature can
receive.



CHAPTER XIII.



It is the same, for be it joy or sorrow.
The path of its departure still is free;
Man's yesterday can ne'er be like his morrow.
Nor aught endure save mutability.
--Shelley.

The month of June had commenced. In spite of lawyer's delays and the
difficulties attendant on all such negociations, they were at last
concluded, and nothing remained but for Lady Lodore to sign the paper
which was to consign her to comparative destitution. In all changes we
feel most keenly the operation of small circumstances, and are chiefly
depressed by the necessity of stooping to the direction of petty
arrangements, and having to deal with subordinate persons. To complete
her design, Lady Lodore had to make many arrangements, trivial yet
imperative, which called for her attention, when she was least fitted
to give it. She had met these demands on her patience without
shrinking; and all was prepared for the finishing stroke about to be
put to her plans. She dismissed those servants whom she did not intend
to leave in the house for Ethel's use. She contrived to hasten the
intended marriage of her own maid, so to disburthen herself wholly.
The mode by which she was, solitary and unknown, to reach the
mountains of Wales, without creating suspicion, or leaving room for
conjecture, was no easy matter. In human life, one act is born of
auother, so that any one that disjoins itself from the rest, instantly
gives rise to curiosity and inquiry. Lady Lodore, though fertile in
expedients, was almost foiled: the eligibility of having one confidant
pressed itself upon her. She thought of Fanny Derham; but her extreme
youth, and her intimacy with Mrs. Villiers, which would have
necessitated many falsehoods, so to preserve the secret, deterred her:
she determined at last to trust to herself alone. She resolved to take
with her one servant only, who had not been long in her service, and
to dismiss him immediately after leaving London. Difficulties
presented themselves on every side; but she believed that they could
be best surmounted by obviating them in succession as they arose, and
that any fixed artificial plan would only tend to embarrass, while a
simple mode of proceeding would continue unquestioned.

Her chief art consisted in not appearing to be making any change at
all. She talked of a visit of two or three months to Emms, and
mentioned her intention of lending her house, during the interval, to
her daughter. She thus secured to herself a certain period during
which no curiosity would be exicited; and after a month or two had
passed away, she would be utterly forgotten:--thus she reasoned; and
whether it were a real tomb that she entered, or the living grave
which she anticipated, her name and memory would equally vanish from
the earth, and she be thought of no more. If Ethel ever entertained a
wish to see her, Villiers would be at hand to check and divert it. Who
else was there to spend a thought upon her? Alone upon earth, no
friendly eye, solicitous for her welfare, would seek to penetrate the
mystery in which she was about to envelope herself.

The day came, it was the second of June, when every preliminary was
accomplished. She had signed away all that she possessed--she had done
it with a smile--and her voice was unfaltering. The sum which she had
saved for herself consisted of but a few hundred pounds, on which she
was to subsist for the future. Again she enforced his pledge of
secrecy on Mr. Gayland; and glad that all was over, yet heavy at heart
in spite of her gladness, she returned to her home, which in a few
hours she was to quit for ever.

During all this time, her thoughts had seldom reverted to Saville.
Hope was dead, and the regrets of love had vanished with it. That he
would approve her conduct, was an idea that now and then flashed
across her mind; but he would remain in eternal ignorance, and
therefore it could not bring their thoughts into any communion.
Whether he came to England, or remained at Naples, availed her
nothing. No circumstance could add to, or diminish, the insuperable
barrier which his marriage placed between them.

She returned home from her last interview with Mr. Gayland: it was
four o'clock in the day; at six she had appointed Fanny Derham to call
on her; and an hour afterwards, the horses were ordered to be at the
door, which were to convey her away.

She became strangely agitated. She took herself to task for her
weakness; but every moment disturbed yet more the calm she was so
anxious to attain. She walked through the rooms of the house she had
dwelt in for so many years. She looked on the scene presented from her
windows. The drive in Hyde Park was beginning to fill with carriages
and equestrians, to be thronged with her friends whom she was never
again to see. Deep sadness crept over her mind. Her uncontrollable
thoughts, by some association of ideas, which she could not
disentangle--brought before her the image of Lodore, with more
vividness than it had possessed for years. A kind of wish to cross the
Atlantic, and to visit the scenes where he had dwelt so long, arose
within her; and then again she felt a desire to visit Longfield, and
to view the spot in which his mortal remains were laid. As her
imagination pictured the grave of the husband of her youth, whom she
had abandoned and forgotten, tears streamed from her eyes--the first
she had shed, even in idea, beside it. "It is not to atone--for surely
I was not guilty towards him"--such were Lady Lodore's reflections,--
"yet, methinks, in this crisis of my fate, when about to imitate his
abrupt and miserable act of self-banishment, my heart yearns for some
communication with him; and it seems to me as if, approaching his
cold, silent dust, he would hear me if I said, 'Be at peace! your
child is happy through my means!"'

Again her reveries were attended by a gush of tears. "How strange a
fate is mine, ever to be abandoned by, or to abandon, those towards
whom I am naturally drawn into near contact. Fifteen years are flown
since I parted from Lodore for ever! Then by inspiring one so high-
minded, so richly gifted, as Saville, with love for me, fortune
appeared ready to compensate for my previous sufferings; but the curse
again operated, and I shall never see him more. Yet do I not forget
thee, Saville, nor thy love!--nor can it be a crime to think of the
past, which is as irretrievable as if the grave had closed over it.
Through Saville it has been that I have not lived quite in vain--that
I have known what love is; and might have even tasted of happiness,
but for the poison which perpetually mingles with my cup. I never wish
to see him more; but if I earnestly desire to visit Lodore's grave,
how gladly would I make a far longer pilgrimage to see Saville's
child, and to devote myself to one who owes its existence to him.
Wretched Cornelia! what thoughts are these? Is it now, that you are a
beggar and an outcast, that you first encourage unattainable desires?"

Still as she looked round, and remembered how often Saville had been
beside her in that room, thoughts and regrets thronged faster and more
thickly on her. She recollected the haughty self-will and capricious
coquetry which had caused the destruction of her dearest hopes. She
took down a miniature of herself, which her lover had so fruitlessly
besought her to give him. It was on the belief that she had bestowed
this picture on a rival that he had so suddenly come to the
determination of quitting England. It seemed now in its smiles and
youth to reproach her for having wasted both; and the sight of it
agitated her bosom, and produced a tumult of regret and despair at his
loss--till she threw it from her, as too dearly associated with one
she must forget. And yet wherefore forget?--he had forgotten; but as a
dead wife might in her grave, love her husband, though wedded to
another, so might the lost, buried Cornelia remember him, though the
husband of Clorinda. Self-compassion now moved her to tears, and she
wept plentiful showers, which rather exhausted than relieved her.

With a strong effort she recalled her sense of what was actually going
on, and struggling resolutely to calm herself, she sat down and began
a letter to her daughter, which was necessary, as some sort of
explanation, at once to allay wonder and baffle curiosity. Thus she
wrote:

"Dearest Ethel.

"My hopes have not been deceived. Mr. Gayland has at last contrived
means for the liberation of your husband; and to-morrow morning you
will leave that shocking place. Perhaps I receive more pleasure from
this piece of good fortune than you, for your sense of duty and sweet
disposition so gild the vilest objects, that you live in a world of
your own, as beautiful as yourself, and the accident of situation is
immaterial to you.

"It is not enough, however, that you should be free. I hope that the
punctilious delicacy of Mr. Villiers will not cause you to reject the
benefits of a mother. In this instance there is more of justice than
generosity in my offer; and it may therefore be accepted without the
smallest hesitation. My jointure ought to satisfy me, and the
additional six hundred a year--which I may call the price of blood,
since I bought it at the sacrifice of the dearest ties and duties,--is
most freely at your service. It will delight me to get rid of it, as
much as if thus I threw off the consciousness of a crime. It is yours
by every law of equity, and will be hereafter paid into your banker's
hands. Do not thank me, my dear child--be happy, that will be my best
reward. Be happy, be prudent--this sum will not make you rich; and
the only acknowledgment I ask of you is, that you make it suffice, and
avoid debt and embarrassment.

"By singular coincidence I am imperatively obliged to leave England at
this moment. The horses are ordered to be here in half an hour--I am
obliged therefore to forego the pleasure of seeing you until my
return. Will you forgive me this apparent neglect, which is the result
of necessity, and favour me by coming to my house to-morrow, on
leaving your present abode, and making it your home until my return?
Miss Derham has promised to call here this afternoon; I shall see her
before I go, and through her you will learn how much you will make me
your debtor by accepting my offers, and permitting me to be of some
slight use to you.

"Excuse the brevity and insufficiency of this letter, written at the
moment of departure.--You will hear from me again, when I am able to
send you my address, and I shall hope to have a letter from you.
Meanwhile Heaven bless you, my angelic Ethel! Love your mother, and
never, in spite of every thing, permit unkind thoughts of her to
harbour in your mind. Make Mr. Villiers think as well of me as he can,
and believe me that your welfare will always be the dearest wish of my
heart. Adieu.

"Ever affectionately yours.

"C. Lodore."

She folded and sealed this letter, and at the same moment there was a
knock at the door of her house, which she knew announced the arrival
of Fanny Derham. She was still much agitated, and trying to calm
herself, she took up a newspaper, and cast her eyes down the columns;
so, by one of the most common place of the actions of our life, to
surmount the painful intensity of her thoughts. She read mechanically
one or two paragraphs--she saw the announcements of births, marriages,
and deaths. "My moral death will not be recorded here," she thought,
"and yet, I shall be more dead than any of these." The thought in her
mind remained as it were truncated; her eye was arrested--a paleness
came over her--the pulses of her heart paused, and then beat
tumultuously--how strange--how fatal were the words she read!--

"Died suddenly at the inn at the Mola di Gaeta, on her way from
Naples, Clorinda, the wife of the honourable Horatio Saville, in the
twenty-second year of her age."

Her drawing-room door was opened, the butler announced Miss Derham,
while her eyes still were fixed on the paragraph: her head swam
round--the world seemed to slide from under her. Fanny's calm clear
voice recalled her. She conquered her agitation--she spoke as if she
had not just crossed a gulf--not been transported to a new world; and,
again, swifter than light, brought back to the old one. She conversed
with Fanny for some time; giving some kind of explanation for not
having been to see Ethel, begging her young friend to press her
invitation, and speaking as if in autumn they should all meet again.
Fanny, philosophic as she was, regarded Lady Lodore with a kind of
idolatry. The same charm that had fascinated the unworldly and
abstracted Saville, she exercised over the thoughtful and ingenuous
mind of the fair young student. It was the attraction of engaging
manners, added now to the sense of right, joined to the timid softness
of a woman, who trembled on acting unsupported, even though her
conscience approved her deeds. It was her loveliness which had gained
in expression what it had lost in youth, and kindness of heart was the
soul of the enchantment. Fanny ventured to remonstrate against her
sudden departure. "O we shall soon meet again," said Cornelia; but her
thoughts were more of heaven than earth, as the scene of meeting; for
her heart was chilled--her head throbbed--the words she had read
operated a revolution in her frame, more allied to sickness and death,
than hope or triumph.

Fanny at length took her leave, and Lady Lodore was again alone. She
took up the newspaper--hastily she read again the tidings; she sunk on
the sofa, burying her face in the pillow, trying not to think, while
she was indeed the prey to the wildest thoughts.

"Yes," thus ran her reflections, "he is free--he is no longer
married! Fool, fool! he is still lost to you!--an outcast and a
beggar, shall I solicit his love! which he believes that I rejected
when prosperous. Rather never, never, let me see him again. My beauty
is tarnished, my youth flown; he would only see me to wonder how he
had ever loved me. Better hide beneath the mountains among which I am
soon to find a home--better, far better, die, than see Saville and
read no love in his eyes.

"Yet thus again I cast happiness from me. What then would I do?
Unweave the web--implore Mr. Villiers to endure my presence--reveal
my state of beggary--ask thanks for my generosity, and humbly wait for
a kind glance from Saville, to raise me to wealth as well as to
happiness.--Cornelia, awake!--be not subdued at the last-act not
against your disposition, the pride of your soul--the determinations
you have formed--do not learn to be humble in adversity--you, who were
disdainful in happier days--no! if they need me--if they love me--if
Saville still remembers the worship--the heart's entire sacrifice
which once he made to me--will a few miles-the obscurity of my abode--
or the silence and mystery that surrounds me, check his endeavours
that we should once again meet?

"No!" she said, rising, "my destiny is in other and higher hands than
my own. It were vain to endeavour to controul it. Whatever I do, works
against me; now let the thread be spun to the end, while I do nothing;
I can but endure the worst patiently; and how much better to bear in
silence, than to struggle vainly with the irrevocable decree! I
submit. Let Providence work out its own ends, and God dispose of the
being he has made--whether I reap the harvest in this world or in the
next, my part is played, I will strive no more!"

She believed in her own singleness of purpose as she said this, and
yet she was never more deceived. While she boasted of her resignation,
she was yielding not to a high moral power, but to the pride of her
soul. Her resolutions were in accordance with the haughtiness of her
disposition, and she felt satisfied, not because she was making a
noble sacrifice, but because she thus adorned more magnificently the
idol she set up for worship, and believed herself to be more worthy of
applause and love. Yet who could condemn even errors that led to such
unbending and heroic forgetfulness of all the baser propensities of
our nature. Nor was this feeling of triumph long-lived; the wounding
and humiliating realities of life, soon degraded her from her
pedestal, and made her feel, as it were, the disgrace and indignities
of abdication.

Her travelling chariot drove up to the door, and, after a few moments'
preparation, she was summoned. Again she looked round the room; her
heart swelled high with impatience and repining, but again she
conquered herself. She took up her miniature--that now she might
possess--for she could remember without sin--she took up the
newspaper, which did or did not contain the fiat of her fate; but this
action appeared to militate against the state of resignation she had
resolved to attain, so she threw it down: she walked down the stairs,
and passed out from her house for the last time--she got into the
carriage--the door was closed--the horses were in motion-all was over.

Her head felt sick and heavy; she leaned back in her carriage half
stupified. When at last London and its suburbs were passed, the sight
of the open country a little revived her--but she soon drooped again.
Nothing presented itself to her thoughts with any clearness, and the
exultation which had supported her vanished totally. She only knew
that she was alone, poor, forgotten; these words hovered on her lips,
mingled with others, by which she endeavoured to charm away her
despondency. Fortitude and resignation for herself--freedom and
happiness for Ethel. "O yes, she is free and happy--it matters not
then what I am!" No tears flowed to soften this thought. The bright
green country--the meadows mingled with unripe corn-fields--the tufted
woods--the hedgerows full of flowers, could not attract her eye; pangs
every now and then seized upon her heart--she had talked of
resignation, but she was delivered up to despair.

At length she sank into a kind of stupor. She was accompanied by one
servant only; she had told him where she intended to remain that
night. It was past eleven before they arrived at Reading; the night
was chill, and she shivered while she felt as if it were impossible to
move, even to draw up the glasses of her chariot. When she arrived at
the inn where she was to pass the night, she felt keenly the
discomfort of having no female attendant. It was new--she felt as if
it were disgraceful, to find herself alone among strangers, to be
obliged to give orders herself, and to prepare alone for her repose.

All night she could not sleep, and she became aware at last that she
was ill. She burnt with fever--her whole frame was tormented by aches,
by alternate hot and shivering fits, and by a feeling of sickness.
When morning dawned, it was worse. She grew impatient--she rose. She
had arranged that her servant should quit her at this place. He had
been but a short time with her, and was easily dismissed under the
idea, that she was to be joined by a man recommended by a friend, who
was accustomed to the continent, whither it was supposed that she was
going. She had dismissed him the night before, he was already gone,
when on the morrow she ordered the horses.--She paid the bills
herself--and had to answer questions about luggage; all these things
are customary to the poor, and to the other sex. But take a high-born
woman and place her in immediate contact with the rough material of
the world, and see how like a sensitive plant she will shrink, close
herself up and droop, and feel as if she had fallen from her native
sphere into a spot unknown, ungenial, and full of storms.

The illness that oppressed Lady Lodore, made these natural feelings
even more acute, till at last they were blunted by the same cause. She
now wondered what it was that ailed her, and became terrified at the
occasional wanderings that interrupted her torpor. Once or twice she
wished to speak to the post-boy, but her voice failed her. At length
they drove up to the inn at Newbury; fresh horses were called for, and
the landlady came up to the door of the carriage, to ask whether the
lady had breakfasted--whether she would take anything. There was
something ghastly in Lady Lodore's appearance, which at once
frightened the good woman, and excited her compassion. She renewed her
questions, which Lady Lodore had not at first heard, adding, "You seem
ill, ma'am; do take something--had you not better alight?"

"O yes, far better," said Cornelia, "for I think I must be very ill."

The change of posture and cessation of motion a little revived her,
and she began to think that she was mistaken, and that it was all
nothing, and that she was well. She was conducted into the parlour of
the inn, and the landlady left her to order refreshment. "How foolish
I am," she thought; "this is mere fancy; there is nothing the matter
with me;" and she rose to ring the bell, and to order horses. When
suddenly, without any previous warning, struck as by a bolt, she
fainted, and fell on the floor, without any power of saving herself.
The sound of her fall quickened the steps of the landlady, who was
returning; all the chamber-maids were summoned, a doctor sent for, and
when Lady Lodore opened her eyes she saw unknown faces about her, a
strange place, and voices yet stranger. She did not speak, but tried
to collect her thoughts, and to unravel the mystery, as it appeared,
of her situation. But soon her thoughts wandered, and fever and
weakness made her yield to the solicitations of those around. The
doctor came, and could make out nothing but that she was in a high
fever: he ordered her to be put to bed. And thus--Saville, and Ethel,
and all hopes and fears, having vanished from her thoughts,--given up
to delirium and suffering, poor Lady Lodore, alone, unknown, and
unattended, remained for several weeks at a country inn--under the
hands of a village doctor--to recover, if God pleased, if not, to
sink, unmourned and unheard of, into an untimely grave.



CHAPTER XIV.



But if for me thou dost forsake
Some other maid, and rudely break
Her worshipped image from its base.
To give to me the ruined place--
Then fare thee well--I'd rather make
My bower upon some icy lake.
When thawing suns begin to shine.
Than trust to love so false as thine!
--Lalla Rookh.

On the same day Mr. and Mrs. Villiers left their sad dwelling to take
possession of lady Lodore's house. The generosity and kindness of her
mother, such as it appeared, though she knew but the smallest portion
of it, charmed Ethel. Her heart, which had so long struggled to love
her, was gladdened by the proofs given that she deserved her warmest
affection. The truest delight beamed from her lovely countenance. Even
she had felt the gloom and depression of adversity. The sight of
misery or vice in those around her tarnished the holy fervour with
which she would otherwise have made every sacrifice for Edward's sake.
There is something in this world, which even while it gives an unknown
grace to rough, and hard, and mean circumstances, contaminates the
beauty and harmony of the noble and exalted. Ethel had been aware of
this; she dreaded its sinister influence over Villiers, and in spite
of herself she pined; she had felt with a shudder that in spite of
love and fortitude, a sense, chilling and deponding, was creeping over
her, making her feel the earth alien to her, and calling her away from
the sadness of the scene around to a world bright and pure as herself.
Her very despair thus dressed itself in the garb of religion; and
though these visitations of melancholy only came during the absence of
Villiers and were never indulged in, yet they were too natural a
growth of their wretched abode to be easily or entirely dismissed.
Even now that she was restored to the fairer scences of life,
compassion for the unfortunate beings she quitted haunted her, and her
feelings were too keenly alive to the miseries which her fellow-
creatures suffered, to permit her to be relieved from all pain by her
own exemption. She turned from such reflections to the image of her
dear kind mother with delight. The roof that sheltered her was
hallowed as hers; all the blessings of life which she enjoyed came to
her from the same source as life itself. She delighted to trace the
current of feeling which had occasioned her to give up so much, and to
imagine the sweetness of disposition, the vivacity of mind, the
talents and accomplishments which her physiognomy expressed, and the
taste manifested in her house, and all the things which she had
collected around her, evinced.

In less than a month after their liberation, she gave birth to son.
The mingled danger and rejoicing attendant on this event, imparted
fresh strength to the attachment that united Edward to her; and the
little stranger himself was a new object of tenderness and interest.
Thus their days of mourning were exchanged for a happiness most
natural and welcome to the human heart. At this time also Horatio
Saville returned from Italy with his little girl. She was scarcely
more than a year old, but displayed an intelligence to be equalled
only by her extraordinary beauty. Her golden silken ringlets were even
then profuse, her eyes were as dark and brilliant as her mother's, but
her complexion was fair, and the same sweet smile flitted round her
infant mouth, as gave the charm to her father's face. He idolized her,
and tried by his tenderness and attention to appease, as it were, the
manes of the unfortunate Clorinda.

She, poor girl, had been the victim of the violence of passion and
ill-regulated feelings native to her country, excited into unnatural
force by the singularity of her fate. When Saville saw her first in
her convent, she was pining for liberty; she did not think of any joy
beyond escaping the troublesome impertinence of the nuns and the
monotonous tenor of monastic life, of associating with people she
loved, and enjoying the common usages of life, unfettered by the
restrictions that rendered her present existence a burthen. But though
she desired no more, her disgust for the present, her longing for a
change, was a powerful passion. She was adorned by talents, by genius;
she was eloquent and beautiful, and full of enthusiasm and feeling.
Saville pitied her; he lamented her future fate among her unworthy
countrymen; he longed to cherish, to comfort, and to benefit her. His
heart, so easily won to tenderness, gave her readily a brother's
regard. Others, seeing the active benevolence and lively interest that
this sentiment elicited, might have fancied him inspired by a warmer
feeling; but he well knew the difference, he ardently desired her
happiness, but did not seek his own in her.

He visited her frequently, he brought her books, he taught her
English. They were allowed to meet daily in the parlour of the
convent, in the presence of a female attendant; and his admiration of
her talents, her imagination, her ardent comprehensive mind, increased
on every interview. They talked of literature--the poets--the arts;
Clorinda sang to him, and her fine voice, cultivated by the nicest
art, was a source of deep pleasure and pain to her auditor. His
sensibility was awakened by the tones of love and rapture--
sensibility, not alas! for her who sang, but for the false and absent.
While listening, his fancy recalled Lady Lodore's image; the hopes she
had inspired, the rapture he had felt in her presence--the warm
vivifying effect her voice and looks had on him were remembered, and
his heart sank within him to think that all this sweetness was
deceptive, fleeting, lost. Once, overcome by these thoughts, he
resolved to return suddenly to England, to make one effort more to
exchange unendurable wretchedness for the most transporting
happiness;--absence from Cornelia, to the joy of pouring out the
overflowing sentiments of his heart at her feet. While indulging in
this idea, a letter from his sister Lucy caused a painful revulsion;
she painted the woman of the world given up to ambition and fashion,
rejoicing in his departure, and waiting only the moment when she might
with decency become the wife of another. Saville was almost maddened--
he did not visit Clorinda for three days. She received him, when at
last he came, without reproach, but with transport; she saw that
sadness, even sickness, dimmed his eye; she soothed him, she hung over
him with fondness, she sung to him her sweetest, softest airs; his
heart melted, a tear stole from his eye. Clorinda saw his emotion; it
excited hers; her Neapolitan vivacity was not restrained by shame nor
fear,--she spoke of her love for him with the vehemence she felt, and
youth and beauty hallowed the frankness and energy of her expressions.
Saville was touched and pleased,--he left her to meditate on this new
state of things--for free from passion himself, he had never suspected
the growth of it in her heart. He reflected on all her admirable
qualities, and the pity it was that they should be cast at the feet of
one of her own unrefined, uneducated countrymen, who would be
incapable of appreciating her talents--even her love--so that at last
she would herself become degraded, and sink into that system of
depravity which makes a prey of all that is lovely or noble in our
nature. He could save her--she loved him, and he could save her; lost
as he was to real happiness, it were to approximate to it, if he
consecrated his life to her welfare.

Yet he would not deceive her. The excess of love which she bestowed
demanded a return which he could not give. She must choose whether,
such as he was, he were worth accepting. Actuated by a sense of
justice, he opened his heart to her without disguise: he told her of
his ill-fated attachment to another--of his self-banishment, and
misery--he declared his real and earnest affection for her--his desire
to rescue her from her present fate, and to devote his life to her.
Clorinda scarcely heard what he said,--she felt only that she might
become his--that he would marry her; her rapture was undisguised, and
he enjoyed the felicity of believing that one so lovely and excellent
would at once owe every blessing of life to him, and that the
knowledge of this must ensure his own content. The consent of her
parents was easily yielded,--the Pope is always ready to grant a
dispensation to a Catholic wife marrying a Protestant husband,--the
wedding speedily took place--and Saville became her husband.

Their mutual torments now began. Horatio was a man of high and
unshrinking principle. He never permitted himself to think of Lady
Lodore, and the warmth and tenderness of his heart led him to attach
himself truly and affectionately to his wife. But this did not suffice
for the Neapolitan. Her marriage withdrew the veil of life--she
imagined that she distinguished the real from the fictitious, but her
new sense of discernment was the source of torture. She desired to be
loved as she loved; she insisted that her rival should be hated--she
was shaken by continual tempests of jealousy, and the violence of her
temper, restrained by no reserve of disposition, displayed itself
frightfully. Saville reasoned, reproached, reprehended, without any
avail, except that when her violence had passed its crisis, she
repented, and wept, and besought forgiveness. Ethel's visit had been a
blow hard to bear. She was the daughter of her whom Saville loved--
whom he regretted--on whom he expended that passion and idolatry, to
attain which she would have endured the most dreadful tortures. These
were the reflections, or rather, these were the ravings, of Clorinda.
She had never been so furious in her jealousy, or so frequent in her
fits of passion, as during the visit of the unconscious and gentle
Ethel.

The birth of her child operated a beneficial change for a time; and
except when Saville spoke of England, or she imagined that he was
thinking of it, she ceased to torment him. He was glad; but the moment
was passed when she could command his esteem, or excite his
spontaneous sympathy. He pitied and he loved her; but it was almost as
we may become attached to an unfortunate and lovely maniac; less than
ever did he seek his happiness in her. He loved his infant daughter
now better than any other earthly thing. Clorinda rejoiced in this
tie, though she soon grew jealous even of her own child.

The arrival of Lord Maristow and his daughters was at first full of
benefit to the discordant pair. Clorinda was really desirous of
obtaining their esteem, and she exerted herself to please: when they
talked of her return to England with them, it only excited her to try
to render Italy so agreeable as to induce them to remain there. They
were not like Ethel. They were good girls, but fashionable and fond of
pleasure. Clorinda devised a thousand amusements--concerts, tableaux,
the masquerades of the carnival, were all put in requisition. They
carried their zeal for amusement so far as to take up their abode for
a day or two at Pompeii, feigning to be its ancient inhabitants, and,
bringing the corps operatique to their aid, got up Rossini's opera of
the Ultimi Giorni di Pompeii among the ruins, ending their masquerade
by a mimic eruption. These gaieties did not accord with the classic
and refined tastes of Saville; but he was glad to find his wife and
sisters agree so well, and under the blue sky, and in the laughing
land of Naples, it was impossible not to find beauty and enjoyment
even in extravagance and folly.

Still, like a funeral bell heard amidst a feast, the name of England,
and the necessity of her going thither, struck on the ear and chilled
the heart of the Neapolitan. She resolved never to go; but how could
she refuse to accompany her husband's sisters? how resist the
admonitions and commands of his father? She did not refuse therefore--
she seemed to consent--while she said to Saville, "Poison, stab me--
cast me down the crater of the mountain--exhaust your malice and
hatred on me as you please here--but you shall never take me to
England but as a corpse."

Saville replied, "As you will." He was tired of the struggle, and left
the management of his departure to others.

One day his sisters described the delights of a London season, and
strove to win Clorinda by the mention of its balls, parties, and
opera; they spoke of Almack's, and the leaders of fashion; they
mentioned Lady Lodore. They were unaware that Clorinda knew any thing
of their brother's attachment, and speaking of her as one of the most
distinguished of their associates in the London world, made their
sister--in-law aware, that when she made a part of it, she would come
into perpetual contact with her rival. This allusion caused one of her
most violent paroxysms of rage as soon as she found herself alone with
her husband. So frantic did she seem, that Horatio spoke seriously to
his father, and declared he knew of no argument nor power which could
induce Clorinda to accompany them to England. "Then you must go
without her," said Lord Maristow; "your career, your family, your
country, must not be sacrificed to her unreasonable folly." And then,
wholly unaware of the character of the person with whom he had to
deal, he repeated the same thing to Clorinda. "You must choose," he
said, "between Naples and your husband--he must go; do you prefer
being left behind?"

Clorinda grew pale, even livid. She returned home. Horatio was not
there; she raved through her house like a maniac; her servants even
hid her child from her, and she rushed from room to room tearing her
hair, and calling for Saville. At length he entered; her eyes were
starting from her head, her frame working with convulsive violence;
she strove to speak--to give utterance to the vehemence pent up
within her. She darted towards him; when suddenly, as if shot to the
heart, she fell on the marble pavement of her chamber, and a red
stream poured from her lips--she had burst a blood-vessel.

For many days she was not allowed to speak nor move. Saville nursed
her unremittingly--he watched by her at night--he tried to soothe
her--he brought her child to her side--his sweetness, and gentleness,
and real tenderness were all expended on her. Although violent, she
was not ungenerous. She was touched by his attentions, and the
undisguished solicitude of his manner. She resolved to conquer
herself, and in a fit of heroism formed the determination to yield,
and to go to England. Her first words, when permitted to speak, were
to signify her assent. Saville kissed and thanked her. She had half
imagined that he would imitate her generosity, and give up the
journey. No such thought crossed his mind; her distaste was too
unreasonable to elicit the smallest sympathy, and consequently any
concession. He thanked her warmly, it is true; and looked delighted at
this change, but without giving her time to retract, he hurried to
communicate to his relations the agreeable tidings.

As she grew better she did not recede, but she felt miserable. The
good spirits and ready preparations of Horatio were all acts of
treason against her: sometimes she felt angry--but she checked
herself. Like all Italians, Clorinda feared death excessively; besides
that, to die was to yield the entire victory to her rival. She
struggled therefore, and conquered herself; and neither expressed her
angry jealousy nor her terrors. She had many causes of fear; she was
again in a situation to increase her family within a few months; and
while her safety depended on her being able to attain a state of calm,
she feared a confinement in England, and believed that it was
impossible that she should survive.

She was worn to a skeleton--her large eyes were sunk and ringed with
black, while they burnt with unnatural brilliancy, for her vivacity
did not desert her, and that deceived those around; they fancied that
she was convalescent, and would soon recover strength and good looks,
while she nourished a deep sense of wrong for the slight attention
paid to her sufferings. She wept over herself and her friendless
state. Her husband was not her friend, for he was not her countryman:
and full as Saville was of generous sympathy and kindliness for all,
the idea of returning to England, to his home and friends, to the
stirring scenes of life, and the society of those who loved
literature, and were endowed with the spirit of liberal inquiry and
manly habits of thinking, so absorbed and delighted him, that he could
only thank Clorinda again and again--caress her, and entreat her to
get well, that she might share his pleasures. His words chilled her,
and she shrunk from his caresses. "He is thinking of her, and of
seeing her again," she thought. She did him the most flagrant
injustice. Saville was a man of high and firm principle, and had he
been aware of any latent weakness, of any emotion allied to the
master-passion of his soul, he would have conquered it, or have fled
from the temptation. He never thought less of Lady Lodore than now.
The unwonted gentleness and concessions of his wife--his love for his
child, and the presence of his father and dear sisters, dissipated his
regrets,--his conscience was wholly at ease, and he was happy.

Clorinda dared not complain to her English relatives, but she listened
to the lamentations of her Neapolitan friends with a luxury of woe.
They mourned over her as if she were going to visit another sphere;
they pointed out the little island on a map, and seated far off as it
was amidst the northern sea, night and storms, they averred,
perpetually brooded over it, while from the shape of the earth they
absolutely proved that it was impossible to get there. It is true that
Lord Maristow and his daughters, and Saville himself, had come
thence--that was nothing--it was easy to come away. "You see," they
said, "the earth slopes down, and the sun is before them; but when
they have to go back, ah! it is quite another affair; the Alps rise,
and the sea boils over, and they have to toil up the wall of the world
itself into winter and darkness. It is tempting God to go there. O
stay, Clorinda, stay in sunny Italy. Orazio will return: do not go to
die in that miserable birth-place of night and frost."

Clorinda wept yet more bitterly over her hard fate, and the
impossibility of yielding to their wishes. "Would to God," she
thought, "I could abandon the ingrate, and let him go far from Italy
and Clorinda, to die in his wretched country! Would I could forget,
hate, desert him! Ah, why do I idolize one born in that chilly land,
where love and passion are unknown or despised!"

At length the day arrived when they left Naples. It was the month of
May, and very warm. No imagination could paint the glorious beauty of
this country of enchantment, on the completion of spring, before the
heats of summer had withered its freshness. The sparkling waves of the
blue Mediterranean encircled the land, and contrasted with its hues:
the rich foliage of the trees--the festooning of the luxuriant vines,
and the abundant vegetation which sprung fresh from the soil,
decorating the rocks, and mantling the earth with flowers and verdure,
were all in the very prime and blossoming of beauty. The sisters of
Saville expressed their admiration in warm and enthusiastic terms; the
words trembled on poor Clorinda's lips; she was about to say, "Why
then desert this land of bliss?" but Horatio spoke instead: "It is
splendid, I own, and once I felt all that you express. Now a path
along a grassy field--a hedge-row--a copse with a rill murmuring
through it--a white cottage with simple palings enclosing a flower-
garden--the spire of a country church rising from among a tuft of
elms--the skies all shadowy with soft clouds--and the homesteads of a
happy thriving peasantry--these are the things I sigh for. A true
English home-scene seems to me a thousand times more beautiful, as it
must be a thousand times dearer than the garish showy splendour of
Naples."

Clorinda's thoughts crept back into her chilled heart; large tear-
drops rose in her eyes, but she concealed them, and shrinking into a
corner of the carriage, she felt more lonely and deserted than she
would have done among strangers who had loved Italy, and participated
in her feelings.

They arrived at the inn called the Villa di Cicerone, at the Mola di
Gaeta. All the beauty of the most beautiful part of the Peninsula
seems concentered in that enchanting spot--the perfume of orange
flowers filled the air--the sea was at their feet--the vine-clad hills
around. All this excess of loveliness only added to the unutterable
misery of the Neapolitan girl. Her companions talked and laughed,
while she felt her frame convulsed by internal combats, and the
unwonted command she exercised over her habitual vehemence. Horatio
conversed gaily with his sisters, till catching a glimpse of the pale
face of his wretched wife, her mournful eyes and wasted cheeks, he
drew near her. "You are fatigued, dearest Clorinda," he said, "will
you not go to rest?"

He said this in a tender caressing tone, but she felt, "He wants to
send me away--to get rid even of the sight of me." But he sat down by
her, and perceiving her dejection, and guessing partly at its cause,
he soothed her, and talked of their return to her native land, and
cheered her by expressions of gratitude for the sacrifice she was
making. Her heart began to soften, and her tears to flow more freely,
when a man entered, such as haunt the inns in Italy, and watch for the
arrival of rich strangers to make profit in various ways out of them.
This man had a small picture for sale, which he declared to be an
original Carlo Dolce. It was the head of a seraph painted on copper--
it was probably a copy, but it was beautifully executed; besides the
depth of colour and grace of design, there was something singularly
beautiful in the expression of the countenance portrayed,--it
symbolized happiness and love; a beaming softness animated the whole
face; a perfect joy, an ineffable radiance shone out of it. Clorinda
took it in her hand--the representation of heart-felt gladness
increased her self-pity; she was turning towards her husband with a
reproachful look, thinking, "Such smiles you have banished from my
face for ever,"--when Sophia Saville, who was looking over her
shoulder, exclaimed, "What an extraordinary resemblance! there was
never any thing so like."

"Who? what?" asked her sister.

"It is Lady Lodore herself," replied Sophia; "her eyes, her mouth, her
very smile."

Lucy gave a quick glance towards her brother. Horatio involuntarily
stepped forward to look, and then as hastily drew back. Clorinda saw
it all--she put down the picture, and left the room--she could not
stay--she could not speak--she knew not what she felt, but that a
fiery torture was eating into her, and she must fly, she knew not
whither. Saville was pained; he hesitated what to do or say--so he
remained; supper was brought in, and Clorinda not appearing, it was
supposed that she had retired to rest. In about an hour and a half
after, Horatio went into her room, and to his horror beheld her
stretched upon the cold bricks of the chamber, senseless; the moon-
beams rested on her pale face, which bore the hues of death. In a
moment the house was alarmed, the village doctor summoned, a courier
dispatched to Naples for an English physician, and every possible aid-
afforded the wretched sufferer. She was placed on the bed,--she still
lived; her faint pulse could not be felt, and no blood flowed when a
vein was opened, but she groaned, and now and then opened her eyes
with a ghastly stare, and closed them again as if mechanically. All
was horror and despair--no help--no resource presented itself; they
hung round her, they listened to her groans with terror, and yet they
were the only signs of life that disturbed her death-like state. At
tast, soon after the dawn of day, she became convulsed, her pulse
fluttered, and blood flowed from her wounded arm; in about an hour
from this time she gave birth to a dead child. After this she grew
calmer and fainter. The physician arrived, but she was past mortal
cure,--she never opened her eyes more, nor spoke, nor gave any token
of consciousness. By degrees her groans ceased, and she faded into
death: the slender manifestations of lingering vitality gradually
decreasing till all was still and cold. After an hour or two her face
resumed its loveliness, pale and wasted as it was: she seemed to
sleep, and none could regret that repose possessed that heart, which
had been alive only to the deadliest throes of unhappy passion. Yet
Saville did more than regret--he mourned her sincerely and deeply,--
he accused himself of hard-heartedness,--he remembered what she was
when he had first seen her;--how full of animation, beauty, and love.
He did not remember that she had perished the victim of uncontrolled
passion; he felt that she was his victim. He would have given worlds
to restore her to life and enjoyment. What was a residence in
England--the promises of ambition--the pleasures of his native land--
all that he could feel or know, compared to the existence of one so
young, so blessed with Heaven's choicest gifts of mind and person. She
was his victim, and he could never forgive himself.

For his father's and sisters' sake he subdued the expression of his
grief, for they also loved Clorinda, and were struck with sorrow at
the sudden catastrophe. His strong mind, also, before long, mastered
the false view he had taken of the cause of her death. He lamented her
deeply, but he did not give way to unavailing remorse, which was
founded on his sensibility, and not on any just cause for repentance.
He turned all his thoughts to repairing her errors, rather than his
own, by cherishing her child with redoubled fondness. The little girl
was too young to feel her loss; she had always loved her father, and
now she clung to his bosom and pressed her infant lips to his cheek,
and by her playfulness and caresses repaid him for the tenderness that
he lavished on her.

After some weeks spent in the north of Italy he returned to England
with her. Lord Maristow and his daughters were already there, and had
gone to Maristow Castle. Saville took up his abode with his cousin
Villiers. His situation was new and strange. He found himself in the
very abode of the dreaded Cornelia, yet she was away, unheard of,
almost, it seemed, forgotten. Did he think of her as he saw the traces
of by-gone scenes around? He played with his child--he secluded
himself among his books--he talked with Ethel of what had happened
since their parting, and reproached Villiers bitterly for not having
applied to him in his distress. But a kind of spell sealed the lips of
each, and Lady Lodore, who was the living spirit of the scene around--
the creator of its peace and happiness--seemed to have passed away
from the memory of all. It was in appearance only. Not an hour, not a
minute of the day passed, that did not bring her idea to their minds,
and Saville and Ethel each longed for the word to be uttered by
either, which would permit them to give expression to the thoughts
that so entirely possessed them.



CHAPTER XV.



The music
Of man's fair composition best accords.
When 'tis in consort, not in single strains:
My heart has been untuned these many months.
Wanting her presence, in whose equal love
True harmony consisted.
--Ford.

At the beginning of September the whole party assembled at Maristow
Castle. Even Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry was among the guests. She had
not visited Ethel in London, because she would not enter Lady Lodore's
house, but she had the true spinster's desire of seeing the baby, and
thus overcame her reluctance to quitting Longfield for a few weeks.
Fanny Derham also accompanied them, unable to deny Ethel's
affectionate entreaties. Fanny's situation had been beneficially
changed. Sir Gilbert Derham, finding that his granddaughter associated
with people in the world, and being applied to by Lord Maristow, was
induced to withdraw Mrs. Derham from her mean situation, and to settle
a small fortune on each of her children. Fanny was too young, and too
wedded to her platonic notions of the supremacy of mind, to be fully
aware of the invaluable advantages of pecuniary independence for a
woman. She fancied that she could enter on the career--the only career
permitted her sex--of servitude, and yet possess her soul in freedom
and power. She had never, indeed, thought much of these things: life
was, as it concerned herself, a system of words only. As always
happens to the young, she only knew suffering through her affections,
and the real chain of life--its necessities and cares--and the
sinister influences exercised by the bad passions of our fellow-
creatures--had not yet begun to fetter her aspiring thoughts.
Beautiful in her freedom, in her enthusiasm, and even in her learning,
but, above all, in the lively kindliness of her heart, she excited the
wonder and commanded the affections of all. Saville had never seen any
one like her--she brought to his recollection his own young feelings
before experience had lifted "the painted veil which those who live
call life," or passion and sorrow had tamed the ardour of his mind; he
looked on her with admiration, and yet with compassion, wondering
where and how the evil spirit of the world would show its power to
torment, and conquer the free soul of the disciple of wisdom.

Yet Saville's own mind was rather rebuked than tamed: he knew what
suffering was, yet he knew also how to endure it, and to turn it to
advantage, deriving thence lessons of fortitude, of forbearance, and
even of hope. It was not, however, till the seal on his lips was taken
off, and the name of Cornelia mentioned, that he became aware that the
same heart warmed his bosom, as had been the cause at once of such
rapture and misery in former times. Yet even now he did not
acknowledge to himself that he still loved, passionately, devotedly
loved, Lady Lodore. The image of the pale Clorinda stretched on the
pavement--his victim--still dwelt in his memory, and he made a
sacrifice at her tomb of every living feeling of his own. He fancied,
therefore, that he spoke coldly of Cornelia, with speculation only,
while in fact, at the very mention of her name a revulsion took place
in his being--his eyes brightened, his face beamed with animation, his
very figure enlarged, his heart was on fire within him. Villiers saw
and appreciated these tokens of passion; but Ethel only perceived an
interest in her mother, shared with herself, and was half angry that
he made no professions of the constancy of his attachment.

Still, day after day, and soon, all day long, they talked of Lady
Lodore. None but a lover and a daughter could have adhered so
pertinaciously to one subject; and thus Saville and Ethel were often
left to themselves, or joined only by Fanny. Fanny was very mysterious
and alarming in what she said of her beautiful and interesting
favourite. While Ethel lamented her mother's love of the continent,
conjectured concerning her return, and dwelt on the pleasures of their
future intercourse, Fanny shook her head, and said, "It was strange,
very strange, that not one letter had yet reached them from her." She
was asked to explain, but she could only say, that when she last saw
Lady Lodore, she was impressed by the idea that all was not as it
seemed. She tried to appear as if acting according to the ordinary
routine of life, and yet was evidently agitated by violent and
irrepressible feeling. Her manner, she had herself fancied, to be
calm, and yet it betrayed a wandering of thought, a fear of being
scrutinized, manifested in her repetition of the same phrases, and in
the earnestness with which she made assurances concerning matters of
the most trivial import. This was all that Fanny could say, but she
was intimately persuaded of the correctness of her observation, and
lamented that she had not inquired further and discovered more. "For,"
she said, "the mystery, whatever it is, springs from the most
honourable motives. There was nothing personal nor frivolous in the
feelings that mastered her;" and Fanny feared that at that very moment
she was sacrificing herself to some project--some determination,
which, while it benefited others, was injuring herself. Ethel, with
all her affection for her mother, was not persuaded of the justice of
these suspicions, nor could be brought to acknowledge that the mystery
of Lady Lodore's absence was induced by any motives as strange and
forcible as those suggested by Fanny; but believed that her young
friend was carried away by her own imagination and high-flown ideas.
Saville was operated differently upon. He became uneasy, thoughtful,
restless: a thousand times he was on the point of setting out to find
a clue to the mystery, and to discover the abode of the runaway,--but
he was restrained. It is usually supposed that women are always under
the influence of one sentiment, and if Lady Lodore acted under the
direction and for the sake of another, wherefore should Saville
interfere? what right had he to investigate her secrets, and disturb
her arrangements?

Several months passed. Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry returned to Longfield,
and still the mystery concerning Ethel's mother continued, and the
wonder increased, Soon after Christmas Mr. Gayland, who was also Lord
Maristow's solicitor, came down to the Castle for a few days. He made
inquiries concerning Lady Lodore, and was somewhat surprised at her
strange disappearance and protracted absence. He asked several
questions, and seemed to form conclusions in his own mind; he excited
the curiosity of all, yet restrained himself from satisfying it; he
was evidently disquieted by her unbroken silence, yet feared to betray
the origin of his uneasiness.

While he remained curiosity was dominant: when he went he requested
Villiers to be good enough to let him know if any thing should be
heard of Lady Lodore. He asked this more than once, and required an
absolute promise. After his departure, his questions, his manner, and
his last words recurred, exciting even more surprise than when he had
been present. Fanny brought forward all he said to support her own
conjectures; a shadow of disquiet crossed Ethel's mind; she asked
Villiers to take some steps to discover where her mother was, and on
his refusal argued earnestly, though vainly, to persuade him to
comply. Villiers was actuated by the common-place maxim of not
interfering with the actions and projects of others. "Lady Lodore is
not a child," he said, "she knows what she is about--has she not
always avoided you, Ethel? Why press yourself inopportunely upon her?"

But Ethel was not now to be convinced by the repetition of these
arguments. She urged her mother's kindness and sacrifice; her having
given up her home to them; her house still unclaimed by her, still at
their disposal, and which contained so many things which must have
been endeared by long use and habit, and the relinquishing of which
showed something extraordinary in her motives. This was a woman's
feeling, and made little impression on Villiers--he was willing to
praise and to thank Lady Lodore for her generosity and kindness, but
he suspected nothing beyond her acknowledged acts.

Saville heard this disquisition; he wished Villiers to be convinced--
he was persuaded that Ethel was right--he was angry at his cousin's
obstinacy--he was miserable at the idea that Cornelia should feel
herself treated with neglect--that she should need protection and not
have it--that she should be alone, and not find assistance proffered,
urged upon her. He mounted his horse and took a solitary ride,
meditating on these things--his imagination became heated, his soul on
fire. He pictured Lady Lodore in solitude and desertion, and his heart
boiled within him. Was she sick, and none near her?--was she dead, and
her grave unvisited and unknown? A lover's fancy is as creative as a
poet's and when once it takes hold of any idea, it clings to it
tenaciously. If it is thus even with ordinary minds, how much more
with Saville, with all energy which was his characteristic, and the
latent fire of love burning in his heart. His resolution was sudden,
and acted on at once. He turned his horse's head towards London. On
reaching the nearest town, he ordered a chaise and four post horses.
He wrote a few hurried lines announcing an absence of two or three
days, and with the rapidity that always attended the conception of his
purposes and their execution, the next morning, having travelled all
night, he was in Mr. Gayland's office, questioning that gentleman
concerning Lady Lodore, and seeking from him all the light he could
throw upon her long-continued and mysterious absence.

Mr. Gayland had promised Lady Lodore not to reveal her secret to Mr.
or Mrs. Villiers; but he felt himself free to communicate it to any
other person. He was very glad to get rid of the burden and even the
responsibility of being her sole confidant. He related all he knew to
Saville, and the truth flashed on the lover's mind. His imagination
could not dupe him--he could conceive, and therefore believe in her
generosity, her magnanimity. He had before, in some degree, divined
the greatness of mind of which Lady Lodore was capable; though as far
as regarded himself, her pride, and his modesty, had deceived him. Now
he became at once aware that Cornelia had beggared herself for Ethel's
sake. She had disposed of her jointure, given up the residue of her
income, and wandered away, poor and alone, to avoid the discovery of
the extent and consequences of her sacrifices. Saville left Mr.
Gayland's office with a bursting and a burning heart. At once he paid
a warm tribute of admiration to her virtues, and acknowledged to
himself his own passionate love. It became a duty, in his eyes, to
respect, revere, adore one so generous and noble. He was proud of the
selection his heart had made, and ofhis constancy. "My own Cornelia,"
such was his reverie, "how express your merit and the admiration it
deserves!--other people talk of generosity, and friendship, and
parental affection--but you manifest a visible image of these things;
and while others theorize, you embody in your actions all that can be
imagined of glorious and angelic." He congratulated himself on being
able to return to the genuine sentiments of his heart, and in finding
reality give sanction to the idolatry of his soul.

He longed to pour out his feelings at her feet, and to plead the cause
of his fidelity and affection, to read in her eyes whether she would
see a reward for her sufferings in his attachment. Where was she, to
receive his protestations and vows? He half forgot, in the fervour of
his feelings, that he knew not whither she had retreated, nor
possessed any clue whereby to find her. He returned to Mr. Gayland to
inquire from him; but he could tell nothing; he went to her house and
questioned the servants, they remembered nothings; at last he found
her maid, and learnt from her, where she was accustomed to hire her
post-horses; this was all the information at which he could arrive.

Going to Newman's, with some difficulty he found the post-boy, who
remembered driving her. By his means he traced her to Reading, but
here all clue was lost. The inn to which she had gone had passed into
other hands, and no one knew any thing about the arrivals and
departures of the preceding summer. He made various perquisitions, and
lighted by chance on the servant she had taken with her to Reading,
and there dismissed. From what he said, and a variety of other
circumstances, he became convinced that she had gone abroad. He
searched the foreign passport-office, and found that one had been
taken out at the French Ambassador's in the month of April, by a Mrs.
Fitzhenry. He persuaded himself that this was proof that she had gone
to Paris. It was most probable that, impoverished as she was, and
desirous of concealing her altered situation, that she should, as
Lodore had formerly done, dismiss a title which would at once encumber
and betray her. He immediately resolved to cross to France. And yet
for a moment he hesitated, and reflected on what it was best to do.

He had given no intimation of his proceedings to his cousin, and they
were unaware that his journey was connected with Lady Lodore. He had a
lover's wish to find her himself--himself to be the only source of
consolation--the only mediator to restore her to her daughter and to
happiness. But his fruitless attempts at discovery made him see that
his wishes were not to be effected easily. He felt that he ought to
communicate all he knew to his cousins, and even to ensure their
assistance in his researches. Before going abroad, therefore, he
returned to Maristow Castle.

He arrived late in the evening. Lord Maristow and his daughters were
gone out to dinner. The three persons whom Saville especially wished
to see, alone occupied the drawing-room. Edward was writing to his
father, who had advised him, now that he had a son, entirely to cut
off the entail and mortgage a great part of the property: it was a
distasteful task to answer the suggestions of unprincipled
selfishness. While he was thus occupied, Ethel had taken from her desk
her mother's last letter, and was reading it again and again, weighing
every syllable, and endeavouring to discover a hidden meaning. She
went over to the sofa on which Fanny was sitting, to communicate to
her a new idea that had struck her. The studious girl had got into a
corner with her Cicero, and was reading the Tusculan Questions, which
she readily laid aside to enter on a subject so deeply interesting.
Saville opened the door, and appeared most unexpectedly among them.
His manner was eager and abrupt, and the first words he uttered were,
"I am come to disturb you all, and to beg of you to return to
London:--no time must be lost--can you go to-morrow?"

"Certainly," said Villiers, "if you wish it."

"But why?" asked Ethel.

"You have found Lady Lodore!" exclaimed Fanny.

"You are dreaming, Fanny," said Ethel; "you see Horace shakes his
head. But if we go to-morrow, yet rest to-night. You are fatigued,
pale, and ill, Horace--you have been exerting yourself too much--
explain your wishes, but take repose and refreshment."

Saville was in too excited a state to think of either. He repelled
Ethel's feminine offers, till he had related his story. His listeners
heard him with amazement. Villiers's cheeks glowed with shame, partly
at the injustice of his former conduct--partly at being the object of
so much sacrifice and beneficence on the part of his mother-in-law.
Fanny's colour also heightened; she clasped her hands in delight,
mingling various exclamations with Saville's story. "Did I not say so?
I was sure of it. If you had seen her when I did, on the day of her
going away, you would have been as certain as I." Ethel wept in
silence, her heart was touched to the core, "the remorse of love"
awakened in it. How cold and ungrateful had been all her actions:
engrossed by her love for her husband, she had bestowed no sympathy,
made no demonstrations towards her mother. The false shame and
Edward's oft-repeated arguments which had kept her back, vanished from
her mind. She reproached herself bitterly for lukewarmness and
neglect; she yearned to show her repentance--to seek forgiveness--to
express, however feebly, her sense of her mother's angelic goodness.
Her tears flowed to think of these things, and that her mother was
away, poor and alone, believing herself wronged in all their thoughts,
resenting perhaps their unkindness, mourning over the ingratitude of
her child.

When the first burst of feeling was over, they discussed their future
proceedings. Saville communicated his discoveries and his plan of
crossing to France. Villiers was as eager as his cousin to exert
himself actively in the pursuit. His ingenuous and feeling mind was
struck by his injustice, and he was earnest in his wish to atone for
the past, and to recompense her, if possible, for her sacrifices. As
every one is apt to do with regard to the ideas of others, he was not
satisfied with his cousin's efforts or conclusions; he thought more
questions might be asked--more learnt at the inns on the route which
Lady Lodore had taken. The passport Saville had imagined to be hers,
was taken out for Dover. Reading was far removed from any road to
Kent. They argued this. Horatio was not convinced; but while he was
bent on proceeding to Paris, Edward resolved to visit Reading--to
examine the neighbourhood--to requestion the servants--to put on foot
a system of inquiry which must in the end assure them whether she was
still in the kingdom. It was at once resolved, that on the morrow they
should go to London.

Thither they accordingly went. They repaired to Lady Lodore's house.
Saville on the next morning departed for France, and a letter soon
reached them from him, saying, that he felt persuaded that the Mrs.
Fitzhenry was Lady Lodore, and that he should pursue his way with all
speed to Paris. It appeared, that the lady in question had crossed to
Calais on the eleventh of June, and intimated her design of going to
the Bagneres de Bigorre among the Pyrennees, passing through Paris on
her way. The mention of the Bagneres de Bigorre clinched Saville's
suspicions--it was such a place as one in Lady Lodore's position might
select for her abode--distant, secluded, situated in sublime and
beautiful scenery, singularly cheap, and seldom visited by strangers;
yet the annual resort of the French from Bordeaux and Lyons, civilized
what otherwise had been too rude and wild for an English lady. It was
a long journey thither--the less wonder that nothing was heard, or
seen, or surmised concerning the absentee by her numerous
acquaintances, many of whom were scattered on the continent. Saville
represented all these things, and expressed his conviction that he
should find her. His letter was brief, for he was hurried, and he felt
that it were better to say nothing than to express imperfectly the
conflicting emotions alive in his heart. "My life seems a dream," he
said at the conclusion of his letter; "a long painful dream, since
last I saw her. I awake, she is not here; I go to seek her--my actions
have that single scope--my thoughts tend to that aim only; I go to
find her--to restore her to Ethel. If I succeed in bestowing this
happiness on her, I shall have my reward, and, whatever happens, no
selfish regret shall tarnish my delight."

He urged Villiers, meanwhile, not to rely too entirely on the
conviction so strong in himself, but to pursue his plan of discovery
with vigour. Villiers needed no spur. His eagerness was fully alive;
he could not rest till he had rescued his mother-in-law from solitude
and obscurity. He visited Reading; he extended his inquiries to
Newbury: here more light broke in on his researches. He heard of Lady
Lodore's illness--of her having resided for several months at a villa
in the neighbourhood, while slowly recovering from a fever by which
for a long time her life had been endangered. He heard also of her
departure, her return to London. Then again all was obscurity. The
innkeepers and letters of post-horses in London, were all visited in
vain--the mystery became as impenetrable as ever. It seemed most
probable that she was living in some obscure part of the metropolis--
Ethel's heart sunk within her at the thought.

Edward wrote to Saville to communicate this intelligence, which put an
end to the idea of her being in France--but he was already gone on to
Bagneres. He himself perambulated London and its outskirts, but all in
vain. The very thought that she should be residing in a place so sad,
nay, so humiliating, without one gilding circumstance to solace
poverty and obscurity, was unspeakably painful both to Villiers and
his wife. Ethel thought of her own abode in Duke street during her
husband's absence, and how miserable and forlorn it had been--she now
wept bitterly over her mother's fate; even Fanny's philosophy could
not afford consolation for these ideas.

An accident, however, gave a new turn to their conjectures. In the
draw of a work-table, Ethel found an advertisement cut out of a
newspaper, setting forth the merits of a cottage to be let near
Rhaiyder Gowy in Radnorshire, and with this, a letter from the agent
at Rhaiyder, dated the 13th of May, in answer to inquiries concerning
the rent and particulars. The letter intimated, that if the account
gave satisfaction, the writer would get the cottage prepared for the
tenant immediately, and the lady might take possession at the time
mentioned, on the 1st of June. The day after finding this letter,
Villiers set out for Wales.

But first he persuaded Ethel to spend the interval of his absence at
Longfield. She had lately fretted much concerning her mother, and as
she was still nursing her baby, Edward became uneasy at her pale
cheeks and thinness. Ethel was anxious to preserve her health for her
child; she felt that her uneasiness and pining would be lessened by a
removal into the country. She was useless in London, and there was
something in her residence in her mother's house--in the aspect of the
streets--in the memory of what she had suffered there, and the fear
that Lady Lodore was enduring a worse repetition of the same evils,
that agitated and preyed upon her. Her aunt had pressed her very much
to come and see her, and she wrote to say, that she might be expected
on the following day. She bade adieu to Villiers with more of hope
with regard to his success than she had formerly felt. She became half
convinced that her mother was not in London. Fanny supported her in
these ideas; they talked continually of all they knew--of the illness
of Lady Lodore--of her firmness of purpose in not sending for her
daughter, or altering her plans in consequence; they comforted
themselves that the air of Wales would restore her health, and the
beauty of the scenery and the freedom of nature sooth her mind. They
were full of hope--of more--of expectation. Ethel, indeed, had at one
time proposed accompanying her husband, but she yielded to his
entreaties, and to the fear suggested, that she might injure her
child's health. Villiers's motions would be more prompt without her.
They separated. Ethel wrote to Saville a letter to find him at Paris,
containing an account of their new discoveries, and then prepared for
her journey to Essex with Fanny, her baby, and the beautiful little
Clorinda Saville, who had been left under her care, on the following day.



CHAPTER XVI.



I am not One who much or oft delights
To season my Friends with personal talk,--
Of Friends who live within an easy walk.
Or Neighbours, daily, weekly in my sight:
And, for my chance acquaintance, Ladies bright.
Sons, Mothers, Maidens with ering on the stalk.
These all wear out of me, like Forms, with chalk
Painted on rich men's floors, for one feast-night.
--Wordsworth.

Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry returned to Longfield from Maristow Castle at
the end of the month of November. She gladly came back, in all the
dinginess and bleakness of that dismal season, to her beloved
seclusion at Longfield. The weather was dreary, a black frost invested
every thing with its icy chains, the landscape looked disconsolate,
and now and then wintry blasts brought on snow-storms, and howled
loudly through the long dark nights. The amiable spinster drew her
chair close to the fire; with half-shut eyes she contemplated the
glowing embers, and recalled many past winters just like this, when
Lodore was alive and in America; or, diving yet deeper into memory,
when the honoured chair she now occupied, had been dignified by her
father, and she had tried to sooth his querulous complaints on the
continued absence of her brother Henry. When, instead of these
familiar thoughts, the novel ones of Ethel and Villiers intruded
themselves, she rubbed her eyes to be quite sure that she did not
dream. It was a lamentable change; and who the cause? Even she whose
absence had been, she felt, wickedly lamented at Maristow Castle,
Cornelia Santerre-she, who in an evil hour, had become Lady Lodore,
and who would before God, answer for the disasters and untimely death
of her ill-fated husband.

With any but Mrs. Fitzhenry, such accusations had, after the softening
process of time, been changed to an admission, that, despite her
errors, Lady Lodore had rather been misled and mistaken, than
heinously faulty; and her last act, in sacrificing so much to her
daughter, although the extent of her sacrifice was unknown to her
sister-in-law, had cancelled her former delinquencies. But the
prejudiced old lady was not so easily mollified; she was harsh alone
towards her, but all the gall of her nature was collected and expended
on the head of her brother's widow. Probably an instinctive feeling of
her unreasonableness made her more violent. Her language was bitter
whenever she alluded to her--she rejoiced at her absence, and instead
of entering into Ethel's gratitude and impatience, she fervently
prayed that she might never appear on the scene again.

Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry was less of a gossip than any maiden lady who
had ever lived singly in the centre of a little village. Her heart was
full of the dead and the absent--of past events, and their long train
of consequences, so that the history of the inhabitants of her
village, possessed no charm for her. If any one among them suffered
from misfortune she endeavoured to relieve them, and if any died, she
lamented, moralized on the passage of time, and talked of Lodore's
death; but the scandal, the marriages, the feuds, and wonderful things
that came to pass at Longfield, appeared childish and contemptible,
the flickering of earth-born tapers compared to the splendour, the
obscuration, and final setting of the celestial luminary which had
been the pole-star of her life.

It was from this reason that Mrs. Fitzhenry had not heard of the Lady
who lodged at Dame Nixon's cottage, in the Vale of Bewling, till the
time, when, after having exhausted the curiosity of Longfield, she was
almost forgotten. The Lady, she was known by no other name, had
arrived in the town during Mrs. Fitzhenry's visit to Maristow castle.
She had arrived in her own chariot, unattended by any servant; the
following day she had taken up her abode at Dame Nixon's cottage,
saying, that she was only going to stay a week: she had continued
there for more than three months.

Dame Nixon's cottage was situated about a mile and a half from
Longfield. It stood alone in a little hollow embowered by trees; the
ground behind rose to a slight upland, and a rill trickled through the
garden. You got to it by a bye path, which no wheeled vehicle could
traverse, though a horse might, and it was indeed the very dingle and
cottage which Ethel had praised during her visit into Essex in the
preceding year. The silence and seclusion were in summer
tranquillizing and beautiful; in winter sad and drear; the fields were
swampy in wet weather, and in snow and frost it seemed cut off from
the rest of the world. Dame Nixon and her granddaughter lived there
alone. The girl had been engaged to be married. Her lover jilted her,
and wedded a richer bride. The story is so old, that it is to be
wondered that women have not ceased to lament so common an occurrence.
Poor Margaret was, on the contrary, struck to the heart--she despised
herself for being unable to preserve her lover's affections, rather
than the deceiver for his infidelity. She neglected her personal
appearance, nor ever showed herself among her former companions,
except to support her grandmother to church. Her false lover sat in
the adjoining pew. She fixed her eyes on her Prayer-book during the
service, and on the ground as she went away. She did not wish him to
see the change which his faithlessness had wrought, for surely it
would afflict him. Once there had not bloomed a fresher or gayer rose
in the fields of Essex--now she had grown thin and pale--her young
light step had become slow and heavy--sickness and sorrow made her
eyes hollow, and her cheeks sunken. She avoided every one, devoting
herself to attendance on her grandmother. Dame Nixon was nearly
doting. Life was ebbing fast from her old frame; her best pleasure was
to sun herself in the garden in summer, or to bask before the winter's
fire. While enjoying these delights, her dimmed eyes brightened, and a
smile wreathed her withered lips; she said, "Ah! this is comfortable;"
while her broken-hearted grandchild envied a state of being which
could content itself with mere animal enjoyment. They were very poor.
Margaret had to work hard; but the thoughts of the head, or, at least,
the feelings of the heart, need not wait on the labour of the hands.
The Sunday visit to church kept alive her pain; her very prayers were
bitter, breathed close to the deceiver and her who had usurped her
happiness: the memory and anticipation haunted her through the week;
she was often blinded by tears as she patiently pursued her household
duties, or her toil in their little garden. Her hands were hardened
with work, her throat, her face sunburnt; but exercise and occupation
did not prevent her from wasting away, or her cheek from becoming sunk
and wan.

Dame Nixon's cottage was poor but roomy; some years before, a
gentleman from London had, in a freak, hired two rooms in it, and
furnished them. Since then, she had sometimes let them, and now they
were occupied by the stranger lady. At first all three of the
inhabitants appeared each Sunday at church. The Lady was dressed in
spotless and simple white, and so closely veiled, that no one could
see her face; of course she was beautiful. Soon after Mrs. Elizabeth's
return from Maristow Castle, it was discovered that first the lady
stayed away, and soon, that the whole party absented themselves on
Sunday; and as this defalcation demanded inquiry, it was discovered
that a pony chaise took them three miles off to the church of the
nearest village. This was a singular and yet a beneficial change. The
false swain must rejoice at losing sight of the memento of his sin,
and Margaret would certainly pray with a freer heart, when she no
longer shrunk from his gaze and that of his wife.

It was not until the end of January that Mrs. Elizabeth heard of the
Lady; it was not till the beginning of February that she asked a
single question about her.

In January, passing the inn-yard, the curate's wife, who was walking
with her, said, "There is the chariot belonging to the Lady who lodges
at dame Nixon's cottage. I wonder who she is. The arms are painted
out."

"Ah, dame Nixon has a lodger then; that is a good thing, it will help
her through the winter. I have not seen her or her daughter at church
lately."

"No," replied the other, "they go now to Bewling church."

"I am glad to hear it," said Mrs. Fitzhenry; "it is much better for
poor Margaret not to come here."

The conversation went on, and the Lady was alluded to, but no
questions were asked or curiosity excited. In February she heard from
the doctor's wife, that the doctor had been to the cottage, and that
the Lady was indisposed. She heard at the same time that this Lady had
refused to receive the visits of the curate's lady and the doctor's
lady--excusing herself, that she was going to leave Essex immediately.
This had happened two months before. On hearing of her illness, Mrs.
Elizabeth thought of calling on her, but this stopped her. "It is very
odd," said the doctor's wife, "she came in her own carriage, and yet
has no servants. She lives in as poor a way as can be, down in that
cottage, yet my husband says she is more like the Queen of England in
her looks and ways than any one he ever saw."

"Like the Queen of England?" said Mrs. Fitzhenry, "What queen?--Queen
Charlotte?" who had been the queen of the greater part of the good
lady's life.

"She is as young and beautiful as an angel," said the other, half
angry; "it is very mysterious. She did not look downcast like, as if
any thing was wrong, but was as cheerful and condescending as could
be. 'Condescending, Doctor,' said I, for my husband used the word;
'you don't want condescension from a poor body lodging at dame
Nixon's.'--'A poor body!' said he, in a huff, 'she is more of a lady,
indeed more like the Queen of England than any rich body you ever
saw.' And what is odd, no one knows her name--Dame Nixon and Margaret
always call her Lady--the very marks are picked out from her pocket
handkerchiefs. Yet I did hear that there was a coronet plain to be
seen on one--a thing impossible unless she was a poor cast-away; and
the doctor says he'd lay his life that she was nothing of that. He
must know her name when he makes out her bill, and I told him to ask
it plump, but he puts off, and puts off, till I am out of all
patience."

A misty confused sense of discomfort stole over Mrs. Elizabeth when
she heard of the coronet in the corner of the pocket handkerchief, but
it passed away without suggesting any distinct idea to her mind. Nor
did she feel curiosity about the stranger--she was too much accustomed
to the astonishment, the conjectures, the gossip of Longfield, to
suppose that there was any real foundation for surprise, because its
wonder-loving inhabitants choose to build up a mystery out of every
common occurrence of life.

This absence of inquisitiveness must long have kept Mrs. Fitzhenry in
ignorance of who her neighbour was, and the inhabitants of Longfield
would probably have discovered it before her, had not the truth been
revealed even before she entertained a suspicion that there was any
secret to be found out.

"I beg your pardon, ma'am," said her maid to her one evening, as she
was superintending the couche of the worthy spinster, "I think you
ought to know, though I am afraid you may be angry."

The woman hesitated; her mistress encouraged her. "If it is any thing
I ought to know, Wilmot, tell it at once, and don't be afraid. What
has happened to you?"

"To me, ma'am,--la! nothing," replied the maid; "it's something about
the Lady at dame Nixon's, only you commanded me never to speak the
name of--"

And again the good woman stopped short. Mrs. Fitzhenry, a little
surprised, and somewhat angry, bade her go on. At length, in plain
words she was told:

"Why, ma'am, the Lady down in the Vale is no other than my lady--than
Lady Lodore."

"Ridiculous--who told you so?"

"My own eyes, ma'am; I shouldn't have believed any thing else. I saw
the Lady, and it was my Lady, as sure as I stand here."

"But how could you know her? it is years since you saw her."

"Yes, ma'am," said the woman, with a smile of superiority; "but it is
not easy to forget Lady Lodore. See her yourself, ma'am,--you will
know then that I am right."

Wilmot had lived twenty years with Mrs. Fitzhenry. She had visited
town with her at the time of Ethel's christening. She had been kept in
vexatious ignorance of subsequent events, till the period of the visit
of her mistress and niece to London two years before, when she
indemnified herself. Through the servants of Villiers, and of the
Misses Saville, she had learnt a vast deal; and not satisfied with
mere hearsay, she had seen Lady Lodore several times getting into her
carriage at her own door, and had even been into her house: such
energy is there in a liberal curiosity. The same disinterested feeling
had caused her to go down to dame Nixon's with an offer from her
mistress of service to the Lady, hearing she was ill. She went
perfectly unsuspicious of the wonderful discovery she was about to
make, and was thus rewarded beyond her most sanguine hopes, by being
in possession of a secret, known to herself alone. The keeping of a
secret is, however, a post of no honour if all knowledge be confined
to the possessor alone. Mrs. Wilmot was tolerably faithful, with all
her love of knowledge; she was sure it would vex her mistress if Lady
Lodore's strange place of abode were known at Longfield, and Mrs.
Fitzhenry was consequently the first person to whom she had hinted the
fact. All this account she detailed with great volubility. Her
mistress recommended discretion most earnestly; and at the same time
expressed a doubt whether her information was correct.

"I wish you would go and judge for yourself, ma'am," said the maid.

"God forbid!" exclaimed Mrs. Fitzhenry. "God grant I never see Lady
Lodore again! She will go soon. You tell me that dame Nixon says she
is only staying till she is well. She will go soon, and it need never
be known, except to ourselves, Wilmot, that she was ever here."

There was a dignity in this eternal mystery that somewhat compensated
for the absence of wonder and fuss which the woman had anticipated
with intense pleasure. She assured her mistress, over and over again,
of her secrecy and discretion, and was dismissed with the exhortation
to forget all she had learnt as quickly as possible.

"Wherefore did she come here? what can she be doing?" Mrs. Fitzhenry
asked herself over and over again. She could not guess. It was
strange, it was mysterious, and some mischief was at the bottom--but
she would go soon--"would that she were already gone!"

It must be mentioned that Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry had left Maristow
Castle before the arrival of Mr. Gayland, and had therefore no
knowledge of the still more mysterious cloud that enveloped Lady
Lodore's absence. Ignorant of her self-destroying sacrifices and
generosity, her pity was not excited, her feelings were all against
her. She counted the days as they passed, and looked wistfully at
Wilmot, hoping that she would quickly bring tidings of the Lady's
departure. In vain; the doctor ceased to visit the cottage, but the
Lady remained. All at once the doctor visited it again with greater
assiduity than ever--not on account of his beautiful patient--but Dame
Nixon had had a paralytic stroke, and the kind Lady had sent for him,
and promised to defray all the expenses of the poor woman's illness.

All this was truly vexatious. Mrs. Fitzhenry fretted, and even asked
Wilmot questions, but the unwelcome visitor was still there.
Wherefore? What could have put so disagreeable a whim into her head?
The good lady could think of no motive, while she considered her
presence an insult. She was still more annoyed when she received a
letter from Ethel. It had been proposed that Mr. and Mrs. Villiers
should pay her a visit in the spring; but now Ethel wrote to say that
she might be immediately expected. "I have strange things to tell you
about my dear mother," wrote Ethel; "it is very uncertain where she
is. Horatio can hear nothing of her at Paris, and will soon return.
Edward is going to Wales, as there seems a great likelihood that she
has secluded herself there. While he is away you may expect me. I
shall not be able to stay long--he will come at the end of a week to
fetch me."

Mrs. Fitzhenry shuddered. Her prejudices were stronger than ever. She
experienced the utmost wretchedness from the idea that the residence
of Lady Lodore would be discovered, and a family union effected. It
seemed desecration to the memory of her brother, ruin to Ethel--the
greatest misfortune that could befal any of them. Her feelings were
exaggerated, but they were on that account the more powerful. How
could she avert the evil?--a remedy must be sought, and she fixed on
one--a desperate one, in truth, which appeared to her the sole mode of
saving them all from the greatest disasters.

She resolved to visit Lady Lodore; to represent to her the impropriety
and wickedness of her having any intercourse with her daughter, and to
entreat her to depart before Ethel's arrival. Her violence might
almost seem madness; but all people who live in solitude become to a
certain degree insane. Their views of things are not corrected by
comparing them with those of others; and the strangest want of
proportion always reigns in their ideas and sentiments.



CHAPTER XVII.



So loth we part from all we love.
  From all the links that bind us;
So turn our hearts, where'er we rove.
  To those we've left behind us.
--Thomas Moore.

On the following morning Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry drove to the Vale of
Bewling. It was the last day of February. The March winds were hushed
as yet; the breezes were balmy, the sunshine cheerful; a few soft
clouds flecked the heavens, and the blue sky appeared between them
calm and pure. Each passing air breathed life and happiness--it
caressed the cheek--and the swelling buds of the trees felt its
quickening influence. The almond-trees were in bloom--the pear
blossoms began to whiten--the tender green of the young leaves showed
themselves here and there among the hedges. The old lady felt the
cheering influence, and would have become even gay, had not the idea
of the errand she was on checked her spirits. Sometimes the
remembrance that she was really going to see her sister-in-law
absolutely startled her; once or twice she thought of turning back;
she passed through the lanes, and then alighting from her carriage,
walked by a raised foot-way, across some arable fields--and again
through a little grove; the winding path made a turn, and dame Nixon's
white, low-roofed cottage was before her. Every thing about it looked
trim, but very humble: and it was unadorned during this early season
by the luxury of flowers and plants, which usually give even an
appearance of elegance to an English cottage. Mrs. Fitzhenry opened
the little gate--her knees trembled as she walked through the scanty
garden, which breathed of the new-sprung violets. The entrance to the
cottage was by the kitchen: she entered this, and found Margaret
occupied by a culinary preparation for her grandmother. Mrs. Fitzhenry
asked after the old woman's health, and thus gained a little time.
Margaret answered in her own former quiet yet cheerful voice; she was
changed from what she had been a few weeks before. The bloom had not
returned to her cheeks, but they no longer appeared streaked with
deathly paleness; her motions had lost the heaviness that showed a
mind ill at ease. Mrs. Elizabeth congratulated her on the restoration
of her health.

"O yes," she replied, with a blush, "I am not the same creature I used
to be, thank God, and the angel he has sent us here;--if my poor
grandmother would but get well I should be quite happy; but that is
asking too much at her time of life."

The old lady made no further observations: she did not wish to hear
the praises of her sister-in-law. "Your lodger is still here?" at
length she said.

"Yes, God be praised!" replied Margaret.

"Will you give her my compliments, and say I am here, and that I wish
to see her."

"Yes, ma'am," said Margaret; "only the lady has refused to see any
one, and she does not like being asked."

"I do not wish to be impertinent or intrusive," answered Mrs.
Elizabeth; "only tell her my name, and if she makes any objection, of
course she will do as she likes. Where is she?"

"She is sitting with my poor grandmother; the nurse--Heaven bless her!
she would hire a nurse, to spare me, as she said--is lain down to
sleep, and she said she would watch by grandmother while I got the
gruel; but it's ready now, and I will go and tell her."

Away tripped Margaret, leaving her guest lost in wonder. Lady Lodore
watching the sick-bed of an old cottager--Lady Lodore immured in a
poverty-stricken abode, fit only for the poorer sort of country
people. It was more than strange, it was miraculous. "Yet she refused
to accompany poor Henry to America! there must be some strange mystery
in all this, that does not tell well for her."

So bitterly uncharitable was the unforgiving old lady towards her
brother's widow. She ruminated on these things for a minute or two,
and then Margaret came to usher her into the wicked one's presence.
The sitting-room destined for the lodger was neat, though very plain.
The walls were wainscotted and painted white,--the windows small and
latticed,--the furniture was old black, shining mahogany; the chairs
high-backed and clumsy; the table heavy and incommodious; the fire-
place large and airy; and the shelf of the mantel-piece almost as high
as the low ceiling: there were a few things of a more modern
construction; a comfortable sofa, a rose-wood bureau and large folding
screen; near the fire was a large easy chair of Gillows's manufacture,
two light cane ones, and two small tables; vases filled with
hyacinths, jonquils, and other spring flowers stood on one, and an
embroidery frame occupied the other. There was a perfume of fresh-
gathered flowers in the room, which the open window rendered very
agreeable. Lady Lodore was standing near the fire--(for Wilmot was not
mistaken, and it was she indeed who now presented herself to Mrs.
Fitzhenry's eyes)--she might be agitated--she did not show it--she
came forward and held out her hand. "Dear Bessy," she said, "you are
very kind to visit me; I thank you very much."

The poor recluse was overpowered. The cordiality of the greeting
frightened her: she who had come full of bitter reproach and hard
purposes, to be thanked with that sweet voice and smile. "I thought,"
at length she stammered out, "that you did not wish to be known. I am
glad you are not offended, Cornelia."

"Offended by kindness? O no! It is true I did not wish--I do not wish
that it should be known that I am here--but since, by some strange
accident, you have discovered me, how can I help being grateful for
your visit? I am indeed glad to see you; it is so long since I have
heard any thing. Ah! dear Bessy, tell me, how is Ethel?"

Tears glistened in the mother's eyes: she asked many questions, and
Mrs. Fitzhenry a little recovered her self-possession, as she answered
them. She looked at Lady Lodore--she was changed--she could not fail
of being changed after so many years,--she was no longer a beautiful
girl, but she was a lovely woman. Despite the traces of years, which
however lightly they impressed, yet might be discerned; expression so
embellished her that it was impossible not to admire; brilliancy had
given place to softness, animation to serenity; still she was fair--
still her silken hair clustered on her brow, and her sweet eyes were
full of fire; her smile had more than its former charm--it came from
the heart.

Mrs. Fitzhenry was not, however, to be subdued by a little outward
show. She was there, who had betrayed and deserted (such were the
energetic words she was accustomed to employ) the noble, broken-
hearted Lodore. The thought steeled her purpose, and she contrived at
last to ask whether Lady Lodore was going to remain much longer in
Essex?

"I have been going every day since I came here. In a few weeks I shall
certainly be gone. Why do you ask?"

"Because I thought--that is--you have made a secret of your being
here, and I expect Ethel in a day or two, and she would certainly
discover you."

"Why should she not?" asked Lady Lodore. "Why should you be averse to
my seeing Ethel?"

It is very difficult to say a disagreeable thing, especially to one
unaccustomed to society, and who is quite ignorant of the art of
concealing the sting of her intentions by flowery words. Mrs.
Fitzhenry said something about her sister-in-law's own wishes, and the
desire expressed by Lodore that there should be no intercourse between
the mother and daughter.

Cornelia's eyes flashed fire--"Am I," she exclaimed, "to be always the
sacrifice? Is my husband's vengeance to pursue me beyond his grave--
even till I reach mine? Unjust as he was, he would not have desired
this."

Mrs. Elizabeth coloured with anger. Lady Lodore continued--"Pardon me,
Bessy, I do not wish to say any thing annoying to you or in blame of
Lodore. God knows I did him great wrong--but--"

"O Cornelia," cried the old lady, "do you indeed acknowledge that you
were to blame?"

Lady Lodore smiled, and said, "I were strangely blind to the defects
of my own character, and to the consequences of my actions, were I not
conscious of my errors; but retrospection is useless, and the
punishment has been--is--sufficiently severe. Lodore himself would not
have perpetuated his resentment, had he lived only a very little while
longer. But I will speak frankly to you, Bessy, as frankly as I may,
and you shall decide on my further tay here. From circumstances which
it is immaterial to explain, I have resolved on retiring into absolute
solitude. I shall never live in London again--never again see any of
my old friends and acquaintances. The course of my life is entirely
changed; and whether I live here or elsewhere, I shall live in
obscurity and poverty. I do not wish Ethel to know this. She would
wish to assist me, and she has scarcely enough for herself. I do not
like being a burthen--I do not like being pitied--I do not like being
argued with, or to have my actions commented upon. You know that my
disposition was always independent."

Mrs. Elizabeth assented with a sigh, casting up her eyes to heaven.

Lady Lodore smiled, and went on. "You think this is a strange place
for me to live in: whether here or elsewhere, I shall never live in
any better: I shall be fortunate if I find myself as well off when I
leave Essex, for the people here are good and honest, and the poor
girl loves me,--it is always pleasant to be loved."

A tear again filled Cornelia's eyes--she tried to animate herself to
smile. "I have nothing to love in all the wide world except Ethel; I
do love her; every one must love her--she is so gentle--so kind--so
warm-hearted and beautiful,--I love her more than my own heart's
blood; she is my child--part of that blood--part of myself--the
better part; I have seen little of her, but every look and word is
engraved on my heart. I love her voice--her smiles--the pressure of
her soft white hand. Pity me, dear Bessy, I am never to see any of
these, which are all that I love on earth, again. This idea fills me
with regret--with worse--with sorrow. There is a grave not far from
here which contains one you loved beyond all others,--what would you
not give to see him alive once again? To visit his tomb is a
consolation to you. I must not seen even the walls within which my
blessed child lives. You alone can help me--can be of comfort to me.
Do not refuse--do not send me away. If I leave this place, I shall go
to some secluded nook in Wales, and be quite--quite alone; the sun
will shine, and the grass will grow at my feet, but my heart will be
dead within me, and I shall pine and die. I have intended to do this;
I have waited only till the sufferings of the poor woman here should
be at an end, that I may be of service to Margaret, and then go. Your
visit, which I fancied meant in kindness, has put other thoughts into
my head.

"Do not object to my staying here; let me remain; and do yet more for
me--come to me sometimes, and bring me tidings of my daughter--tell
me what she says--how she looks,--tell me that she is at each moment
well and happy. Ah! do this, dear Bessy, and I will bless you. I shall
never see her--at least not for years; there are many things to
prevent it: yet how could I drag out those years quite estranged from
her? My heart has died within me each time I have thought of it. But I
can live as I say; I shall expect you every now and then to come and
talk to me of her; she need never know that I am so near--she comes so
seldom to Essex. I shall soon be forgotten at Longfield. Will you
consent? you will do a kind action, and God will bless you."

Mrs. Fitzhenry was one of those persons who always find it difficult
to say, No; and Lady Lodore asked with so much earnestness that she
commanded; she felt that her request ought to be granted, and
therefore it was impossible to refuse it. Before she well knew what
she had said, the good lady had yielded her consent and received her
sister-in-law's warm and heart-felt thanks.

Mrs. Fitzhenry looked round the room: "But how can you think of
staying here, Cornelia?" she said; "this place is not fit for you. I
should have thought that you could never have endured such homely
rooms."

"Do you think them so bad?" replied the lady; "I think them very
pleasant, for I have done with pride, and I find peace and comfort
here. Look," she continued, throwing open a door that led into the
garden, "is not that delightful? This garden is very pretty: that
clear rivulet murmurs by with so lulling a sound;--and look at these
violets, are they not beautiful? I have planted a great many flowers,
and they will soon come up. Do you not know how pleasant it is to
watch the shrubs we plant, and water, and rear ourselves?--to see the
little green shoots peep out, and the leaves unfold, and then the
flower blossom and expand, diffusing its delicious odour around,--all,
as it were, created by oneself, by one's own nursing, out of a bit of
stick or an ugly bulb? This place is very pretty, I assure you: when
the leaves are on the trees they make a bower, and the grove behind
the house is shady, and leads to lanes and fields more beautiful than
any I ever saw. I have loitered for hours in this garden, and been
quite happy. Now I shall be happier than ever, thanks to you. You will
not forget me. Come as often as you can. You say that you expect Ethel
soon?"

Lady Ladore walked with her sister-in-law to the garden-gate, and
beyond, through the little copse, still talking of her daughter. "I
cannot go further," she said, at last, "without a bonnet--so good-bye,
dear Bessy. Come soon. Thank you--thank you for this visit."

She held out her hand: Mrs. Fitzhenry took it, pressed it, a half
feeling came over her as if she were about to kiss the check of her
offeneding relative, but her heart hardened, she blushed, and
muttering a hasty good-bye, she hurried away. She was bewildered, and
after walking a few steps, she turned round, and saw again the white
dress of Cornelia, as a turn in the path hid her. The grand, the
exclusive Lady Lodore--the haughty, fashionable, worldly-heartless
wife thus metamorphosed into a tender-hearted mother--suing to her for
crumbs of charitable love--and hiding all her boasted advantages in
that low-roofed cottage! What could it all mean?

Mrs. Fitzhenry walked on. Again she thought, "How odd! I went there,
determining to persuade her to go away, and miserable at the thoughts
of seeing her only once; and now I have promised to visit her often,
and agreed that she shall live here. Have I not done wrong? What would
my poor brother say? Yet I could not refuse. Poor thing! how could I
refuse, when she said that she had nothing else to live for? Besides,
to go away and live alone in Wales--it would be too dreadful; and she
thanked me as if she were so grateful. I hope I have not done wrong.

"But how strange it is that Henry's widow should have become so poor;
she has given up a part of her income to Ethel, but a great deal
remains. What can she have done with it? She is mysterious, and there
is never any good in mystery. Who knows what she may have to conceal?"
Mrs. Elizabeth got in her carriage, and each step of the horses took
her farther from the web of enchantment which Cornelia had thrown over
her. "She is always strange,"--thus ran her meditations; "and how am I
to see her, and no one find it out? and what a story for Longfield,
that Lady Lodore should be living in poverty in dame Nixon's cottage.
I forgot to tell her that--I forgot to say so many things I meant to
say--I don't know why, except that she talked so much, and I did not
know how to bring in my objections. But it cannot be right: and Ethel
in her long rambles and rides with Miss Derham or Mr. Villiers, will
be sure to find her out. I wish I had not seen her--I will write and
tell her I have changed my mind, and entreat her to go away."

As it occurs to all really good-natured persons, it was very
disagreeable to Mrs. Fitzhenry to be angry, and she visited the ill-
temper so engendered on the head of poor Cornelia. She disturbed
herself by the idea of all the disagreeable things that might happen--
of her sister-in-law's positive refusal to go; the very wording which
she imagined for her intended letter puzzled and irritated her. She no
longer felt the breath of spring as pleasant, but sat back in the
chariot, "nursing her wrath to keep it warm." When she reached her
home, Ethel's carriage was at her door.

The meeting, as ever, between aunt and niece was affectionate. Fanny
was welcomed, the baby was kissed, and little Clorinda admired, but
the theme nearest Ethel's heart was speedily introduced--her mother.
The disquietudes she felt on her account--Mr. Saville's journey to
Paris--the visit of Villiers to Wales to discover her place of
concealment--the inutility of all their endeavours.

"But why are they so anxious?" asked her aunt; "I can understand you:
you have some fantastic notion about your mother, but how can Mr.
Villiers desire so very much to find her?"

"I could almost say," said Ethel, "that Edward is more eager than
myself, though I should wrong my own affection and gratitude; but he
was more unjust towards her, and thus he feels the weight of
obligation more keenly; but, perhaps, dear aunt, you do not know all
that my dearest mother has done for us--the unparalleled sacrifices
she has made."

Then Ethel went on to tell her all that Mr. Gayland had communicated--
the sale of her jointure--the very small residue of money she had kept
for herself--the entire payment of Villiers's debts--and afterwards
the surrender of the remainder of her income and of her house to them.
Her eyes glistened as she spoke; her heart, overflowing with
admiration and affection, shone in her beautiful face, her voice was
pregnant with sensibility, and her expressions full of deep feeling.

Mrs. Elizabeth's heart was not of stone--far from it; it was, except
in the one instance of her sister-in-law, made of pliable materials.
She heard Ethel's story--she caught by sympathy the tenderness and
pity she poured forth--she thought of Lady Lodore at the cottage, a
dwelling so unlike any she had ever inhabited before--poverty-stricken
and mean; she remembered her praises of it--her cheerfulness--the
simplicity of taste which she displayed--the light-hearted content
with which she spoke of every privation except the absence of Ethel.
What before was mysterious wrong, was now manifest heroism. The
loftiness and generosity of her mind rose upon the old lady unclouded;
her own uncharitable deductions stung her with remorse; she continued
to listen, and Ethel to narrate, and the big tears gathered in her
eyes, and rolled down her venerable cheeks,--tears at once of
repentance and admiration.



CHAPTER XX.



Repentance is a tender sprite;
If aught on earth have heavenly might.
'Tis lodged within her silent tear.
--Wordsworth.

Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry was not herself aware of all that Lady Lodore
had suffered, or the extent of her sacrifices. She guessed darkly at
them, but it was the detail that rendered them so painful, and, but
for their motive, humiliating to one nursed in luxury, and accustomed
to all those intermediate servitors and circumstances, which stand
between the rich and the bare outside of the working-day world.
Cornelia shrunk from the address of those she did not know, and from
the petty acts of daily life, which had gone on before without her
entering into their detail.

Her illness at Newbury had been severe. She was attacked by the
scarlet fever; the doctor had ordered her to be removed from the
bustle of the inn, and a furnished villa had been taken for her, while
she could only give a languid assent to propositions which she
understood confusedly. She was a long time very ill--a long time weak
and slowly convalescent. At length health dawned on her, accompanied
by a disposition attuned to content and a wish for tranquillity. Her
residence was retired, commodious, and pretty; she was pleased with
it, she did not wish to remove, and was glad to procrastinate from day
to day any consideration of the future. Thus it was a long time before
the strength of her thoughts and purposes was renewed, or that she
began to think seriously of where she was, and what she was going to
do.

During the half delirium, the disturbed and uncontrollable, but not
unmeaning reveries, of her fever, the idea of visiting Lodore's grave
had haunted her pertinaciously. She had often dreamt of it: at one
time the tomb seemed to rise in a lonely desert; and the dead slept
peacefully beneath sunshine or starlight. At another, storms and
howling winds were around, groans and sighs, mingled with the sound of
the tempest, and menaces and reproaches against her were breathed from
the cold marble. Now her imagination pictured it within the aisles of
a magnificent cathedral; and now again the real scene--the rustic
church of Longfield was vividly present to her mind. She saw the
pathway through the green churchyard--the ruined ivy-mantled tower,
which showed how much larger the edifice had been in former days, near
which might be still discerned on high a niche containing the holy
mother and divine child--the half-defaced porch on which rude monkish
imagery was carved--the time-worn pews, and painted window. She had
never entered this church but once, many, many years ago; and it was
strange how in sleep and fever-troubled reverie, each portion of it
presented itself distinctly and vividly to her imagination. During
these perturbed visions, one other form and voice perpetually
recurred. She heard Ethel continually repeat, "Come! come!" and often
her figure flitted round the tomb or sat beside it. Once, on awakening
from a dream, which impressed her deeply by the importunity and
earnestness of her daughter's appeal, she was forcibly impelled to
consider it her duty to obey, and she made a vow that on recovering
from her illness, she would visit her husband's grave.

Now while pondering on the humiliations and cheerless necessities
which darkened her future, and rousing herself to form some kind of
resolution concerning them, this dream was repeated, and on awakening,
the memory of her forgotten vow renewed itself in her. She dwelt on it
with pleasure. Here was something to be done that was not mere
wretchedness and lonely wandering--something that, connecting her
with the past, took away the sense of desertion and solitude, so hard
to bear. In the morning, at breakfast, it so chanced that she read in
the Morning Herald a little paragraph announcing that Viscount
Maristow was entertaining a party of friends at Maristow Castle, among
whom were Mr. and Mrs. Villiers, and the Hon. Mrs. Elizabeth
Fitzhenry. This was a fortunate coincidence. The dragon ceased for a
moment to watch the garden, and she might avail herself of its absence
to visit its treasure unnoticed and unknown. She put her project into
immediate execution. She crossed the country, passing through London
on her way to Longfield--she arrived. Without delay she fulfilled her
purpose. She entered the church and viewed the tablet, inscribed
simply with the name of Lodore, and the date of his birth and death.
The words were few and common-place, but they were eloquent to her.
They told her that the cold decaying shape lay beneath, which in the
pride of life and love had clasped her in its arms as its own for
evermore. Short-lived had been the possession. She had loosened the
tie even while thought and feeling ruled the now insentient brain--he
had been scarcely less dead to her while inhabiting the distant
Illinois, than now that a stone placed above him, gave visible token
of his material presence, and the eternal absence of his immortal
part. Cornelia had never before felt so sensibly that she had been a
wife neglecting her duties, despising a vow she had solemnly pledged,
estranging herself from him, who by religious ordinance, and the laws
of society, alone had privilege to protect and love her. Nor had she
before felt so intimately the change--that she was a widow; that her
lover, her husband, the father of her child, the forsaken, dead
Lodore, was indeed no part of the tissue of life, action, and feeling
to which she belonged.

Solitude and sickness had before awakened many thoughts in her mind,
and she recalled them as she sat beside her dead husband's grave. She
looked into her motives, tried to understand the deceits she had
practised on herself, and to purify her conscience. She meditated on
time, that law of the world, which is so mysterious, and so potent;
ruling us despotically, and yet wholly unappreciated till we think
upon it. Petrarch says, that he was never so young, but that he knew
that he was growing old. Lady Lodore had never thought of this till a
few months back; it seemed to her, that she had never known it until
now--that she felt that she was older--older than the vain and lovely
bride of Lodore--than the haughty high-spirited friend of Casimir
Lyzinski. And where was Casimir? She had never heard of him again, she
had scarcely ever thought of him; he had grown older too--change, the
effects of passion or of destiny, must have visited him also;--they
were all embarked on one mighty stream--Lodore had gained a haven; but
the living were still at the mercy of the vast torrent--whither would.
it hurry them?

There was a charm in these melancholy and speculative thoughts to the
beautiful exile--for we may be indeed as easily exiled by a few roods
of ground, as by mountains and seas. A strong decree of fate banished
Cornelia from the familiar past, into an unknown and strange present.
Still she clung to the recollection of bygone years, and for the first
time gave way to reflections full of scenes and persons to be seen no
more. The tomb beside which she lingered, was an outward sign of these
past events, and she did not like to lose sight of it so soon. She
heard that Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry was to remain away for a month--so
much time at least was hers. She inquired for lodgings, and was
directed to Dame Nixon's cottage. She was somewhat dismayed at first
by its penurious appearance, but "it would do for a few days;" and she
found that what would serve for a few days, might serve for months.
"Man wants but little here below, Nor wants that little long." Most
true for solitary man. It is society that increases his desires. If
Lady Lodore had been visited in her humble dwelling by the least
regarded among her acquaintances, she would have felt keenly its
glaring deficiencies. But although used to luxury, Margaret's cuisine
sufficed for herself alone; the low-roofed rooms were high enough, and
the latticed windows which let in the light of heaven, fulfilled their
purpose as well as the plate-glass and lofty embrasures of a palace.

Lady Lodore was obliged also to consider one other thing, which forms
so large a portion of our meditations in real life--her purse. She
found when settled in the cottage, in the Vale of Bewling, that her
stock of money was reduced to one hundred pounds. She could not cross
the country and establish herself at a distance from London with this
sum only. She had before looked forward to selling her jewels and
carriage as to a distant event, but now she felt that it was the next
thing she must do. She shrunk from it naturally: the very idea of
revisiting London--of seeing its busy shops and streets--once so full
of life and its purposes to her, and in which she would now wander an
alien, was inconceivably saddening; she was willing to put off the
necessity as long as possible, and thus continued to procrastinate her
departure from Essex.

Mrs. Fitzhenry returned; but she could neither know nor dream of the
vicinity of her sister-in-law. We are apt to think, when we know
nothing of any one, that no one knows any thing of us; experience can
scarcely teach us, that the reverse of this is often the truth. Seeing
only an old woman in her dotage--and a poor love-sick girl, who knew
nothing beyond the one event which had blasted all her happiness--she
never heard the inhabitants of Longfield mentioned, and believed that
she was equally unheard of by them. Then her indisposition protracted
her stay, and now the mortal illness of the poor woman. For she had
become interested for Margaret and promised to befriend her; and in
case of her grandmother's death, to take her from a spot where every
association and appearance kept open the wounds inflicted by her
unfaithful lover.

Time had thus passed on: now sad, now cheerful, she tried to banish
every thought of the future, and to make the occurrences of each day
fill and satisfy her mind. She lived obscurely and humbly, and perhaps
as wisely as mortal may in this mysterious world, where hope is
perpetually follwed by disappointment, and action by repentance and
regret. The days succeeded to each other in one unvaried tenor. The
weather was cheerful, the breath of spring animating. She watched the
swelling of the buds--the peeping heads of the crocuses--the opening
of the anemones and wild wind-flowers, and at last, the sweet odour of
the new-born violets, with all the interest created by novelty; not
that she had not observed and watched these things before, with
transitory pleasure, but now the operations of nature filled all her
world; the earth was no longer merely the dwelling place of her
acquaintance, the stage on which the business of society was carried
on, but the mother of life--the temple of God--the beautiful and
varied store-house of bounteous nature.

Dwelling on these ideas, Cornelia often thought of Horatio Saville,
whose conversations, now remembered, were the source whence she drew
the knowledge and poetry of her present reveries. As solitude and
nature grew lovely in her eyes, she yearned yet more fondly for the
one who could embellish all she saw. Yet while her mind needed a
companion so congenial to her present feelings, her heart was fuller
of Ethel; her affection for Saville was a calm though deep-rooted
sentiment, resulting from the conviction, that she should find entire
happiness if united to him, and in an esteem or rather an enthusiastic
admiration of his talents and virtues, that led her to dwell with
complacency on the hope, that he still remembered and loved her: but
the human heart is jealous, and with difficulty admits two emotions of
equal force, and her love for her daughter was the master passion. The
instinct of nature spoke audibly within her; the atoms of her frame
seemed alive each one as she thought of her; often her tears flowed,
often her eyes brightened with gladness when alone, and the beloved
image of her beautiful daughter as she saw her last, smiling amidst
penury and indignity, was her dearest companion by day and night. She
alone made her present situation endurable, and yet separation from
her was irksome beyond expression. Was she never to see or hear of her
more? It was very hard: she implored Providence to change the harsh
decree--she longed inexpressibly for one word that had reference to
her--one event, however slight, which should make her existence
palpable.

When Margaret announced Mrs. Fitzhenry, her heart bounded with joy.
She could ask concerning Ethel--hear; her countenance was radiant with
delight, and she really for a moment thought her sister-in-law's visit
was meant in kindness, since so much pleasure was the result. This
conviction had produced the very thing it anticipated. She had given
poor Bessy no time to announce the actual intention with which she
came; she had borne away her sullen mood by force of sweet smiles and
sweeter words; and saw her depart with gladdened spirits, whispering
to herself the fresh hopes and fond emotions which filled her bosom.
She walked back to her little garden and stooped to gather some fresh
violets, and to prop a drooping jonquil heavy with its burthen of
sweet blooms. She inhaled the vernal odours with rapture. "Yes," she
thought, "nature is the refuge and home for women: they have no public
career--no aim nor end beyond their domestic circle; but they can
extend that, and make all the creations of nature their own, to foster
and do good to. We complain, when shut up in cities of the niggard
rules of society, which gives us only the drawing-room or ball-room in
which to display our talents, and which, for ever turning the sympathy
of those around us into envy on the part of women, or what is called
love on that of men, besets our path with dangers or sorrows. But
throw aside all vanity, no longer seek to surpass your own sex, nor to
inspire the other with feelings which are pregnant with disquiet or
misery, and which seldom end in mutual benevolence, turn your steps to
the habitation which God has given as befitting his creatures,
contemplate the lovely ornaments with which he has blessed the
earth;--here is no heart-burning nor calumny; it is better to love, to
be of use to one of these flowers, than to be the admired of the
many--the mere puppet of one's own vanity."

Lady Lodore entered the house; she asked concerning her poor hostess,
and learnt that she slept. For a short time she employed herself with
her embroidery; her thoughts were all awake; and as her fingers
created likenesses of the flowers she loved, several times her eyes
filled with tears as she thought of Ethel, and how happy she could be
if her fate permitted her to cultivate her affection and enjoy her
society.

"It is very sad," she thought; "only a few minutes ago my spirits were
buoyant, gladdened as they were by Bessy's visit; but they flag again,
when I think of my loneliness and the unreplying silence of this
place. What is to become of me? I shall remain here: yes; I shall not
banish myself to some inhospitable nook, where I should never hear her
name. But am I not to see her again? Am I to be nothing to her? Is she
satisfied with my absence--and are they all--to whom I am bound by
ties of consanguinity or affection, indifferent to the knowledge of
whether I exist or not? Nothing gives token to them of my life; it is
as if the grave had closed abruptly over me--and had it closed, thus I
should have been mourned, in coldness and neglect."

Again her eyes were suffused; but as she wiped away the blinding
tears, she was recalled from her reflections by the bright rays of the
sun which entered her little room. She threw open the door, stepped
out into the garden--the sun was setting; the atmosphere was calm, and
lighted up by golden beams; the few clouds were dyed in the same
splendid hues, the birds sent forth a joyous song at intervals, and a
band of rooks passed above the little wood, cawing loudly. The air was
balmy, the indescribable freshness of spring was abroad,
interpenetrating and cheerful. Cornelia's melancholy fled as she felt
and gave way to its influence. "God blesses all things," she thought,
"and he will also bless me. Much wrong have I done, but love pure and
disinterested is in my heart, and I shall be repaid. My own sweet
Ethel! I have sacrificed every thing except my life for your sake, and
I would add my life to the gift, could it avail you. I ask but for you
and your love. The world has many blessings, and I have asked for them
before, with tears and anguish, but I give up all now, except you, my
child. You are all the world to me! Will you not come, even now, as I
implore Heaven to give you to me?"

She raised her eyes in prayer, and it seemed as if her wishes were to
be accomplished--surely once in a life God will grant the earnest
entreaty of a loving heart. Cornelia believed that he would, that
happiness was near at hand, and life not all a blank. She heard a
rustling among the trees, a light step;--was it Margaret? She had
scarcely asked herself this question, when the dear object of her
every thought and hope was before her--in her arms;--Ethel had
entered from the wood, had seen her mother, had sprung forward and
clasped her to her heart.

"My dear, dear child!"

"Dearest mother!" repeated Ethel, as her eyes were filled with tears
of delight, "why did you go--why conceal yourself? You do not know the
anxiety we have suffered, and how very unhappy your absence has made
us. But I have found you--of all that have gone to seek you, I have
found you; I deserve this reward, for I love you most of all."

Lady Lodore returned her daughter's caresses--and her tears flowed
fast for very joy, and then she turned to Mrs. Fitzhenry, who followed
Ethel, but who had been outspeeded by her in her eagerness. The old
lady's face was beaming with happiness. "Ah, Bessy, you have betrayed
me--traitress! I did not expect this--I do not deserve such excessive
happiness."

"You deserve all, and much more than we can any of us bestow," cried
Ethel, "except that your dear generous heart will repay you beyond any
reward we can give, and you will be blest in the happiness we owe to
you alone. Edward is gone far away into Wales in quest of you."

"An Angelica run after by the Paladins," said Lady Lodore, smiling
through her tears.

"Paladins, worthy the name!" replied Ethel. "Horatio is even now on
the salt seas for your sake--he is returning discomfited and hopeless
from his journey of discovery to the Pyrenees--his zeal almost
deserved the reward which I have found, yet who but she, for whom you
sacrificed so much, ought to be the first to thank you? And while we
all try to show you an inexpressible gratitude, ought not I to be the
first to see, first to kiss, first--always the first--to love you?"

CONCLUSION.

None, I trust, Repines at these delights, they are free and harmless:
After distress at sea, the dangers o'er, Safety and welcomes better
taste ashore.

Ford.

Thus the tale of "Lodore" is ended. The person who bore that title by
right of descent, has long slept in peace in the church of his native
village. Neither his own passions, nor those of others, can renew the
pulsations of his heart. "The silver cord is loosed, and the pitcher
broken at the fountain." His life had not been fruitless. The sedulous
care and admirable education he had bestowed on Ethel, would, had he
lived, have compensated to him for his many sufferings, and been a
source of pure and unfading joy to the end. He was not destined in
this world to reap the harvest of his virtues, though his errors had
been punished severely. Still his memory is the presiding genius of
his daughter's life, and the name of Lodore contains for her a spell
that dignifies existence in her own eyes, and incites her to render
all her thoughts and actions such as her beloved father would have
approved. It was fated that the evil which he did should die with
him--but the good out-lived him long, and was a blessing to those whom
he loved far better than himself.

She who received the title on her marriage, henceforth continued her
existence under another; and the wife of Saville, who soon after
became Viscountess Maristow, loses her right to be chronicled in these
pages. So few years indeed are passed since the period to which the
last chapter brought us, that it may be safely announced that Cornelia
Santerre possesses that happiness, through her generosity and devoted
affection, which she had lost through pride and self-exaltation. She
wonders at her past self--and laments the many opportunities she lost
for benefiting others, and proving herself worthy of their attachment.
Her pride is gone, or rather, her pride is now placed in redeeming her
faults. She is humble, knowing how much she was deceived in herself--
she is forgiving, for she feels that she needs forgiveness. She looks
on the track of years she has passed over as wasted, and she wishes to
retrieve their loss. She respects, admires, in some sense it may be
said, that she adores her husband; but even while consenting to be
his, and thus securing her own happiness, she told him that her first
duties were towards Ethel--and that he took a divided heart, over the
better part of which reigned maternal love. Saville, the least
egoistic of human beings, smiled to hear her name that a defect, which
was in his eyes her crowning virtue.

Edward Villiers learnt to prize worldly prosperity at its true value,
and each day blesses the train of circumstances that led him to wed
Ethel, even though poverty and suffering had followed close behind.
Ethel herself might be said to have been always happy. She was
incapable of being impressed by any sorrow, that did not touch her for
another's sake: and while she exerted herself to alleviate the pain
endured by those she loved, she passed on unhurt. Heaven spared her
life's most cruel evils. Death had done its worst when she lost her
father. Now, surrounded by dear friends, and the object of her
husband's constant tenderness, she pursues a tranquil course: which
for any one to consider the most blissful allotted to mortals, they
must have a heart like her own--faithful, affectionate, and generous.

Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzhenry, kind and gentle aunt Bessy, always felt her
heaven clouded while she indulged in her aversion to her sister-in-
law. She is happy now that she is reconciled to Cornelia; strange to
say, she loves her even more than she loves Ethel--she is more
intimately connected in her mind with the memory of Lodore. She often
visits her at Maristow Castle; in the neighbourhood of which Margaret
is settled, being happily married. Colonel Villiers still lives in
Paris. He is in a miserable state of poverty, difficulty, and ill-
health. His wife has deserted him: he neglected and outraged her, and
she in a fit of remorse left him, and returned to nurse her father
during a lingering illness, which is likely to continue to the end of
his life, though he shows no symptoms of immediate decay. He is eager
to lavish all his wealth on his child, if he can be sure that no
portion of it is shared by her husband. With infinite difficulty, and
at the cost of many privations, she, with a true woman's feeling,
contrives to send him remittances now and then, though she receives in
return neither thanks nor kindness. He pursues a course of dissipation
in its most degraded form--a wretched hanger-on at resorts, misnamed
of pleasure--gambling while he has any money to lose--trying to ruin
others as he has been ruined.

Thus we have done our duty, in bringing under view, in a brief
summary, the little that there is to tell of the personages who formed
the drama of this tale. One only remains to be mentioned: but it is
not in a few tame lines that we can revert to the varied fate of Fanny
Derham. She continued for some time among her beloved friends,
innocent and calm as she was beautiful and wise; circumstances at last
led her away from them, and she has entered upon life. One who feels
so deeply for others, and yet is so stern a censor over herself--at
once so sensitive and so rigidly conscientious--so single-minded and
upright, and yet open as day to charity and affection, cannot hope to
pass from youth to age unharmed. Deceit, and selfishness, and the
whole web of human passion must envelope her, and occasion her many
sorrows; and the unworthiness of her fellow-creatures inflict infinite
pain on her noble heart: still she cannot be contaminated--she will
turn neither to the right nor left, but pursue her way unflinching;
and, in her lofty idea of the dignity of her nature, in her love of
truth and in her integrity, she will find support and reward in her
various fortunes. What the events are, that have already diversified
her existence, cannot now be recounted; and it would require the gift
of prophecy to foretell the conclusion. In after times these may be
told, and the life of Fanny Derham be presented as a useful lesson, at
once to teach what goodness and genius can achieve in palliating the
woes of life, and to encourage those, who would in any way imitate
her, by an example of calumny refuted by patience, errors rectified by
charity, and the passions of our nature purified and ennobled by an
underviating observance of those moral laws on which all human
excellence is founded--a love of truth in ourselves, and a sincere
sympathy with our fellow-creatures.



THE END



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