Page images

tioned, line the streets, and are constructed A single companion attended him; an in the style usual in cities. There are elderly man, quite bald but for the scanty some, however, on the heights in the out-gray locks which hung at the back of his skirts of the town, which have much more head, yet with a full bright eye, and a architectural character. These formed in brow unmarked by a wrinkle. Altogether, fact the mansions of the original owners Mr. Simon Rennoe, of a figure compact of the settlement. One of them, which and rotund, but not corpulent, a composed attracts attention by its white, rough-cast demeanor, great suavity of address, and a front, was built by Wriothesly Ander, countenance ever wearing a benignant from whom the town received its name. smile, was one of those persons who exTo him succeeded Reginald his son, a cite, in all with whom they associate, equal profligate scamp, who, tradition tells us, respect and confidence. He saw in his had the credit of breaking the heart of an young friend much more than was visible amiable wife. Then came Edward, and to others. Under a cold and sluggish next to Edward, who died without issue, temperament, he knew there lurked qualihis brother Charles James, of neither of ties which rendered their possessor capawhom is anything memorable related. ble of the highest things. The direction, Anthony followed, whose wife died a year however, which these energetic elements after their marriage, leaving an infant son would take was yet uncertain. ConseReginald.

quently, Mr. Rennoe, who was a philosoAnthony Ander, a man of morose, me- pher in his way, regarded Reginald not lancholy temperament, took little interest only with affection, but with a deep interest. in the growth and education of his heir. This friendship was not, perhaps, anacThe child grew to boyhood with no soci- companied by a degree of jealousy, for ety but that of servants, and of old musty Rennoe was certainly anxious to prevent the volumes found in the neglected apartment youth from forming any new attachment. which had sometimes been used as a li- In this respect, he was for several weeks brary. In his sixteenth year he was sent completely gratified. The society of the by his father, who seemed to have had gentlemen of the neighborhood, polished, some prejudice against the English uni- frank, and companionable as they were, versities, to one of the European continen- had little attraction for the student; and tal colleges. Anthony himself was short with his reserve and bashfulness, be found ly after taken sick in London, and died still less to please him in the ladies whom there. The estate went into tbe hands of he met. The occasional sarcasms of Renexecutors, and Reginald who had no ties of noe on the frivolous, trifle-loving sex, were blood nor friendship to draw him to An- evidently listened to without displeasure. derport, passed five full years at the college Sometimes Reginald expressed his own without making a single visit to America. thoughts. “I cannot conceive,” he obIt was just a week after the attainment of served one evening, on their return from his majority that he set out for the home a visit, “how it is that man, who is fitted from which he had so long been estranged to entertain such lofty aspirations, can

The people at Anderport, who had look- bring himself to feel attachment for a creaed forward to his arrival as an epoch, ture whom pature has made incapable of found little to prepossess them in his first thinking.” appearance. He was below the ordinary “It is easily accounted for," returned stature, ungraceful in person, and remark- Rennoc;

" such men

as we saw yonder able for the homeliness of his features. are well fitted to be governed by such inThin locks of carroty hair dangled over fluence." his low forehead and completed the ugli “True!" ejaculated Reginald. ness of an exterior which was not relieved “Whilst those,” Rennoe continued, by the slightest attention to neatness of "who possess great faculties—who are attire. Nor were there any obvious indi- made to be the master-spirits of the earth cations of intellect to redeem so much that —who seek power, not merely for its rewas repulsive; indeed, his eye had a va- sults, but, like the strong man using his cant, hazy look, which many characterized strength, from delight in the effort" at once as stolid and doltish.

The student, without waiting for the

conclusion of the sentence, murmured, half right dashed with unslackened speed along unconsciously, “ They must not let their the road, and afterwards through by-way minds become any body else's property- and over moor, till at last they drew rein the man who knows how to avoid obeying on a lofty eminence which jutted into the may soon learn the way to rule.”

vale, and commanded a prospect of its The sentiment uttered was not exactly whole extent, both downward and up. that which Rennoe desired to provoke, In the one direction the eye swept over yet he did not choose to open a discussion. Anderport and followed the Gavin, until it

Some days after, Reginald went alone was lost from sight in the lake-like river. to return the call of Mr. Chesley, a planter, Towards the southwest the view was whose mansion was some six or seven more contracted, but the very objects that miles distant. He was ushered by the limited it had their own peculiar beautyservant into a parlor, the only occu- rocky hillsides, curtained with vines and pant of which, at the moment, was a shrubbery, and, directly in front, a bold young lady whom he had never before precipice down which the little stream was seen—Matilda Chesley, eldest daughter joyously bounding. They gazed long and of the planter. She received him with silently at the lovely landscape. When great ease and politeness; and as he they turned away, the soft influence of the found her reading when he entered, his scene accompanied them, and no disposiheart at once softened more than it had tion was felt by either to resume the wild ever before done in the presence of womán. haste which had brought them thither. Availing himself of a pause in the dialogue, Their panting horses walked slowly down, he glanced at the open volume. It was not unwilling after such a race to snuff at poetry—the Seasons--and he no longer leisure the balmy air of the evening. Seymade any exception from his sweeping mour talked of his native England; he contempt of the daughters of Eve. described a vale not less beautiful than that

“Do you like Thomson ?". Matilda in- of the Gavin; he told how the hill which quired, noticing the direction of his eyes. they had just left, reminded him of the

“No; he's a pompous, second-hand af- site of his father's stately castle; then he fair, with much more sound than sense.'' painted the park, with its oaks that gave

The lady's countenance was expressive shade when the Tudors reigned ; and lastly, of some surprise, but at that instant the he sighed as he referred to the feelings with door opened. The new comer, also a vis- which he, a younger brother out of a nuitor, was Laurence Seymour, a fine look merous household, had left those dearly ing young man, who was met with a very cherished scenes to seek his fortune in the cordial greeting. Miss Chesley of course forests of the Western World. introduced him to Reginald Ander. As Matilda listened with rapt attentionthe three were taking their seats, a smile why should she not ? Encouraged by the played on Seymour's lips, and he darted expression of interest which beamed from a glance of peculiar meaning at the young her beautiful countenance, he went on to lady. Reginald took note of both smile say that notwithstanding all which the Atand glance. Immediately all the torpidlantic divided him from, he yet felt that energies of his soul were aroused. That there was room in his heart for the hope of almost imperceptible expression of disdain, a happiness exceeding any that all broad which sprang involuntarily to the hand- England could furnish. He looked full some face of Seymour, and which vanished towards her as he spoke, but her eyes were the moment after, had durable consequen- now bent downward, and he could no: ces.

catch their expression. It was clear, howReginald, satisfied with making a brief ever, that she was much absorbed in what visit, soon returned home. Seymour re he was saying, for her horse happening to mained, and in the course of the afternoon stumble, the rein was held so carelessly persuaded Matilda that it was a delight that it fell from her grasp, and was drawn ful day for a horseback ride. The sad- quite out of reach. He seized it promptdled steeds were quickly brought to the ly and restored it to the fair horse-woman, door, and they galloped gaily down the but her hand trembled as it touched his. noble avenue in front, then turning to the A great deal more was uttered on the

way home—that is, by the cavalier. Ma- | that no knight who ever wore mail could tilda spoke little—yet there seemed to be exceed them in zeal and self-devotion. something satisfactory even in her silence, “Let us test it,” cried Matilda, springfor Seymour, when he assisted her to alighting to the edge of the bridge. “See ! at the door of the mansion, would not here waves my scarf—when I toss it into have exchanged the gratification which the Run, who is ready to leap for its recovthat ride had given him, for the inheritance ery?" of an earldom.

** I am !” said Laurence Seymour, eagerSome days afterward there was a pleas- ly. ant gathering at the fine seat of Mr. Mar “Ah, but you are not in earnest ?” shall. Seymour was Matilda Chesley's “Not in earnest ?

Try me!" escort. Ander saw them enter. He de. “What !" said Matilda ; "would you tected the tender feeling which lurked in really have us think that you would risk each glance that passed from one to the your life for a scarf.” other, and he could not but acknowledge "As sure as I have power to move, I that nature itself pointed out the fitness of would hazard it to obey you." their union. The most ardent lover stand Matilda looked at him as he stood there ing in his place and beholding that sight, with his eye flashing, and his noble form would have felt hope die within him. dilated, and thought she could not imagine Reginald was no lover, yet he had deter a worthier representative of the hero of mined that Matilda Chesley should be romance. Perhaps she was a little emcome Matilda Ander, and he had not the barrassed by the consciousness that she slightest distrust of his ability to bring had allowed her admiration to be too eviabout that result.

dent, for she hastened to speak. Animation and gayety ruled the hour. * And what do you think of it, Mr. To the surprise of the party, who had on Ander ? would you be disposed to make other occasions witnessed his shrinking the dangerous leap?” bashfulness, no one was more full of viva “No!” said Reginald. city than the ugly scholar. The gentle “So ungallant !" exclaimed Emily Marmen caught themselves listening to him shall, a pretty girl of eighteen. “I would when they should have been attending to not have believed it of you, Mr. Ander." their fair companions; and the ladies found “Hear me, however,” said Reginald. it possible to be entertained by one who “What could I expect to gain by jumping uttered not a single compliment. A con- in yonder ?” sideration which aided in this sudden “Gain ?—why the love of a fair lady, change of opinion must not be overlooked. to be sure ; what could knight wish for This red-haired youth was no vulgar person, but came of the ancient lineage of “ That would be a reward, indeed,” rethe Anders, and his vast estates equalled plied Reginald, and as he spoke he turned the united fortunes of any two beside of from Emily to Matilda—« a most ample the wealthiest planters in the country. reward—the highest I could look for on

Leaving the house, the younger mem earth; but then I ought to be in a condibers of the company strolled over the tion to receive it. Now the love of Miss grounds. Reginald, as well as Seymour, Chesley herself, I suppose, would be of attached himself to the group of which | little service to a dead man. Matilda was the centre.

They chose a

“Ah, 'tis plain you are not in love," repath leading to a rude bridge which was torted Emily Marshall, mischievously. “A thrown across the Gavin. The stream lover never reasons.” here, rapid and interrupted by rocks, flow Is it so? Then I must admit that you ed at a considerable depth below them. ladies have a singular taste, if you give On their way thither, the subject of dis- your hearts only to brutes." course happened to be the romantic hom The laugh was now on the side of Regiage paid to the fair sex in the age of chiv- nald, but Emily was not disposed to yield alry. The ladies came to the conclusion the field so soon. that times were sadly changed since then; Where's the harm in that ?" she said ; whilst their squires earnestly protested let the woman think for both."

more ?"

[ocr errors]

“ That may do in some cases, but I “No, no," interposed Seymour, “let have heard that it is not every woman

me go first.” whose quantum of the rational faculty is “ The ladies first, is the rule, sir,” relarge enough to be detected, much less to turned his mistress, springing upon the bear division."

end of the log. “ You are bitter, Mr. Ander," said Ma “Hold-hold !" cried Reginald from the tilda.

spot where he was standing, beneath the “ No," he replied, “ truthful and loyal. suspended scarf. It is because I see that all ladies are not Never mind, we'll wait for you, sir, on angels, that I can so faithfully serve you— the other side," and Matilda made another and Miss Emily.”

step. The bridge was now crossed, and they Reginald at this seemed much agitated, pursued their walk up the Run. After and his eye lighting on a slender grapeproceeding half a mile or something more, vine which by dint of clinging to the feeble the two ladies found a shady spot at which shrubs, which here and there grew out of to sit and rest, while the party of gentle- the cliff

, had managed to reach the very men went about in search of wild flowers. top, he at once began to ascend by it. Time passed and all had returned except The attention of the party at the pineReginald, who was discovered plucking log was of course drawn to the adventurvarious plants along the water's edge at ous climber. On his way he was seen to the foot of the precipitous bank.

reach forth and seize Matilda's scarf. As "I wonder how he got down there,” he neared the summit a jutting thicket cried one, peering over the brink.

concealed him from view, but it was only Oh,” said another, “he must have for an instant.—The topmost shrub had found a path by the branch yonder.” parted it hold, and man and vine fell, one

Here, Mr. Ander,” said Matilda, wav- undistinguishable mass, to the bottom. ing her scarf towards him, “we are going There was a cry of horror from the spec. to return." He looked up an instant, tators, and all instantly sought the circuitbowed, and renewed his task.

ous path which led below. As Matilda, who had been leaning upon arrived at the spot, which was not until a small tree, drew back, her foot slipped after the lapse of some minutes, they found slightly upon the mossy turf, and obeying Reginald sitting up and quietly extricating the instinctive impulse to grasp a limb himself from the vine which had entangled with her other hand, the scarf escaped her, him in a knot as curious as that of Ulysses. and falling, was caught midway the de- He was fortunately uninjured. The thick scent by a shrub which extended itself foliage of the vine contributed not a litfrom a chink in the perpendicular cliff. tle to his safety, and the small bushes

"It is gone now,” she said, smiling, which had successively yielded to the mo“ beyond the power of knight-errantry to mentum of the descent must have done rescue. But is not that the trunk of a tree much to diminish its violence. yonder ? Let us cross to the other side Availing himself of the knife, promptly

put at his service by one of the bystanders, The object she referred to lay twenty Reginald was soon able to stand upright, feet higher up the stream. It was found relieved of his shackles. His first action to be a large pine, the victim of some was to deliver the scarf to its fair owner. violent gale, and which had for years span.

Then he begged her acceptance of the ned the narrow pass separating one hill fruit of his exploration—the sadly crushed, from the other. The water was tumbling yet still beautiful nosegay of wild-flowers. full seventy feet below, and the sight of The little group at this instant received so narrow a bridge might well give tre

a sudden increase. Half a dozen others pidation to any one not gifted with steadi- of the strolling company at Mr. Marshall's, dess of head. Indeed, Emily grew a little led by whim or accident up the northern pale, while the features of more than one side of the Run, had observed Reginald's of the gentlemen assumed a sudden gravity: misadventure, and hurrying down the But Matilda was in her element. “Come,” bank had crossed the stream at a spot she said, “I'll show you


where some flat stones made a convenient

When they

upon it.”


fording place. Among these was Mr. I ing was not worth one life, now it is worth Rennoe, who, while the rest pushed for a dozen ; let us hail the progress of unwards, uttering half a dozen inquiries at a reason." breath, kept himself for some moments in “But I did not climb after the scarf.” the background, and narrowly watched “No ?-what ?the demeanor of Miss Chesley and Regi “I should have paid Miss Matilda a poor nald. What that penetrating observer compliment, I think, to have jeoparded a witnessed by no means pleased him, but thing even of so little worth as my life for he suffered no sign of dissatisfaction to a bit of silk, which will be valueless next disturb the serenity of his countenance. summer, when she throws it aside for Stepping up, and mingling easily with the another." party, he made just such observations as “What did


seek then, sir ?” came most decorously from a well-bred, “ The preservation of her own life.” elderly man, of benevolent temper and Her life ?-you speak riddles, Mr.

grave habits.

Ander.” Reginald, on his part, after a lively After remaining silent for a moment to response to the sympathetic expressions enjoy the spectacle of the eager faces of his Mentor, renewed the gay converse which were turned towards him from all with the ladies as if altogether unmindful sides, Reginald replied: "I could not bear of his presence.

to see her about to incur almost certain Setting their faces homeward in ani- death by crossing on that pine." mated mood, they all forded the Run Matilda now spoke quickly, “Do you upon the stones, climbed the steep, though think so meanly of my rural accomplishnot precipitous hill on the northern side, ments, Mr. Ander? I must show you and then paused to recover breath near how easily and safely I can traverse that the smaller extremity of the old pine log. tine broad bridge.” Matilda and Reginald happened to be As she advanced to execute her pursome paces in advance of their companions. pose, Reginald interposed himself, saying

Come,” cried the sprightly Miss Mar- earnestly : “ Hear me, and you will not. shall, “let us share the benefit of Mr. As it is but a short distance between the Ander's disquisitions ;" and when Regi- two houses, I came to Mr. Marshall's from nald turned at the sound of his name, she home this morning on foot; I crossed this said to him laughingly, “I think, sir, we decayed log, and it so trembled and shall see a lover in you after all ; at any cracked beneath me that I was satisfied rate you are fast lessening the disqualifica- that it could not again be passed without tion of too much wisdom."

“How so, if I may presume to ask, The stillness that succeeded this declaraMiss Emily ?"

tion was interrupted by Emily's ringing “Oh! don't you remember the solemn laugh. manner in which you assured us this Ah!” she said, “I fear me, morning that a silken scarf was not a are deluding us. This story sounds much fit thing to peril one's neck for? that like an afterthought—a ruse to divert our cliff yonder tells that your opinion has minds from the mad knight-errantry of changed."

your recovery of the scarf. “ĩ think not,” rejoined Reginald. “I “ It is so, doubtless,” observed Matilda ; ascended the grape vine for an object, and “ but I am sorry Mr. Ander that you have though I tumbled to the bottom, that so soon become ashamed of the heroism object was gained, and I after all stand which has excited the admiration of us all. here safe and sound."

Yet we must convince you that we are " Yet you risked your life, did you not cravens to be frightened so easily." not ?"

Thus saying, she made a light bound “Perhaps so, but the object was one that brought her upon the trunk only a which the possessor of a dozen lives might few feet from the edge of the declivity. be willing to venture them all for." Reginald at once leaped upon the log so

“Excellent! charming !" exclaimed the as to face her. vivacious little lady. “The scarf this morn “ Indeed you must not go, Miss Ma

great risk.'

sir, you

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »