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had that awful glassy appearance, which is | two should have no other possession than seldom seen in the living.
your loving hearts, would you not prefer Rennoe, quite free from apprehension, such an union, to the splendid misery of a waited composedly the passing away of the life in the Anderport mansion ?” spell. Presently she recovered her facul- It was wonderful how Matilda's counteties, with a tremor that visibly shook her nance brightened, as her ears drank in these whole frame.
words. Even her impassive companion “Oh, how you torture me !" was her could scarcely realize that he had before first exclamation.
him, the same creature, who, a little while “1, torture you ?-I?” said Rennoe, previous, seemed to have abandoned every
No, Matilda, it is con- hope of comfort. Rennoe proceeded :science that inflicts the pain. Indeed, have Contrast this with what you could not you yet reviewed all the considerations but suffer as the bride of Reginald ; think which are fitted to give you discomposure ? of your vain efforts to prevent your affecAre you about to ruin only yourself-or is tions from straying from the husband whom there not another ? Think of Seymour.” duty requires to be loved, to the strange
“ Laurence has no right to complain,” man whom it is sinful to love ; think of said Matilda, with something of her for- that husband, at last convinced of the hopemer spirit.
less infidelity of your heart, and seeking in “Laurence may have, in truth, no right the company of others, that sympathy to accuse you,” rejoined Rennoe ; “ but which should be afforded by her who vowought you not to accuse yourself on his ac- ed in the sight of Heaven to be his loving, count? Is it nothing to slight the whole loyal helpmate-add to these lesser griefs, existence of a noble being like him? That the ceaseless sting of conscience, and how you are willing to sacrifice your own heart, dreary the gloom of that solitary fireside ! does not justify you in making a sacrifice Imagine year after year dragging heavily of his."
over the head of the disconsolate wife ; let “I do not think, sir,” replied Matilda, her and her wretchedness, that inseparable gently, “that I ever afforded Mr. Sey- companion, survive all the objects for the mour such encouragement, that I ought to sake of which the fearful—the immeasurabear the reproach of any disappointment ble—sacrifice was made. Her husband, which he may have incurred.”
long since has learned to hate her, for the Rennoe, changing his manner with great self-devotion which once he asked for-her readiness, to one somewhat less severe and parents sleep in the grave-her brothers, gloomy, said —
scattered over the earth, scarce spare a “What would you think, my dear Miss thought for their sister, wnom they believe Chesley, if Reginald, suspecting the state to be favored with so blissful a lot—the deof your affections, had come to the deter- voted lover—but who can tell what his fate mination to withdraw his suit, and leave shall be ? Yes, the mourning woman suryour heart free from every motive, except vives—alas ! may she not indeed have lost its own spontaneous impulses !"
the hope that the termination of life will “ Is it so ?”—said Matilda, looking up be the termination of her sorrows." inquiringly. “How kind—how generous !" " Cease! cease !” exclaimed Matilda :
* Must it not be a relief,” continued “ tell me, man, whether you have betrayRennoe, “ to escape the necessity of bring- ed my heart with a delusion. Has Regiing ruin on the only man you love—on him nald given you authority to say that he has who alone truly loves you? And why need no desire that I should become his wife ? you be apprehensive on your father's ao- Your countenance speaks—that vision of count? Doubt not that Seymour can ob- blessedness, was but a lying dream—and I tain a grant of land—if not in the neigh- -am left toborhood of Anderport, at least in a region She sank back apparently in a deep equally desirable--a grant so extensive that swoon. Rennoe, with the same imperturthe patent even of Wriothesly Ander shall bable self-possession that ever characterseem diminutive beside it. Will he be one ized him, did not call the servants or make to hesitate in joining you in filial services any noise, which would be likely to alarm to your honored parents ? But even if you them; but gently supporting Miss Ches
ley's head, was soon gratified by signs of | in expectation of a favorable issue at the returning consciousness. As soon as she last. was sufficiently recovered to understand “I regret,” rejoined Rennoe, “to dishim, he renewed his discourse
turb your composure, but Miss Chesley has “I do not deceive you, young lady ; the assured me this morning, in the most unealternative is still open, and if the decision quivocal terms that could be used, that it is to be made by yourself, instead of de- is her intention to accept Reginald.” pending on the charity of another, is this a “ Did she really say so?” exclaimed proper cause of grief? Yes, happiness Seymour, starting from his repose. and woe both lie before you—choose" She did—and this notwithstanding my
“Duty !” gasped Matilda, “duty !—be best efforts to the contrary.” it happiness or be it woe.”
Seymour fell into deep dejection. “ Assure yourself then,” urged the Matilda then certainly lost? You have other, that happiness is duty; sin and hitherto been my comforter, can you now misery are ever united. I say not then suggest no ground of hope?" only, Be happy, but also, Be innocent !" “There is one," replied Rennoe, “one
Matilda now rose from her chair and only." stood upright. “My decision,” she said,
let no time be lost." “is immoveable. If Reginald Ander ask “The result depends upon yourself alone. me to accompany him to the altar-I go." | I can do nothing to assist you, and I great
Rennoe also rose and was about to speak, ly fear that you will neglect this single but she interrupted him. “Say no more
way of extrication.” it is needless. You have subjected me to "Fear not,” cried Seymour ; "I cana sore trial ; if it has been done in wan- not live without Matilda-and what will tonness, may you be forgiven. I beg you, not a man do for life? I have heretofore sir, to excuse me for the present.” So been guilty of thoughtless folly—I know it saying, she withdrew to her own apart- —but I have gone through that which ment.
might make an idiot wise. You have Simon Rennoe, in no little confusion at chided me for rashness; witness now how his want of success, left the house. “ Van- | cautious and prudent I can be.” quished! vanquished !” he muttered, “The present emergency,” answered “ when, too, I had so strong a cause to Rennoe, “demands the exercise of a virplead—it is unaccountable. But now I tue which you have not comprehended in must see Laurence."
your catalogue—humility." In execution of this intention, he called “I do not understand," said the Eng. at Anderport, but the Englishman was not lishman. at his lodgings. He had gone squirrel
“ I will explain
Do you know wherehunting, it seems, in the woods back of fore it is that Reginald is your rival ?” the mill. Rennoe, leaving his horse, went Assuredly I do; 'tis because he cannot to seek him. After an hour's fatiguing help it. Who can know Matilda Chesley, exploration of the wood, during which and not desire to win her.” time no sound of a gun greeted his ears, Rennoe smiled. “All hearts, my dear he was lucky enough to find Seymour friend, are not quite so susceptible as stretched at length upon a grassy slope yours. Reginald and you are courting near a spring, and intently watching the different mistresses: yours is Miss Cheswater as it trickled forth. Though the ley; his, victory. It so happens that he lover had yielded to despair upon his mis- cannot easily win his own without taking tress' refusal to accept him, time failed yours also—hence the difficulty.” not to restore hope to his breast. A state Laurence at this looked puzzled. of suspense is not agreeable, yet he was “Do you not yet understand me? Regglad to choose it in preference to the inald took the notion that you once treated gloomy certainty of Matilda's absolute re- him with disdain. He determined, therejection.
fore, to conquer you in the very field where In reply to Rennoe's inquiries, therefore, you thought yourself most secure; and he he said that whilst he could not quite call seems to have succeeded. I do not behimself a contented man, he yet remained lieve that he cares at all for the young lady"
“Then he is a villain,” exclaimed Sey- | Gallic lover in the same predicament would
have extinguished life and love together in “Do not speak so harshly,” replied the the nearest deep water; a Castilian would other. “Your strong passion is love, his have shot his successful rival in the first is emulation, and I cannot see that one less place, then his mistress, and lastly, himdeserves to be gratified than the other.” self; the Englishman, however, could only
The lover answered impatiently, “Well, brood over his sorrows, without hoping to what would
release himself from them. In spite of “Simply go to Reginald, acknowledge every effort, the words of Rennoe would your defeat, and request him not to inflict recur to his mind. That Matilda should the penalty.”
marry a man whom she did not love, and “Are you mad?” said Seymour, spring- who did not love her, seemed the most ing to his feet. “Think you I would dreadful thing imaginable, and Seymour thus debase myself, and before him, too, discussed with himself whether it was right of all beings on the earth; that boy Ander or not to make some attempt at her rescue. —that homely, dwarfish, wretch ?" Humility bore a different and more noble
“I do not see what there is so terrible in aspect, when he thought of it as disinterit,” Rennoe replied calmly; “ you would estedly assumed on her account. Pride, be ready enough to kneel to Miss Chesley, however, was strong, and held out stiflly. I dare say. Now, for my part, I would A compromise was the result; he would much rather submit myself to a strong- see Reginald, not to beg, but to reason. minded man like Reginald, than to any The intention, once formed, demanded weak female. Besides, facts are facts. an immediate execution; and taking up You are vanquished—why not acknowledge his gun, and the single squirrel which was it? The real humiliation, if there be any, the justification for a morning wasted in consists in the defeat itself.”
the woods, he proceeded by the most di“ I do not care for plausible words,” rect course to the mansion. On the way, said the lover. “Beg mercy from living he composed in his mind a most eloquent man, I will not—least of all from Ander. expostulation-one which it seemed imposHa! 'tis well I think of it-has not that sible that a heart of stone could resist. crafty wretch set you up to this? Why At the gate, however, his confidence greatare you so anxious for my degradation ? 1 ly diminished. The errand, which before only know you as Ander's friend, what he had thought worthy of a Cicero, now else are you?"
appeared ridiculous enough. The quick Rennoe answered after a few second's pace of the outset was very perceptibly pause. “The question is nothing to the slackened, but the impulse which set him present purpose. Reflect rationally, and in motion had not yet lost its
power, and you must be satisfied that I have been anx- he was driven, though reluctantly, up to ious, from the very first, to prevent this the very terrace. Here he stopped, and threatened match. What my strongest occupied the moment of indecision in surmotive may be, concerns only myself. Cer- veying the building before him. Used as tainly, if actions testify anything, my in- he had been to those fine old baronial editerest in the matter is much stronger than fices which are the glory of his native land, yours. I have resorted to every means in he could not look upon the Ander mansion my power—all have failed. One hope on without an involuntary feeling of respect. . ly remains, and that depends upon you.” The commanding situation, its vast dimen
“You are unfortunate,” said Seymour, sions, the air of perfect stillness that hung “to have only an impossibility to rely on about it, the absence of shrubbery and of Wait for miracles, if you choose, but do every production of nature less grandly not expect a Seymour to degrade himself.” simple than the green turf, and those venThen you give up Matilda.”
erable oaks, all seemed well to befit the “Give up Matilda ? I would give up a
homestead of the founder of a colony. thousand Matildas !”
It was too late to withdraw. Reginald, The discomfited adviser departed, and perceiving the unexpected visitor, had Seymour was left to his own reflections. himself come to usher him in. After the These were by no means cheerful. A pair were seated in the parlor, a rather embarrassing silence ensued; Laurence, tion, rose suddenly, walked to the other after vainly trying to recal the admirably extremity of the room, returned, and again conceived oration which he had so fluently took his seat, saying: “Oh be frank, man declaimed on the way, had no resource butbe frank! Talk as you please to Mato present his business in the most plain tilda, but I am neither fool nor woman. manner possible.
You shall have sincerity on my part, at “Mr. Ander, I cannot doubt that you least, and I will, therefore, express my defeel disposed to contribute all in your power cided conviction that you are not capable to the happiness of Miss Chesley." of the weakness of loving.”
Reginald made a gesture of assent. “Accept my thanks for the compli
The other continued : "" You would not ment,” said Reginald, in a hearty tone. therefore desire to insist upon the contem- Seymour resumed: “Wherefore the plated marriage, if you supposed her in- need of all this disguise ? Come out at clinations to be adverse to it?"
once, and let me know what it was that “May I beg Mr. Seymour's authority made you my rival. Have I given you offor believing that any marriage is in view ? fence” " Common rumor.”
“ Offence?-none in the world." Reginald merely rejoined, “Well, sir, “Has my conduct, then, been in any be good enough to proceed. I believe I way the provocation of your exertions ?” interrupted you.
« I fear the information you demand," But how to proceed ?—that was the rub, answered Reginald, “ may not be gratifyand Seymour found his situation not a lit- ing, yet I cannot resist your entreaties. tle awkward ; yet as he was in it, he de- You inquire what first prompted me to termined to put on a bold face. “Excuse seek the honor of a connection with Mr. me, Mr. Ander, I have asked a question Chesley's family. I will tell you plainly. which is still unanswered. Do you mean There chanced to be a gentleman very into marry Miss Chesley ?”
timate with that family who was so confi“I can only answer by another,” said dent in his advantages as to give defiance Reginald, “will the lady consent to be my to the world, and who, if I be not mistawife ?"
ken, manifested some disdain of my own “Suppose,” said Seymour, “circum- humble self in particular. Now, no man, stances should induce her to give a verbal of course, can be happy unless he have consent in which her heart does not join ?" some object in view ; at that time I hap
Reginald, with a courteous smile, re- pened to have none, and under the circumplied: “I can not imagine the possibility stances, thought I could not select any of such a case arising. It would be doing which promised more interest in the purMiss Chesley great injustice, it seems to suit than that, sir, which you are kind me, to suppose that her words could ever enough to say, affords at present a tolerabelie her sentiments."
ble prospect of being attained.” “Mr. Ander,” said the other, with ani- Seymour, by an effort which did him mation, “I pray you not to trifle with me; credit, restrained his rising anger. “1 do you persist in your suit ?”
will not blame you, Mr. Ander, but you “I have already replied, sir. It de- have by this time surely had ample enterpends merely upon the lady."
tainment. The interest of the pursuit, you “Then,” rejoined Seymour, “I have acknowledge, is all that engages you ; what one other question : what is it that induces remains, then, of the sport must be dull you to seek Miss Chesley?”
Are you not willing to divert “That interrogatory,” replied Reginald your attention to some new and more diswith a repetition of his provoking smile, tant object ?” “is the last one, sir, that I should have “Yes, sir, when this is gained." There expected from one so well acquainted as marked emphasis laid on the last yourself with the charming young lady re- word. ferred to. The more natural difficulty, “Can it be possible," continued Seywould he, I should think, to avoid becom
any man, for the sake of grating attached to so lovely an object.” ifying a petty emulation, will coldly de
Seymour, unable to disguise his vexa- stroy the happiness of a lovely, self-sacri
ficing woman? Reginald Ander, think of you leave her mind free and unfettered ? the consequences! You are about to in- Answer me as you will answer at the last flict the distress, not of a day, but of a day!” life-time. Bring up before your sight the Both
young men were now standing, and, figure of that poor girl pining away-a wife as they faced each other in front of that unloving, and unloved. See her sinking oriel window, while the ruddy light of the every hour, till at last you lay her in an setting sun cast its shadows in strong relief untimely tomb. Consider what your re- against the wainscotted wall, the contrast flections would be then. In such a dread
was very remarkable. ful moment, could
Laurence stood with one foot extended, tion from the knowledge that all that mise- his right arm half raised in energetic acry had purchased the defeat of a rival ?” tion, and every feature expressive of strong “I could."
and unrestrained emotion. Opposite, a Seymour looked at him with astonish- form so commanding, and of such faultless ment. “Have you a heart in your breast? proportions, Reginald Ander appeared, Can you contemplate with composure, a diminutive and mis-shapen. One who prospect of such horror, that it might had beheld him at that moment for the make Satan relent? Yet I tell you, that first time, and had tried in vain to read although you may be destitute of feeling any signs of a soul upon that heavy counnow, the time must come when you can be tenance, and had noticed his dull eye sink no longer so. You will find that crime beneath the steady, piercing, glance of Seyappears very differently before commission, mour, would have formed a very erroneous and after it.”
conception of the relative situations of the “It seems to me, my dear sir," said two. Reginald, “ that your invective is a little “Answer me," continued the Englishmore violent than the occasion warrants. man; “have you not enthralled Matilda I use no force, no unlawful means. Miss Chesley by means of a weakness which Chesley is perfectly free from constraint; comes from the best qualities of her kindly, go to her yourself, if you will, and ask ingenuous, unsuspecting, grateful nature ? whether I have ever taken an ungenerous Have you not conferred services under the advantage of circumstances. And what guise of disinterestedness whose true source gives you a right to infer that she cannot were envy and malicious spite ?” become
my wife without being wretched ?” Reginald replied: “Since you seem “ Your own declaration, sir, that you fond of catechetical exercises, allow me also seek merely my humiliation. Well might to propound a question or two, and let the Rennoe assert, that the best way to move doctrine be the same, it is a good oneyou would be to throw myself at your feet disinterestedness. Whence your strong and acknowledge your victory."
interest in the welfare of my bride-expect“Did Rennoe indeed say so? Well, he ant? Does it flow from christian charity, gave you pretty good advice."
or is it worldly and carnal? Do you dis“ It was advice," Seymour rejoined an- play equal sympathy for the woes of other grily, “which no one capable of entertain- afflicted maidens ? Lastly-dost thou ing a manly sentiment would either incul- covet ?” cate or follow. Beware how you push mat- “Scoff not,” returned Seymour ; “I ters to extremity-withdraw now from your acknowledge that I love Matilda Chesleysuit, while you can with good grace. Ma- love her, devotedly, lastingly; yet I do tilda is not yet yours.”
solemnly declare to you that the earnest“You are very right,” said Reginald, ness of my present expostulation, comes “she is not, and therefore it is out of the from a pure, unselfish regard for her happiquestion that I should withdraw. Think ness alone. Can you suppose that I should you I would abandon a purpose unexecu- otherwise have intruded upon you? Well ted?"
might you scorn my meanness,
any con“Good heavens! Ander," cried the sideration of personal advantage had sent Englishman, with great vehemence; “let me hither. Whatever follies love of woit be that I have done wrong, punish not man may lead me into, it shall never make that unhappy girl for it. Dare you say me forfeit my self-respect. If I have in