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“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
herited nothing else, I have at least inheri- | it? Would you
had had ted a name which has never been thus dis- any other, the slightest, hope of winning honored.”
Miss Chesley? And what is this but an “If,” said Reginald, after a pause, acknowledgment of defeat? I should be you believe Miss Chesley's comfort at most foolish, as you cannot but see, to asstake, complain of no one but yourself, for sent to such terms. In exchange for one by the performance of a single condition it empty sentence uttered before no witnessis possible for you to induce my relinquish-es, I should yield up a most lovely girl.” ment of all pursuit of her hand.”
“What then, do you demand said “Pursue your course then,” Seymour Seymour. “Is it that I should proclaim said bitterly; "I know your terms, and I the avowal from the house-tops? publish it will not consent to them. Commit the in the gazettes ? have it recorded for the worse than murder which you meditatem information of future generations ?" felicitate yourself upon surpassing in heart- “Not so," answered Reginald; “I ask lessness the most brutal that have gone be- from you no confession at all—" fore you. Marry Matilda, break her heart "Because you have received it already," —and then enjoy the reward of your doings. said the other interrupting him. I shall offer no further obstruction-set- “Ah yes, it is true; and I have to thank tle the matter now with your conscience. I you for the voluntary gift.” Reginald, afbid you good evening, sir.”
ter saying this with an expression of counAt that, Seymour bowed, and with a tenance which Seymour thought sardonic, swelling bosom, left the house.
continued: “No, it is but just that I should Before reaching the gate, however, he receive a quid pro quo. Matilda Chesley turned suddenly around and started back, is mine, and I will not relinquish her for making long strides. Passing through the nothing." hall-door, without word or knock, he pro- Here a pause intervened. At last the ceeded directly to the parlor, and there Englishman, who felt his nerves losing found Reginald still standing by the oriel vigor every moment, could bear the suswindow.
pense no longer. “I come,” he said, “ to submit to the “What is it you would have, Ander? degradation. I will forget my birth, forget Give it forth, whatever it be-let me hear that I am a man, forget everything but your demand, though the evil One himself Matilda’s danger. I acknowledge that I have suggested it !" have been defeated in my dearest pursuit “Oh, be not apprehensive," replied by one whom I contemned, and that I have Reginald; “I do not ask your soul, you no hope but in your voluntary withdrawal. may dispose of that as you think proper; There! the act of base submission is over, I am willing to give up my
bri on condiand Matilda is freed."
tion that you engage never to take her “Not so fast, if you please, Mr. Sey- yourself.” mour ; you have quite mistaken my
condi- “What mean you? You cannot be in
earnest; this would be the very wanton“ Mistaken it?" echoed the other ; ness of cruelty. “You are jesting, I “surely this is what both you and Rennot know." have declared."
“It is no jest,” said Reginald, “unless “I have nothing to do with Mr. Ren- you choose to be the laugher. For my noe's assertions,” replied Reginald, “and part, I consider it quite an earnest affair to if you take the pains to recall what has abandon Miss Chesley. Think you I have fallen from my own lips, you will find no- not eyes for beauty as well as you; that I thing which can give you ground to accuse have no heart to be touched by her confidme of bad faith. I might once, perhaps, ing ingenuousness and noble simplicity of have been contented with such a declara- character? You have accused me, Mr. tion as you have just made, but I could Seymour, of selfishness and a savage disrenot now. What more indeed does it ex-gard for the young lady's happiness; it press than is implied in the very fact of may now be seen how far your own zeal is your visit this evening, and in the whole disinterested.” conversation which has been the fruit of “Yet," urged the other, "are you not
still equally unfeeling towards Matilda ? cannot understand a lover's feelings. You You admit that she loves me.”
will turn to-morrow to some other matter, “By no means, Mr. Seymour. It is and in the course of a few weeks, or, at possible, and of this one may well doubt farthest, months, will have dismissed Miss when we have her word to the contrary, Chesley altogether from your thoughts. In that she would prefer you to me; but who my case it must be far otherwise. To recan say that she may not hereafter find linquish Matilda is to tear out hope itself some one whom she would prefer to both from my breast; existence will become but of us! From this window, Mr. Seymour, a succession of separate days bound toI observed your walk towards the gate and gether by no common purpose or plan. the return: now shall I bring to your re- Robbed of all energy, in being robbed of collection the train of thought that passed all prospect of reward, I could only live through your mind and prompted your de- as the animal lives. Would
me to such a fate?" like it: The wretch–I covod knock him "I condemn you to nothing,” said Regover-abominable—the famae's up—I've inald, “Decide as you will —whatever be lost her—but she will not be happy, nor he the choice, it is to me a matter of indifferneither-I am glad of it, with all my heart, ence.” for they don't deserve to be. Could not I “ And if I should not submit to the terms, stop the match by telling her about this ?- what then?" she would not believe me—'twould do no “ In that case,” replied Reginald, “I good—besides hardly gentlemanly to relate go to Miss Chesley, and, if she consent, à private conversation. No hope—she's marry her.” gone. Could I possibly own beat?-out “ Trifle not with me, I beg you," said of the question-yet to think of it !-never Seymour,“ speak sincerely. Let me know to get Matilda—I cannot stand this—I'll plainly your real intention.” do anything rather.' At this point it was “I have already done so," rejoined the that
you wheeled so suddenly around : all other. “I have told you my purpose—and the
way back to the terrace, your mind did my purposes are seldom altered. I do not nothing but repeat: 'I'll do anything rath- urge you, Mr. Seymour, to make this sacrier!' On the way from there to the hall fice-if such it be to you—consider calmdoor, you became more animated in conse- ly. You lay claim to the credit of a pure, quence of a new series of reflections :- unselfish anxiety for Matilda Chesley's hap"'Tis bad to be sure—horrible—yet I shall piness—I have heard of such devoted atget her from Reginald after all —ho! ho! tachments, but confess to some scepticism that's a comfort ! »
as to their real existence. It is in your Seymour seemed to acknowledge the ac- power either to remove or to confirm my curacy of this analysis by his confused si- doubts—yet let not your conclusion be inlence, and Reginald added sarcastically: fluenced by any expectation of being sub
“How remarkably disinterested all this sequently released from the promise, if it was! O, it is the easiest thing in the be made.” world to be careful of another's welfare, if “ Hear me, then,” exclaimed Seymour, you believe it coincident with your own. “ I promise—but there shall be no further When loving one's neighbor as one's self, misapprehension. Tell me, precisely, what comes to be identical with loving one's it is you propose. neighbor in one's self, charity truly will “This," said the other ; “We, Lawgreatly abound.”
rence Seymour, and Reginald Ander, muSeymour had now recovered his speech. tually agree and promise to each other, You are not in love, sir,
never to marry Matilda Chesley; and “ That is to say,” interrupted Reginald, though one of us should die, the survivor “I am not disinterested; very well, go on, is still to hold himself bound upon his honor sir, if you please; it is proper to have terms to adhere to this engagement. Do you exactly defined."
assent ?" The Englishman was a little disconcert- “I do,” said Seymour, in a low tone. ed, but continued. “What I mean is,
” said Reginald," the covenant Mr. Ander, that as you are no lover you is ratified, solemnly, irrevocably.”