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Randal gnawed his pale lip, and “Manage it as you will," said the a momentary cloud of disappointment Squire. passed over his face.
Randal took Mr Hazeldean's arm, " True, sir,” said he gently; “ true, and joined Levy—“A friend of mine you must not be rash. Indeed, I from the country, Baron.” Levy was thinking of you and poor dear bowed profoundly, and the three Frank at the very moment I met walked slowly on. you. It occurred to me whether we "By the by,” said Randal, pressing might not make Frank's very em- significantly upon Levy's arm, “my barrassments a reason to induce friend has come to town upon the Madame di Negra to refuse bim; somewhat unpleasant business of setand I was on my way to Mr Egerton, tling the debts of another—a young in order to ask his opinion, in com- man of fashion-a relation of his own. pany with the gentleman yonder." No one, sir, (turning to the Squire,)
"Gentleman yonder! Why should could so ably assist you in such he thrust his long nose into my family arrangements, as could Baron affairs? Who the devil is he?" Levy."
“Don't ask, sir. Pray let me BARON, (modestly, and with a act.”
moralising air.)— I have some exBut the Squire continued to eye perience in such matters, and I hold askant the dark-whiskered personage it a duty to assist the parents and thus thrust between himself and his relations of young men who, from son, and who waited patiently a few want of reflection, often ruin themyards in the rear, carelessly re- selves" for life. I hope the young adjusting the camelia in his button- gentleman in question is not in the hole.
hands of the Jews ?" "He looks very outlandish. Is he RANDAL.—" Christians are as fond a foreigner too ?” asked the Squire of good interest for their money as at last.
ever the Jews can be." “No, not exactly. However, he BARON.—“Granted, but they have knows all about Frank's embarrass. not always so much money to lend. ments; and”
The first thing, sir, (addressing the “Embarrassments ! what, the debt Squire,)—the first thing for you to do he paid for that woman? How did is to buy up such of your relation's he raise the money?"
bills and notes of hand as may be in “I don't know," answered Randal, the market. No doubt we can get "and that is the reason I asked Baron them a bargain, unless the young Levy to accompany me to Egerton's, man is heir to some property that may that he might explain in private what soon be his in the course of nature." I have no reason—"
RANDAL.—"Not soon-heaven for"Baron Levy !" interrupted the bid! His father is still a young manSquire. “Levy, Levy-I have heard a fine healthy man," leaning heavily of a Levy who has nearly ruined my on Levy's arm ; and as to postneighbour Thornhill—a money-lender. obits"Zounds! is that the man who knows BARON.—" Post-obits
on sound my son's affairs ? I'll soon learn, sir.” security cost more to buy up, how
Randal caught hold of the Squire's ever healthy the obstructing relative arm: “Stop, stop; if you really insist may be." upon learning more about Frank's ŘANDAL.-"I should hope that debts, you must not appeal to Baron there are not many sons who can Levy directly, and as Frank's father : calculate, in cold blood, on the death he will not answer you. But if I of their fathers.” present you to him as a mere acquain BARON.—“ Ha, ha-he is young, tance of mine, and turn the conversa- our friend Randal; eh, sir?" tion, as if carelessly, upon Frank RANDAL.-"Well, I am not more why, since, in the London world, such scrupulous than others, I daresay; matters are never kept secret except and I have often been pinched hard from the parents of young men-I for money, but I would go barehave no doubt he will talk out foot rather than give security upon a openly."
father's grave! I can imagine nothing
more likely to destroy natural feeling, this very post-obit is a proof of it. A nor to instil ingratitude and treachery simple act of that kind has enabled into the whole character, than to press him to pay off bills that were running the hand of a parent, and calculate on till they would have ruined even the when that hand may be dust—than Hazeldean estate ; whereas a charge to sit down with strangers and reduce on the reversion of the Casino"his life to the measure of an insurance SQUIRE." He has done it then ? table-than to feel difficulties gather. He has signed a post-obit ?” ing round one, and mutter in fashion RANDAL. —“No, no; Levy must be able slang, But it will be all well if wrong.' the governor would but die.' And he BARON. My dear Leslie, a man who has accustomed himself to the of Mr Hazeldean's time of life cannot relief of post-obits must gradually have your romantic boyish notions. harden his mind to all this."
He must allow that Frank has acted The Squire groaned heavily; and in this like a lad of sense-very good had Randal proceeded another sen- head for business has my young friend tence in the same strain, the Squire Frank! And the best thing Mr would have wept outright. " Bat,” Hazeldean can do is quietly to buy continued Randal, altering the tone of up the post-obit, and thus he will his voice, “I think that our young place his son henceforth in his own friend of whom we were talking just power." now, Levy, before this gentleman SQUIRE. "Can I see the deed joined us, has the same opinions as with my own eyes ?”. myself on this head. He may accept BARON.—"Čertainly, or how could bills, but he would never sign post- you be induced to buy it up? But on obits."
one condition; you must not betray BARON, (who with the apt docility me to your son. And, indeed, take of a managed charger to the touch of my advice, and don't say a word to a rider's hand, bad comprehended and him on the matter." complied with each quick sign of
SQUIRE.--"Let me see it, let me Randal's.)—“Pooh! the young fellow see it, with my own eyes. His we are talking of? Nonsense. He mother else will never believe itwould not be so foolish as to give nor will I." five times the percentage he other
BARON.—“I can call on you this wise might. Not sign post-obits ! evening." Of course he has signed one."
SQUIRE. “Now-now." RANDAL. “ Hist-you mistake,
BARON.-"You can spare me, Ranyou mistake."
dal; and you yourself can open to Mr SQUIRE, (leaving Randal's arm and Egerton the other affair, respecting seizing
Levy's.)—" Were you speak- Lansmere. No time should be lost, ing of Frank Hazeldean?"
lest L'Estrange suggest a candiBARON.--"My dear sir, excuse me;
date." I never mention names before stran RANDAL, (whispering.) -- "Never gers."
mind me. This is more important. SQUIRE.—" Strangers again! Man, (Aloud)-Go with Mr Hazeldean. My I am the boy's father! Speak out, dear kind friend, (to the Squire,) do sir," and his hand closed on Levy's not let this vex you so much. After arm with the strength of an iron all, it is what nine young men out of vice.
ten would do in the same circumBARON.—“Gently; you hurt me, stances. And it is best you should sir; but I excuse your feelings. Ran- know it ; you may save Frank from dal, you are to blame for leading me into farther ruin, and prevent, perhaps, this indiscretion ; but I beg to assure this very marriage." Mr Hazeldean, that though his son has “We will see," exclaimed the been a little extravagant"
Squire hastily. “Now, Mr Levy, RANDAL.—“ Owing chiefly to the come.” arts of an abandoned woman."
Levy and the Squire walked on, BARON.—" Of an abandoned wo- not arm in arm, but side by side. man;-still he has shown more pru- Randal proceeded to Egerton's dence than you would suppose ; and house.
“I am glad to see you, Leslie," Levy says, the party would subscribe said the ex-minister. “What is for my election; you, of course, would it I have heard ? My nephew, refuse all such aid for your own; and Frank Hazeldean, proposes to marry indeed, with your great name, and Madame di Negra against his father's Lord Lansmere's interest, there can consent? How could you suffer bim be little beyond the strict legal exto entertain an idea so wild ? And penses.” how never confide it to me?
As Randal spoke thus at length, RANDAL.—“My dear Mr Egerton, he watched anxiously his patron's it is only to-day that I was informed reserved unrevealing countenance. of Frank's engagement. I have al EGERTON, (drily.)-I will consider. ready seen bim, and expostulated You may safely leave in my hands in vain; till then, though I knew any matter connected with your amyour nephew admired Madame di bition and advancement. I have beNegra, I could never suppose he har fore told you I hold it a duty to do all boured a serious intention."
in my power for the kinsman of my EGERTON.—“I must believe you, late wife-for one whose career I unRandal. I will myself see Madame dertook to forward-for one whom di Negra, though I have no power, honour has compelled to share in my and no right, to dictate to her. I own political reverses." have but little time for all such Here Egerton rang the bell for his private business. The dissolution of hat and gloves, and walking into the Parliament is so close at hand." hall, paused at the street door. There
RANDAL, (looking down.)—“It is beckoning to Randal, he said slowly, on that subject that I wished to speak “You seem intimate with Baron to you, sir. You think of standing for Levy; I caution you against him-a Lansmere. Well, Baron Levy has dangerous acquaintance, first to the suggested to me an idea that I could purse, next to the honour." not, of course, even countenance, till RANDAL.-"I know it, sir; and I had spoken to you. It seems that am surprised myself at the acquainthe has some acquaintance with the ance that has grown up between us. state of parties in that borough! Perhaps its cause is in bis respect for He is informed that it is not only as
yourself." easy to bring in two of our side, as to EGERTON. .-" Tut." carry one ; but that it would make RANDAL.-"Whatever it be, ho your election still more safe, not to contrives to obtain a singular hold fight single-banded against two oppo over one's mind, even where, as in my nents ; that if canvassing for yourself case, he has no evident interest to alone, you could not carry a sufficient serve. How is this? It puzzles me!" number of plumper votes ; that split EGERTON.—"For his interest, it is votes would go from you to one or most secured where he suffers it to be other of the two adversaries ; that, in least evident ; for his hold over the a word, it is necessary to pair you mind, it is easily accounted for. He with a colleague. If it really be so, ever appeals to two temptations, you of course will learn best from strong with all men-Avarice and your own Committee; but should they Ambition. Good day.” concur in the opinion Baron Levy has RANDAL. - “Are you going to formed-do I presume too much on Madame di Negra's ? Shall I not acyour kindness—to deem it possible company you? Perhaps I may be that you might allow me to be the able to back your own remonstrances.” second candidate on your side? I EGERTON.—“No, I shall not reshould not say this, but that Levy quire you." told me you had some wish to see me RANDAL.--"I trust I shall hear in Parliament, amongst the support- the result of your interview? I feel ers of your policy. And what other so much interested in it. Poor opportunity can occur ? Here the Frank !" cost of carrying two would be scarcely Audley nodded. “Of course, of more than that of carrying one. And course."
On entering the drawing-room of know men. And yet each sex conMadame di Negra, the peculiar charm trives to dupe and to fool the other ! which the severe Audley Egerton Listen to me. I have little acquainthad been ever reputed to possess with ance with my nephew, but I allow he women, would have sensibly struck one is a handsome young gentleman, with who had hitherto seen him chiefly in whom a handsome young lady in her his relations with men in the business- teens might fall in love in a ball-room. like affairs of life. It was a charm in But you who have known the higher strong contrast to the ordinary manners order of our species-you who have of those who are emphatically called received the homage of men, whose “Ladies' men.” No artificial smile, thoughts and mind leave the small no conventional hollow blandness, no talk of drawing-room triflers — 50 frivolous gossip, no varnish either of poor and bald-you cannot look me ungenial gaiety or affected grace. in the face and say that it is any The charm was in a simplicity that passion resembling love which you unbent more into kindness than it feel for my nephew. And as to posidid with men. Audley's nature, tion, it is right that I should inform whatever its faults and defects, was you that if he marry you he will have essentially masculine; and it was the none. He may risk his inheritance. sense of masculine power that gave You will receive no countenance from to his voice a music when addressing his parents. You will be poor, but the gentler sex—a sort of indulgent not free. You will not gain the intenderness that appeared equally void dependence you seek for. The sight of insincerity and presumption. of a vacant disconteuted face in that
Frank had been gone about half-an- opposite chair will be worse than hour, and Madame di Negra was solitude. And as to grateful affecscarcely recovered from the agitation tion," added the man of the world, into which she had been thrown by “it is a polite synonym for tranquil the affront from the father and the indifference." pleading of the son.
" Mr Egerton," said Beatrice, Egerton took her passive hand “people say you are made of bronze. cordially, and seated himself by her Did you ever feel the want of a side.
home ?" “My dear Marchesa," said he, “I answer you frankly," replied the "are we then likely to be near con statesman, "if I had not felt it, do nections? And can you seriously con- you think I should have been, and template marriage with my young that I should be to the last, the joynephew, Frank Hazeldean? You less drudge of public life? Bronze turn away. Ah, my fair friend, there though you call my nature, it would are but two inducements to a free have melted away long since like wax woman to sign away her liberty at in the fire, if I had sat idly down and the altar. I say a free woman, for dreamed of a Home !" widows are free, and girls are not. “But we women," answered BeaThese inducements are, first, worldly trice, with pathos, “have no public position ; secondly, love. Which of life, and we do idly sit down and these motives can urge Madame di dream. Oh," she continued, after a Negra to marry Mr Frank Hazel- short pause, and clasping her hands dean?"
firmly together, "you think me world“There are other motives than ly, grasping, ambitious; how different those you speak of the need of pro- my fate had been had I known a tection--the sense of solitude-the home!-known one whom I could love curse of dependence--gratitude for and venerate — known one whose honourable affection. But you men smiles would have developed the good never know women!"
that was once within me, and the “I grant that you are right there— fear of whose rebuking or sorrowfal we never do; neither do women ever eye would have corrected what is evil."
" Yet,” answered Audley, " nearly told you that neither wedlock nor all women in the great world have love had any lures for me. We grew bad that choice once in their lives, friends upon that rude avowal, and and nearly all have thrown it away. therefore I now speak to you like How few of your rank really think of some sage of old, wise because standhome when they marry-how few asking apart and aloof from all the affecto venerate as well as to love-and tions and ties that mislead our wishow many, of every rank, when the dom. Nothing but real love-(how home has been really gained, have rare it is; has one human heart in a wilfully lost its shelter ; some in ne million ever known it!)-nothing but glectful weariness—some from a mo real love can repay us for the loss of mentary doubt, distrust, caprice-a freedom-the cares and fears of powild fancy-a passionate fit-a trifle verty—the cold pity of the world that -a straw-a dream !
we both despise and respect. And women are ever dreamers. Common all these, and much more, follow the sense, common earth, is above or step you would inconsiderately takebelow your comprehension."
an imprudent marriage." Both now were silent. Audley first “Audley Egerton,” said Beatrice, roused himself with a quick, writhing lifting her dark, moistened eyes, "you movement. “We two,” sai he, grant that real love does compensate smiling half sadly, half cynically, for an imprudent marriage. You speak "we two must not longer waste time as if you had known such love-you! in talking sentiment. We know both Can
Can it be possible?" too well what life, as it has been made “Real love, I thought that I knew for us by our faults or our misfortunes, it once. Looking back with retruly is. And once again, I entreat morse, I should doubt it now but for you to pause before you yield to the one curse that only real love, when foolish suit of my foolish nephew. lost, has the power to leave evermore Rely on it, you will either command behind it." a higher offer for your prudence to " What is that ?" accept; or, if you needs must sacri. "A void here," answered Egerton, fice rank and fortune, you, with your striking his heart. “Desolation ! beauty and your romantic heart, will Adieu l” see one who, at least for a fair holiday He rose and left the room. season, (if human love allows no • Is it,” murmured Egerton, as he more,) can repay you for the sacrifice. pursued his way through the streets Frank Hazeldean never can."
-" is it that, as we approach death, Beatrice turned away to conceal all the first fair feelings of young the tears that rushed to her eyes. life come back to us mysteriously?
". Think over this well,” said Aud- Thus I have heard, or read, that in ley, in the softest tones of his mellow some country of old, children, scattervoice. " Do you remember that ing flowers, preceded a funeral bier.” when you first came to England, I
And so Leonard stood beside his hours. In the house of death the friend's mortal clay, and watched, in sound of a clock becomes so solemn. the ineffable smile of death, the last The soul that we miss has gone so far gleam which the soul had left there; beyond the reach of time! A cold, and so, after a time, he crept back to the superstitious awe gradually stole over adjoining room with a step as noiseless the young man. He shivered, and as if he had feared to disturb the dead. lifted his eyes with a start, half scornWearied as he was with watching, he ful, half defying. The moon was gone had no thought of sleep. He sate -the grey, comfortless dawn gleamed himself down by the little table, and through the casement, and carried its leaned his face on his hand, musing raw, chilling light through the open sorrowfully. Thus time passed. He doorway, into the death-room. And heard the clock from below strike the there, near the extinguished fire,