« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
light fleecy clouds moderated the glare of merest folly. I did, therefore, the only the July sun, they found it advisable to thing it was possible to do. I saw the seek the additional shelter of the fine grove man, exchanged other notes of equal value which extended in the rear of the garden, for those in his possession, and convinced till it became lost in the unbroken woods. him that it was for his interest to have the As they strolled there, arm in arm, Re-impression prevail that he had restored ginald entertained his companion with an his ill-gotten gains freely and without con
account of the incidents of his ride to Rev-sideration."
eltown. He dwelt upon Buck Weeks, that most provoking of guides, and admitted, at the same time, that he could not help feeling a degree of respect for the fellow's grateful remembrance of Jordan's protection.
"Yes," observed Matilda, earnestly, "I think gratitude is a trait in frail human nature capable of redeeming many faults, while its absence cannot be supplied by a constellation of virtues. A grateful being must enjoy life itself the more from the hope that an opportunity may be afforded of serving those from whom benefits have been received."
Reginald next excited her interest by a description of the creek that flowed through that sombre forest, and in expressive, but brief terms, told of the danger he had undergone in crossing it. Of what occurred at the tavern, however, and particularly in his private interview with the gambler, he mentioned very little. Matilda did not fail to notice the abruptness with which he turned to other and quite foreign topics. Indeed, Reginald's aim throughout had been to direct her curiosity to this point.
"Mr. Ander," said she, with some timidity and hesitation, "I cannot understand how this Gilbert Jordan could have been induced to relinquish his prey-yet you have told us that he gave you the very bills which Edward staked."
"Miss Matilda," replied Reginald, "I am sure you will be willing to say nothing about a matter which I have determined to mention to no one else❞—and he paused.
"I promise cheerfully," she answered, "to disclose nothing which you may confide to me-without your consent."
"The case is simply this," said Reginald: "Jordan had won the money as fairly probably as money is generally won by a gamester. At any rate, it was impossible to recover the sum by legal measures, and to attempt forcible ones was evidently the
And my father, then, owes you an additional thirty-six hundred pounds?"
'Listen to me, I pray you, Miss Matilda; I could have offered your father the amount at once as a loan, but you know he would not have accepted it-and supposing he had, might not the anxiety arising from the knowledge of the doubled debt have tendered to shorten, or at least embitter, the remainder of his days?"
"Yet it is a debt, notwithstanding," urged the young lady.
"There is another consideration, however," rejoined Reginald, "which deserves to be attended to-think of Edward, does not his peace of mind depend upon the matter remaining on its present footing? My dear Miss Chesley, I beseech you to allow it so to remain. What are thirtysix hundred pounds to even one day's happiness of your nearest and dearest relatives? For my part, I should willingly see the original loan itself as easily canceled.-Ah! indeed, if I could but hope that the time might arrive when that very disinterestedness of spirit which now forces you to restrain me, would become my prompter in every liberal thought. If" and Reginald paused.
Matilda's breath came and went faster than usual, and her eye sought the ground. But Reginald did not pursue the declaration which he seemed to have commenced. Perhaps he thought he might appear to be taking a selfish advantage of the service that he had rendered. Matilda felt relief when the conversation changed to a different subject, and if it be thought that there was anything strange in this, those best acquainted with the female heart may decide whether an ingenuous maiden does not ever feel relief at the postponement of the most agitating question she can be called upon to answer.
The walk was protracted to a considerable length. Neither of the parties heeded the lapse of time. When they returned to the house, Matilda saw by the great
Matilda answered with quickness: "I regret that Mr. Seymour finds my apology insufficient-especially as I have none other to offer."
"Pardon the hasty word," said Seymour, feeling that he had gone too far, my faithless tongue would better have obeyed my heart by expressing gratitude for the bounty which bestows the light of your presence on me even now. If the privilege of being with you were less highly prized, I could more patiently bear its abridgment."
clock in the Hall that it was half past six.
It was the lady's turn to receive an excuse with coolness, and the only reply made to the lover was a slight inclination of the head.
"Laurence added, impatiently, "Had I not some right to expect so brief an interview from Miss Matilda Chesley ?" "A right, sir?"
"If I am presumptuous, dear Matilda, does your heart say that all the blame should fall upon me? Have I weakly Matilda noticed the gloom upon his misapprehended those minute signs of rebrow, and hastened to say in apology that turned affection, in which I have fondly her walk had been unconsciously extended been content to see a full reward and enso far from the house, that when she start-couragement for the truest homage that man ever paid to woman?"
ed to return, the space proved too great to admit of her arrival at the hour promised. In the same breath, she expressed her regret that it had so happened.
As she uttered all this, a tinge of shame rose to her cheek, for in truth she had not thought of her engagement from the moment when she left the hall to that in which her eye, on re-entering it, fell upon the clock.
Seymour, who was in a mood that makes men keen-sighted, noticed the blush, and replied ironically, "You omit, Miss Chesley, the best apology for your detentionthe presence of so agreeable a companion as Mr. Ander."
The flush on the young lady's cheek grew deeper. Seymour thought he had gained an advantage by his spirit, when unlucky fellow he was pressing to the brink of danger. He added, in the same tone: "Yet one might have supposed that, transcendent as the merit of that young gentleman undoubtedly is, Miss Chesley might have spared a single hour from his society to bestow it upon the most devoted of her friends just at the eve of departure."
Matilda replied not a word.
"If another," continued Laurence, "is now preferred to me, will you refuse to admit that it was not always so?"
Miss Chesley answered: "I am conscious of no change in opinion. At this moment, as heretofore, no one holds a higher place in my esteem than Mr. Sey
"Would you have me contented with such a position?" said the lover, impetuously. "No, Matilda, precious as your favorable regard is, it is nothing to me if it must be shared equally by any othernothing? It is worse than nothing; far better that I had never known you, than that, after madly devoting every faculty of my soul in the effort to win your heart, I should be compelled to sink down at the end, convinced of the inestimable value of the prize, but in hopeless despair of its ever becoming mine. Possessing your love, I see around me a glorious world-a present full of happiness, a future holding forth the brightest hopes; without you, all is blank, dismal, void. Declare which is to be my fate. Others may have more
than one prospect of happiness. For my part-I confess the weakness-on a single thread depends everything that makes life a blessed boon! Shall that thread become a cable fit to anchor a soul on heaven, or will your hand sever it? Decide." "Mr. Seymour," replied Matilda, hesitating and embarrassed, "have not I said enough? I sincerely respect and esteem. you I respect and esteem no one more highly. Can you reasonably urge me to say more than this?"
"Let it be, then, that I am unreasonable, dear Matilda; but think who has made me so. I am unreasonable to expect what yet my soul cannot but hope for. No! Decide. I will not have a moiety, even of your heart. Say that you love no other, and then I sink at your feet grateful and contented. You make me no answer. Shall I allow my heart to give the interpretation of that silence? I dare not; perhaps it has already deluded me. The time has come for certainty. Let your lips pronounce that do not look upon Reginald Ander as you look upon me?" "Mr. Seymour, I cannot."
'Oh, Matilda, recall that declaration! Think that this moment decides forever. I solemnly assure you that I rest everything on the issue of this answer. I look for no other. Say-whisper-show by the slightest sign that you prefer me to Reginald Ander."
"I cannot," replied Matilda, firmly. Laurence Seymour, without uttering a syllable, rose, bowed, and moved to the door. As he put his hand on the knob, he turned and gazed earnestly in Miss Chesley's face. Her eye quailed, but no sound issued from her lips, and Seymour left the parlor.
As the rejected lover galloped furiously along the road to Anderport, he scarce noticed a man who was standing just within the fence that enclosed the shady grounds in front of Reginald's mansion. This individual, who, with a little hammer in his hand, had been engaged in chipping fragments from the corner of a large mass of whitish stone, called out as the horse
man came opposite him, "Mr. Seymour, you are in haste."
"Ah, is that you, Mr. Rennoe!" exclaimed the young man, throwing his horse upon his haunches.
"Yes, sir," replied the figure, "I have been amusing myself with mineralogy-I was always fond of dabbling a little in the natural sciences. This rock here, by the way, is of quite an unusual formation to be found in this locality. I take it to be what is called heavy-spar, though the yellowish tinge in it makes it bear no little resemblance to a very rare mineral found in one of the Orkneys. Let me hand you a specimen."
"Never mind-don't trouble yourself, sir. I am not inclined just now to finger bits of stone."
"Indeed! pray what is the matter?" "I have been to see Matilda Chesley." Ah, I understand the luxury of her society has spoiled your taste for lighter entertainments!"
"Pshaw! she has jilted me."
"How?" said Rennoe, with sympathy that was not assumed. "I really trust you are mistaken-what brought it about?” "Why, I was determined not to be trifled with any longer, as I told her to decide at once and she has."
"This is most unfortunate," rejoined the other. "How precipitate and ill-advised you have been to urge matters at the very moment when circumstances have made your rival appear most favorably! Do you not see that she and all her family lie just now under such a weight of obligation to Reginald, that they cannot but be anxious to avoid treating him with any appearance of harshness? How could she in common decency choose the very moment in which he had restored to the house peace, and happiness, and a brother, to inflict the sudden mortification of rejecting his suit ?"
"Do not harass me with such reflections now," said Seymour, bitterly; "the matter is past remedy. Good evening to you."
'Past remedy!" echoed Simon Rennoe, gazing after the young man. "How wretched to have to rely on such tools! Past remedy! Is it indeed? Not yet. I have another resource, and luckily, it is one of which I can avail myself without a coadjutor. Would that I had never depended upon any head but my own! How stupid that lover!"
As these and similar thoughts passed through his active brain, Rennoe turned. towards the mansion, for his geological in
vestigations suddenly lost their relish. | added, in a quiet, mock-persuasive tone—
Upon the terrace he met Reginald, who, from his elevated position, had noticed both the fierce speed of Seymour and its interruption by the colloquy with his friend. The pair looked at each other intently. With all his art, Rennoe could not totally conceal the vexation which stirred him, and Reginald, at once inferring what had taken place, saluted him with a meaning smile. After standing thus some seconds, the young man broke silence—" Laurence rides home fast."
"Yes," replied Rennoe, "he seems quite discomposed. I think he will be ready to ask for mercy, and plead that his punishment is already sufficiently severe." Is it so?" said Reginald. "That should not be. A noble-born youth ought to have more spirit." Then he
"Do you help him?"
Rennoe shook his head.
Reginald repeated the words " Help him. It may result in your advantage, for if Seymour succeed in winning Miss Chesley, I am ready-you know for what."
Rennoe answered, catching his tone as nearly as possible, "You may not act safely to urge me."
"Oh!" returned the youth, "have no scruple. It is only the animation of the struggle that gives the enjoyment. Better defeat than uncontested victory. So try your utmost. Adieu till supper."
Reginald, hastily returning to Rennoe, said softly-"Hark said softly-"Hark you, sir! one caution. In whatever you may say to Miss Chesley, make little mention of me-no misrepresentation. That is all."
(To be continued.)
Or the two great agents in the attainment and establishment of political freedom, the lyre and the sword, it is difficult to say which is the more potent. The captive trumpeter in Esop gave but a lame apology for the position in which he was found, when he alleged in his behalf, that he bore no weapon, and that his profession was not that of a soldier. It was a blind and undiscerning policy that led the Athenians, when applied to by the Spartans in obedience to the commands of the oracle, to give them a general, contemptuously to nominate the poet Tyrtaens as a fit person to fill that important post, in the hope of thus insuring the defeat of their rivals; for though unused to action in the tented field, and possessing no physical advantages, either in strength or appearance he was enabled, by the inspiration of song, to impart hope to the desponding, endurance to the weary, courage to the timid, strength to the weak, and valor to the faint-hearted. He could arouse, by the magic of his strains, the spirit of those whom he directed, without which the material powers of an army, "the limb, the thews, the stature, bulk and big assemblance-of millions are as nothing. Mazarine, a keen observer of human nature, justly appreciated the influence of popular lyrics on the character and habits of a nation, when he uttered that celebrated apothegm "Give me the making of a people's songs, and I care not who makes their laws.' The assertion may at first view appear a bold one; but when we bear in mind, that the laws of a people can never, for any long period, be at variance with their national feelings and characteristics, we shall readily recognize its substantial truth and correctness. The tongue that has been accustomed from the cradle to lisp the praises of liberty, can with difficulty be tutored, in maturer years, to sing Io pæans before the throne |
of arbitrary power. "The child is father of the man," the impressions received in early years, through the gentle ministries of the household circle, outlast all other recollections and survive all other changes: Our nature becomes imperceptibly moulded and formed by the associations of childhood, and if, in after life, when we arrive at a more perfect knowledge of good and evil, we find our sympathies enlisted on the side of the former, it seems like an act of domestic treason, a sacrilege committed within the sacred circle of the home sanctuary, to deny them free scope and utterance.
It would be a curious and interesting problem, were a satisfactory solution attainable, to ascertain how far the recent revolutionary movements in Europe are to be attributed to the diffusion of free sentiments among the masses, through the medium of songs and pasquinades. Though not, like the " power of armies," a "visible thing," who can doubt that a chant like the Marseillaise may be used, at certain critical periods of political ferment, as a formidable revolutionary agent? The might of song has been a fertile source of terror to those who have wielded over their fellows an authority neither founded in reason, nor administered with wisdom. How often did the gloomy cells of the Bastile, while that stronghold of despotism yet stood, receive within their narrow space some luckless rhymer, whose wit had outrun his discretion, and whose sense of the ridiculous had momentarily triumphed over the instinct of self-preservation ! What a record of sufferings that harrow up the soul, does the story of Pellico's captivity reveal! Some of the songs of Béranger, too, breathe of the bitterness that is born of captivity and chains; and yet, though volumes on volumes of inflammatory odes have been condemned by the public censor, or burned by the common
•Gedichte von Ferdinand Freiligrath, 8th ed., 1845. Ein Glaubensbekenntniss, von F. Freiligrath,