[ocr errors]

him to get out of the boat or over the stones. for I had a last five minutes with her, so afIt was quite in vain that we reasoned with fectionate and tender that I would not him, and assured him that nothing could be have lost them for all the world. Just as I easier : he stood there wailing and implor- had bid her good-night for the second time, ing without making the least attempt to I recollected having left my photographmove, until Madame Olympe, touched with book in the drawing-room, and as Madame compassion, strode down the bank again, Olympe assured me that no one was there, recrossed the stones, and whipping him up I ran through a little passage which led round the knees like a baby, brought him straight from ber room into the drawing in her arms triumphantly through the water room, to look for it, or rather to feel for it

. back to us.

I had no candle, but I knew perfectly well Monsieur Kiowski left us almost as soon where I had left it, — on the top of the as we returned to the house, very amiably music-stand bebind the curtain in the bay sorry that he could not wait to escort me on window and I had just laid my hand

upmy journey, but promising to come very on it and felt its clasps, when I saw a sudsoon and be presented to mother in town. den light through the chink of the curtain, The dinner was dreary — the cloud of last and Ursula and Monsieur de Saldes came moments was upon us : Madame Olympe in together. hardly spoke; there seemed to be a sort of “ You have come down for your mother's impassable wall built up between Ursula miniature ? ” said he. and Monsieur de Saldes; and Jeanne was “ Yes, I left it on the chimney-piece," miserable at losing us all. Monsieur Des she answered calmly, going towards the saix had a swelled face and went to bed be- fireplace. fore dinner. When we bad gone back into “ It is there no longer,” he said. “I the drawing-room, Madame Olympe began have got it. I took it because I knew you turning over our photograph-books. In would come down for it, and because I looking through Ursula's she came upon a wanted to speak to you. All day I have photograph of Colonel Hamilton, and looked endeavoured to get near you, but your sysat it with great interest for some time. She tematic avoidance of me rendered it imposhad not seen him for many years before his sible ; now you must hear me. For the death. She then sked Ursula if she had last two days, for what reason God lone no likeness of her mother; she said she had knows, you have appeared to take a strange a miniature of her, and went to fetch it. delight in presenting yourself under the When she showed it to us, I was struck most repulsive and unfavourable aspect. with the unlikeness of the expression to her You have expressed feelings in every way

The colouring was the same, and so discreditable to you, and in words that, if were the drooping lids ; but the mouth you remember them, might make you blush. looked all tremulous with tenderness, and I I now come to tell you that all this I am was at a loss to account for the sarcastic willing to overlook, to believe that it was turn of Ursula's lips, until she showed us a temper caprice excitability whatsmall head of an Italian uncle of hers, a ever name you choose to give it, and brother of her mother's, and I saw at once I ask you to become my wife. where it came from. We had nothing I never was more stupified in my life whatever of an evening. At about half- than when I found myself the involuntary past ten, Madame Olympe said she had a recipient of this extraordinary confidence. headache, and folding me in her arms with However,' I thought it so essential that a most maternal embrace, bade me farewell. these two should understand each other, I had to be off at four in the morning in that I quietly sat down in my corner, deorder to catch the tidal train, and so we sep- termined not for the world to move or inarated early, and indeed, with our opposed terrupt them. Anything like the insolence elements and dispositions of mind, it was of bis tone and manner it was impossible to qnite the best thing to be done.

conceive. I was at a loss to imagine how After Ursula and I had been some time she would answer him. in our room, it suddenly occurred to me “ Your wife ?” said Ursula. The words that Madame Olympe had never given me dropped with awful calmness into the sia small parcel which she wished me to lence of the night. take over to England for her : so slipping “ Yes,” he continued, in the same tone on my dressing-gown I ran down by a back of aggressive arrogance. “I am well

Ι staircase which communicated directly with aware how terribly against you your birth her apartment, to see about it. I cannot and education have been, but I make the say how glad I am that it had so happened, I just allowance for it, and remember that


on * l'hen,” she said, with the most perfect to Sem beg your pardon,


[ocr errors]

6 And

partly to these disadvantages and peculiar | existence has been entirely sacrificed. circumstances you also owe your strong in- Who are you, Monsieur de Saldes, that dividuality which, while it is your snare, you despise this man?

Whom have you is also one of your most powerful attrac- lived to benefit ? whom have you worked tions."

serve ?”

he answered,“ if I composure, “I am to understand that you have spoken of your friend in a way that OVE ok my unfortunat

antecedents and has hurt your feelings. I have not the are willing to marry me on account of my slightest doubt that he is a most estimable originality? This is no doubt very kind, and person ; but you are altogether of another highly flattering to me; but I think perhaps order” it might prove a dangerous experiment to “I have no desire whatever to repudiate both of us. Why, how little you know my class, the class to which my mother yourself, Monsieur de Saldes! Having belonged, ” she said very quietly. married me for my unlikeness to other wo- that being the case, you must perceive how men, your first endeavour would be care- totally unfit I am for the honour you profully to stamp out all the sharp corners of pose to me.” that individuality which has at present the “But don't you see,” he rejoined eagerly, good fortune to please you, and to blur “that your marriage

with me at once me down into the dead level of everybody places you in an entirely different sphere else. Failing to do this, as you would the one for which nature intended you ? for I am not made of very malleable stuff All these miserable antecedents and odious

- you would soon get to hate me for the surroundings, which make me so utterly very thing that made you like me; after wretched, would by the force of circumwhich I should probably have the gratifica- stances die a natural death. Your marriage tion of seeing you devoted to some other wo with me would at once remove you from man immeasurably my inferior a Sophie them.” de Malan !(this she said with unutterable “I see,” said Ursula, slowly. “And I contempt,), whose principal attraction should give up my dear old Giambattista, would probably consist in her utter un- who, when my father was dead and I was likeness to myself. No: I am sensible of left alone in our wretched lodging, came the honour you do me, but I think the haz- and fetched me away and brought me home ard too great and must decline it; and since to his old wife, and housed, and fed, and a vagabond I am, a vagabond I will re- clothed me, as if I had been his own child. main.”

And I should also, no doubt, give up Jacques, “ It is you that do yourself injustice, not wbo nursed me through that terrible smallI,” he replied with warmth. “ It is you that pox, when even my own father was afraid say these hard things of yourself, not I. to come near me, and I, neglected and forShould I ask you to be my wife if I did not lorn, was left to toss with fever and worry know your real worth ?' It is this that through as I might; - Jacques, who sat up drives me distracted, to see you (you .) night after night with me, fanning me, and living with the sort of people you do, ex- putting little bits of ice into my dry mouth, posed to the odious familiarities of a Des- as my mother might have done. The first

day that I felt better I insisted on his bring• I do not know what reason you may ing me a looking-glass. Shall I ever for have for speaking of Monsieur Dessaix get it? I burst into tears of despair; and with such sovereign contempt,” she said. Jacques, while the tears ran down his own " I have myself the greatest admiration for cheeks, took my hands and said, 'Do not him, not only on account of his remarka- weep. Thy soul is not changed. Thou ble genius, but for the sake of his disin- wilt be always lovely to thy friends! You, terested nature and the generous self-de- I remember, brought me a veil, and begged nial of his whole life. When at his father's me to wear it when you called; the altera. death his two young sisters were thrown en- tion in my complexion affected your finer tirely upon his hands, he was engaged to a sensibility so painfully. No, Monsieur de woman to whom he was passionately at- Saldes, I am properly alive to the complitached. He broke off his engagement and ment that you have paid me; but I am gave up all thoughts of marriage, in order afraid I might find the conditions hard, to educate and provide for his sisters. Af- and end with dying of the burden of an ter years of self-abnegation and hard la- honour unto which I was not born.” bour he has had the gratification of seeing “ You purposely misunderstand

me ! them both honourably married, but his own Who talks of compliments ? who talks of

saix "


[ocr errors]




VOL. v.


I love you

[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]


honour ? Oh, Ursula !” he cried, in great after she was gone, and I began to wonder emotion, “ do you not see how passionately if he would stay there all night, and what ?"

was to become of me.

At last he gave a 66 W bat ! she said. A woman who heavy sigh, got up, and went out into the finds virtue wearisome ?"

garden through the conservatory, while I “ For heaven's sake don't recall those made a rush through the room and found terrible

words !- forget them — forget myself in a second at the top of the stairthem, as I will !”

case, with my heart beating like a great bell " What !” she continued, bitterly. “A in my head and my ears, and all over my woman who does not respect herself ?” body.

" Yes ! yes! and a thousand times yes, I found Ursula walking up and down the were it a thousand times true! Oh, child, room in a state of immense excitement. could not you see that all my hate was “Did it ever happen to you to do a horlove? where were your eyes that you did ribly painful thing that you knew was the not see this? Where was your heart that only thing to do, and yet to feel all the you did not feel it? Why, child, at the while that in doing it you were shutting a very moment that you were uttering those stone down upon your heart forever?” horrid words my whole heart was going out She stopped for a few seconds, then sudin passionate adoration before you! God denly said, “ René has asked me to marry forgive me; I believe I adored the very him and I have refused.” And covering words themselves! Don't you see that you her face with her hands she went into a have driven me mad — mad - mad!” and passion of crying. be threw himself at her feet in a paroxysm I took her in my arms and tried to soothe of passion.

and comfort her, but nothing could calm This is dreadful!” said Ursula, greatly her sorrow, nothing stop those tears that shocked. “Pray, pray, Monsieur de Saldes, flowed and flowed until I thought the whole endeavour to control yourself”

woman would turn, like Undine, into a “I krow,” he answered, in the greatest stream before my face. I implored her to agitation. I beg your pardon- I have no reconsider her decision, told her that I was right. See,” he said, in broken accents, sure she had been hasty — that a man “I am quite calm now. Now tell me, I en- who loved her as much as it was clear he treat of you, is there no hope ? absolutely did, would never abide by an answer given none ? Tell me — only remember what it in a moment of excitement — that a word, is that you are doing. If you reject me, a sign, a look would be sufficient to recall you take away my last hope my last him. She suddenly looked up in my face anchor — the one thread by which I still with those curious beavy eyes of hers and hold to what is loveable and venerable in said, “ You think I am crying because I life.”

have refused him? — because I love him? “Do not ask it!” she said, in great My dear, it is not that: I am crying trouble. 6 Monsieur de Saldes, I cannot because I love him no more. I loved him marry you, for I cannot love you. And once with an agony of love: for four whole now, for heaven's sake, let us put an end to years I loved him, when he didn't care this painful interview ; no earthly good can about me, and the fire is all burnt out; and be gained by my staying here any longer (oh! to think of it!) my heart was like a

alas! what good bas come of my stay- pinch of dry dust while he was lying at my ing so long ? Good-night, Monsieur de feet. Oh! 'Isn't it shocking that it should Saldes

all come too late, and that I should have He had turned from her and sunk into a nothing left here ” — and she struck her chair, and putting his arms on the table, heart repeatedly with a great distress—" but laid his head down on them.

a stone — a stone!” “Good-night, René,” she said again. She then by degrees told me how when She spoke overy gently, but her voice she was a child of fifteen he had renewed sounded hopelessly calm and composed. his acquaintance with her father at Florence He, on the contrary, was shaken from head and had become almost an inmate of their to foot by emotion. She went a step near- house. He was always passionately fond of er to him, and stood for another instant music, it seems, and would come and pass waiting, but he did not speak nor lift his hour after hour listening to her singing. It head, and like a ghost she passed noiselessly was then that she got attached to him; but, out of the room.

by her account, all the passion was on her He remained in the same position for, I side, while nothing but his vanity was inshould think, nearly a quarter of an hour terested in the matter. “He played with


& mouse.


'me," she said, “exactly as a cat plays with “ Five years ago," she answered. “I am

He never once committed him- four-and-twenty now.” self in words during all those four years And have you never felt any inclination that he all but lived with us; but he used for any one since then ?at times to indulge in tendernesses that sent • Never,” she said. “I have tried once me into a paradise of happiness, and then at or twice to get up a sort of something for other times he would seem to treat me only people who have cared for me; but it was as a little child, and pass me over and peg- all of no use! I turned sick and weary in lect and desert me completely for a while. the midst of my flirtation, and clapped a Then when my bealth used to give way, so sudden extinguisher down upon the miserathat I could neither eat nor sleep any more, ble farthing rushlight that it was. I'm he would suddenly come again, and cure me burnt out, and there's an end of it! Oh, all in an instant with a look or a word that Bessie, get to bed. I am so ashamed of sent me on a ray of sunshine back into my having troubled you with all this! Be sure poor fool's paradise again. What made it you wake me up to bid me good-by.” worse was, that at that very time there was She began trying to take the pins out of a woman there tbat Madame de Malan her hair, and to undress herself, but her whom he did really care about ; and I went hands shook so that she couldn't untie ber through tortures of jealousy when I was a strings; and so, much against her will, I mere child, that I can give you no idea of put the poor child to bed. What an odd and that were terribly bad for my whole nature it was! She said, after she had nature and character. It was a dreadful kissed me, as she turned her head on the double jealousy that swallowed up my whole pillow,“ Don't trouble about me, dear Bess ! existence for a time; for you must know that I'm not worth it. I shall go in for ambition she had contrived to bewitch my father too now, and marry a great duke. How pleased

my poor father, who was no longer young, Lady Blankeney will be with the dear duch- and she took him too completely away ess!” She bad hardly uttered the words be from me. In my utter desolateness I used fore she was fast asleep. I stayed by her to cast myself down before God and pray bedside for some minutes, looking at her by turns that


father might be left to me face, wbich was as white as the sheet on - that René might be left to me — that she which she lay, and at the black bar of her might take one and leave me the other; eyebrows, and at her long turned-up eyebuc no, nothing short of both would satisfy lashes, and then I lay down for an hour. that inexorable love of admiration.” At four I got up, and put on my things, and

“Was she so very attractive then ?" went once more softly to her bedside. She said I.

slept like a baby, and so I would not disturb ." Oh, she was a wretched twopence of a her, but writing, “ God bless you, dearest woman, disant assez bien la romance, with a Ursula,” on a slip of paper, left it on her shivering shred of a voice : a miserable lit- pillow, and crept gently out of the room, and tle creature with painted eyes, and as flat as downstairs. a board !” Here she unconsciously gave a “ Mademoiselle, la voiture est avancée," superb glance at herself in the looking- says the pasty, sleepy Hyacinthe. glass, and burst out laughing at her own I get in, I give a parting glance into the vehemence, while the tears were still lying silver vapour that enshrouds the well-known in bright drops on her face. “My little landscape, the door is shut, and down the Venetian maid, who saw all the pains she hill we go — through the gate, and thud caused me, and bated her for it, used to say thud l over the wooden bridge with a sad of her: Mi no vedo sta beiezza. Non heart, very unlike the anxious one that gha ne anca la radice di un petto!' In fact, crossed the same water only a week ago ; she had no roots of any sort. She was then across a bit of plain, starlit and mysmade


of a morbid love of excitement at. tical, that made me think of “Jacob's any price, and a restless vanity, upassuage- Dream” in the Dulwich Gallery, and then able and pitiless, that, like the horseleech's suddenly into the dark night of the forest. danghter, was for ever crying, Give – My dear French friends, farewell! give-give!! But I, too, am pitiless,” she A gray still passage, heaven dissolving continued, looking at the clock. “ You itself in rain, and an arrival in London, have to be up at three, and here am I pre- dripping, dismal, black; but there on the venting you from getting a chance of rest. platform stood William and mother, and Oh, do go to bed, Bessie!”

dear old aunt Emily, waving a large reddear child," said. I,“ how long silk pocket-handkerchief as we rolled into ago did all this happen ? "

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


But, my,


[ocr errors]

the station, and the next minute I was in Madame Olympe said that she was very glad of their arms.

it, because he had evidently taken one of his I was a whole week in London without violent antipathies to me, and that there was hearing anything of Ursula, and was begin- no fighting against these things. I feel rather ning to be a little afraid that her affection glad, on the whole, to think that he will never for me was not a real thing, and that she be able to say of me, ' This, too, is vanity and

vexation of spirit.' liked me less than she had fancied she did - when at last the long-expected missive ny with Madame Olympe and Jeanne, and only

Jacques and I stayed on all Monday at Mar. arrived. Here it is :

came to Paris on Tuesday. I found Lady

Blankeney crying in little showers all the day Hôtel Vouillemont, Rue des Champs long. It seems that her dear Faubourg Sć. Elysées, Paris.

Germain countess was furious at having neith. MY DEAREST BESSIE, I receive at this er Jacques nor myself at . her concert, and very instant of time a letter from my agent at behaved very rudely, and not at all in the Fau. the Holt, informing me of the death of old Mr. bourg St. Germain manner, to the poor woman Vaughan, the rector of my parish. This liv- who in return is behaving as ill as anything ing, I rejoice to say, is in my gift, and I hope so feeble can behave to me and Jacques. And that Mr. L'Estrange will make me happy by so, dear, I suddenly cut adrift from her, went to accepting it. The living is worth six hundred an hotel of my own, and am coming over by a 'year, and there is a very pretty little house, myself. But as I suppose it wouldn't be quite the agent tells me, exactly opposite one of the possible for me to live alone and keep my charHolt gates. Ah, my dear Bess, do you remem- acter in your evil-thinking country, I propose ber the evening when we brushed our hair by that you should persuade Mrs. Hope to take the fire at Marny, and you told me about those charge of me, and give me the comfort of her sad eleven years (now really sad no more), and kindness and the countenance of her respectaI could find nothing to say but "good gra- bility. I trust to you, dear Bess, to bring this cious ?” The sound of my own voice saying plan to success. Do you think your mother those words has haunted me ever since. The would quite die of Jacques ? Both he and fact was, that at that very time they had writ- Giambattista have promised to come over and ten to tell me that Mr. Vaughan was danger- pay me a long visit at the Holt in the summer. ously ill and eighty years old, and I was turn- She must set against that the delight of having ing in my head the probability of his death, you living next door to her. I shall be in and the joy that it would be to me to offer the London Thursday night. Meanwhile, and rectory to your William. But I dared say ever, I am nothing, dear; for I have observed, as a gener

Your attached friend, al rule, that it's always the right people who

URSULA HAMILTON. die, and the wrong people who go recovering and living on for ever, when nobody wants What more is there to say ? My mar, them, and I was so dreadfully afraid the poor riage is fixed for the end of next month, old thing might pick up again and disappoint and the day after to-morrow we all go down

I enclose a letter to Mr. L'Estrange, which you must give him from me, in which i with our dear Portia to her northern Belmake him a formal proffer of the living.

mont. I have seen her reject the wrong Monsieur de Saldes went back to Paris before casket - may she choose the right one I camo down that morning that you left. Dear I when the time comes !


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THE Consul at Jerusalem tells us that 156 have the Mount of Olives laid out in villa resiAmericans from the State of Maine have arrived dences, a popular watering-place, — "Elijah in Palestine, and taken up their residence near Springs” perhaps — under Mount Carmel, and Jaffa (Joppa), led apparently by millennial a Capernaum and Nazareth Junction Railway. views. They are mostly labourers, farmers, What would the desecration of the Saracen handicraftsmen, &c., bringing with them their occupation be to that? It is curious, and in own wooden houses, tools, implements, &c. If some degree painful, to realize how the mind the colony survives and multiplies, - and many shrinks from seeing what we call, and rightly of the same sort have failed, it will probably call, "progress,” touch the ground sacred to not see the Millennium, but will throw a curious greater than any human memories. - Spectator and, to most men's minds, a rather anomalous 20 April. energy into the affairs of Palestine. We shall

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »