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this summer amongst the mountains for so long; the mere distant glimpse of a mountain peak fills my soul with joy, and it is almost delirium to be up here amongst their companionship.
Yesterday we passed through a narrow valley between two lofty ranges, of mountains; they were clothed with forests of pines to the very bases that bounded the dark river-bed flowing between. The road along which our carriage crept lay about half way up one of the mountain sides of the valley; above us were overhanging rocks, and below depth, darkness, gloomy pines, and a river only to be distinguished by the reflection of the blue heaven above. The mountains on either side of this beautiful ravine are so little asunder that it is said, upon occasion, a chain is thrown from one ridge to the other.
I always look to Violet for sympathy, but she does not rejoice in the works of nature as I do. She does not love a flower because it is a flower, and marvel at the wondrous beauty of its structure; she only likes them because they are most becoming ornaments to her beauty ; and then she shivers at the sight of the mountains, and she drew back within the carriage, and closed her eyes when we were passing through that glorious ravine.
“ How can you like it, Pansie! Only fancy, if the carriage were to topple over, or if one of those immense pieces of rock were to tumble down from above and smash us!”.
Both papa and mamma laughed at her, either was so extremely improbable. .
Papa left his own horses in Paris, and has engaged different relays of such steeds as are accustomed to the country through which we pass for our journey. Besides, our own coachman is on the box, and Gilbert is both a cautious and skilful driver; the voiturier sits beside him.
At midday we stopped at a little inn in a most desolate region. The little landlord came bowing to the door as our carriage stopped, and a demand for fresh horses was made. His bows came more quickly than ever.
Sorry to disoblige monsieur, but compliance was quite impossible, quite. The only horses he had in his stable were only then being harnessed for an English milor who had engaged them.
" What is to be done?” said papa, addressing the voiturier. "Can we proceed without change ?”
But this M. le Voiturier, not to be outdone by the landlord, declared to be equally impossible; the horses were tired, the next stage a long one.
The voiturier regarded the landlord, the landlord regarded M. le Voiturier; both grew red in the face, both seemed ready to • give vent to a whole volley of exasperating words.
Violet laughed and whispered to me—" Are they not like two gamecocks pluming their crests for a battle ? "
Violet is not always quite particular in the selection of her words and ideas, and sometimes they seem very much at variance with her perfectly lovely face.
I must describe her as she sits in the carriage before the door of the little auberge, because I believe her beauty was the means of relieving us eventually from the difficulty.
Violet is not tall, but she has a full figure, and the loveliest complexion I have ever seen; roses and lilies blended is a trite simile, but in Violet's case it is not the faintest exaggeration; the lily is only supplanted on her cheek where a delicate rose tint blooms; her eyes are somewhat full and of a clear grey; her eyebrows a shade darker in hue than the golden brown of her hair, have a slender curve, drawn like a line, tapering off at the temples. Her nose is decidedly aquiline, though not too much so for feminine beauty; her mouth is small and rather inexpressive, a fact that puzzles me, because I do not think Violet deficient in character. Papa says that the mouth is the most important feature indicative of character in a person's face. I, too, have noticed how much this feature differs in different persons. I have seen lips that quiver with sensibility, lips that wreathe themselves with scorn-proud, imperious, petulant, saucy lips. Violet’s are placid, and when she speaks it is to reveal a fairy colony of dimples.
That is my sister Violet, and no matter where we are, in crowded parks and gardens, at soirées, balls, assemblies, or in a little out-of-the-way place like this, her beauty casts an illumination around it, and compels admiration.
Two gentlemen came forth from the little auberge just as papa was descending to see what accommodation could be afforded for mamma, and to prevent any dispute.
The landlord turned to them, and commenced a fresh series of salaams.
“What is the matter?” asked the younger-looking gentleman.
The landlord explained, and his rapid utterance only allowed us to catch the words “Monsieur,” with a jerk of his thumb over his shoulder in the direction of papa, and “Milor," with a profound bow forwards, mixed up with an inexpressible jargon of sounds.
The gentleman cut him short in the midst of his explanation, and stepped abruptly to papa's side.
“You will permit us to relinquish our claim, as there are ladies in the case. It will give me great pleasure if you will allow the horses to be put to your carriage. We can await the next relay; but, I assure you, this is no fit place for ladies to enter.”
be the hero feads this, Forsessions, though, istophelian sm
Papa aceepted the obliging offer as frankly and courteously as it was made, and the exchange of horses was effected.
Now, I must remark that he from whom papa had accepted the kindness had delicately refrained from more than a casual glance in our direction. He was certainly an Englishman, but there was nothing striking in his appearance save a certain air of refinement which a true English gentleman is always characterised by. His dress was a plain suit of Scotch tweed, but there was a suspicion of fastidiousness in the etcæteras, unless my eyes, which Violet declares are far too nice in their observations, deceived me.
As for his companion, a disagreeable sense of darkness oppresses me when I recall his appearance; and yet, I suppose, strictly speaking, he was far the handsomer of the two. Tall, dark, bearded, with regular features, and a Mephistophelian smile ;I must record my true impressions, though Violet should pinch me when she reads this, for she declares he is handsome enough to be the hero of a story. What if the desultory diary I am writing should be a story, a story with her for the heroine and him for the hero. Heigho!
Heigho, indeed! (writes Violet, who has taken the pen from my hand, and moreover has read every word I have written while she has been sleeping). What veritable nonsense this little sister of mine has been writing! As if I were going to play the heroine to any one short of a hero lord or duke! Whatever may be the title of the gentleman the landlord of that benighted little auberge called “milor” yesterday, it was easy enough to see that the other was but companion and appendage to his travels. Pansie is a little romantic goose to suppose, for instance, that we shall ever meet them again. We drove off with their horses, and left them standing bareheaded at the door of the auberge, not even knowing the names of the persons we were indebted to for not being imprisoned for an indefinite length of time in that vile little place. And that, I suppose, will be the end of them!
Papa gave the little gentleman— (Oh, Violet ! he was not little ; only the towering figure of his companion made him appear so.) Hold your tongue, or, rather, don't dare to touch the pen, Pansie, while it is in my hands. I declare to you he is little. I don't mind giving you the most valued of my possessions if he stand over five feet five or six in his boots. You don't call that little ? Well, then, I do, for a man: if you are going to judge him by your own pigmy stature, why that is quite another affair ; and then he is slight in proportion. But there, I will dismiss them; for I am eager to depict a companion picture to the one you drew of me sitting in the carriage before the door of the memorable auberge.
“ But you have not finished the sentence you commenced when I interrupted you,” I insert.
I am going to do so if you give me time. Papa gave his card to “milor,” and hoped that the vicissitudes of travel, or a beneficent fate, would sometime, when both were in England, put it into his power to return the kind service rendered him now by Milor on these foreign mountain sides. Milor (I am obliged to follow that detestable little landlord's example, and call him by that title, as I know not his proper one) apologised for not having his card-case in his pocket, said the slight service it had been in his power to render us was not worthy of dwelling in the memory of any of us for a single day, bowed, lifted his hat; and, as the carriage rolled away, I vow his last glance rested upon my darling little Pansie.
(Oh, Violet !)
Oh, Pansie! and here I will wager my second most valuable possession in support of my assertion. But this little Heartsease of ours fancies that anything and everything in our flora is better worth looking at than is she herself, which, although an opinion becoming to her modesty, is a very erroneous one.
I will draw for you the picture Milor looked at.
I dare not ask Pansie to sketch in the background of pine-clad mountains, and azure, cloud-flecked sky, though she would really do it much better than I could by any possibility, so I will just leave the reader to imagine that for himself, or herself, supposing no masculine eyes ever peruse these idle productions of our leisure moments.
In the foreground was the handsome English barouche with papa's crest upon the panels; the strong, clumsy-looking horses, down upon whose flanks the lash from Gilbert's whip was descending ; Gilbert's livery in contradistinction to the nondescript attire of M. le Voiturier, half French, half Swiss; our maid behind. In the wide body of the carriage mamma, with her pale patrician face, leaning back amongst the cushions, and Pansie by her side ; and Pansie's head is half turned, I aver it, for a last look at the little auberge where the two figures stand just without the door; and that little face is one of the loveliest that one could ever look upon. Pansie's beauty partakes a great deal of mamma's patrician delicacy ; her skin is like the transparent petal of a little wind-flower, with all the blue veins traced upon her temples and neck; and her colour is always varying, now mantling rosy beneath the white skin, then dying softly away in the faintest of pinks. But when that colour comes richly, and the violet eyes light up, our little Pansie can hold her own in the ranks of beauty against all other blossome. She has a small straight nose, and a mouth, to use her own expression, all quivering with sensitive feelings.
We are both of us revelling in freedom from the constraint imposed by society, and so refuse to let Mad'line's fingers braid up our tresses when we make our toilettes, but leave them to the tender mercy of the mountain breezes that blow them into wild curls. Pansie's are akin to the sunbeams in colour, and to a skein of silk in texture.
(You shall write no more of such nonsense, Violet.) I take the pen from her fingers, and close the book, which shuts with a spring lock, and lay it inside my valise, while Violet turns away, laughing, to the window.
CHAPTER IV.-Don QUIXOTE AND DIOGENES. To the two young men left standing at the door of the auberge, when the carriage containing Sir William and Lady Trevor and their daughters drove away from the little inn situated upon the Swiss mountain frontier, a prolonged stay at this most inhospitable house of entertainment offered no temptations. When the Trevor carriage was fairly out of sight, the elder of the two, by name Ernest De l'Orme, pulled a rueful face.
“ What is your intention may I ask, beloved, in consigning us to this charming retreat for an indefinite length of time?”
“I had no intention in it,” said Lord Haig, walking back to his companion's side from the outpost of observation where he had stationed himself that he might keep the carriage in view as long as the winding road would permit. “I did not think of anything but of enabling the ladies to get more comfort than this miserable inn would afford them, and left reflection for the time when they should be gone."
“ Enacting Don Quixote as usual. But, my dear fellow, our own accommodation is not a matter of such perfect indifference as you seem to imagine it. Fancy spending a night in such a place as this! Why, a hundred guineas will not procure for us one smokeable cigar, and all the wealth of the Indies cannot furnish us with decent beds."
"If it is bad for us it would have been infinitely worse for the ladies-a fact you do not seem to consider in the least.”
“ Self, my friend, is the first ruler in this world. When other people consider me, it will be quite time enough for me to ponder how uncomfortable I can make myself to oblige them.”
“De l'Orme, you disgust me with such sentiments. I would quarrel with you for them, but that I know you don't mean them."