Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

“And therefore there is no harm in my any harm, ha, ha, ha! We must reverse telling people. I still think, though, be- the adage." tween you and me, that this isn't quite Mary felt desolate. She had not a thoall, and that you have played your cards roughly religious friend among her acvery badly."

quaintance; she knew nothing of the con"Let me entreat you, papa, not to use solations of religion. She had a dim idea that expression any more about it. It is there were such, and wished they could hardly worthy of the occasion.”

be brought to her, but it was only in a “Faith, the occasion itself is not a very vague, impotent way. She went to no worthy one, I think! A lovers' tiff, car- parties; it was not expected of her; all ried to such length as to break off an ad- her little world knew there had been an vantageous settlement."

affair of the heart—or at least a project“I had no idea, papa, you would be ed marriage; and they would have been 80 willing to lose me at a moment's surprised if she had immediately come notice."

among them. Laura remained at home Without answering this, he said, “In to keep her company, though she found fact, I know the matter of your quarrel it very dull. Captain Beaufort went to his by intuition, just as well as if you told card-parties as usual. As for Lord Harry, me. It's all about Lord Harry; and I Mary neither went nor wrote to him for don't know that Dalmayne's umbrage is a while, feeling him to be in some sort altogether surprising."

the origin of her troubles, and not quite "Why now, papa, did not you yourself forgiving him for it. Laura thought his desire me to go to him ? "

case hard, and went instead, and brought " Just that once; but certainly if I were back kind messages. Lord Harry knew a spirited young fellow, engaged to a pret- her heart was sore, and respected her sorty girl always running after an invalid row. One day he sent her a kinder mesold nobleman with as flattering a tongue sage than usual; saying it would be a as any in Christendom-"

pleasure to see her face, if she did not Oh, papa, papal to turn round on me speak a word. Captain Beaufort had just in this way! after encouraging and urg- been telling her that people were begining me to be attentive to him— " ning to talk strangely of her shutting her

"Attentive ? yes; only you see Dal- self up in this way, and to think that mayne didn't like it, and you wouldn't either she must have thought Dalmayne give up, and he saw you were unyield- very much to blame, or that he must have ing, and took fire and bolted. Well, well, thought her so. Stung by this, and rather Mary, it's no use crying now. I hope he tired of remaining in-doors, Mary resolvmay yet write and make it up; but you 'ed to go forth. She would begin by callhave certainly made a pretty mess of it.” ing on Mrs. Forsyth, a lady she had only

To avoid altercations like these, and be- known recently, whose society was rather cause she was really ill from distress of mixed, comprising some of the gay and mind, Mary kept her room for a few days, some of the religious world. Two other and Laura was very kind to her. To do visitors who had preceded her were talkjustice to Captain Beaufort, he confined ing so loudly and eagerly that they did himself as nearly as could be expected of not hear her announced. One of them him to the few facts Mary had given him. was saying, “I would not condemn her “Yes, he's off-the thing was too good, for going to him if it were for the least you know, to refuse, and he was obliged spiritual good, but merely to amuse the to obey orders; and Mary had no time to vacant hours of a poor old man like: get ready, and we could not have spared Lord Harry, with one foot in the her, you know, in that sudden way; so “Miss Beaufort!" repeated the servant they must wait — they're both young in a louder voice. There was an abrupt enough. The fair wird set in very un- pause. Mary's heart had for a moment. fairly! 'Tis a fair wind that blows nobody stopped beating, and now it was palpitato.

grave

[ocr errors]

ing violently. Mrs. Forsyth came for- not say it, because when he went to ward with outstretched hand and the you he found you had gone to Lord kindest manner. There was a little con- Harry." fusion and bustle, owing to the other two “All that is true, but," visitors hastily paying their parting com- "They gave no more facts—the rest pliments and going out, one of them look- was only animadversion." ing very red, the other darting a search

“But why-" ing look at Mary. When they were gone, They called Lord Harry selfish to Mrs. Forsyth took her cold hand in both monopolize you at such a time, and you her own, and drew her to a seat beside very ... very thoughtless of General Dalner on a couch. “I am so glad to see mayne to be out of the way at such a you," said she, very kindly.

time." Mary was very pale. She almost feared “Why, of course, if I had had the least to trust her voice. Directly she did so, idea—" her self-command gave way; large tears “Yes, yes, that is so often the case coursed her cheeks.

with us all. We so often commit some “I'm so sorry for you. Don't speak," fatal imprudence, when, if we had had said Mrs. Forsyth, kinder still, if possible. the least idea of the consequences, we You have had a shock of some sort, I would have avoided it. I pity you, my understand, and, with all your strength dear Miss Beaufort, very much indeed; of mind, have not yet been quite able to however, it will all come right, rely upget over it. No need for words. I feel on it. You will laugh at it all some of for you with great sympathy."

these days." “Those people," gasped Mary.—“Oh, Never," said Mary, in a low voice. who minds those people ? They live on

"And then, what more did they say?" what they fetch and carry. They have “Nothing. At least, just as you came no affairs of their own to take interest in, in, Lady Kitty was saying she should and so they meddle with those of other think nothing of your visits to Lord Harpeople. Everybody values them at what ry if you were caring for his spiritual inthey are worth.”

terests; which really was laughably ab“I don't know what they say about surd, coming from her, you know, because me—at least I only heard a half sen- she has always been a complete worldtence,” said Mary, drying her eyes and ling, and it is only because she would see trying to smile, "only why should they what one or two of our fashionable devotalk of me at all ?"

tees could find attractive in a popular “That is a liberty, unfortunately, that Methodist preacher, that she went to nobody can hinder them of; but, if it be hear him and picked up a few of his any consolation to you, they really said phrases. But you know a wise person will nothing very bad. Would you like to take counsel even from an enemy. I hear the sum total of it?"

have not the privilege of knowing Lord “Yes.”

Harry myself, but I know him by report They said, I knew of course it was to be a man of wit and intellect, a good all off between you and General Dal- deal spoilt by the fashionable world, and mayne. Then one corrected the other, with very little interest in the world to and qualified the assertion by saying that come. At least, that is what I have at all events the marriage was post- heard—is it correct?" poned."

“Yes, in a certain sense it is," said “Why, of course it is, "said Mary, with Mary. burning cheeks, “when I am here and he “Furthermore, I have been told that is on his way to the West Indies !" he, a man old enough to be your grand

“She said so, and that he had been or- father, with no young people of his own dered off at a moment's notice, and had about him, and with the natural yearning scarcely time to say good-by, and could we all have for the young and ingenuous,

a

[ocr errors]

haskong manifested the most fatherly in- that will bear comparison with the pretty terest in you, and your sister, who, with compliments so gracefully uttered by this your father's entire concurrence, have dreadful old lord ?” been to him as daughters."

“ He is the last man in the world to Yes, that is true, every word of it," ask himself such a question," said Mary, said Mary.

laughing a little. “ Dalmayne has not a "He has always had failing health, I bad opinion of himself.” believe," said Mrs. Forsyth, " and this "Well, I am very absurd to put words year everybody knows he has had a in his mouth he is unlikely to utter," said seizure of a very alarming kind. The pub- Mrs. Forsyth, glad to see her smile. “We lic took interest in it—the public prints will leave him to make his own speeches; gave frequent bulletins—he was not ex- and very teiling ones, no doubt, they are. pected to live—his recovery caused quite You have a gift for letter-writing, I'm a sensation. As he got better, he natu- told. 'Tis an immense power intrusted rally was anxious that you and your sis- to some women. I am sure that you will ter should help to relieve the tedium of not abuse nor neglect it—that your letconvalescence."

ters will be even more enchanting to him “ Yes, that is exactly it, dear Mrs. than your conversation, that he will get Forsyth!"

them by rote, and weary to hasten back "Lady Juliana told me about it, and to the writer.” how kind and daughterly you both were A light dawned in Mary's eyes. to him. She said you contributed very if he does not write to me," she said materially to his recovery. She was very slowly. grateful to you."

“Might not you write first ?"And he was very grateful, too, I as- "Well, no; I think not." sure you. More so than there was need. “You must know best;" said Mrs. For after all, what did we give up to him? Forsyth, doubtfully, “only beware of letHalf an hour or an hour of our time, one ting punctilio mar your happiness.” or other of us, daily.”

Oh, I expect to hear from him. And "But then you were engaged to be I shall rejoice to write in return." married. And your lover, just like a man, “Oh, then, all's well on that score. and a young man, wished to engross you Absence may be borne very well, if entirely—could make no allowances for there's no estrangement. Forsyth and I your old friend-grew jealous of him, in were apart five years; but we never lost fact."

heart. He said my letters strengthened “If he would ever have been at the and comforted him more than anything pains to understand the footing on which else did. So may yours do to General we were," began Mary.

Dalmayne. Their influence will be puri“Why, they do say," observed Mrs. fying--they will keep him from seeking Forsyth, smiling, " that Lord Harry has or yielding to ignoble pleasures. You will the most beguiling tongue of any man learn more of each other's minds than in living—that his power of delicately flat- any other possible way. And now, if I tering is such as to outweigh, with any have not said too much already —" woman, all the advantages of youth, looks, “Oh, you know not how I value what and health."

you say." “His flattery never hurts me," said “One word, then, about Lord Harry. Mary.

To act fairly by General Dalmayne, you "Flattery is very hurtful, however, in must conduct yourself in his absence exitself," said Mrs. Forsyth; "and I don't actly as if in his presence; or with more wonder that General Dalmayne, knowing caution. Lord Harry really has, or may its universal effect, should dread its power be supposed to have, as Lady Kitty said, on you. He might ask himself, how can one foot in the grave; he cannot live a poor fellow such as I am ever say things long; he may die soon. If he were to

66

6

[ocr errors]

die to-morrow nubody would be much tell you that. Look for opportunities; surprised. You say he is grateful for they will be sure to offer. Some other your kindness; might you not give people are coming in to interrupt ushim something to be still more grateful how tiresome! And we leave London en for, by smoothing the way to hopes and route for Lisbon to-morrow." privileges of a higher sort-happiness . “Oh, how sorry I am! that this world can neither give nor take “I am sorry too, but I am very glad

to have had this talk. Good-bye, (kissing “I wish I could—but how?"

her) my best wishes attend you. I shall “Your own excellent judgment will often think of you."

(To be continued.)

away?"

[ocr errors]

VOICES OF THE SPRING. To a well-instructed mind there is them as affording striking and easily apnothing in the constitution and the course prehended illustration of spiritual truths of Nature which is without significance. which they wished to teach. Or, they Scepticism, in its dark bewildered dreams, take them as suggestive, either on the may empty the universe of God. It may principle of analogy or of contrast, of see in it only an aggregation of unintelli- trains of reflection, which from a startinggent forces, which, for some reason not point in the material and the sensible, explained, act in a certain orderly man- lead up to the higher realms of thought, ner; or else, admitting in words the and bring out the mind into richer and existence of a Creator, it may so merge broader views of God and of the universe, him in the Creation, as to make him only than it had ever obtained before. Such an impersonal principle of life and power a use of the great facts which Divine -a principle which has neither con- Providence is daily causing to pass before sciousness nor will, except as it embodies our eyes is certainly altogether legitimate itself in the forms of finite existence. But and proper. a rational faith delights in a personal Is it not true that, in the entire cirDeity. It sees in the order, the life, the cle of natural events which attract our beauty, and the infinitely varied phenom- notice, there is none more full of interest ena of the natural world the expression -none that appeals more powerfully to of his thoughts and the illustration of his the imagination and the nicer sensibiliattributes.

ties—none better fitted to open to the To one who has such a faith, Nature mind wide and delightful fields of thought, appears as a rich and instructive volume, than the coming on of spring-time? How which the Self-existent, the Eternal, the beautiful it is! How grateful to all the Unsearchable has written to disclose senses are its peculiar influences! With himself; written of his own good pleas- what a genial power does it affect the ure, and with intelligent and definite de- finer feelings of all susceptible natures! sign. The lessons so set forth are regard- Who—in the sunny days of childhood, or ed as worthy to be profoundly studied. in those youthful years when quick affecEach object has its own particular truth tions, and longings indefinite but restless, to tell, if it be questioned; and each new and dreamy fancies, bright and warm in aspect, which is presented by the orderly their ideal coloring, had full possession succession of changes occurring in the es- of the mind-has not been conscious, tablished economy of the world, is found when the sweet spring came breathing to be suggestive of some thoughts which in his face, and waking life and beauty are adapted to afford enlargement to the all around him, that a more than magic understanding and proît to the heart. spell was working on his heart ? There

Most of the sacred writers abound in are few, we are inclined to think, who, allusions to the objects, the scenery, and even amidst the cares and contests which the events of Nature. They refer to usually fill the active period of middle

[ocr errors]

guage when he

sears;

life, or in the indifference which often to describe the objects and the scenes marks the season of old age, are al- which kindled it within their souls, and together insensible to the peculiar im- the intensity of the delight which it arpressions which the sight of Nature, in forded, than minutely to analyze or to the process of renewing all her faded define the thing itself. Vague as their glories, is fitted to produce. There are utterances often are, when treating on many who cannot witness this renewing the subject, they are yet sufficiently inof the face of Nature without feeling each telligible to the majority of thoughtful day new thrills of pleasure stirring deep persons, because such persons find in within their hearts. It may well inter- their own hearts a commentary on the est one to look a little into the grounds somewhat shadowy expressions. It reor causes of this pleasure, which the as- quired a great poet to express the thought pect of Nature, in this her reviving season, so happily; but there are thousands in eo generally affords.

every walk of life who can adopt his lanIt is the result, we believe, in part, of

says: a constitutional sympathy with natural life, embodied as it is in beauty, which is

“ Thanks to the human heart, by which we

live; one of the finer endowments of our being.

Thanks to its tenderness, its joys and This sympathy we believe to be an essential element of humanity; yet it is To me the meanest flower that blows can felt, by different individuals, in almost give infinitely various degrees, according to

Thoughts that do often lie too deep for

tears!" the peculiar culture or temperament of each. Some writers have endeavored to With this capacity of having our hearts explain it on the principle of association. warmed with affectionate and sympaWe have no faith in any such solution. thetic feeling towards the living forms It were as well to say that it is by the of the material world, it is but natural law of association that the harp-string that, when the God of providence returns vibrates to the wind. God, the Creator, the spring-time of the year, it should, in made man a living soul. Life is the very all healthful and well-regulated minds, essence of our being; and while life it- produce an exuberance of pleasurable self, and all its manifold phenomena, are emotions. The grass, that changes the mysteries, profound and inscrutable mys- leaden dullness of the fields into a life-like teries to us, yet certainly it does not hue; the myriads of germs that from strike us as unreasonable to suppose that their quickened seeds are starting forth; life in its highest forms has, by a law the opening of bud and blossom on every of its own nature, a direct, immediate, tree and shrub; the waking of the flowinstinctive sympathy with life in ev- ers; the gambols of the insect tribes, ery form and in all its manifestations. On warmed into new animation and activthe contrary, such a belief we hold to be ity; the cheerful melody of birds; in most truly philosophical, and to be fully short, the innumerable sights and sounds sustained by an appeal to consciousness. by which all nature proclaims that all

The fact, however, that between the her processes of animal and vegetable life human soul and living Nature there is are efficiently and harmoniously advanca quick, and often deep and tender sym- ing; all these, both separately and in pathy, in whatever light it may be their combined effect, address the soul viewed, is a very familiar one. Like through all the avenues of sense. other sympathies, it is refined by culture, Wherever we look, over the whole doand is rendered more lively and fervent main of vital organization, there is not by indulgence. Its precise nature cannot an object but appears to be arraying itbe expressed in words. The poets, who, self in loveliness, or in some way showbecause they have felt it exquisitely, have ing forth its highest charms, as if by way loved to celebrate it, have rather sought of attracting to itself a share in the affec

m

a

a

« ElőzőTovább »