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A bushman a-love-story


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A bushman a-love-story

  1. 1. A Love Story A BushmanRelease date: 2005-09-01Source: Bebook
  2. 2. A Love StorybyA Bushman.Vol. I. "My thoughts, like swallows, skim themain, And bear my spirit back againOver the earth, and through the air, Awild bird and a wanderer."1841.
  3. 3. To Lady Gipps This Work Is RespectfullyInscribed, By A Grateful Friend.
  4. 4. Preface.
  5. 5. The author of these pages considered thata lengthened explanation might benecessary to account for the present work.He had therefore, at some length, detailedthe motives that influenced him in itscomposition. He had shown that as asolitary companionless bushman, it hadbeen a pleasure to him in his loneevenings "To create, and in creating live A beingmore intense."He had expatiated on the love he bears hisadopted country, and had stated that hewas greatly influenced by the hope thatalthough "Sparta hath many a worthier son thanhe,"
  6. 6. this work might be the humblecornerstone to some enduring and highlyornamented structure.The author however fortunatelyremembered, that readers have but littlesympathy with the motives of authors; butexpect that their works should amuse orinstruct them. He will therefore contenthimself, with giving a quotation from oneof those old authors, whose "well ofEnglish undefined" shames our modernwriters.He intreats that the indulgence prayed forby the learned Cowell may be accorded tohis humble efforts."My true end is the advancement ofknowledge, and therefore have Ipublished this poor work, not only toimpart the good thereof, to those young
  7. 7. ones that want it, but also to draw from thelearned, the supply of my defects."Whosoever will charge these travails withmany oversights, he shall need no solemnpains to prove them."And upon the view taken of this booksithence the impression, I dare assurethem, that shall observe most faultstherein, that I, by gleaning after him, willgather as many omitted by him, as he shallshew committed by me."What a man saith well is not, however, tobe rejected, because he hath some errors;reprehend who will, in Gods name, that is,with sweetness, and without reproach."So shall he reap hearty thanks at myhands, and thus more soundly help in afew months, than I by tossing and tumbling
  8. 8. my books at home, could possibly havedone in some years."
  9. 9. A Love Story
  10. 10. Chapter I.The Family.
  11. 11. "It was a vast and venerable pile." "Oh, mayst thou ever be as now thou art,Nor unbeseem the promise of thy spring."The mansion in which dwelt the Delm� wasone of wide and extensive range. Its centreslightly receded, leaving a wing on eitherside. Fluted ledges, extending the wholelength of the building, protruded aboveeach story. These were supported byquaint heads of satyr, martyr, or laughingtriton. The upper ledge, which concealedthe roof from casual observers, was ofconsiderably greater projection. Placedabove it, at intervals, were balls of marble,which, once of pure white, had now caughtthe time-worn hue of the edifice itself. Ateach corner of the front and wings, theballs were surmounted by the familydevice--the eagle with extended wing.
  12. 12. One claw closed over the stone, and thebird rode it proudly an it had been theglobe. The portico, of a pointed Gothic,would have seemed heavy, had it not beenlightened by glass doors, the vivid coloursof which were not of modern date. Theseadmitted to a capacious hall, where,reposing on the wide-spreading antlers ofsome pristine tenant of the park, gleamedmany a piece of armour that in days ofyore had not been worn ingloriously.The Delm�family was an old Norman one,on whose antiquity a peerage could haveconferred no new lustre. At the periodwhen the aristocracy of Great Britain lentthemselves to their own diminution ofimportance, by the prevalent system ofrejecting the poorer class of tenantry, inmany instances the most attached,--theconsequence was foreseen by the thenproprietor of Delm�Park, who, spurning
  13. 13. the advice of some interested few aroundhim, continued to foster those whoseancestors had served his. The Delm� werethus enabled to retain--and they deservedit--that fair homage which rank andproperty should ever command. As afamily they were popular, and asindividuals universally beloved.At the period we speak of, theDelm�family consisted but of threemembers: the baronet, Sir Henry Delm�his brother George, some ten years hisjunior, a lieutenant in a light infantryregiment at Malta; and one sister, Emily,Emily Delm�was the youngest child; hermother dying shortly after her birth. Thefather, Sir Reginald Delm� a man of strongfeelings and social habits, neverrecovered this blow. Henry Delm�wasbarely fifteen when he was called to thebaronetcy and to the possession of the
  14. 14. Delm�estates. It was found that SirReginald had been more generous thanthe world had given him credit for, andthat his estates were much encumbered.The trustees were disposed to restcontented with paying off the strictly legalclaims during Sir Henrys minority. This theyoung heir would not accede to. He waitedon his most influential guardian--told himhe was aware his father, from hospitalityand good nature, had incurred obligationswhich the law did not compel his son topay; but which he could not but think thatequity and good feeling did. He beggedthat these might be added to the otherclaims, and that the trustees wouldendeavour to procure him a commission inthe army. He was gazetted to a cornetcy;and entered life at an age when, if themanlier traits are ready to be developed,the worthless ones are equally sure tounfold themselves. Few of us that have not
  15. 15. found the first draught of life intoxicate!Few of us that have not then run wild, ascolts that have slipped their bridle!Experience--that mystic word--is wanting;the retrospect of past years wakes no sigh;expectant youth looks forward to futureones without a shade of distrust. The mindis elastic--the body vigorous and free frompain; and it is then youth inwardly feels,although not daring to avow it, the almosttotal impossibility that the mind shouldwax less vigorous, or the body growhelpless, and decay.But Sir Henry was cast in a finer mould, nordid his conduct at this dangerous perioddetract from this his trait of boyhood. Hejoined his regiment when before theenemy, and, until he came of age, neverdrew on his guardians for a shilling.Delm�s firmness of purpose, and his afterprudence, met with their due reward. The
  16. 16. family estates became whollyunencumbered, and Sir Henry wasenabled to add to the too scanty provisionof his sister, as well as to make up toGeorge, on his entering the army, a summore than adequate to all his wants. Thesecircumstances were enough to endear himto his family; and, in truth, amidst all itsmembers, there prevailed a confidenceand an unanimity which were never for aninstant impaired. There was oneconsequence, however, of Sir HenryDelm�s conduct that _he_, at the least,foresaw not, but which was gradually andunconsciously developed. In pursuing theline of duty he had marked out--in actingup to what he knew was right--his mindbecame _too_ deeply impressed with thecircumstances which had given rise to hisdetermination. It overstepped its object.The train of thought, to which necessitygave birth, continued to pervade when
  17. 17. that necessity no longer existed. His wishto re-establish his house grew into anardent desire to aggrandize it. Hisambition appeared a legitimate one. Itgrew with his years, and increased with hisstrength.Many a time, on the lone bivouac, whenhome presents itself in its fairest colours tothe soldiers mind, would Delm�s prayerbe embodied, that his house might againbe elevated, and that his descendantsmight know _him_ as the one to whom theywere indebted for its rise. Delm�sambitious thoughts were created amidstdangers and toil, in a foreign land, and farfrom those who shared his name. But hisheart swelled high with them as he againtrod his native soil in peace--as he gazedon the home of his fathers, and communedwith those nearest and dearest to him onearth. Sir Henry considered it incumbent
  18. 18. on him to exert every means that lay in hispower to promote his grand object. Aconnection that promised rank andhonours, seemed to him an absoluteessential that was worth any sacrifice. SirHenry never allowed himself to look for, orgive way to, those sacred sympathies,which the God of nature hath implanted inthe breasts of all of us. Delm�had arrivedat middle age ere a feeling incompatiblewith his views arose. But his had been adangerous experiment. Our hearts orminds, or whatever it may be that takes theimpression, resemble some crystallinelake that mirrors the smallest object, andheightens its beauty; but if it once getsmuddied or ruffled, the most lovely objectceases to be reflected in its waters. By thetime that lake is clear again, the fairy formthat ere while lingered on its bosom is fledfor ever.
  19. 19. Thus much in introducing the head of thefamily. Let us now attempt to sketch thegentle Emily.Emily Delm�was not an ordinary being. Touncommon talents, and a mind of mostrefined order, she united great femininepropriety, and a total absence of those artswhich sometimes characterise those towhom the accident of birth has givenimportance. With unerring discrimination,she drew the exact line between vivacityand satire, true religion and its semblance.She saw through and pitied those who,pluming themselves on the faults of others,and imparting to the outward man theascetic inflexibility of the inner one, wouldfain propagate on all sides their rigidcreed, forbidding the more favouredcommoners of nature even to sip joyschalice. If not a saint, however, but a fair,confiding, and romantic girl, she was good
  20. 20. without misanthropy, pure withoutpretension, and joyous, as youth andhopes not crushed might make her. Shewas one of those of whom society mightjustly be proud. She obeyed its dictateswithout question, but her feelingsunderwent no debasement from thecontact. If not a child of nature, she was byno means the slave of art.Emily Delm�was more beautiful thanstriking. She impressed more than sheexacted. Her violet eye gleamed withfeeling; her smile few could gaze onwithout sympathy--happy he who mightrevel in its brightness! If aught gave apeculiar tinge to her character, it was thepride she felt in the name she bore,--thisshe might have caught from Sir Henry,--theinterest she took in the legends connectedwith that name, and the gratification whichthe thought gave her, that by her
  21. 21. ancestors, its character had been butrarely sullied, and never disgraced.These things, it may be, she hadaccustomed herself to look on in a light tooglowing: for these things and all mundaneones are vain; but her character did notconsequently suffer. Her lip curled notwith hauteur, nor was her brow raised oneshadow the more. The remembrance of theold Baronetcy were on the ensanguinedplain,--of the matchless loyalty of a fatherand five valiant sons in the cause of theRoyal Charles,--the pondering over tomes,which in language obsolete, but true,spoke of the grandeur--the deservedgrandeur of her house; these might berecollections and pursuits, followed withan ardour too enthusiastic, but they stayednot the hand of charity, nor could theycheck pitys tear. If her eye flashed as shegazed on the ancient device of her family,
  22. 22. reposing on its time worn pedestal, itcould melt to the tale of the houselesswanderer, and sympathise with thesorrows of the fatherless.
  23. 23. Chapter II.The Album.
  24. 24. "Oh that the desert were my dwellingplace, With one fair spirit for my minister; That I might all forget the human race,And, hating no one, love but only her."A cheerful party were met in the drawingroom of Delm� Clarendon Gage, aneighbouring land proprietor, to whomEmily had for a twelvemonth beenbetrothed, had the night previous returnedfrom a continental tour. In consequence,Emily looked especially radiant,Delm�much pleased, and Clarendonsuperlatively happy. Nor must we passover Mrs. Glenallan, Miss Delm�s worthyaunt, who had supplied the place of amother to Emily, and who now sat in heraccustomed chair, with an almost sunnybrow, quietly pursuing her monotonoustambouring. At times she turned to admireher niece, who occasionally walked to the
  25. 25. glass window, to caress and feed animpudent white peacock; which onemoment strutted on the wide terrace, andat another lustily tapped for his bread at neof the lower panes."I am glad to see you looking so well,Clarendon!""And I can return the compliment, Delm�Few, looking at you now, would take youfor an old campaigner."The style of feature in Delm�andClarendon was very dissimilar. Sir Henrywas many years Gages senior; but hismanly bearing, and dark decided features,would bear a contrast with even the talland elegant, although slight form ofClarendon. The latter was very fair, andwhat we are accustomed to callEnglish-looking. His hair almost, but not
  26. 26. quite, flaxen, hung in thick curls over hisforehead, and would have given aneffeminate expression to the face, were itnot for the peculiar flash of the clear blueeye."Come! Clarendon," said Emily, "I willimpose a task. You have written twice inmy album; once, years ago, and thesecond time on the eve of our parting.Come! you shall read us both effusions,and then write a sonnet to our happymeeting. Would that dear George werehere now!"Gage took up the book. It was amoderately-sized volume, bound incrimson velvet. It was the fashion to keepalbums _then_. It glittered not in a bindingof azure and gold, nor were its momentoussecrets enclosed by one of Bramahs locks.The Spanish proverb says, "Tell me who
  27. 27. you are with, and I will tell you what youare." Ours, in that album age, used to be,"Show me your scrap book, I will tell youyour character." Emilys was not onecommencing with-- "I never loved a dear gazelle!"and ending with stanzas on the"Forget-me-not." It had not thosehackneyed but beautiful lines addressedby Mr. Spencer to Lady Crewe-- "I stayd too late: forgive the crime!Unheeded flew the hours; For noiselessfalls the foot of Time. That only treads onflowers."Nor contained it those sublime, but yetmore common ones, on Sir John Mooresdeath; which lines, by the bye, havesuffered more from that mischief-making,
  28. 28. laughter-loving creature, Parody, than anylines we know. It was not one of thesebooks. Nor was it the splendid scrap book,replete with superb engravings andproof-impression prints; nor at all allied tothe sentimental one of a garrison flirt,containing locks of hair of at least fivegentlemen, three of whom are officers inthe army. Nor, lastly, was it of that genuswhich has vulgarity in its very title-page,and is here and there interspersed withdevilish imps, or caricatured likenesses ofthe little proprietress, all done in mostinfinite humour, and marking the familiarfriendship, of some half-dozen whiskeredcubs, having what is technically called therun of the house. No! it was a repository forfeeling and for memory, and, in its fairpages, presented an image of Emilysheart. Many of these were marked, it istrue; and what human beings character isunchequered? But it was blotless; and the
  29. 29. virgin page looks not so white as when thecontrast of the sable ink is there.Clarendon read aloud his firstcontribution--who knows it not? The verywords form a music, and that music isMetastasios, "Placido zeffiretto, Se trovi il carooggetto, Digli che sei sospiro Ma non glidir di chi, Limpido ruscelletto, Se maitincontri in lei, Digli che pianto sei, Manon le dir qual eiglio Crescer ti fe cosi.""And now, Emily! for my parting tribute--ifI remember right, it was sorrowfulenough."Gage read, with tremulous voice, thefollowing, which we will christen THE FAREWELL.
  30. 30. I will not be the lightsome lark, Thatcarols to the rising morn,-- Id rather besome plaintive bird Lulling nights earforlorn. I will not be the green, green leaf,Mingling midst thousand leaves andflowers That shed their fairy charmsaround To deck Springs joyous bowers. Id rather be the one red leaf, Wavingmidst Autumns sombre groves:-- On theheart to breathe that sadness Whichcontemplation loves. I will not be the morning ray, Dancingupon the rivers crest, All light, all motion,when the stream Turns to the sun herbreast. Id rather be the gentle shade,
  31. 31. Lengthening as eve comes stealing on,And rest in pensive sadness there, Whenthose bright rays are gone. I will not be a smile to play Upon thycoral lip, and shed Around it sweetness,like the sun Risen from his crimson bed. Oh, no! Ill be the tear that steals In pityfrom that eye of blue, Making the cheekmore lovely red, Like rose-leaf dippd indew. I will not be rememberd when Mirthshall her pageant joys impart,-- A dreamto sparkle in thine eye, Yet vanish fromthy heart. But when pensive sadness clouds thee,When thoughts, half pain, half pleasure,steal Upon the heart, and memory dothThe shadowy past reveal.
  32. 32. When seems the bliss of former years,--Too sweet, too pure, to feel again,-- Andlong lost hours, scenes, friends, return,Remember me, love--then!"Ah, Clarendon! how often have I readthose lines, and thought--but I will notthink now! Here come the letters! Henrywill soon be busy--I shall finish mydrawing--and aunt will finish--no! shenever _can_ finish her tambour work. Takemy portfolio and give me anothercontribution!" Gage now wrote "TheReturn," which we insert for the readersapproval:-- THE RETURN. When the blue-eyed morn doth peepOver the soft hills verdant steep, Lightingup its shadows deep, Ill think of thee,
  33. 33. love, _then!_ When the lightsome lark doth sing Hergrateful song to Natures King, Making allthe woodlands ring, Ill think of thee,love, _then!_ Or when plaintive Philomel Shall mournher mate in some lone dell, And to thenight her sorrows tell, Ill think ofthee, love, _then!_ When the first green leaf of spring Shallpromise of the summer bring, And allaround its fragrance fling, Ill think ofthee, love, _then!_ Or when the last red leaf shall fall, Andwinter spread its icy pall, To mind me ofthe death of all, Ill think of thee, love,_then!_
  34. 34. When the lively morning ray Is dancingon the rivers spray, And sunshine gildsthe joyous day, Ill think of thee,love, _then_! And when the shades of eve steal on,Lengthening as lifes sun goes down, Likesweetest constancy alone, Ill thinkof thee, love, _then_! When I see a sweet smile play On corallips, like Phoebus ray, Making all lookwarm and gay, Ill think of thee,love, _then_! When steals the tear of pity, too, Oer acheek, whose crimson hue Looks likerose-leaf dippd in dew, Ill think ofthee, love, _then_! When mirths pageant joys unbind Thegloomy spells that chain my mind, And
  35. 35. make me dream of all thats kind, Illthink of thee, love, _then_! And when pensive sadness clouds me,When the host of memory crowds me,When the shadowy past enshrouds me, Ill think of thee, love, _then_! When seems the bliss of former years,--Too sweet, too pure, to feel again,-- Andlong lost hours, scenes, friends, return, Ill think of thee, love, _then_!
  36. 36. Chapter III.The Dinner.
  37. 37. "Hues which have words, and speak to yeof heaven." "Away! there need no words or termsprecise, The paltry jargon of the marblemart, Where pedantry gulls folly: wehave eyes."We are told by the members of thesilver-fork school, that no tale of fiction canbe complete unless it embody thedescription of a dinner. Let us, therefore,shutting from our view that white-limbedgum-tree, and dismissing from our tabletea and damper, [Footnote: _Damper_.Bushmans fare--unleavened bread] call onmemorys fading powers, and feast oncemore with the rich, the munificent, theintellectual Belliston Gr�e.Dinner! immortal faculty of eating! to what
  38. 38. glorious sense or pre-eminent passiondost thou not contribute? Is not love halffed by thy attractions? Beams ever the eyeof lover more bright than when, aftergazing with enraptured glance at thecoveted haunch, whose fat--a pure white;whose lean--a rich brown--invitingly awaitthe assault. When doth lovers eye sparklemore, than when, at such a moment, itlights on the features of the loved fair one?Is not the supper quadrille the mostdangerous and the dearest of all?Cherished venison! delicate white soup!spare young susceptible bosoms! Againwe ask, is not dinner the very aliment offriendship? the hinge on which it turns?Does a mans heart expand to you ere youhave returned his dinner? It would be follyto assert it. Cabinet dinners--corporationdinners--election dinners--and vestrydinners--and rail-road dinners--we pass
  39. 39. by these things, and triumphantlyask--does not _the_ Ship parexcellence--the Ship ofGreenwich--annually assemble under itsrevered roof the luminaries of the nation?Oh, whitebait! called so early to your lastaccount! a tear is all we give, but it flowsspontaneously at the memory of yoursorrows!As Mr. Belliston Gr�e was much talked ofin his day, it may not be amiss to say a fewwords regarding him. He was an onlychild, and at an early age lost his parents.The expense of his education wasdefrayed by a wealthy uncle, the secondpartner in a celebrated banking house. Histutor, with whom he may be said to havelived from boyhood--for his uncle had littlecommunication with him, except to write tohim one letter half-yearly, when he paidhis school bill--was a shy retiring
  40. 40. clergyman--a man of very extensiveacquirements, and a first rate classicalscholar. After a short time, the curate andyoung Gr�e became attached to eachother. The tutor was a bachelor, and Gr�ewas his only pupil. The latter was sooninoculated with the classical mania of hispreceptor; and, as he grew up, it was quitea treat to hear the pair discourse of Greeksand Romans. A stranger who had _then_heard them would have imagined thatThemistocles and Scipio Africanus werestars of the present generation. WhenGr�e was nineteen, his uncle invited him totown for a month--a most unusualproceeding. During this period he studiedclosely his nephews character. At the endof this term, Mr. Hargrave and his youngcharge were on their way to the classicalregions, where their fancy had been solong straying. They explored France, andthe northern parts of Italy--came on the
  41. 41. shores of the Adriatic--resided andsecretly made excavations near theamphitheatre of Polo--and finally reachedthe Morea. Not a crag, valley, or brook,that they were not conversant with beforethey left it. They at length tore themselvesaway; and found themselves at the ancientParthenope. It was at Pompeii Mr. Gr�efirst saw the beautiful Miss Vignoles, theMrs. Glenallan of our story; and, in astrange adventure with some Neapolitanguides, was of some service to her party.They saw his designs of some tombs, andtook the trouble of drawing him out. Theyoung man now for the first time basked inthe sweets of society; in a fortnight, to Mr.Hargraves horror, was rolling in its vortex;in a couple of months found himselfindulging in, and avowing, a hopelesspassion; and in three, was once again inhis native land, falsely deeming that hispeace of mind had fled for ever. He was
  42. 42. shortly, however, called upon to exert hisenergies. The death of his uncle suddenlymade him, to his very great surprise, oneof the wealthiest commoners of England.At this period he was quite unknown. In ashort time Mr. Hargrave and himself werelodged luxuriously--were deep in thepursuit of science, literature, and the bellearte--and on terms of friendship with thecleverest and most original men of theday. Mr. Gr�es occupations beingsedentary, and his habits very regular, heshortly found that his great wealth enabledhim, not only to indulge in every personalluxury at Rendlesham Park, but topatronise largely every literary work ofmerit. In him the needy man of geniusfound a friend, the man of wit a companion,and the publisher a generous customer.He became famous for his house, hislibrary, his exclusive society. But he didnot become spoilt by his prosperity, and
  43. 43. never neglected his old tutor.Our party from Delm�were ushered into alarge drawing-room, the sole light ofwhich was from an immense bow window,looking out on the extensive lawn. Thepanes were of enormous size, andbeautiful specimens of classique platedglass. The only articles of furniture, weresome crimson ottomans which served toset off the splendid paintings; and onetable of the Florentine manufacture ofpietra dura, on which stood a carved bijouof Benvenuto Cellinis. Our party wereearly. They were welcomed by Mr. Gr�ewith great cordiality, and by Mr. Hargravewith some embarrassment, for the tutorwas still the bashful man of former days.Mr. Gr�es dress shamed these degeneratedays of black stock and loose trowser.Diamond buckles adorned his knees, andfastened his shoes. His clear blue eye--the
  44. 44. high polished forehead--the deep lines ofthe countenance--revealed the man ofthought and intellect. The playful lipshewed he could yet appreciate a flash ofwit or spark of humour."Miss Delm� you are looking at mypaintings; let me show you my latepurchases. Observe this sweet Madonna,by Murillo! I prefer it to the one in theMunich Gallery. It may not boast Titiansglow of colour, or Raphaels grandeur ofdesign,--in delicate angelic beauty, it mayyield to the delightful efforts of Guidos orCorreggios pencil,--but surely no humanconception can ever have more touchinglyportrayed the beauteous resigned mother.The infant, too! how inimitably blended isthe God-like serenity of the Saviour, withthe fond and graceful witcheries of theloving child! How little we know of thebeauties of the Spanish school! Would I
  45. 45. could ransack their ancient monasteries,and bring a few of them to light!"You are a chess player! Pass not by thischeck-mate of Caravaggios. Whatundisguised triumph in one countenance!What a struggle to repress naturesfeelings in the other! Here is a Guido!sweet, as his ever are! He may justly bestyled the female laureat. What artist cancompete with him in delineating theblooming expression, or the tender, butlighter, shades of female loveliness? whocan pause between even the Fornarina,and that divine effort, the Beatrice Cenci ofthe Barberini?"The party were by this time assembled.Besides our immediate friends, there washis Grace the Duke of Gatten, agood-natured fox-hunting nobleman,whose estate adjoined Mr. Gr�es; there
  46. 46. was the Viscount Chamb�y, who hadpenned a pamphlet on finance--indited afolio on architecture--and astonishedEurope with an elaborate dissertation onmodern cookery; there was Charles Selby,the poet and essayist; Daintrey, thesculptor--a wonderful Ornithologist--adeep read Historian--a learnedOrientalist--and a novelist, from France;whose works exhibited such unheard ofhorrors, and made man and woman soirremediably vicious, as to make thisyoung gentleman celebrated, even inParis--that Babylonian sink of iniquity.Dinner was announced, and our host,giving his arm very stoically to Mrs.Glenallan, his love of former days, led theway to the dining-room. Round the tablewere placed beautifully carved oakenfauteuils, of a very old pattern. The serviceof plate was extremely plain, but of
  47. 47. massive gold. But the lamp! It was ofmagnificent dimensions! The light chainshanging from the frescoed ceiling, thelinks of which were hardly perceptible,were of silver, manufactured in Venice; thelower part was of opal-tinted glass, exactlyportraying some voluptuous couch, onwhich the beautiful Amphitrite might havereclined, as she hastened through beds ofcoral to crystal grot, starred withtransparent stalactites. In the centre of thisshell, were sockets, whence verged smallhollow golden tubes, resembling in shapeand size the stalks of a flower. At thedrooping ends of these, were lampsshaped and coloured to imitate the mostbeauteous flowers of the parterre. Thisbouquet of light had been designed by Mr.Gr�e. Few novelties had acquired greatercelebrity than the Gr�e astrale. The roomwas warmed by heating the pedestals ofthe statues.
  48. 48. "Potage �la fant�e, and �lourika.""I will trouble you, Gr�e," said my LordChamb�y, "for the fant�e. I have dined onla pritanni�e for the last three months, anda novel soup is a novel pleasure."Of the fish, the soles were �la Rowena, thesalmon �lamour. Emily flirted with thewing of a chicken saut�au supr�e,coquetted with perdrix perdu masqu��laMontmorenci, and tasted a boudin �laDiebitsch. The wines were excellent--theGeisenheim delicious--the Champagnesparkling like a pun of Jekylls. But nothingaroused the attention of the ViscountChamb�y so much as a liqueur, which Mr.Gr�e assured him was new, and had justbeen sent him by the Conte de Desir. Thedessert had been some time on the table,when the Viscount addressed his host.
  49. 49. "Gr�e! I am delighted to find that you atlength agree with me as to the monstroussuperiority of a French repast. Youromelette imaginaire was faultless, and asfor your liqueur, I shall certainly order asupply on my return to Paris.""That liqueur, my dear lord," replied Mr.Gr�e, "is good old cowslip mead, with aflask of Maraschino di Zara infused in it.For the rest, the dinner has been almost asimaginaire as the omelet. The greater partof the recipes are in an old English volumein my library, or perhaps some owe theirorigin to the fertile invention of myhousekeeper. Let us style them �laDoroth�.""Capital! I thank you, Gr�e!" said his Graceof Gatten, as he shook his host by thehand, till the tears stood in his eyes.
  50. 50. The prescient Chamb�y had made a gooddinner, and bore the joke philosophically.Coffee awaited the gentlemen in a smalloctagonal chamber, adjoining the musicroom. There stood Mr. Gr�es threefavourite modern statues:--a Venus, byCanova--a Discobole, byThorwaldson--and a late acquisition--theAriadne, of Dannecker."This is the work of an artist," said Mr.Gr�e, "little known in this country, but inGermany ranking quite as high asThorwaldson. This is almost a duplicate ofhis Ariadne at Frankfort, but the marble ismuch more pure. How wonderfully fine theexecution! Pray notice the bold profile ofthe face; how energetic her action as shesits on the panther!"Mr. Gr�e touched the spring of a window
  51. 51. frame. A curtain of crimson gauze fell overa globe lamp, and threw a rich shade onthe marble. The features remained asfinely chiselled, but their expression wastotally changed.They adjourned to the music-room, whichdeserved its title. Save some seats, whichwere artfully formed to resemble lyres,nothing broke the continuity of musicstones, which ascended majestically to thelofty dome, there to blend and wreath, andfall again. At one extremity of musics hallwas an organ; at the other a grand piano,built by a German composer. Ranged oncarved slabs, at intermediate distances,was placed almost every instrument thatmay claim a votary. Of viols, from theviolin to the double bass,--of instrumentsof brass, from trombones and basskettledrums even unto trumpet andcymbal,--of instruments of wood, from
  52. 52. winding serpents to octave flute,--and offiddles of parchment, from the grossecaisse to the tambourine. Nor were ancientinstruments wanting. These were of quaintforms and diverse constructions. Mr. Gr�ewould descant for hours on an antiquespecies of spinnet, which he procuredfrom the East, and which he vehementlyaverred, was the veritable dulcimer. Hewould display with great gusto, hisspecimens of harps of Israel; whosedeep-toned chorus, had perchance thrilledthrough the breast of more than one ofJudeas dark-haired daughters. Greece,too, had her representatives, to remind thespectators that there had been anOrpheus. There were flutes of the Doricand of the Phrygian mode, and--let usforget not--the Tyrrhenian trumpet, with itsbrazen-cleft pavilion. But by far the greaterpart of his musical relics he had acquiredduring his stay in Italy. He could show the
  53. 53. litui with their carved clarions--the twistedcornua--the tuba, a trumpet so long andtaper,--the concha wound by Tritons--andeke the buccina, a short and brattlinghorn.Belliston Gr�e was an enthusiasticmusician; and was in this peculiar, that heloved the science for its simplicity.Musicians are but too apt to give to musicsdetail and musics difficulties the homagethat should be paid to musics self: in thisresembling the habitual man of law, whooccasionally forgetteth the great principlesof jurisprudence, and invests withmysterious agency such words as latitatand certiorari. The soul of music may nothave fled;--for we cultivate herassiduously,--worship Handel--andappreciate Mozart. But music _now_springs from the head, not the heart; is notfor the mass, but for individuals. With our
  54. 54. increased researches, and cares, andtroubles, we have lost the faculty of beingpleased. Past are those careless days,when the shrill musette, or plain citternand virginals, could with their first straingive motion to the blythe foot of joy, or callfrom its cell the prompt tear of pity. Thosedays are gone! Music may affect some ofus as deeply, but none as readily!Mr. Gr�e had received from Paris anunpublished opera of Aubers. Emilyseated herself at the piano--her host tookthe violin--Clarendon was an excellentflute player--and the tinkle of theViscounts guitar came in veryharmoniously. By the time refreshmentswere introduced, Charles Selby too was inhis glory. He had already nearly convulsedthe Orientalist by a theory which he saidhe had formed, of a gradualmetempsychosis, or, at all events,
  55. 55. perceptible amalgamation, of the yellowQui Hi to the darker Hindoo; which saidtheory he supported by the most ingeniousarguments."How did you like your stay in Scotland,Mr. Selby?" said Sir Henry Delm�"I am a terrible Cockney, Sir Henry,--foundit very cold, and was very sulky. The onlyman I cared to see in Scotland was at theLakes; but I kept a register of events,which is now on the table in mydressing-room. If Gr�e will read it, for I ambut a stammerer, it is at your service."The paper was soon produced, and Mr.Gr�e read the following:--"THE BRAHMIN.
  56. 56. "A stranger arrived from a far and foreigncountry. His was a mind peculiarlyhumble, tremblingly alive to its owndeficiencies. Yet, endowed with thismistrust, he sighed for information, and hissoul thirsted in the pursuit of knowledge.Thus constituted, he sought the city he hadlong dreamingly looked up to as the site oftruth--Scotias capital, the modern Athens.In endeavouring to explore the mazes ofliterature, he by no means expected todiscover novel paths, but sought totraverse beauteous ones; feeling he couldrest content, could he meet with but oneflower, which some bolder and moreexperienced adventurer might haveallowed to escape him. He arrived, andcast around an anxious eye. He foundhimself involved in an apparent chaos--thewhirl of distraction--imbedded amidst aceaseless turmoil of would-be knowingstudents, endeavouring to catch the aroma
  57. 57. of the pharmacopaeia, or dive to the deeprecesses of Scotch law. He sought andcultivated the friendship of the literati; andanticipated a perpetual feast of soul, froma banquet to which one of the mostdistinguished members of a learned bodyhad invited him. He went with his mindbraced up for the subtleties ofargument--with hopes excited, heart elate.He deemed that the authenticity ofChampolions hieroglyphics might now bepermanently established, or a doubtthrown on them which would for everextinguish curiosity. He heard a doubtraised as to the probability of Dr. Knoxsconnection with Burkes murders!Disappointed and annoyed, he returned tohis hotel, determined to seek other meansof improvement; and to carefully observethe manners, customs, and habits of thebeings he was among. He enquired first asto their habits, and was presented with
  58. 58. scones, kippered salmon, and a gallon ofGlenlivet; as to their manners and ancientcostume, and was pointed out a short fatman, the head of his clan, whopromenaded the streets without trousers.Neither did he find the delineation of theircustoms more satisfactory. He was madenearly tipsy at a funeral--was shown how tocarve haggis--and a fit of bile was theconsequence, of his too plentifullypartaking of a superabundantly richcurrant bun. He mused over these defeatsof his object, and, unwilling to relinquishhis hitherto fruitless search,--reluctant todespair,--he bent his steps to that city,where utility preponderates overornament; that city which so earlyencouraged that most glorious ofinventions, by the aid of which he hoped,that the diminutive barks of hiscountrymen might yet be propelled, thussuperseding the ponderous paddle of
  59. 59. teak, He here expected to be involved inan intricate labyrinth of mechanicalinventions,--in a stormy discussion on thecomparative merits of rival machinery,--tobe immersed in speculative but gigantictheories. He was elected an honorarymember of a news-room; had his coatwhitened with cotton; and was obliged toconfess that he knew of no beverage thatcould equal their superb cold punch. Ourphilosopher now gave himself up todespair; but before returning to his ownwarm clime, he sought to discover thereason of his finding the flesh creep,where he had deemed the spirit wouldsoar. He at length came to the conclusionthat we are all slaves to the world and tocircumstances; and as, with his peculiarbelief, he could look on our sacred volumewith the eye of a philosopher, feltimpressed with the conviction that thehistory of Babels tower is but an allegory,
  60. 60. which says to the pride of man, "Thus far shall ye go, and no farther."The Brahmins adventures elicited muchamusement. In a short time, Selby was in ahot argument with the French novelist.Every now and then, as the Frenchmananswered him, he stirred his negus, andhummed a translation of "Id be a butterfly." "Erim papilio, Natus in flosculo."
  61. 61. Chapter IV.The Postman.
  62. 62. "Not in those visions, to the heartdisplaying Forms which it sighs but tohave only dreamd, Hath aught like theein truth or fancy seemd; Or, having seenthee, shall I vainly seek To paint thosecharms which, imaged as they beamd, Tosuch as see thee not, my words were weak; To those who gaze on thee, whatlanguage could they speak?"Delm�had long designed some internalimprovements in the mansion; and asworkmen would necessarily be employed,had proposed that our family party shouldpass a few weeks at a watering place, untilthese were completed. They were notwithout hopes, that George might therejoin them, as Emily had written to Malta,pressing him to be present at herwedding.
  63. 63. We have elsewhere said, that Sir Henryhad arrived at middle age, before onefeeling incompatible with his ambitiousthoughts arose. It was at Leamington thisfeeling had imperceptibly sprung up; andto Leamington they were now going.Is there an electric chain binding heartspredestined to love?Hath Providence ordained, that on our firstinterview with that being, framed to meetour wishes and our desires--the rainbow toour cloud, and the sun to ournoon-day--hath it ordained that thereshould also be given us some undefinabletoken--some unconscious whispering fromthe hearts inmost spirit?Who may fathom these inscrutablemysteries?
  64. 64. Sir Henry had been visiting an oldschoolfellow, who had a country seat nearLeamington. He was riding homewards,through a sequestered and wooded part ofthe park, when he was aware of thepresence of two ladies, evidently a motherand daughter. They sate on one side of therude path, on an old prostrate beech tree.The daughter, who was very beautiful, wassketching a piece of fern for a foreground:the mother was looking over the drawing.Neither saw the equestrian.It was a fair sight to regard the youngartist, with her fine profile and droopingeyelid, bending over the drawing, like aGrecian statue; then to note the calmfeatures upturn, and forget the statue in thebreathing woman. At intervals, her auburntresses would fall on the paper, and sweepthe pencils efforts. At such times, shewould remove them with her small hand,
  65. 65. with such a soft smile, and gentle grace,that the very action seemed to speakvolumes for her feminine sympathies.Delm�disturbed them not, but making atour through the grove of beech trees,reached Leamington in thoughtful mood.It was not long before he met them insociety. The mother was a Mrs. Vernon, awidow, with a large family and smallmeans. Of that family Julia was the fairestflower. As Sir Henry made heracquaintance, and her character unfoldeditself, he acknowledged that few couldstudy it without deriving advantage; fewwithout loving her to adoration. Thatcharacter it would be hard to describewithout our description appearinghigh-flown and exaggerated. It bore animpress of loftiness, totally removed frompride; a moral superiority, whichimpressed all. With this was united an
  66. 66. innate purity, that seemed her birthright; apurity that could not for an instant bedoubted. If the libertine gazed on herfeatures, it awoke in him recollections thathad long slumbered; of the time when hisheart beat but for one. If, in her immediatesphere, any littleness of feeling wasbrought to her notice, it was met with anintuitive doubt, followed by painfulsurprise, that such feeling, foreign as shefelt it to be to her own nature, could reallyhave existence in that of another.Thank God! she had seen few of thetrickeries of this restless world, in whichmost of us are struggling against ourneighbours; and, if we could look forwardwith certainty, to the nature of the worldbeyond this, it is most likely that we shouldbreathe a fervent prayer that she shouldnever witness more.
  67. 67. Her person was a fit receptacle for such amind. A face all softness, seemed and_was_ the index to a heart all pity. Tallerthan her compeers,--in all she said or did,a native dignity and a witching grace wereexquisitely blended. She was one noteasily seen without admiration; but whenknown, clung Cydippe-like to the heartsmirror, an image over which neither timenor absence possessed controul.The Delm� resided at Leamington theremainder of the winter, which passedfleetly and happily. Emily, for the firsttime, gave way to that one feeling, which,to a woman, is the all-important andengrossing one, enjoying her happiness inthat full spirit of content, which basking inpresent joys, attempts not to mar them byideal disquietudes. The Delm� cultivatedthe society of the Vernons; Emily and Juliabecame great friends; and Sir Henry, with
  68. 68. all his stoicism, was nourishing anattachment, whose force, had he beenaware of it, he would have been at somepains to repress. As it was, he totallyoverlooked the possibility of his triflingwith the feelings of another. He had anumber of sage aphorisms to urge againsthis own entanglement, and, with a moralperverseness, from which the best of usare not free, chose to forget that it waspossible his convincing arguments, mightneither be known to, nor appreciated byone, on whom their effect might be farfrom unimportant.At this stage, Clarendon thought it his dutyto warn Delm� and, to his credit be it said,shrunk not from it."Excuse me, Delm�" said he, "will youallow me to say one word to you on asubject that nearly concerns yourself?"
  69. 69. Sir Henry briefly assented."You see a great deal of Miss Vernon. Sheis a very fascinating and a very amiableperson; but from something you once saidto me, it has struck me that in somerespects she might not suit you.""I like her society," replied his friend; "butyou are right. She would _not_ suit me._You_ know me pretty well. My hope hasever been to increase, and not diminishthe importance of my house. It once stoodhigher both in wealth and consideration. Isee many families springing up aroundme, that can hardly lay claim to a descentso unblemished I speak not in a spirit ofintolerance, nor found my family claimsolely on its pedigree; but my ancestorshave done good in their generation, and itis a proud thing to be the scion of a noble
  70. 70. race!""It may be;" said Clarendon quietly, "but Icannot help thinking, that with youraffluence, you have every right to followyour own inclination. I know that few of myacquaintances are so independent of theworld."Sir Henry shook his head."The day is not very distant, Gage, when aDacre would hardly have returned twomembers for my county, if a Delm�hadwilled it otherwise. But there is littleoccasion for me to have said thus much.Miss Vernon, I trust, has other plans; and Ibelieve my own feelings are not enlisteddeep enough, to make me forget the hopesand purposes of half a life-time."It was some few days after this, when Emily
  71. 71. had almost given up looking with interestto the postmans visit, that a letter at lastcame, directed to Sir Henry; not indeed inGeorges hand-writing, but with the Maltapost mark. Delm�read it over thoughtfully,and, assuring Emily that there was nothingto alarm her, left the room to consider itscontents.By the way, we have thought overheartless professions, and cannot helpconceiving that of a postman, (it may beconceit!) the most callous and unfeeling ofall. He is waited for with more anxiety thanany guest of the morning; for his visitsinvariably convey something new to themind. He is not love! but he bears it in hispocket; he cannot be friendship! but hedaily hawks about its assurances. With allthis, knowing his importance, aware of thesensation his appearance calls forth, hisvery knock is heartless--the tones of his
  72. 72. voice cold. Feeling seems denied him; hishead is a debtor and creditor account, hisdeparture the receipt, and time alone cansay, whether your bargain has been agood or a bad one. He has certainly noassumption--it is one of his few good traits;he walks with his arms in motion, butattempts not a swagger; his knock isunassuming, and his words, though muchattended to, are few, and to the point.Why, then, abuse him? We know not, butbelieve it originates in fear. An intuitivefeeling of dread--a rushing presentimentof evil--crosses our mind, as our eyedwells on his thread-bare coat, with itscapacious pockets. News of a death--or amarriage--the tender valentine--theremorseless dun--your having been left anestate, or cut off with a shilling--fortune,and misfortune--- he quietly dispenses, asif totally unconscious. Surely such aman--his round performed--cannot quietly
  73. 73. sink to the private individual. Can such aman caress his wife, or kiss his child, whenhe knows not how many hearts arebursting with joy, or breaking with sorrow,from the tidings _he_ has conveyed? Toour mind, a postman should be anabstracted visionary being, endowed witha peculiar countenance, betraying theunnatural sparkle of the opium-eater, andevincing intense anxiety at the delivery ofeach sheet. But these,--they wait not tohear the joyful shout, or heart-rendingmoan--to know if hope deferred be atlength joyful certainty, or bitter onlyhalf-expected woe. We dread a postman.Our hand shook, as we last year paid theman of many destinies his demandedChristmas box.The amount was double that we gave to theminister of our corporeal necessities--thebutchers boy--not from a conviction of the
  74. 74. superior services or merit of the former,but from an uneasy desire to bribe, if wecould, that Mercury of fate.The letter to Sir Henry, was from thesurgeon of Georges regiment. It statedthat George had been severely ill, and thatconnected with his illness, were symptomswhich made it imperative on the medicaladviser, to recommend the immediatepresence of his nearest male relative.Apologies were made for the apparentmystery of the communication, with apromise that this would be at once clearedup, if Sir Henry would but consent to makethe voyage; which would not only enablehim to be of essential service to hisbrother, but also to acquire muchinformation regarding him, which couldonly be obtained on the spot. A note fromGeorge was enclosed in this letter. It waswritten with an unsteady hand, and made
  75. 75. no mention of his illness. He earnestlybegged his brother to come to Malta, if hecould possibly so arrange it, andtransmitted his kindest love and blessingto Emily.Sir Henry at once made up his mind, toleave Leamington for town on the morrow,trusting that he might there meet withinformation which would be moresatisfactory. He concealed for the time thetrue state of the case from all butClarendon; nor did he even allude to hisproposed departure.It was Emilys birth-day, and Gage hadarranged that the whole party shouldattend a little f�e on that night. Sir Henrycould not find it in his heart to disturb hissisters dream of happiness.
  76. 76. Chapter VThe F�e.
  77. 77. "Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven!If, in your bright leaves, we would read thefate Of men and empires,--tis to beforgiven, That, in our aspirations to begreat, Our destinies oerleap their mortalstate, And claim a kindred with you."The night came on with its crescent moonand its myriads of stars: just such a night asmight have been wished for such a f�e. Itwas in the month of April. April dews, inBritains variable clime; are not the mostsalubrious, and Aprils night air is too oftenkeen and piercing; but the season was anunusually mild one; and the ladies, withtheir cloaks and their furs, promenadedthe well-lighted walks, determined to bepleased and happy.The giver of the f�e was an enterprisingItalian. Winters amusements were over, or
  78. 78. neglected--summers delights were notarrived; and Signor Pacini conceived, thatduring the dull and monotonous interval, aspeculation of his own might provewelcome to the public and beneficial tohimself. To do the little man justice, he wasindefatigable in his exertions. From doorto door he wended his smiling way,--herepraising the mothers French, there thedaughters Italian. He gained hosts ofpartisans. "Of course you patronisePacini!" was in every ones mouth. TheSignors prospectus stated, that "throughthe kindness of the steward of aninfluential nobleman, who was now on thecontinent, he was enabled to give his fetein the grounds of the Earl of W----; where afull quadrille band would be in attendance,a pavilion pitched on the smooth lawnfacing the river, and a comfortable ballroom thrown open to a fashionable andenlightened public. The performance
  79. 79. would be most various, novel, andexciting. Brilliant fireworks from Vauxhallwould delight the eye, and shed a charmon the fairy scene; whilst the car would beregaled with the unequalled harmony ofthe Styrian brethren, Messrs. Schezer,Lobau, and Berdan, who had very kindlydeferred their proposed return to Styria, inorder to honour the fete of Signor Pacini."As night drew on, the mimic thunder ofcarriages hastening to the scene of action,bespoke the Signors success. After theninth hour, his numbers swelled rapidly.Pacini assumed an amusing importance,and his very myrmidons gave out theirbrass tickets with an air. At ten, a rocketwas fired. At this preconcerted signal, thepavilion, hitherto purposely concealed,blazed in a flood of light. On its balconystood the three Styrianbrethren,--although, by the way, they were
  80. 80. not brethren at all,--and, striking theirharmonious guitars, wooed attention totheir strains. The crowd hurried down thewalk, and formed round the pavilion. Ourparty suddenly found themselves near theVernons. As the gentlemen endeavouredto obtain chairs for the ladies, a crush tookplace, and Sir Henry was obliged to offerhis arm to Julia, who happened to be thenearest of her party. It was with pain MissVernon noted his clouded brow, and lookof abstraction; but hardly one word ofrecognition had passed, before the deepvoices of the Styrians silenced all. Aftersinging some effective songs,accompanied by a zither, and performinga melodious symphony on a variety ofJews-harps; Pacini, the manager,advanced to address his auditors, with thatair of smiling confidence which no one canassume with better grace than a cleverItalian. His dark eye flashed, and his whole
  81. 81. features irradiated, as he delivered thefollowing harangue."Ladies and gentlemen! me trust you wellsatisfied wid de former musicalentertainment; but, if you permit, memention one leetle circonstance. MonsieurSchezer propose to give de song; but itrequire much vat you call stagemanagement: all must be silent as degrave. It ver pretty morceau."The applause at the end of this speech wasvery great. Signor Pacini bowed, till hisface rivalled, in its hue, the rosyunder-waistcoat in which he rejoiced.Schezer stepped forward. He was attiredas a mountaineer. His hat tapered to thetop, and was crowned by a single heronfeather. Hussars might have envied him hismoustaches. From his right side protruded
  82. 82. a couteau de chasse; and his legs were nota little set off by the tight-laced boots,which, coming up some way beyond theancle, displayed his calf to the very bestadvantage.The singers voice was a fine manly tenor,and did ample justice to the words, ofwhich the following may be taken as a freeversion."Mountains! dear mountains! on you have Ipassed my green youth; to me your breezehas been fragrant from childhood. Whenmay I see the chamois bounding oer yourtoppling crags? When, oh when, may I seemy fair-haired Mary?"The minstrel paused--a sound was heardfrom behind the pavilion. It was themountains echo. It continued the air--thendied away in the softest harmony. All were
  83. 83. charmed. Again the singer steppedforward--the utmost silence prevailed--histones became more impassioned--theybreathed of love."Thanks! thanks to thee, gentle echo! Ofthast thou responded to the strains of lovemy soul poured to--ah me! how beautifulwas the fair-haired Mary!"Again the echo spoke--again all werehushed. The minstrels voice rose again;but its tones were not akin to joy."Why remember this, deceitful echo?Wars blast hath blown, and hushed are thenotes of love. The foe hath polluted myhearth--I wander an exile. Where, where isMary?"The echo faintly but plaintively replied.There were some imagined that a tear
  84. 84. really started to the eye of the singer. Hestruck the guitar wildly--his voice becamemore agitated--he advanced to theextremity of the balcony."My sword! my sword! May my right handbe withered ere it forget to grasp its hilt!One blow for freedom. Freedom--sweet aswas the lip--Yes! Ill revenge my Mary!"Schezer paused, apparently overcome byhis emotion. The echo wildly replied, as ifregistering the patriots vow. For a momentall was still! A thundering burst of applauseensued.The mountain music was succeeded by asweep of guitars, accompanying aVenetian serenade, whose burthen was theapostrophising the cruelty of "la caraNina."
  85. 85. It was near midnight, when all eyes weredirected to a ball of fire, which, risingmajestically upward, soared amid the tallelm trees. For a moment, the balloonbecame entangled in the boughs,revealing by its transparent light the greenbuds of spring, which variegated andcheered the scathed bark. It broke loosefrom their embrace--hovered irresolutelyabove them--then swept rapidly before thewind, rising till it became as a speck in thefirmament.This was the signal for Mr. Robinsonsfireworks, which did not shame Vauxhallsreputation. At one moment, a salamandercourted notice; at another, a train of fieryhonours, festooned round four woodenpillars, was fired at different places, by asmany doves practised to the task. Here, animitation of a jet deau elicitedapplause--there, the gyrations of a
  86. 86. Catherines wheel were suddenlyinterrupted by the rapid ascent of a Romancandle.Directly after the ascent of the balloon,Emily and Clarendon had turned towardsthe ball room. Julias sisters had a group oflaughing beaux round their chairs,--Mrs.Glenallan and Mrs. Vernon werediscussing bygone days,--and no oneseemed disposed to leave the pavilion. SirHenry, in his silent mood, was glad toescape from the party; and engaging Juliain a search for Emily, made his way to thecrowded ball room. He there found hissister spinning round with Clarendon toone of Strausss waltzes; and Sir Henry andhis partner seated themselves on one ofthe benches, watching the smiling faces asthey whirled past them. It was amelancholy thought to Delm� how soonEmilys brow would be clouded, were he
  87. 87. to breathe one word of Georges illnessand despondency. The waltz concluded, aquadrille was quickly formed. Miss Vernondeclined dancing, and they rose to joinEmily and Clarendon; but the lovers wereflown. The ball room became still morethronged; and Delm�was glad to turn oncemore towards the pavilion. The party theyhad left there had also vanished, andstrangers usurped their seats. In thisdilemma, Miss Vernon proposed seekingtheir party in the long walk. They took oneor two turns down this, but saw not thosefor whom they were in search."If you do not dislike leaving this busyscene," said Sir Henry, "I think we shallhave a better chance of meeting Emily andClarendon, if we turn down one of thesewinding paths."They turned to their left, and walked on.
  88. 88. How beautiful was that night! Its calmtranquillity, as they receded from thegiddy throng, could not but subdue them.We have said that the moon was not ridingthe heavens in her full robe of majesty, norwas there a sombre darkness. The purplevault was spangled thick with stars; andthere reigned that dubious, glimmeringlight, by which you can note a face, but notmark its blush. The walks woundfantastically. They were lit by festoons ofcoloured lamps, attached to theneighbouring trees, so as to resemble thependent grape-clusters, that the travellermeets with just previous to the Bolognesevintage. Occasionally, a path would beencountered where no light met the eyesave that of the prying stars overhead. Inthe distant vista, might be seen a part ofthe crowded promenade, where musicheld its court; whilst at intervals, a voicesswell or guitars tinkle would be borne on
  89. 89. the ear. There was the hum of men,too--the laugh of the idlers without thesanctum, as they indulged in the delightsof the mischievous fire-ball--and thesudden whizz, followed by an upwardglare of light, as a rocket shot into the air.But the hour, and the nameless feeling thathour invoked, brought with them asubduing influence, which overpoweredthese intruding sounds, attuning the heartto love and praise. They paced the walk inmutual and embarrassed silence. SirHenrys thoughts would at one time revertto his brother, and at another to thatparting, which the morrow wouldassuredly bring with it. He was lost inreverie, and almost forgot who it was thatleant thus heavily upon his arm. Julia hadloved but once. She saw his abstraction,and knew not the cause; and her timidheart beat quicker than was its wont, asundefined images of coming evil and
  90. 90. sorrow, chased each other through herexcited fancy. At length she essayed tospeak, although conscious that her voicefaltered."What a lovely night! Are you a believer inthe language of the stars?"This was said with such simplicity ofmanner, that Delm� as he turned to answerher, felt truly for the first time the full forceof his attachment. He felt it the morestrongly, that his mind previously hadbeen wandering more than it had done foryears.There are times and seasons when we areengrossed in a train of deep andunconscious thought. Suddenly recalled toourselves, we start from our mentalaberration, and a clearer insight into theimmediate purposes and machinery of our
  91. 91. lives, is afforded us. We seem endowedwith a more accurate knowledge of self;the inmost workings of our souls areabruptly revealed--feelings mysteriesstand developed--our weaknesses stare usin the face--and our vices appear to gnawthe very vitals of our hope. The veil wasindeed withdrawn,--and Delm�s heartacknowledged, that the fair being wholeant on him for support, was dearer--fardearer, than all beside. But he saw too,ambition in that hearts deep recess, andknew that its dictates, unopposed foryears, were totally incompatible with sucha love. He saw and trembled.Julias question was repeated, before SirHenry could reply."A soldier, Miss Vernon, is particularlysusceptible of visionary ideas. On the lonebivouac, or remote piquet, duty must
  92. 92. frequently chase sleep from his eyelids. Atsuch times, I have, I confess, indulged inwild speculations, on their possibleinfluence on our wayward destinies. I wasthen a youth, and should not now, I muchfear me, pursue with such uncheckedardour, the dreams of romance in which Icould then unrestrainedly revel. Perhaps Ishould not think it wise to do so, even hadnot sober reality stolen from imaginationher brightest pinion.""I would fain hope, Sir Henry," repliedJulia, "that all your minds elasticity is notthus flown. Why blame such fancifultheories? I cannot think them wrong, and Ihave often passed happy hours in formingthem.""Simply because they remove us too muchfrom our natural sphere of usefulness.They may impart us pleasure; but I
  93. 93. question whether, by dulling our mundanedelights, they do not steal pleasure quiteequivalent. Besides, they cannot assist usin conferring happiness on others, or ingleaning improvement for ourselves. I amnot quite certain, enviable as appears thedistinction, whether the _too_ feelinglyappreciating even natures beauties, doesnot bear with it its own retribution.""Ah! do not say so! I cannot think that it_should_ be so with minds properlyregulated. I cannot think that _such_ canever gaze on the wonders revealed us,without these imparting their lesson ofgratitude and adoration. If, full of hope, oureye turns to some glorious planet, and wefondly deem that _there_, may our dreamsof happiness _here,_ be perpetuated;surely in such poetical fancy, there is littleto condemn, and much that may wean usfrom follys idle cravings.
  94. 94. "If in melancholys hour, we mourn for onewho hath been dear, and sorrow for theperishable nature of all that may hereclaim our earthly affections; is it not sweetto think that in another world--perhaps insome bright star--we may again communewith what we have _so_ loved--once morebe united in those kindly bonds--and in akingdom where those bonds may not thuslightly be severed?"Julias voice failed her; for she thought ofone who had preceded her to "the last sadbourne."Delm�was much affected. He turnedtowards her, and his hand touched hers."Angelic being!"As he spoke, darker, more worldly
  95. 95. thoughts arose. A fearful struggle, whichconvulsed his features, ensued. The worldtriumphed.Julia Vernon saw much of this, and maidendelicacy told her it was not meet theyshould be alone."Let us join the crowd!" said she. "We shallprobably meet our party in the long walk:if not, we will try the ball room."Poor Julia! little was her heart in unisonwith that joyous scene!By the eve of the morrow, Delm�was manyleagues from her and his family.Restless man, with travel, ambition, andexcitement, can woo and almost winoblivion;--but poor, weak, confidingwoman--what is left to her?
  96. 96. In secret to mourn, and in secret still tolove.
  97. 97. Chapter III.The Journey.
  98. 98. "Adieu! adieu! My native land Fades oerthe ocean blue; The night winds sigh--thebreakers roar-- And shrieks the wild seamew. Yon sun that sets upon the sea,We follow in his flight: Farewell awhile tohim and thee! My native land! goodnight!"We have rapidly sketched the d�ouementof the preceding chapter; but it must notbe forgotten, that Delm�had been residingsome months at Leamington, and thatEmily and Julia were friends. In his ownfamiliar circle--a severe but true test--SirHenry had every opportunity of becomingacquainted with Miss Vernons sweetnessof disposition, and of appreciating themany excellencies of her character. Forthe rest, their intercourse had been of thatnature, that it need excite no surprise, thata walk on a gala night, had the power of
  99. 99. extracting an avowal, which, crude,undigested, and hastily withdrawn as itwas, was certainly more the effusion of theheart--more consonant with Sir Henrysoriginal nature--than the sage reasoningson his part, which preceded and followedthat event.On Delm�s arrival in town, he prosecutedwith energy his enquiries as to his brother.He called on the regimental agents, whocould give him no information. Georgesmilitary friends had lost sight of him sincehe had sailed for the Mediterranean; andof the few persons, whom he could hear of,who had lately left Malta; some werepassing travellers, who had made noacquaintances there, others, Englishmerchants, who had met George at theOpera and in the streets, but nowhereelse. It is true, there was an exception tothis, in the case of a hair-brained young
  100. 100. midshipman; who stated that he had dinedat Georges regimental mess, and hadthere heard that George "had fallen in lovewith some young lady, and had fought withher brother or uncle, or a soldier-officer,he did not know which."Meagre as all this information was, itdecided Sir Henry Delm�He wrote a long letter to Emily, in which heexpressed a hope that both George andhimself would soon be with her, andimmediately prepared for his departure.Ere we follow him on his lonely journey,let us turn to those he left behind. Mrs.Glenallan and Emily decided on at onceleaving Leamington for their own home.The marriage of the latter was deferred;and as Clarendon confessed that hisperiod of probation was a very happy one,
  101. 101. he acquiesced cheerfully in thearrangement. Emily called on the Vernons,and finding that Julia was not at home,wrote her a kind farewell; secretly hopingthat at some future period they might bemore nearly related. The sun was sinking,as the travellers neared Delm� The oldmansion looked as calm as ever. The bluesmoke curled above its sombre roof; andthe rooks sailed over the chimneys,flapping their wings, and cawingrejoicefully, as they caught the firstglimpse of their lofty homes. Emily letdown the carriage window, and withsunshiny tear, looked out on the home ofher ancestors.There let us leave her; and turn to bidadieu for a season, to one, who for many aweary day, was doomed to undergo thepangs of blighted affection. Such pangsare but too poignant and enduring, let the
  102. 102. worldly man say what he may. Could webut read the history of the snarling cynic,blind to this worlds good--of him, whofrom being the deceived, has become thedeceiver--of the rash sensualist, whoplunging into vice, thinks he canforget;--could we but know the train ofevents, that have brought the stampingmadman to his bars--and his cell--and hisrealms of phantasy;--or search the breastof her, who lets concealment "feed on herdamask cheek"--who prays blessings onhim, who hath wasted her youthfulcharms--then mounts with virgin soul toheaven:--we, in our turn, might sneer atthe worldling, and pin our fate on the taleof the peasant girl, who discourses soglibly of crossed love and broken hearts.Sir Henry Delm�left England with veryunenviable sensations. A cloud seemed tohang over the fate of his brother, which no
  103. 103. speculations of his could pierce.Numberless were the conjectures heformed, as to the real causes of Georgessickness and mental depression. It was invain he re-read the letters, and varied hiscomments on their contents. It wasevident, that nothing but his actualpresence in Malta, could unravel themystery. Sir Henry had _one_ consolation;how great, let those judge who have hadaught dear placed in circumstances at allsimilar. He had a confidence in Georgescharacter, which entirely relieved himfrom any fear that the slightest taint couldhave infected it. But an act of imprudencemight have destroyed his peace ofmind--sickness have wasted his body. Norwas his uncertainty regarding George,Delm�s only cause of disquiet. When hethought of Julia Vernon, there was aconsequent internal emotion, that he couldnot subdue. He endeavoured to forget
  104. 104. her--her image haunted him. He meditatedon his past conduct; and at times itoccurred to him, that the resolutions hehad formed, were not the result of reason,but were based on pride and prejudice.He thought of her as he had last seen her._Now_ she spoke with enthusiasm of thebright stars of heaven; anon, her eyeglistened with piety, as she showed howthe feeling these created, was butsubservient to a nobler one still. Again, hewas beside her in the moment of maidenagony; when low accents faltered from herquivering lip, and the hand that rested onhis arm, trembled from her heartsemotion.Such were the bitter fancies that assailedhim, as he left his own, and reached aforeign land. They cast a shadow on hisbrow, which change of scene possessedno charm to dispel. He hurried on to
  105. 105. Frances capital, and only delaying till hecould get his passports signed, hastenedfrom Paris to Marseilles.On his arrival at the latter place, his firstenquiries were, as to the earliest periodthat a vessel would sail for Malta. He waspointed out a small yacht in the harbour,which belonging to the Britishgovernment, had lately brought over astaff officer with despatches.A courier from England had that morningarrived--the vessel was about toreturn--her canvas was alreadyloosened--the blue Peter streaming in thewind. Delm�hesitated not an instant, butthrew himself into a boat, and was rowedalongside. The yachts commander was alieutenant in our service, although aMaltese by birth. He at once entered intoSir Henrys views, and felt delighted at the
  106. 106. prospect of a companion in his voyage. Ashort time elapsed--the anchor was up--thewhite sails began to fill--Sir Henry wasonce more on the wide sea.What a feeling of loneliness, almost ofdespair, infects the landsmans mind, as herecedes from an unfamiliar port--seescrowds watching listlessly his vesselsdeparture--crowds, of whom not one feelsan interest in _his_ fate; and then, turningto the little world within, beholds but faceshe knows not, persons he wots not of!But to one whose home is the ocean, suchare not the emotions which its expanse ofbroad waters calls forth. To such an one,each plank seems a friend; the vessel, arefuge from the world and its cares.Trusting himself to its guidance, deceitwounds him no more-- hollow-heartedfriendship proffers not its hand to
  107. 107. sting--love exercises not its fatalsorcery--foes are afar--and his heart, if notthe waves, is comparatively at peace. Andoh! the wonders of the deep! Ocean! tameis the soul that loves not thee! grovellingthe mind that scorns the joys thouimpartest! To lean our head on the vesselsside, and in idleness of spirit ponder onbygone scene, that has brought usanything but happiness,--to gaze on thecurling waves, as impelled by theboisterous wind, we ride oer the angrywaters, lashed by the sable keel to ayeasty madness,--to look afar upon thedisturbed billow, presenting its crestedhead like the curved neck of the warhorse,--_then_ to mark the screaming seabird, as, his bright eye scanning thewaters, he soars above the stormymain--its wide tumult his delight--theroaring of the winds his melody--theshrieks of the drowned an harmonious
  108. 108. symphony to the hoarse diapason of thedeep! All these things may awakereflections, which are alike futile andtransitory; but they are accompanied by amental excitement, which land scenes,however glorious, always fail to impart.Delm�s voyage was not unpropitious,although the yacht was frequently baffledby contrary winds, which prevented thepassage being very speedy. During theday, the weather was ordinarily blustering,at times stormy; but with the setting sun, itseemed that tranquillity came; for duringthe nights, which were uncommonly fine,gentle breezes continued to fill the sails,and their vessel made tardy but sureprogress. Henry would sit on deck till alate hour, lost in reverie. _There_ would heremain, until each idle mariner was sunk torest; and nothing but the distant tread ofthe wakeful watch, or the short cough of
  109. 109. the helmsman, bespoke a sentinel over thehabitation on the waters. How would therecollections of his life crowd uponhim!--the loss of his parent--the worldsfirst opening--bitter partings--painfulmisgivings--the lone bivouac--themarshalling of squadrons--the fiercecharge--the excitement of victory, whosecharm was all but flown, for where werethe comrades who had fought beside him?These things were recalled, and broughtwith them alternate pain and pleasure. Anda less remote era of his life would bepresented him; when he tasted thewelcome of home--saw hands uplifted ingratitude--was cheered by a brothersgreeting, and subdued by a sisters kiss.But there _was_ a thought, which let himdwell as he might on others, remained theuppermost of all. It was of Julia Vernon,and met him as a reproach. If his feelingswere not of that enthusiastic nature, which
  110. 110. they might have been were he now in hisgreen youth, they were not on this accountthe less intense. They were coloured bythe energy of manhood. He had lost aportion of his self-respect: for he knew thathis conduct had been vacillating withregard to one, whom each traversedleague, each fleeting hour, proved to beyet dearer than he had deemed her.In the first few days of their passage, thewinds shaped their vessels coursetowards the Genoese gulf. They then tooka direction nearly south, steering betweenCorsica and Sardinia on the onehand--Italy on the other.Delm�had an opportunity of noting theoutward aspect of Napoleons birth-place;and still more nearly, that of its oppositeisland, which also forms so memorable alink in the history of that demi-god of
  111. 111. modern times. How could weaker spiritsdeem that _there_, invested withmonarchys semblance, the ruler of thepetty isle could forget that he had beenmaster of the world?How think that diplomacys cobweb fibrecould hold the eagle, panting for anupward flight?They fearfully misjudged! What atranscendent light did his star give, as itshot through the appalled heavens, ere itsunk for ever in endless night!The commander of the yacht pointed outthe rock, which is traditionally said to bethe one, on which Napoleon has beenrepresented--his arms folded--watchingintently the ocean--and ambitions votarygleaning his moral from the stormy wavesbelow. As they advanced farther in their
  112. 112. course, other associations were notwanting; and Delm� whose mind, like thatof most Englishmen, was deeply tincturedwith classic lore, was not insensible totheir charms. They swept by the Latiancoast. Every creek and promontory,attested the fidelity of the poetsdescription, by vividly recalling it to themind. On the seventh day, they doubledCape Maritime, on the western coast ofSicily; and two days afterwards, the vesselneared what has been styled the abode ofCalypso, the island of Gozzo. As theycontinued to advance, picturesque tradingboats, with awnings and numerous rowers,became more frequent--the low landappeared--they were signalled from thepalace--the point of St. Elmo wasturned--and a wide forest of masts met thegaze. The vessel took up her moorings;and in the novelty of the scene, andsurrounding bustle, Sir Henry for a time
  113. 113. rested from misgivings, and forgot his realcauses for melancholy. The harbour ofMalta is not easily forgotten. The sun wasjust sinking, tinging with hues of amber,the usually purple waters of the harbour,and bronzing with its fiery orb, thebatteries and lofty Baraca, where lieentombed the remains of Sir ThomasMaitland. Between the Baracas pillars,might be discerned many a faldette, withpretty face beneath, peering over to markthe little yacht, as she took her station,amidst the more gigantic line of battleships.The native boatmen, in their gilded barkswith high prows, were seen surroundingthe vessel; and as they exerted themselvesin passing each other, their dress andaction had the most picturesqueappearance. Their language, a corruptedArabic, is not unpleasing to the ear; and
  114. 114. their costume is remarkably graceful. Ared turban hangs droopingly on one side,and their waistcoats are loaded with largesilver buttons, the only remains of theiruncommon wealth during the war, whenthis little island was endowed with afictitious importance, it can never hope toresume. Just as the yacht cast anchor, agun from the saluting battery was fired. Itwas the signal for sunset, and every flagwas lowered. Down came in mostseaman-like style the proud flag of merryEngland--the _then_ spotless banner ofFrance--and the great cross, hangingungracefully, over the stout, but clumsy,Russian man of war. All these flags werethen in the harbour of Valletta, although itwas not at that eventful time when--theMoslem humbled--they met with thecordiality of colleagues in victory.The harbour was full of vessels. Every
  115. 115. nation had its representative. Theintermediate spaces were studded byMaltese boats, crowded with passengersindiscriminately mingled. The carelessEnglish soldier, with scarlet coat andpipe-clayed belt--priests andfriars--Maltese women in national costumesat side by side. Occasionally, a gig,pulled by man of wars men, might be seenmaking towards the town, with one ormore officers astern, whose glitteringepaulettes announced them as eitherdiners out, or amateurs of the opera. Thescene to Delm�was entirely novel;although it had previously been his lot toscan more than one foreign country.The arrival of the health officers was thefirst circumstance that diverted his mindfrom the surrounding scene. There hadbeen an epidemic disease at Marseilles,and there appeared to be some doubts,
  116. 116. whether, as a precaution, some quarantinewould not be imposed. The superintendentof quarantine was rowed alongside, chieflyfor the purpose of regulating this. Thespirited little commander of the yacht,however, was not at all desirous of anysuch arrangement; and after someenergetic appeals on his part, met bycautious remonstrances on the part of theother, their pratique was duly accorded.During the discussion with thesuperintendent, Sir Henry had enquiredfrom the health officer, as to where heshould find George, and was informed thathis regiment was quartered at Floriana,one of Vallettas suburbs. In a short time aboat from the yacht was lowered, and thecommander prepared to accompany thegovernment courier with his dispatches tothe palace.
  117. 117. Previous to leaving the deck, he hailed aboat alongside--addressed the boatmen intheir native language--and consigned SirHenry to their charge. Twilight wasdeepening into night as Delm�left thevessel. The harbour had lost much of itsbustle; lights were already gleaming fromthe town, and as seen in some of theloftiest houses, looked as if suspended inthe air above. Our traveller folded hiscloak around him, and was rowed swiftlytowards the shore.
  118. 118. Chapter VII.The Young Greek.
  119. 119. "But not in silence pass Calypsos isles,The sister tenants of the middle deep." * * * * * "Her reign is past, her gentle gloriesgone, But trust not this; too easy youth,beware! A mortal sovereign holds herdangerous throne. And thou mayst find anew Calypso there."Night had set in before Sir Henry reachedthe shore. The boatmen, in broken, butintelligible English, took the trouble ofexplaining, that they must row him to apoint higher up the harbour, than thelanding place towards which thecommanders gig was directing its course,on account of his brothers regiment beingquartered at Floriana. Landing on thequay, they took charge of Delm�s
  120. 120. portmanteau, and conducted him throughan ascending road, which seemed to forma part of the fortifications, till they arrivedin front of a closed gate. They werechallenged by the sentinel, and obliged toexplain their business to anon-commissioned officer, before theywere admitted.This form having been gone through, anarrow wicket was opened for theirpassage. They crossed a species ofcommon, and, after a few minutes walk,found themselves in front of the barrack.This was a plain stone building, enclosinga small court, in the centre of which stood amarble bason. The taste of some of theofficers had peopled this with golden fish;whilst on the basons brim were placedstands for exotics, whose fragrancecharmed our sea-worn traveller, so latelyemancipated from those sad drawbacks to
  121. 121. a voyage, the odours of tar and bilgewater.On either side, were staircases leading tothe rooms above. A sentry was slowlypacing the court, and gave Delm�thenecessary directions for finding Georgesroom. Delm�s hand was on the latch, buthe paused for a moment ere he pressed it,for he pictured to himself his brother lyingon the bed of sickness. This temporaryirresolution soon gave way to the impulseof affection, and he hastily entered thechamber. George was reading, and hadhis back turned towards him. As he heardthe footsteps, he half turned round; anenquiry was on his lip, when his eyecaught Henrys figure--a hectic flushsuffused his cheek--he rose eagerly, andthrew himself into his brothers arms.Ah! sweet is fraternal affection! As boys,
  122. 122. we own its just, its proper influence; but asmen--how few of us can lay our hands onour hearts, and in the time of manhoodfeel, that the thought of a brother, still callsup the kindly glow which it did in earlieryears. Delm�strained his brother to hisheart, whilst poor Georges tears flowedlike a womans."Ah, how," he exclaimed, "can I ever repayyou for this?"The first burst of joyful meeting over--SirHenry scanned his brothers features, andwas shocked at the apparent havoc a fewshort years had wrought. It was not that thecheek--whose carnation tint had oncedrawn a comment from all who saw it--itwas not that the cheek was bronzed by aneastern sun. The alabaster forehead,showed that this was the natural result, ofexposure to climate. But the wan, the
  123. 123. sunken features--the unnatural brilliancy ofthe eye--the almost impetuous agitation ofmanner--all these bespoke that more thaneven sickness had produced thechange:--that the mind, as well as body,must have had its sufferings."My dear, dear brother," said Henry, "tellme, I implore you, the meaning of this. Youlook ill and distressed, and yet from you Idid not hear of sickness, nor do I know anyreason for grief." George smiledevasively; then, as if recollecting himself,struck his forehead. He pressed hisbrothers arm, and led him towards a roomadjoining the one in which they were."It were in vain to tell you now, Henry, theeventful history of the last few months; butsee!" said he, as they together entered,"the innocent cause of much that I havegone through."
  124. 124. Sir Henry Delm�started at the sight thatgreeted him. The room was dimly lightedby a lamp, but the moon was up, and shedher full light through part of the chamber.On a small French bed, whose silkenlinings threw their rosy hue on the face ofits fair occupant, lay as lovely a girl as evereye reposed on.The heat had already commenced tobecome oppressive; the jalousies andwindows were thrown open. As the nightbreeze swept over the curtains, and thetint these gave, trembled on that youthfulbeauty; Delm�might well be forgiven, fordeeming it was very long since he hadseen a countenance so exquisitely lovely.The face did indeed bear the stamp ofyouth. Delm�would have guessed that thebeing before him, had barely attained herfifteenth year, but that her bosom heaved
  125. 125. like playful billows, as she breathed hersighs in a profound slumber. Her style ofbeauty for a girl was most rare. It had analmost infantine simplicity of character,which in sleep was still more remarkable;for awake, those eyes, now so still, did notthrow unmeaning glances.Such as these must Guarini haveapostrophised, as he looked at hisslumbering love. "Occhi! stelle mortale! Ministri de mieimali! Se chiusi muccidete, Aperti,--chefarete?"Or, as Clarendon Gage translated it. "Ye mortal stars! ye eyes that, een insleep, Can thus my senses chaind inwonder keep, Say, if when closed, yourbeauties thus I feel, Oh, what when open,
  126. 126. would ye not reveal?"Her beauty owed not its peculiar charm toany regularity of feature; but to anineffable sweetness of expression, and toyouths freshest bloom. Hafiz would havecompared that smooth cheek to the tulipsflower. Her eye-lashes, of the deepest jet,and silken gloss, were of uncommonlength. Her lips were apart, and disclosedsmall but exquisitely formed teeth. Theirhue was not that of ivory, but the moredelicate though more transient one of thepearl. One arm supported her head--itshand tangled in the raven tresses--of theother, the snowy rounded elbow was alonevisible.She met the eye, like a vision conjured upby fervid youth; when, ere our wakingthoughts dare to run riot in beautyscontemplation--sleep, the tempter, gives
  127. 127. to our disordered imaginations, forms andscenes, which in after life we pant for, butmeet them--never!George put his finger to his lips, asDelm�regarded her--kissed her silkencheek, and whispered,"Acm� carissima mia!"The slumberer started--the envious eye-lidshrouded no more its lustrous jewel--thewondering eyes dilated, as they met herlovers--and she murmured something withthat sweet Venetian lisp, in which theGreek women breathe their Italian. But, asshe saw the stranger, her face and neckbecame suffused with crimson, and hersmall hand wrapped the snowy sheetround her beauteous form.Sir Henry, who felt equally embarrassed,
  128. 128. returned to the room they had left; whilstGeorge lingered by the bedside of hismistress, and told her it was his brother.Once more together, Sir Henry turnedtowards George."For Gods sake," said he, "unravel thismystery! Who is this young creature?""Not now!" said his brother, "let us reserveit for to-morrow, and talk only of home.Acm�has retired earlier than usual--shehas been complaining." And hecommenced with a flushed brow and rapidvoice, to ask after those he loved."And so, dearest Emily will soon bemarried. I am glad of it; you speak so wellof Gage! I wish I had stayed three weekslonger in England, and I should have seenhim. We shall miss her in the flowergarden, Henry! Yes! and every where else!
  129. 129. And how is my kind aunt? I forgot to thankher when I last wrote to Delm� for makingFid�e a parlour inmate!--and I dont thinkshe likes dogs generally either!--And Mrs.Wilcox! as demure as ever?--Do yourecollect the trick I played her the lastApril I was at home?--And my favouritepony! does _he_ still adorn the paddock,or is he gone at last? Emily wrote me hecould hardly support himself out of theshed. And the old oak--have you railed itround as I advised? And the deer--Is myaunt still as tenacious of killing them? Isuppose Emilys pet fawn is a fine antleredgentleman by this time. And your charger,Henry--how is he? And Mr. Sims? and thenew green house? Does the aviarysucceed? did you get my slips of the bloodorange? have the Zante melon seedsanswered? And the daisy of Delm� FannyPorter--is she married? I stole a kiss theday I left. And so the coachman is dead?
  130. 130. and you have given the reins to Jenkins,and have taken my little fellow on yourown establishment? And Ponto? andRanger? and my friend Guess?"Here George paused, quite out of breath;and his brother, viewing with some alarmhis nervous agitation, attempted to answerhis many queries; determined in his ownmind, not to seek the explanation he somuch longed for, until a more favourableperiod for demanding it arrived. Thebrothers continued conversing on Englishtopics till a late hour, when Henry rose toretire."I cannot," said George, "give you a bedhere to-night; but my servant shall showyou the way to an hotel; and in the courseof to-morrow, we will take care to have aroom provided for you. You must feelharassed: will nine be too early an hour for
  131. 131. breakfast?"It was a beautiful night, still and starry. Tillthey arrived in the busy street, no soundcould be heard, but the cautious openingof the lattice, answering the signal of theguitar. Escorted by his guide,Delm�entered Valletta, which is bustlingalways, even at night; but was more thanusually so, as there happened to be a f�eat the palace. As they passed through theStrado Teatro, the soldier pointed out theOpera-house; although from the latenessof the hour, Rossinis melodies werehushed. From a neighbouring caf�however, festive sounds proceeded; andDelm� catching the words of an unfamiliarlanguage, paused before the door torecognise the singer. The table at which hesat, was so densely enveloped in smoke,that it was some time before he couldmake out the forms of the party, which
  132. 132. consisted of some jovial Britishmidshipmen, and some Tartar-lookingRussians. One of the Russian officers wascharming his audience with a chanson�boire, acquired on the banks of theVistula, His compatriots were yelling thechorus most unmercifully. A few cal�hedrivers, waiting for their fares, and two orthree idle Maltese, were pacing outsidethe cafe, and appeared to regard thescene as one of frequent occurrence, andcalculated to excite but little interest. Hisguide showed Delm�the hotel, and wasdismissed; and Sir Henry, preceded by anobsequious waiter, was introduced to aspacious apartment facing the street.It was long ere sleep visited him. He hadmany subjects on which to ruminate; therewere many points which the morrow wouldclear up. His mind was too busy to permithim to rest.
  133. 133. When he did, however, close his eyes; heslept soundly, and did not awake till thebroad glare of day, penetrating throughthe Venetian blinds, disclosed to him theunfamiliar apartment at Beverleys.
  134. 134. Chapter VIII.The Invalid.
  135. 135. "Mid many things most new to ear andeye, The pilgrim rested here his wearyfeet."As Sir Henry Delm�stepped from the hotelinto the street, the suns rays commencedto be oppressive, and, although it was onlyentering the month of May, served toremind him that he was in a warmer clime.The scene was already a bustling one. Theshopkeepers were throwing water on thehot flag stones, and erecting canvasawnings in front of their doors. In thevarious caf� might be seen the subservientwaiters, handing round the small gildedcup, which contained thick Turkish coffee,or carrying to some old smoker the littlepipkin, whence he was to light his genialcigar. In front of one of these caf�, someEnglish officers were collected, sippingices, and criticising the relieving of the