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“ Because I am unworthy of you-1, so her he loved. He longed to tell Stella that ignorant-so young, and blind."
he had not forsaken her, that he would “I will be your eyes, my dearest !” never love any but her. Under cover of cried the lover, kissing the blue veined lids darkness he stole to her home, crept along that drooped over those poor sightless orbs, the grass to the window of the room where as with the most tender and earnest assur- he and Stella had so often sat; the light, ances, he told Stella all-how her sweet-through the half-drawn curtains, showed ness and childlike simplicity had awakened that she was there and alone. From the his deepest love-how he had struggled deep sadness of her face and attitude he against it, and finally, how he had found guessed that she knew all. Philip touched out his error, and was resolved in despite the window; it was a little way open, and of ill-fortune, pride, poverty, to ask her for in a moment he stood by her side. his own.
And so they plighted their faith Long and mournful was the conference one to the other; the blind girl and her between the two; but when Philip spoke of lover. One hour, almost one moment, had his departure for Italy, the girl's sorrow changed their fate through life.
amounted almost to agony. Philip Armytage went home full of deep “ Philip, Philip, do not leave me," she thought. His step was firmer, his carriage cried imploringly, “I was so desolate bebolder, for he felt that he was no longer a fore you came; you only brought light and lonely man; he was the guardian of an- joy to the poor blind girl. No one has other's happiness; the object of woman's loved me but you since my mother died. priceless love.
He had not only to think Philip, I shall die too, if I lose you. Forof himself, but of her who trusted him, sake me not, take me with you; as your who placed her fate in his keeping. Since wife I shall fear nothing, shall regret noyesterday, his whole thoughts were changed; thing." even his worldly prospects seemed brighter Poor Stella ! she knew so little of the now that Stella loved him, and that his for- world, and she was so young, hardly more tunes might one day be linked with hers. than a child in years, and a child in simpliPoverty looked dim in the distance ; he city. All that she felt was the anguish of felt a proud consciousness of his own pow-losing him who was the only one who made ers; it seemed that he could brave all life precious to her. She clung around his things-do all things, if Stella might one neck, and besought him to stay, in spite of day be his wife. The glamor of love over- her father, of every one. spread all he looked upon ; and with these Bitter, indeed, was the struggle in the delicious feelings, Philip Armytage, before young man's bosom; but the right triumphed he slept, sat down, and wrote a letter to at last. He would not commit so grievous Mr. Brandreth, asking Stella's hand. a sin as to bring sorrow and poverty on the
It was refused! The father, though not innocent creature who trusted him, by wedunkind, was firm. He regretted his own ding her against her father's will. error in not having foreseen the end of “ Stella, dearest,” he said, “ you do not such a friendship, and courteously, but know what you ask ; we must part for a resolutely, refused to sanction a marriage while. There never comes a blessing on or even betrothal, so wild and imprudent. disobedience ; and God forbid that I should
The lover read the cold, the formal epis- be the one to steal a child from her father's tle through twice, before he had compre- arms even if I loved her as my heart's hended clearly; it came like ice upon fire. blood; and thus love I you, my own The sensible, right-minded Philip Army- Stella.” tage was still under the influence of that A deep flush of womanly shame crossed sweet, bewildering love-dream. Yet, there the girl's face. She drew herself from her the words were, freezing and plain," that a lover's arms, and stood upright. man without riches should never be the “I have been wrong, Philip; I have forhusband of Stella Brandreth.”. His spirit gotten what I owe to myself, to my father, sank within him ; he covered his face, and to you: forgive me; I am very ignorant ; the burning tears, so seldom wrung from you are wiser and better than 1. Forget manhood, stole through his fingers. How all this, and only remember that I am blind well he loved the poor blind girl!
and lonely, with no one to love me but you. Night found him still pacing his chamber Go, you are right; I will strive to be conin utter desolation heart. Then he tent in thinking how little I deserved to be yearned once more to look upon the face of loved so well by one like you."
Philip used all the sweet language of a no unhappiness in love, if it be sinless. lover, to soothe and cheer her. He told The stricken heart has shed its odors like a her that he would struggle for life and flower; if they are wasted or cast aside, it death, to gain that wealth which would ena- is sad; but still they have not been poured ble him to win her; that she was so young; out in vain, they have perfumed the air that nothing was impossible to love, and it around, and the flower has lived amid the might only be a few years before he could incense it made. Again we say, no man or boldly come and claim his bride.
woman, who loved truly, ever loved in “I ask no promise, but I trust your vain. love, my Stella ; you will not doubt And Philip's love for Stella was not in mine ?"
vain; it purified his heart; it taught him his “Never, never,” murmured the girl. own strength; it nerved' to energy a spirit “But I need not say farewell now; you that might otherwise have yielded to will come once more ?" she added, trem- apathy. In the thorny path of life, even bling.
the strong-minded Philip Armytage might Philip promised, for his patron would re- have sunk in despair but for that poor little main yet a week. He clasped his beloved wayside flower which had brightened his wildly to his heart, leaped through the win- way, if only for a time. Love for a virtuous dow, and was gone. For an hour he haunt- woman is man's best armor against sin, his ed the place, until he saw Stella at the strongest spur to exertion; and thus, when window; the lamp showed him her face, Philip awoke from his dream of love, he pale, sad, and composed; she stayed a mo- determined resolutely to gain the reality ment to breathe the cool night air, and then of it. turned away. It was his last vision of the He saw that to saunter lazily through beautiful blind girl.
life, as the dependant of a great man, When, a few days after, Philip came would not be the way to win him his Stella, again to the house where he had been so that he must strive to enter some profession welcome, it was deserted; the Englishman that might give him wealth and a position and his daughter had gone, no one knew in society. Yet how, without means of whether
support, was he to attain this end? How live while he was studying, how bear the expenses of study ? Many a time did he
ponder over this, until he was nigh unto CHAPTER IV.
despair. There was but one chance, and to
that he bent his proud spirit. A greater “How happy is he born and taught That serveth not another's will;
testimony could not be given to the intense Whose armor is his honest thought
love which animated him to exertion, for And simple truth its utmost skill.
her sake who had awakened it.
Philip Armytage came to England, and,
uninvited, crossed the threshold of the uncle And having nothing, yet hath all."
whose delight he had been in boyhood, and SIR HENRY WOTTON. from whom he had parted a year before, if
not in anger, at least in coolness; the rePhilip Armitage went to Italy, a weary sult of suffering on the one hand, and conhearted, disappointed man. He had loved; scious injustice on the other. He did what he loved still; the lite of love was over; will at once stamp him as no hero of royet its memory was as a sweet perfume, mance, but yet what was, in itself, the that would not depart. No true, earnest, greatest heroism, as it cost him the severest pure love can be utterly in vain. Such a struggle of his life. He asked humbly, and love is rarely placed on an unworthy ob- as a favor, that his uncle would, out of his ject; and the mere act of loving hallows abundant wealth, supply him with a pitand elevates the soul. If death takes away tance while he studied for the bar, pledging the desire of the eyes, who shall repine at himself if he lived, to return the loan. having loved, and made life sweet by that Sir Philip Heathcote was not a man of love, while it lasted ? If, more hard to deep feelings, yet he perceived at once how bear still, comes earthly separation from the violently those of his nephew were agitated beloved, nay, even falsehood, still the poor while making this request. He took his lonely one has not loved in vain. Why do hand kindly, almost deprecatingly, for it poets rave about unhappy love? There is seemed to him that his dead sister looked
at him out of her son's eyes, reproaching until his brave spirit had conquered all difhim for the caprice which had brought ficulties; and, no longer dependent on his Philip so low.
uncle's kindness, he took his stand among “Tell me, first, why you are thus anxious those whose eloquence and talents made to become a barrister, my dear boy?” said them renowned in the land. How was the the old man to him.
boyish dreamer changed, and become the The endearing expression, and somewhat thoughtful high-hearted man, before whose of the love of former days, melted away all intellect the wisest bowed, and upon whose Philip's lingering pride. He told his uncle eloquent tongue the learned and unlearned, why he wished advancement in the world, the rude and the gentle, hung spell-bound for the sake of one beloved.
with equal delight? No shallow sophistry, “ It is foolish, very foolish ; a girl so no underhand double-dealing ever sullied young, and blind too! What sort of a the lips or disgraced the actions of Philip wife will she make, think you, for a man Armytage ; he ever stood forward for truth who must struggle with the world ?” said and justice. He showed the dignity of the the cautious uncle.
law, and his strong, clear mind was never Philip's pride once more rose up in his warped by meanness or prejudice. heart. “I only asked you if you would And not alone at the bar did his fame show me this kindness; if not, I will de- make its way; but his fine intellect blospart,” he replied, coldly.
somed anew in the sunshine of good for“I must consider,” Sir Philip was about tune. His darling dream from his boyto say, still doubtful, when the rustle of hood was realized, he became an author. silks announced the old man's young, beau- The voice of the poet went forth like a tiful, worldly wife, and he hastily grasped trumpet, sounding aloud for the just and his nephew's hand, whispering, "Not a right cause; men listened to it, and woman's word, Philip, you shall have all you lips grew eloquent in praise of the noble wish !” There was much good in the old spirit that was ever on the side of truth and baronet, after all.
mercy. His songs went through the length Philip entered on his new career. It and breadth of the land, to prove what the was one from which, in his earlier days of true poet ought to be-not the idle rhymer, academic honors and literary pleasures, he the visionary sentimentalist, but the teachwould have shrunk in disgust, as being wea-er of all high things, the voice of God to risome and dull : but he had now a great mankind, leading them to a purer life, and end to gain, and he heeded not how unin- himself showing the way. The man of geviting was the path that led towards it. nius stands forth as the high priest of DiviMonth after month he pored over dusty nity itself, before whom it befits him to law folios, until his brain grew heated and offer up, not only the first fruits of his weary; but then between him and the page intellect, but the continued sweet savor of would float Stella's face, with the long a life high and pure, and in accordance lashes cast down, and the sweet lips that with the love he teaches. He should realtrembled with every change of feeling, as ize his own ideal, and be what he strives rose petals, by the breath of the breeze. In to delineate. And thus, amidst fame and the day time, when mingling with the hur-high fortune was Philip Armytage the elorying scenes of the life he had chosen, that quent upholder of virtue, the scorner of image grew fainter ; but when at night he vice, the earnest, music-breathing poet, the closed his eyes, and his spirit retired within noble man. itself, deep in his heart's core did Philip cherish the memory of Stella.
As months, years flew on, and no tidings reached him, this memory became like a
CHAPTER V. dream. He had no clue whereby to trace her, and even if he had, what could it have " In the unrufled shelter of thy love, availed ? Still though hope grew less, it
My bark leaped homewards from a rugged sea,
And furled its sails, and dropped right peacefully never utterly failed him, he could not but Hope's anchor, quiet as a nested dove."-LOWELL. think that he should meet her again one day, and no other love ever came to render Among the many whose society was him forgetful of that which he bore towards pleasant to Philip Armytage, as he was to her.
them, stood foremost an aged couple, who, Thus Philip Armytage went on his way, I united late in life, spent their childless old
age in pleasing themselves with all that dignified woman, and those sweet blue eyes, was good and beautiful around. Mrs. Lyle sightless no longer, coldly met his own was one of those few women who know how without recognising Philip Armytage.
grow old gracefully," and are as win- A chill crept over him ; he, who a day ning and lovely in their decay as the twin before would have flown to clasp her to his light in a summer evening fading in the bosom, now stood spell-bound by her pregrey of night. None of the sourness and sence, as if she had been a vision from the cold-heartedness of age was in her gentle dead. nature; she did not turn away from the “ Have you forgotten me??' at last burst young and ardent, but rather clung to them from his quivering lips. and encouraged them. She loved all that At the sound of his voice she started, was beautiful; she filled her pretty home glanced wildly towards him-her cheek grew with pictures, and statues, and books, so marble white and then crimson. that to enter it was like coming into a sweet “ Have you forgotten me, Stella ?-forgarden of fancy, in which the continual gotten Philip Armytage :” and he took her perfume of a graceful and elegant mind hand. pervaded all things. And about this plea- "No-no-no !” cried the girl, as she sant home moved its gentle possessor, with clasped it in both hers, and looked eagerly her low voice, her kind manner, and her in his face. In a moment Philip's arm was face still beautiful even in age, from the round her, and his long-lost, long-beloved sweet expression it wore. Hither she wel- one wept joyful tears upon his breast. comed many of those who were rising or “ And do you indeed remember me still, risen in art and literature, rejoicing with Philip?” asked Stella, with a doubtful look the fortunate, cheering the doubtful, en in her eyes. “Have all these years brought couraging the struggling, and sympathizing no change?” with all, and with none more than with “ It is you who are changed, my belov. Philip Armytage.
ed,” Philip answered, gazing earnestly at One day the young barrister came thither her. to see Mrs. Lyle. The gentle old lady was An expression of rapturous joy irradiated in her flower garden; she loved her flowers Stella's face. so much, as indeed she loved everything in “ Yes! I am not now as when you knew which was a shadow of the beautiful and me-I am no longer blind.” Philip was shown into an inner room where They sat together, hand in hand, and she received her favorite guests. A plea- talked of all that had happened since they sant room it was; with its antique furni-parted. Stella told her lover how, after ture, its crimson walls, from which looked their forced separation, months had glided the sweet heads of Raffaelle, and the soft- into years, and still she heard no tidings of eyed Madonnas of Guido, besides the pure him; how she and her father at last reoutlines of Flaxman's marble bas-reliefs, turned to England, where the skill of an with its painted windows through which the eminent oculist restored to her the light of sunlight struggled quaintly, giving an air day, and all the delights of a world so long of dreaminess and mystery to the whole. shut out from her. Thus her girlhood stole
Philip Armytage half entered, but stayed into womanhood, and she entered into sohis feet, for the room was not unoccupied. ciety, still keeping faithful to the memory At the further end a lady sat reading of her early dream, dim and hopeless as it From her slight but rounded figure she had now become. Then Stella spoke of seemed in the meridian of womanhood; her father, of his increased kindness, which her face was turned away, but Philip looked had continued until his death.
Her highin admiration at the graceful outline of her spirited brother had gone to India, and she cheek, and her Grecian shaped head, was now all alone, save for the sister of her round which soft golden hair was braided, mother-the gentle-hearted Mrs. Lyle. All contrasting with the mourning dress shé this Philip learned, in return for his own
tale of faithful love. But Stella, with woWondering who she could be, he came man's reserve, did not tell him how entirely nearer, she turned round, half-bending in the thought of him had engrossed her own acknowledgment to a stranger, and Philip soul; that by night and by day his name looked upon the face of his early love. was in her heart, his voice in her ear; that Yes! it was indeed Stella ; but how she existed but in that one idea, through changed! the fairy girl was matured in the months and years of absence, during which
she knew not if he ever once remembered tween Hampstead and Highgate, and talk her. She did not tell him how, when his of their old favorites who had loved these fame increased, it reached even to her, and very spots—the young dreamer, Keats, and her woman's heart swelled with pride at Coleridge, the philosopher-poet, and Shelhaving loved and been loved by one so wor-ley, the gentle-hearted, whose life was a thy; how she lived for days on the delight long sunbeam of love and poetry. And of having read his name, or heard him when they came home there was Mrs. Lyle, spoken of by strangers with words of praise; ever ready to welcome them with her quiet how she hung over his writings, and traced smile; and then there was some good book there the ripe harvest of mind which she to be read, over which the good-natured, had known in its early luxuriance; and but less ethereally inclined friend dozed in how at times came the wild yearning to see sweet oblivion : or else Stella sang to her him once more, and to know if in the me- lover the dear old songs, of which she had mory of the honored man of genius lingered not forgotten one--not even the one which one thought of the blind girl he had once he had first listened to in the gay soirée, loved, and who returned that love with such when sung by the blind English maiden. passionate devotion, though it was buried Day by day Stella's character unfolded in the depths of her inmost heart.
itself more to her betrothed—not as the This sweet communion was broken by the sweet, innocent girl, whose helplessness had entrance of Mrs. Lylı; but all was soon entwined her round the heart of the strong revealed to her, and she rejoiced with al-man, in spite of her half-formed mind so most a mother's joy over the happiness of inferior to his own, with a tie in which the two whom she loved so well. Once more compassion had awakened love ; but as the Philip and Stella renewed their early vows; matured, high-souled woman, whose ripenthere was
now no impediment to their ed, cultivated powers made her a help meet union, save in that lingering pride which for the man of intellect. Philip Armytage made the lover shrink from receiving from did not know how much of this was owing his wife those worldly riches with which it to himself. A woman's character in afterwould have been his delight to load her. life often, nay almost always, takes its But the young barrister was still poor, and nature from that of her first love-not her Stella was an heiress.
first crude, girlish fancy, but the one who When Philip spoke of this, she answered unsealed the fountain of woman's feelings. with the loving dignity of a woman, who, She becomes like him she loves; her with her heart, gives her all
thoughts and predilections take their hue “Do you remember, Philip, years ago from his ; if she weds him, their union is when I was a wild, foolish girl, I besought thus made sweeter by sympathy; if not, you to take me as your wife, and you nobly however her lot may be cast, she never enrefused to bring sorrow upon me in return tirely ceases to be influenced by those feelfor my love ? I am now a woman, wiser, 1 ings which he first created and guided. trust, and more worthy of you, though still Thus, had Stella loved one of inferior mind, most humble compared to Philip Armytage. she would never have become what she was But such as I am, take me, and all that is now, her nature would have sunk to his, mine ; I count it as nothing when I think and many of its hidden treasures would have of the bliss of being beloved by one like lain dormant for ever. you."
But though hardly a trace remained of And now the betrothed lovers entered on the undeveloped character of the blind girl, that sweet time when the doubt and fear of Stella still preserved the pure simplicity love is over, and the two heart-united ones and meekness which distinguished her then. stood on the threshold of wedded life, and She was still as humble-minded, as devoted looked forward to the future as an endless to him she loved, hardly bestowing a vista of pleasant paths to be trodden to-thought on her surpassing beauty and her gether. How sweet were the long summer many attractions, except so far as they evenings when Philip left weary, dull, dus- made her more precious to him and more ty London behind him, and came to Mrs. worthy to be his wife. And such was the Lyle's cottage at Hampstead, that prettiest bride whom, ere the leaves of autumn had of pretty spots, which, but for its metropo- fallen to the earth, Philip Armytage took litan prestige, would be thought a very Ar- to his home and to his heart, a treasure cadia! It was very pleasant to Philip and long wooed, long sighed for, at last won ! Stella to stroll along the green lanes be