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“Yet," answered Audley, “ nearly told you that neither wedlock nor all women in the great world have love had any lures for me. We grew bad that choice once in their lives, friends upon that rude avowal, and and nearly all have thrown it away. therefore I now speak to you like How few of your rank really think of some sage of old, wise because standhome when they marry-how few ask ing apart and aloof from all the affecto venerate as well as to love and tions and ties that mislead our wishow many, of every rank, when the dom. Nothing but real love-(how home has been really gained, have rare it is; has one human heart in a wilfully lost its shelter ; some in ne- million ever known it !)-nothing but glectful weariness—some from a mo- real love can repay us for the loss of mentary doubt, distrust, caprice-a freedom-the cares and fears of powild fancy—a passionate fit-a trifle verty—the cold pity of the world that -a straw-a dream! True, you we both despise and respect. And women are ever dreamers. Common all these, and much more, follow the sense, common earth, is above or step you would inconsiderately takebelow your comprehension.”
an imprudent marriage." Both now were silent. Audley first “Audley Egerton,” said Beatrice, roused himself with a quick, writhing lifting her dark, moistened eyes, "you movement. “We two,” said he, grant that real love does compensate smiling half sadly, half cynically, for an imprudent marriage. You speak "we two must not longer waste time as if you had known such love--you ! in talking sentiment. We know both Can it be possible ?" too well what life, as it has been made “Real love-I thought that I knew for us by our faults or our misfortunes, it once. Looking back with retruly is. And once again, I entreat morse, I should doubt it now but for you to pause before you yield to the one curse that only real love, when foolish suit of my foolish nephew. lost, has the power to leave evermore Rely on it, you will either command behind it." a higher offer for your prudence to " What is that?” accept; or, if you needs must sacri- "A void here," answered Egerton, fice rank and fortune, you, with your striking his heart. “Desolation ! beauty and your romantic heart, will Adieu ?” see one who, at least for a fair holiday He rose and left the room. season, (if human love allows no “Is it," murmured Egerton, as he more,) can repay you for the sacrifice. pursued his way through the streets Frank Hazeldean never can."
—" is it that, as we approach death, Beatrice turned away to conceal all the first fair feelings of young the tears that rushed to her eyes. life come back to us mysteriously?
* Think over this well,” said Aud. Thus I have heard, or read, that in ley, in the softest tones of his mellow some country of old, children, scattervoice. “Do you remember that ing flowers, preceded a funeral bier.” when you first came to England, I
And so Leonard stood beside his hours. In the house of death the friend's mortal clay, and watched, in sound of a clock becomes so solemn. the ineffable smile of death, the last The soul that we miss has gone so far gleam which the soul had left there; beyond the reach of time! A cold, and so, after a time, he crept back to the superstitious awe gradually stole over adjoining room with a step as noiseless the young man. He shivered, and as if he had feared to disturb the dead. lifted his eyes with a start, half scornWearied as he was with watching, he ful, half defying. The moon was gone had no thought of sleep. He sate - the grey, comfortless dawn gleamed himself down by the little table, and through the casement, and carried its leaned his face on his hand, musing raw, chilling light through the open sorrowfully. Thus time passed. He doorway, into the death-room. And heard the clock from below strike the there, near the extinguished fire, Leonard saw the solitary woman, set the writer did not speak of herself weeping low, and watching still. He in the first person. The MS. opened returned to say a word of comfort, with descriptions and short dialogues, she pressed his hand, but waived him carried on by persons to whose names away. He understood. She did not only initial letters were assigned, all wish for other comfort than her quiet written in a style of simple, innocent relief of tears. Again, he returned to freshness, and breathing of purity and his own chamber, and his eye this happiness, like a dawn of spring. Two time fell upon the papers which he young persons, humbly born-a youth had hitherto disregarded. What made and a girl—the last still in childhood, his heart stand still, and the blood each chiefly self-taught, are wanderthen rush so quickly through his veins? ing on Sabbath evenings among green Why did he seize upon those papers dewy fields, near the busy town, in with so tremulous a hand-then lay which labour awhile is still. Few them down-pause, as if to nerve words pass between them. You see himself—and look so eagerly again ? at once, though the writer does not He recognised the handwriting - mean to convey it, how far beyond those fair, clear characters—so peculiar the scope of her male companion flies in their woman-like delicacy and grace the heavenward imagination of the -the same as in the wild, pathetic girl. It is he who questions—it is poems, the sight of which had made an she who answers, and soon there era in his boyhood. From these pages steals upon you, as you read, the conthe image of the mysterious Nora rose viction that the youth loves the girl, once more before him. He felt that and loves in vain. All in this writing, he was with a mother. He went though terse, is so truthful! Leonard, back, and closed the door gently, as in the youth, already recognises the if with a jealous piety, to exclude each rude, imperfect scholar—the village ruder shadow from the world of spirits, bard-Mark Fairfield. Then, there and be alone with that mournful is a gap in description, but there are ghost. For a thought written in short weighty sentences, which show warm, sunny life, and then suddenly deepening thought, increasing years, rising up to us, when the hand that in the writer. And though the innotraced, and the heart that cherished cence remains, the happiness begins it, are dust—is verily as a ghost. It is to be less vivid on the page. a likeness struck off of the fond human Now, insensibly, Leonard finds that being, and surviving it. Far more there is a new phase in the writer's extruthful than bust or portrait, it bids us istence. Scenes, no longer of humble, see the tear flow, and the pulse beat. work-day rural life, surround her. And What ghost can the churchyard yield a fairer and more dazzling image sucto us like the writing of the dead ? ceeds to the companion of the Sab
The bulk of the papers had been bath eves. This image Nora evionce lightly sewn to each other—they dently loves to paint, it is akin to had come undone, perhaps in Burley's her own genius-it captivates her rude hands; but their order was easily fancy—it is an image that she (inapparent. Leonard soon saw that born artist, and conscious of her art) they formed a kind of journal-not, feels to belong to a brighter and indeed, a regular diary, nor always higher school of the Beautiful. And relating to the things of the day. yet the virgin's heart is not awakThere were gaps in time-no attempt ened — no trace of the heart yet at successive narrative. Sometimes, there. The new image thus introinstead of prose, a hasty burst of verse, duced is one of her own years, pergusbing evidently from the heart- haps; nay, it may be younger stillsometimes all narrative was left untold, for it is a boy that is described, with and yet, as it were, epitomised, by a his profuse fair curls, and eyes new single burning line-a
single exclama. to grief, and confronting the sun as a tion—of woe, or joy! Everywhere you young eagle's ; with veins so full of saw records of a nature exquisitely sus- the wine of life, that they overflow ceptible; and where genius appeared into every joyous whim ; with nerves it was so artless, that you did not call quiveringly alive to the desire of it genius, but emotion. At the out- glory ; with the frank generous nature rash in its laughing scorn of the reflexion of the sister's soul and world, which it has not tried. Who face. was this boy, it perplexed Leonard. A few words told the final partingHe feared to guess. Soon, less told words that were a picture. The long than implied, you saw that this friendless highway, stretching oncompanionship, however it chanced, on-towards the remorseless city. brings fear and pain on the writer. And the doors of home opening on Again, (as before,) with Mark Fair- the desolate thoroughfare—and the field, there is love on the one side old pollard tree beside the threshold, and not on the other ; — with her with the ravens wheeling round it there is affectionate, almost sisterly, and calling to their young. He interest, admiration, gratitude--but too had watched that threshold from a something of pride or of terror that the same desolate thoroughfare. He keeps back love.
too had heard the cry of the ravens. Here Leonard's interest grew in- Then came some pages covered with tense. Were there touches by which snatches of melancholy verse, or some conjecture grew certainty; and he reflections of dreamy gloom. recognised, through the lapse of years, The writer was in London, in the the boy lover in his own generous house of some highborn patronessbenefactor?
that friendless shadow of a friend Fragments of dialogue now began to which the jargon of society calls reveal the suit of an ardent impas. “companion.” And she was looksioned nature, and the simple wondering on the bright storm of the world and strange alarm of a listener who as through prison bars. Poor bird, pitied but could not sympathise. Some afar from the greenwood, she had great worldly distinction of rank need of song—it was her last link between the two became visible with freedom and nature. The pathat distinction seemed to arm the troness seems to share in her apprevirtue and steel the affections of the hensions of the boy suitor, whose lowlier born. Then a few sentences, wild rash prayers the fugitive had half blotted out with tears, told of resisted; but to fear lest the suitor wounded and humbled feelings—some should be degraded, not the one one invested with authority, as if the whom he pursues—fears an alliance snitor's parent, had interfered, ques- ill-suited to a highborn heir. And tioned, reproached, counselled. And this kind of fear stings the writer's it was now evident that the suit was pride, and she grows harsh in her not one that dishonoured ;-it wooed judgment of him who thus causes to flight, but still to marriage. but pain where he proffers love. Then
And now these sentences grew there is a reference to some applicant briefer still, as with the decision of a for her hand, who is pressed upon her strong resolve. And to these there choice. And she is told that it is followed a passage so exquisite, that her duty so to choose, and thus deliLeonard wept unconsciously as he ver a noble family from a dread that read. It was the description of a endures so long as her hand is free. visit spent at home previous to some And of this fear, and of this applisorrowful departure. There rose up cant, there breaks out a petulant yet the glimpse of a proud and vain, but pathetic scorn. After this, the nara tender wistful mother-of a father's rative, to judge by the dates, pauses fonder but less thoughtful love. And for days and weeks, as if the writer then came a quiet soothing scene had grown weary and listless,-sudbetween the girl and her first village denly to reopen in a new strain, elolover, ending thus—“So she put quent with hopes, and with fears M.'s hand into her sister's, and never known before. The first persaid: “You loved me through the son was abruptly assumed it was fancy, love her with the heart,' and the living “I” that now breathed left them comprehending each other, and moved along the lines. How and betrothed.”
was this? The woman was no more Leonard sighed. He understood now a shadow and a secret unknown to how Mark Fairfield saw in the home- herself. She had assumed the intense ly features of his unlettered wife the and vivid sense of individual being. And love spoke loud in the awak- pitied, and now sought to shunened human heart.
described with a grave and serious, A personage not seen till then but gentle mien-a voice that imappeared on the page. And ever posed respect-an eye and lip that afterwards this personage was only showed collected dignity of will. named as “ He," as if the one and Alas! the writer betrayed herself, sole representative of all the myriads and the charm was in the contrast, that walk the earth. The first notice not to the character of the earlier of this prominent character on the lover, but her own. And now, leavscene showed the restless agitated ing Leonard to explore and guess bis effect produced on the writer's imagi- way through the gaps and chasms of pation. He was invested with a the narrative, it is time to place romance probably not his own. He before the reader what the narrative was described in contrast to the bril- alone will not reveal to Leonard. liant boy whose suit she had feared,
Nora Avenel had fled from the boy- raukling. Levy retired, concealing his ish love of Harley L'Estrange—re- rage; nor did he himself know how commended by Lady Lansmere to a vindictive that rage, when it cooled into valetudinarian relative of her own, malignancy, could become, until the Lady Jane Horton, as companion. arch-fiend OPPORTUNITY prompted But Lady Lansmere could not be- its indulgence and suggested its delieve it possible that the low-born sign. girl could long sustain her generous Lady Jane was at first very angry pride, and reject the ardent suit of with Nora for the rejection of a suitor one who could offer to her the pro- whom she had presented as eligible. spective coronet of a countess. She But the pathetic grace of this continually urged upon Lady Jane the wonderful girl had crept into her necessity of marrying Nora to some heart, and softened it even against one of rank less disproportioned to her family prejudice ; and she gradually own, and empowered that lady to owned to herself that Nora was worthy assure any such wooer of a dowry far of some one better than Mr Levy. beyond Nora's station. Lady Jane Now, Harley had ever believed that looked around, and saw in the out- Nora returned his love, and that noskirts of herlimited social ring, a young thing but her own sense of gratitude solicitor, a peer's natural son, who was to his parents-her own instincts of on terms of more than business-like delicacy, made her deaf to his pray; intimacy with the fashionable clients To do him justice, wild and whose distresses made the origin of headstrong as he then was, his suit his wealth, The young man was would have ceased at once had he really handsome, well-dressed, and bland. deemed it persecution. Nor was his Lady Jane invited him to her house ; error unnatural; for his conversation, and, seeing him struck dumb with the till it had revealed his own heart, rare loveliness of Nora, whispered the could not fail to have dazzled and hint of the dower. The fashionable delighted the child of genius; and her solicitor, who afterwards ripened into frank eyes would have shown the Baron Levy, did not need that hint; delight. How, at his age, could he see for, though then poor, he relied the distinction between the Poetess on himself for fortune, and, unlike and the Woman? The poetess was Randal, he had warm blood in his charmed with rare promise in a soul veins. But Lady Jane's suggestions of which the very errors were the made him sanguine of success; and extravagances of ric ess and beauty. when he formally proposed, and was But the woman-no! the woman reas formally refused, his self-love was quired some nature not yet undevevitterly wounded. Vanity in Levy loped, and all at turbulent if brilliant was a powerful passion ; and with the strife with its own noble elements, vain, hatred is strong, revenge is but a nature formed and full grown. Harley was a boy, and Nora was one and pleases, can alone confer. But he of those women who must find or had even then, as ever, that felicitous fancy an Ideal that commands and reserve which Rochefaucault has almost awes them into love.
called the “ mystery of the body"Harley discovered, not without dif- that thin yet guardian veil which reficulty, Nora's new residence. He veals but the strong outlines of charpresented himself at Lady Jane's, and acter, and excites so much of interest she, with grave rebuke, forbade him by provoking so much of conjecture. the house. He found it impossible to To the man who is born with this obtain an interview with Nora. He reserve, which is wholly distinct wrote, but he felt sure that his letters from shyness, the world gives credit Dever reached her, since they were for qualities and talents beyond those unanswered. His young heart swelled that it perceives ; and such characters with rage. He dropped threats, are attractive to others in proportion which alarmed all the fears of Lady as these last are gifted with the imaLansmere, and even the prudent ap- gination which loves to divine the prehensions of his friend, Audley unknown. Egerton. At the request of the At the first interview, the impresmother, and equally at the wish of sion which this man produced upon the son, Audley consented to visit at Nora Avenel was profound and Lady Jane's, and make acquaintance strange. She had heard of him bewith Nora.
fore as the one whom Harley most “I bave such confidence in you," loved and looked up to; and she resaid Lady Lansmere, " that if you cognised at once in his mien, his asonce know the girl, your advice will pect, his words, the very tone of his be sure to have weight with her. You deep tranquil voice, the power to will show her how wicked it would be which woman, whatever her intellect, to let Harley break our hearts and never attains; and to which, theredegrade his station."
fore, she imputes a nobility not al* I have such confidence in you," ways genuine-viz., the power of said young Harley, “ that if you deliberate purpose, and self-collected, once know my Nora, you will no serene ambition. The effect that longer side with my mother. You Nora produced on Egerton was not will recognise the nobility which Na- less sudden. He was startled by a ture only can create-you will own beauty of face and form that belonged that Nora is worthy a rank more to that rarest order, which we never lofty than mine; and my mother so behold but once or twice in our lives. believes in your wisdom, that, if you He was yet more amazed to discover plead in my cause, you will convince that the aristocracy of mind could even her."
bestow a grace that no aristocracy of Audley listened to both with his birth could surpass. He was prepared intelligent, half-incredulous smile; for a simple, blushing village girl, and and wholly of the same advice as involuntarily he bowed low his proud Lady Lansmere, and sincerely anxious front at the first sight of that delicate to save Harley from an indiscretion bloom, and that exquisite gentleness that his own notions led him to which is woman's surest passport to regard as fatal, he resolved to exa- the respect of man. Neither in tlie mine this boasted pearl, and to find first, nor the second, nor the third out its flaws. Audley Egerton was interview, nor, indeed, till after many then in the prime of his earnest, reso- interviews, could he summon up lute, ambitious youth. The stateli- courage to commence his mission, and ness of his patural manners had then allude to Harley. And when he did a suavity and polish which, even in so at last, his words faltered. But later and busier life, it never wholly Nora's words were clear to him. He lost; since, in spite of the briefer saw that Harley was not loved ; and words and the colder looks by which a joy that he felt as guilty, darted care and power mark the official man, through his whole frame. From that the Minister had ever enjoyed that interview Audley returned home, personal popularity which the inde- greatly agitated, and at war with himfinable, external something, that wins self. Often, in the course of this