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story, has it been hinted that, under tion, with a sudden light, consumed all Egerton's external coldness, and all the barriers between himself and measured self-control, lay a nature his own love. And at that moment capable of strong and stubborn pas- Nora entered. She saw him bending sions. Those passions broke forth then. over the book.
She uttered a cryHe felt that love had already entered sprang forward-and then sank down, into the heart, which the trust of his covering her face with her hands. friend should have sufficed to guard. But Audley was at her feet. He for
“ I will go there no more," said he, got his friend, his trust; he forgot abruptly, to Harley.
ambition-he forgot the world. It “ But why?"
was his own cause that he pleaded“ The girl does not love you. Cease his own love that burst forth from his then to think of her."
lips. And when the two that day Harley disbelieved him, and grew parted, they were betrothed each to indignant. But Audley had every each. Alas for them, and alas for worldly motive to assist his sense of Harley! honour. He was poor, though with And now this man, who had hitherthe reputation of wealth-deeply in- to valued himself as the very type of volved in debt-resolved to rise in gentleman-whom all his young conlife—tenacious of his position in the temporaries had so regarded and so world's esteem. Against a host of revered—had to press the hand of a counteracting influences, love fought confiding friend, and bid adieu to single-handed. Audley's was a strong truth. He had to amuse, to delay, nature; but, alas ! in strong natures, to mislead his boy-rival — to say if resistance to temptation is of gra- that he was already subduing Nora's nite, so the passions that they admit hesitating doubts--and that with a are of fire.
little time, she could be induced to Trite is the remark, that the desti- consent to forget Harley's rank, and nies of our lives often date from the his parent's pride, and become his impulses of unguarded moments. It wife. And Harley believed in Egerwas so with this man, to an ordinary ton, without one suspicion on the eye so cautious and so deliberate. mirror of his loyal soul. Harley one day came to him in great Meanwhile Audley, impatient of his grief; he had heard that Nora was ill; own position-impatient as strong he implored Audley to go once more minds ever are, to basten what they and ascertain. Audley went. Lady have once resolved-to terminate a Jane Horton, who was suffering un- suspense that every interview with der a disease which not long after Harley tortured alike by jealousy wards proved fatal, was too ill to re- and shame—to put himself out of the ceive him. He was shown into the reach of scruples, and to say to himroom set apart as Nora's. While self, “Right or wrong, there is no waiting for her entrance, he turned looking back; the deed is done;"mechanically over the leaves of an Audley, thus hurried on by the impealbum which Nora, suddenly sum- tus of his own power of will, pressed moned away to attend Lady Jane, for speedy and secret nuptials-secret had left behind her on the table. He till his fortunes, then wavering, were saw the sketch of his own features ; more assured-his career fairly comhe read words inscribed below it- menced. This was not his strongest words of such artless tenderness, and motive, though it was one. He shrank such unhoping sorrow-words written from the discovery of his wrong to his by one who had been accustomed to friend -- desired to delay the selfregard her genius as her sole confi- humiliation of such announcement, dant, under Heaven, to pour out to until, as he persuaded himself, Harit, as the solitary poet heart is im- ley's boyish passion was over-had pelled to do, thoughts, feelings, the yielded to the new allurements that confession of mystic sighs, which it would naturally beset his way. would never breathe to a living ear, Stifling his conscience, Audley sought and, save at such moments, scarcely to convince himself that the day acknowledge to itself. Audley saw would soon come when Harley could that he was beloved, and the revela- hear with indifference that Nora Avenel was another's. “The dream of Egerton, who was in great haste, did an hour, at his age," murmured the not at first communicate to him the elder friend; "but at mine, the passion name of the intended bride; but he of a life!" He did not speak of these said enough of the imprudence of latter motives for concealment to the marriage, and his reasons for seNora. He felt that, to own the ex- cresy, to bring on himself the strongest tent of his treason to a friend, would remonstrances;
for Levy had always lower him in her eyes. He spoke reckoned on Egerton's making a therefore but slightingly of Harley- wealthy marriage, leaving to Egerton treated the boy's suit as a thing past and the wife, and hoping to appropriate to gone. He dwelt only on reasons that himself the wealth, all in the natural compelled self-sacrifice on his side or course of business. Egerton did not hers. She did not hesitate which to listen to him, but hurried him on tochoose. And so, where Nora loved, wards the place at which the ceremony so submissively did she believe in the was to be performed; and Levy acsuperiority of the lover, that she would tually saw the bride, before he had not pause to hear a murmur from her learned her name. The usurer masked own loftier nature, or question the his raging emotions, and fulfilled his propriety of what he deemed wise and part in the rites. His smile, when he good.
congratulated the bride, might have Abandoning prudence in this arch shot cold into her heart; but her eyes affair of life, Audley still preserved were cast on the earth, seeing there his customary caution in minor de- but a shadow from heaven, and her tails. And this indeed was charac- heart was blindly sheltering itself in teristic of him throughout all his the bosom to which it was given evercareer — heedless in large things — more. She did not perceive the smile wary in small. He would not trust of hate that barbed the words of joy. Lady Jane Horton with his secret, still Nora never thought it necessary later less Lady Lansmere. He simply re- to tell Egerton that Levy had been a presented to the former, that Nora was refused suitor. Indeed, with the exno longer safe from Harley's deter- quisite tact of love, she saw that such mined pursuit under Lady Jane's roof, a confidence, the idea of such a rival, and that she had better elude the would have wounded the pride of her boy's knowledge of her movements, high-bred, well-born husband. and go quietly away for a while, to And now, while Harley L'Estrange, lodge with some connection of her frantic with the news that Nora had own.
left Lady Jane's roof, and purposely And so, with Lady Jane's acquies- misled into wrong directions, was cence, Nora went first to the house seeking to trace her refuge in vainof a very distant kinswoman of her now Egerton, in an assumed name, in motber's, and afterwards to one that a remote quarter, far from the clubs Egerton took as their bridal home, in which his word was oracular-far under the name of Bertram. He from the pursuits, whether of pastime arranged all that might render their or toil, that had hitherto engrossed marriage most free from the chance of his active mind, gave himself up, with premature discovery. But it so hap- wonder at himself, to the only vision pened, on the very morning of their of fairyland that ever weighs down bridal, that one of the witnesses he the watchful eyelids of hard Ambition. selected (a confidential servant of his The world for a while shut out, he own) was seized with apoplexy. missed it not. He knew not of it. Considering, in haste, where to find a He looked into two loving eyes that substitute, Egerton thought of Levy, haunted him ever after, through a his own private solicitor, his own stern and arid existence, and said fashionable money-lender, a man with murmuringly, “ Why, this, then, is whom he was then as intimate as a real happiness !" Often, often, in fine gentleman is with the lawyer of the solitude of other years, to rehis own age, who knows all his affairs, peat to himself the same words, and has helped, from pure friendship, save that for is, he then murmured to make them as bad as they are! was! And Nora, with her grand full Levy was thus suddenly summoned. heart, all her luxuriant wealth of fancy and of thought, child of light and even recommended a voluntary reand of song, did she then never dis- treat to the King's Bench. “No place cover that there was something com- so good for frightening one's creditors paratively narrow and sterile in the into compounding their claims; but nature to which she had linked her why," added Levy, with covert sneer, fate? Not there, conld ever be sym- “why not go to young L'Estrange-a pathy in feelings, brilliant and shifting boy made to be borrowed from !” as the tints of the rainbow. When Levy, who had known from Lady Audley pressed her heart to his own, Jane of Harley's pursuit of Nora, had could he comprehend one finer throb learned already how to avenge himof its beating? Was all the iron of self on Egerton. Audley could not his mind worth one grain of the gold apply to the friend he had betrayed. she had cast away in Harley's love? And as to other friends, no man in
Did Nora already discover this ? town had a greater number. And no Surely no. Genius feels no want, no man in town knew better that he repining, while the heart is contented. should lose them all if he were once Genius in her paused and slumbered: known to be in want of their money. it had been as the ministrant of soli- Mortified, harassed, tortured-shuntude: it was needed no more. If a ning Harley-yet ever sought by him woman loves deeply some one below —fearful of each knock at his door, her own grade in the mental and spi- Audley Egerton escaped to the mortritual orders, how often we see that gaged remnant of his paternal estate, she unconsciously quits her own rank, on which there was a gloomy manorcomes meekly down to the level of the house long uninhabited, and there beloved, is afraid lest he should deem applied a mind, afterwards renowned her the superior-she who would not for its quick comprehension of busieven be the equal. Nora knew no ness, to the investigation of his affairs, more that she had genius; she only with a view to save some wreck from knew that she had love.
the flood that swelled momently And so here, the journal which around him. Leonard was reading changed its And now—to condense as much as tone, sinking into that quiet happiness possible a record that runs darkly on which is but quiet because it is so into pain and sorrow-now Levy bedeep. This interlude in the life of a gan to practise his vindictive arts; man like Audley Egerton could never and the arts gradually prevailed. On have been long; many circumstances pretence of assisting Egerton in the conspired to abridge it. His affairs arrangement of his affairs—which he were in great disorder; they were all secretly contrived, however, still more under Levy's management. Demands to complicate—he came down frethat had before slumbered, or been quently to Egerton Hall for a few mildly urged, grew menacing and hours, arriving by the mail, and clamorous. Harley, too, returned to watching the effect which Nora's London from his futile researches, almost daily letters produced on the and looked out for Audley. Audley bridegroom, irritated by the practical was forced to leave his secret Eden, cares of life. He was thus constantly and reappear in the common world; at hand to instil into the mind of the and thenceforward it was only by ambitious man a regret for the imstealth that he came to his bridal prudence of hasty passion, or to emhome- visitor more the inmate. bitter the remorse which Audley felt But more lo fierce grew the for his treachery to L'Estrange.
itors, now when Thus ever bringing before the mind
need of all which of the harassed debtor images at war position, and belief with love, and with the poetry of life,
pendence can do to he disattuned it (so to speak) for the who has encumbered reception of Nora's letters, all musical crippled his steps to- as they were with such thoughts as
He was threatened the most delicate fancy_inspires to Ith prisons. Levy said the most earnest love. Egerton was Crow more, would be but one of those men who never confide
shrugged his shoulders, their affairs frankly to women. Nora,
when she thus wrote, was wholly in "Poor Nora," said Egerton, sighthe dark as to the extent of his stern ing, “ she will think this answer brief prosaic distress.
And somand so and churlish enough. Explain my Levy always near-(type of the prose excuses kindly, so that they will serve of life in its most cynic form)-so by for the future. I really have no time, degrees, all that redundant affluence and no heart for sentiment. The of affection, with its gushes of grief little I ever had is wellnigh worried for his absence, prayers for his return, out of me. Still I love her fondly sweet reproach if a post failed to bring and deeply." back an answer to the woman's LEVY.-"You must have done so. yearning sighs—all this grew, to the I never thought it in you to sacrifice sensible, positive man of real life, like the world to a woman." sickly romantic exaggeration. The EGERTON.-“Nor I either; but," bright arrows shot too high into added the strong man, conscious of heaven to hit the mark set so near that power which rules the world infito the earth. Ah ! common fate of nitely more than knowledge-conscious all superior natures! What treasure, of tranquil courage" but I have not and how wildly wasted !
sacrificed the world yet. This right “By the by," said Levy one morn- arm shall bear up her and myself too." ing, as he was about to take leave of LEVY.-" Well said! But in the Audley and return to town—"by the meanwhile, for heaven's sake, don't by, I shall be this evening in the attempt to go to London, nor to leave neighbourhood of Mrs Egerton." this place; for, in that case, I know
EGERTON.--"Say Mrs Bertram!” you will be arrested, and then adieu to
LEVY.—“Ay; will she not be in all hopes of Parliament-of a career.” want of some pecuniary supplies ?” Audley's haughty countenance
EGERTON.— "My wife !—not yet. darkened; as the dog, in his bravest I must first be wholly ruined before she mood, turns dismayed from the stone can want; and if I were so, do you plucked from the mire, so, when think I should not be by her side ?" Ambition rears itself to defy mankind,
LEVY.-"I beg pardon, my dear whisper " disgrace and a gaol,"--and, fellow; your pride of gentleman is so lo, crestfallen, it slinks away! That susceptible that it is hard for a lawyer evening Levy called on Nora, and not to wound it unawares. Your ingratiating himself into her favour wife, then, does not know the exact by praise of Egerton, with indirect state of your affairs ? "
humble apologetic allusions to his own EGERTON.—“Of course not. Who former presumption, he prepared the would confide to a woman things in way to renewed visits ;---she was so which she could do nothing, except lonely, and she so loved to see one to tease one the more ?"
who was fresh from seeing AudleyLEVY.-" True, and a poetess too! one who would talk to her of him ! I have prevented your finishing your By degrees the friendly respectful answer to Mrs Bertram's last letter. visitor thus stole into her confidence; Can I take it-it may save a day's and then, with all his panegyrics on delay—that is, if you do not object to Audley's superior powers and gifts, he my calling on her this evening." began to dwell upon the young hus
EGERTON, (sitting down to his band's worldly aspirations, and care unfinished letter.)" Object! no." for his career; dwelt on them so as
LEVY, (looking at his watch.)– vaguely to alarm Nora–to imply " Be quick, or I shall lose the coach." that, dear as she was, she was still
EGERTON, (sealing the letter.)- but second to Ambition. His way “ There. And I should be obliged to thus prepared, he next began to you if you would call; and without insinuate his respectful pity at her alarming her as to iny circumstances, equivocal position, dropped hints of you can just say that you know I am gossip and slander, feared that the much harassed about important affairs marriage might be owned too late to at present, and so soothe the effects of preserve reputation. And then what my very short answers—"
would be the feelings of the proud Levy._" To these doubly-crossed, Egerton if his wife were excluded very long letters- I will."
from that world, whose opinion he sa VOL. LXXIII.- NO. CCCCXL.
prized ? Insensibly thus he led her She believe such a stain on Audley's on to express (though timidly) her honour ! own fear--her own natural desire, in " But where was the honour when her letters to Audley. When could he betrayed his friend? Did you not the marriage be proclaimed ? Pro- know that he was intrusted by Lord claimed ! Audley felt that to proclaim L'Estrange to plead for him. How such a marriage, at such a moment, did he fulfil the trust ?” would be to fling away his last cast Plead for L'Estrange! Nora had for fame and fortune. And Harley, not been exactly aware of this. In too-Harley still so uncured of his the sudden love preceding those sudfrantic love. Levy was sure to be at den nuptials, so little touching Harband when letters like these arrived. ley (beyond Audley's first timid allu
And now Levy went further still sions to his suit, and her calm and in his determination to alienate these cold reply) had been spoken by either. two hearts. He contrived, by means Levy resumed. He dwelt fully on of his various agents, to circulate the trust and the breach of it, and through Nora's neighbourhood the then said "In Egerton's world, man very slanders at which he had hinted. holds it far more dishonour to betray He contrived that she should be in- a man than to dupe a woman; and if sulted when she went abroad, out- Egerton could do the one, why doubt raged at home by the sneers of her that he would do the other? But do own servant, and tremble with shame not look at me with those indignant at her own shadow upon her aban- eyes. Put himself to the test; doned bridal hearth.
write to him to say that the suspicions Just in the midst of this intolerable amidst which you live have become anguish, Levy reappeared. His intolerable — that they infect even crowning hour was ripe. He inti. yourself, despite your reason—that mated his knowledge of the humilia- the secresy of your nuptials, his protions Nora had undergone, expressed longed absence, his brief refusal, on his deep compassion, offered to inter- unsatisfactory grounds, to proclaim cede with Egerton “to do her justice.” your tie, all distract you with a terHe used ambiguous phrases, that rible doubt. Ask him, at least, (if shocked her ear and tortured her he will not yet declare your marriage,) heart, and thus provoked her on to to satisfy you that the rites were demand him to explain ; and then, legal." throwing her into a wild state of "I will go to him," cried Nora indefinite alarm, in which he ob- impetuously. tained her solemn promise not to i Go to him in his own house ! divulge to Audley what he was about What a scene, what a scandal ! to communicate, he said, with Could he ever forgive you ? ". villanous hypocrisy of reluctant “At least, then, I will implore him shame, “that her marriage was not to come here. I cannot write such strictly legal; that the forms required horrible words; I cannot-I cannotby the law had not been complied Go, go.” with ; that Audley, unintentionally or Levy left her, and hastened to two purposely, had left himself free to or three of Audley's most pressing disown the rite and desert the bride." creditors-men, in fact, who went While Nora stood stunned and entirely by Levy's own advice. He speechless at a falsehood which, with bade them instantly surround Audley's lawyer-like show, he contrived to country residence with bailiffs. Bemake truth-like to her inexperience, fore Egerton could reach Nora, he he hurried rapidly on, to reawake on would thus be lodged in a gaol. her mind the impression of Audley's These preparations made, Levy himpride, ambition, and respect for self went down to Audley, and arrived, wordly position. " These are your
as usual, an hour or two before the obstacles," said he ; " but I think I delivery of the post. may induce him to repair the wrong, And Nora's letter came; and never and right you at last.” Righted at was Audley's grave brow more dark last-oh infamy!
than when he read it. Still, with Then Nora's anger burst forth. his usual decision, he resolved to