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obey her wish-rang the bell, and paper, and condescend to write, “I ordered his servant to put up a change am not a villain, and I will give you of dress, and send for posthorses. the proofs that I am not,'-never."
Levy then took him aside, and led “You are quite right; but let us him to the window.
see if we cannot reconcile matters “Look under yon trees. Do you between your pride and her feelings. see those men? They are bailiffs. Write simply this :- All that you This is the true reason why I come ask me to say or to explain, I have to you to-day. You cannot leave instructed Levy, as my solicitor, to this house."
say and explain for me; and you may Egerton recoiled. “And this fran- believe him as you would myself.'” tic foolish letter at such a time," he “Well, the poor fool, she deserves muttered, striking the open page, to be punished; and I suppose that full of love in the midst of terror, answer will punish her more than a with his clenched hand.
lengthier rebuke. My mind is so disO Woman, Woman! if thy heart be tracted, I cannot judge of these trumdeep, and its chords tender, beware pery woman-fears and whims; there, how thou lovest the man with whom I have written as you suggest. Give all that plucks him from the hard her all the proof she needs, and tell cares of the work-day world is a her that in six months at farthest, frenzy or a folly! He will break thy come what will, she shall bear the heart, he will shatter its chords, he will name of Egerton, as henceforth she trample out from its delicate frame- must share his fate.” work every sound that now makes “Why say six months ? " musical the common air, and swells “ Parliament must be dissolved into unison with the harps of angels. before then. I shall either obtain a
“She has before written to me," seat, be secure from a gaol, have won continued Audley, pacing the room field for my energies, orwith angry disordered strides, asking
“ Or what?" me when our marriage can be pro- “I shall renounce ambition altoclaimed, and I thought my replies gether-ask my brother to assist me would have satisfied any reasonable towards whatever debts remain when woman. But now, now this is worse, all my property is fairly sold-they immeasurably worse—she actually cannot be much. He has a living in doubts my honour! I, who have his gift—the incumbent is old, and, I made such sacrifices -actually doubts hear, very ill. I can take orders.” whether I, Audley Egerton, an “Sink into a country parson!” English gentleman, could have been " And learn content. I have base enough to"
tasted it already. She was then by “What?" interrupted Levy, “to by my side. Explain all to her. deceive your friend L’Estrange? This letter, I fear, is too unkind-But Did not she know that?”
to doubt me thus !" “Sir," exclaimed Egerton, turning Levy hastily placed the letter in white.
his pocket-book ; and, for fear it “ Don't be angry-all's fair in love should be withdrawn, took his leave. as in war; and L'Estrange will live And of that letter he made such yet to thank you for saving him from use, that the day after he had given such a mésalliance. But you are it to Nora, she had left the houseseriously angry; pray, forgive me." the neighbourhood; fled, and not a
With some difficulty, and much trace! Of all the agonies in life, that fawning, the usurer appeased the which is most poignant and harrowstorm he had raised in Audley's con- ing—that which for the time most science. And he then heard, as if annihilates reason, and leaves our with surprise, the true purport of whole organisation one lacerated, Nora's letter.
mangled heart-is the conviction that “ It is beneath me to answer, much we have been deceived where we less to satisfy, such a doubt,” said placed all the trust of love. The Audley. “I could have seen her, moment the anchor snaps, the storm and a look of reproach would have comes on-the stars vanish behind sufficed ; but to put my hand to the cloud.
When Levy returned, filled with tude reclosed round that Man of the the infamous hope which had stimu. Iron Mask, there grew upon him more lated his revenge-the hope that if and more the sense of a mighty loss. he could succeed in changing into Nora's sweet loving face started from scorn and indignation Nora's love for the shadows of the forlorn walls. Audley, he might succeed also in re. Her docile, yielding temper - her placing that broken and degraded generous, self - immolating spiritidol-his amaze and dismay were came back to his memory, to refute great on hearing of her departure. the idea that wronged her. His love, For several days he sought her traces that had been suspended for awhile in vain. He went to Lady Jane by busy cares, but which, if without Horton's-Nora had not been there. much refining sentiment, was still the He trembled to go back to Egerton. master passion of his soul, flowed Surely Nora would have written to back into all his thoughts-circumher husband, and, in spite of her pro- fused the very atmosphere with a mise, revealed his own falsehood; fearful softening charm. He escaped but as days passed and not a clue was under cover of the night from the found, he had no option but to repair watch of the bailiffs. He arrived to Egerton Hall, taking care that the in London. He himself sought everybailiffs still surrounde it. Audley where he could think of for his missing had received no line from Nora. The bride. Lady Jane Horton was conyoung husband was surprised and fined to her bed, dying fast - incapperplexed, uneasy-but had no sus- able even to receive and reply to his picion of the truth.
letter. He secretly sent down to At length Levy was forced to break Lansmere to ascertain if Nora had to Audley the intelligence of Nora's gone to her parents. She was not flight. He gave his own colour to it. there. The Avenels believed her Doubtless she had gone to seek her still with Lady Jane Horton. own relations, and take, by their ad- He now grew most seriously alarmvice, steps to make her marriage ed; and, in the midst of that alarm, publicly known. This idea changed Levy contrived that he should be Audley's first shock into deep and arrested for debt; but he was not stern resentment. His mind 80 detained in confinement many days. little comprehended Nora's, and was Before the disgrace got wind, the ever so disposed to what is called the writs were discharged—Levy baffled. common-sense view of things, that he He was free. Lord L'Estrange had saw no other mode to account for her learned from Audley's servant wbat flight and her silence. Odious to Audley would have concealed from Egerton as such a proceeding would him out of all the world. And the be, he was far too proud to take any generous boy-who, besides the munisteps to guard against it. "Let her ficent allowance he received from the do her worst," said he coldly, maskEarl, was heir to an independent and ing emotion with his usual self-com- considerable fortune of his own, when mand; “it will be but a nine days' he should attain his majority-haswonder to the world—a fiercer rush of tened to borrow the money and dismy creditors on their haunted prey—" charge all the obligations of his friend. * And
a challenge from Lord The benefit was conferred before L'Estrange."
Audley knew of it, or could prevent. “ So be it," answered Egerton, Then a new emotion, and perhaps suddenly placing his hand at his scarce less stinging than the loss of heart.
Nora, tortured the man who had " What is the matter? Are you smiled at the warning of science; ill?"
and the strange sensation at the heart " A strange sensation here. My was felt again and again. father died of a plaint of the And Harley, too, was still in search heart, and I myself was once told to of Nora-would talk of nothing but guard, through life, against excess of her—and looked so haggard and griefemotion. I smiled at such a warning worn. The bloom of the boy's youth then. Let us sit down to business." was gone. Could Audley then have
But when Levy had gone, and soli- said, "" She you seek is another's ; your love is razed out of your life. dishonour itself—had no thought save And, for consolation, learn that your to hide herself for ever from Audley's friend has betrayed you?” Could eye. She would not go to her relaAudley say this ? He did not dare. tions—to Lady Jane; that were to Which of the two suffered the give the clue, and invite the pursuit. most ?
An Italian lady of high rank had And these two friends, of characters visited at Lady Jane's-taken a great so different, were so singularly at- fancy to Nora—and the lady's hustached to each other. Inseparable at band, having been obliged to precede school—thrown together in the world, her return to Italy, bad suggested the with a wealth of frank confidences notion of engaging some companion-between them, accumulated since the lady had spoken of this to Nora childhood. And now, in the midst of and to Lady Jane Horton, who had all his own auxions sorrow, Harley urged Nora to accept the offer, elude still thought and planned for Egerton. Harley's pursuit, and go abroad for a And self-accusing remorse, and all the time. Nora then had refused;—for sense of painfal gratitude, deepened she then had seen Audley Egerton. Audley's affection for Harley into a To this Italian lady she now went, devotion as to a superior, while soft and the offer was renewed with the ening it into a reverential pity that most winning kindness, and grasped yearned to relieve, to atone;-but at in the passion of despair. But the how-oh, how ?
Italian had accepted invitations to A general election was now at hand, English country houses before she still no news of Nora. Levy kept finally departed for the Continent. aloof from Audley, pursuing his own Meanwhile Nora took refuge in a quiet silent search. A seat for the borough lodging in a sequestered suburb, which of Lansmere was pressed upon Audley, an English servant in the employnot only by Harley, but his parents, ment of the fair foreigner recomespecially by the Countess, who tacitly mended. Thus had she first come to ascribed to Audley's wise counsels the cottage in which Burley died. Nora's mysterious disappearance. Shortly afterwards she left England
Egerton at first resisted the thought with her new companion, unknown to of a new obligation to his injured all—to Lady Jane as to her parents. friend; but he burned to have it some All this time the poor girl was day in his power to repay at least his under a moral delirium-a confused pecuniary debt: the sense of that debt fever-haunted by dreams from which humbled him more than all else. she sought to fly. Sound physioloParliamentary success might at last gists agree that madness is rarest obtain for him some lucrative situation amongst persons of the finest imagiabroad, and thus enable him gradually nation. But those persons are, of all to remove this load from his heart and others, liable to a temporary state of his honour. No other chance of re- mind in which judgment sleeps-imapayment appeared open to him. He gination alone prevails with a dire accepted the offer, and went down to and awful tyranny. A single idea Lansmere. His brother, lately mar- gains ascendancy-expels all othersried, was asked to meet him; and presents itself everywhere with an there, also, was Miss Leslie the heiress, intolerable blinding glare. Nora was whom Lady Lansmere secretly hoped at that time under the dread one idea her son Harley would admire, but who —to fly from shame! had long since, no less secretly, given But, when the seas rolled, and the her heart to the unconscious Egerton. dreary leagues interposed, between her
Meanwhile, the miserable Nora, and her lover-when new images predeceived by the arts and representa- sented themselves—when the fever tions of Levy-acting on the natu- slaked, and reason returned—Doubt ral impulse of a heart so suscepti. broke upon the previous despair. Had ble to shame-flying from a home she not been too credulous, too hasty? which she deemed dishonoured-flying Fool, fool! Audley have been so poor from a lover whose power over her a traitor! How guilty was she, if she she knew to be so great, that she had wronged him! And in the midst dreaded lest he might reconcile her to of this revulsion of feeling, there stirred within her another life. She And one morning this paragraph was destined to become a mother. met her eye: At that thought her high nature “ The Earl and Countess of Lansbowed; the last struggle of pride gave mere are receiving a distinguished way; she would return to England, party at their country seat. Among seo Audley, learn from his lips the the guests is Miss Leslie, whose truth, and even if the truth were wealth and beanty have excited such what she had been taught to believe, sensation in the fashionable world. plead not for herself, but for the false To the disappointment of numerous one's child.
aspirants amongst our aristocracy, we Some delay occurred, in the then hear that this lady has, however, made warlike state of affairs on the Con- 'her distinguished choice in Mr Audley tinent, before she could put this pur- Egerton. That gentleman is now pose into execution ; and on her contesting the borough of Lansmere, journey back, various obstructions as a supporter of the government; lengthened the way. But she returned his success is considered certain, and, at last, and resought the suburban according to the report of a large cottage in which she had last lodged circle of friends, few new members before quitting England. At night, will prove so valuable an addition to she went to Audley's London house; the Ministerial ranks; a great career there was only a woman in charge of may indeed be predicted for a young it. Mr Egerton was absent-elec- so esteemed for talent and tioneering somewhere-Mr Levy, his character, aided by a fortune so imlawyer, called every day for any mense as that which he will shortly letters to be forwarded to him. Nora receive with the hand of the accomshrank from seeing Levy, shrank from plished heiress." writing even a letter that would pass Again the anchor snapt—again the through his hands. If she had been storm descended again the stars deceived, it had been by him, and vanished. Nora now was once more wilfully. But Parliament was already under the dominion of a single dissolved; the elections would soon thought, as she had been when she be over, Mr Egerton was expected to fled from her bridal home. Then, it return to town within a week. Nora was to escape from her lover — now, went back to Mrs Goodyers' and re- it was to see him. As the victim solved to wait, devouring her own stretched on the rack implores to be heart in silence. But the newspapers led at once to death, so there are night inform her where Audley really moments when the annihilation of was; the newspapers were sent for, hope seems more merciful than the and conned daily.
torment of suspense.
For some time past, it has been our includes good taste as well as wit, intention to devote a few pages to the and to the former quality he someexamination of twenty-five volumes times forfeits his claim. One feels of tales, essays, novels, and drolleries, vexed at the eccentricity or perversewhich occupy, under the initial K, a ness which lead him to blot, by license corner of our French bookcase. We and triviality, the most interesting of know not whether M. Alphonse Karr's his books. When he steers clear of works are as much read in England these shoals, his delineations freas those of some of his popular and quently possess both feeling and delimischievous cotemporaries ; but we cacy ; whilst the shrewdness and suspect that they are not. He is of a knowledge of human nature he often different school from those clever mis- exhibits, prevent our believing him creants, whose glittering pages, vivid the dupe of the sophistry and miswith attractive colours that conceal anthropy that sometimes flow from the most pernicious tendencies, make his pen. Desiring to judge him as his writings appear, by contrast, pale favourably as he will permit us to do, and monotonous. Some time ago, and at the same time to give an inwhen incidentally mentioning his very stance of the bad taste of which we charming novel of La Famille Alain, complain, we turn to the set of novels we extolled the propriety of many of included under the eccentric title of M. Karr's works; and, indeed, when Ce qu'il y a dans une Bouteille d'Encre. compared with the poisonous doctrines We may bere observe that M. Karr's of Eugene Sue, that reckless pander books are generally remarkable by to the worst passions of the populace, the oddity of their names. Some of with the profanity and impurity of these, such as Fort en Thème, Pour most of Madame Sand's novels, and ne pas être Treize, Une Folle Histoire, with the unclean and anti-social lucu- although pithy enough in French, brations of minor scribes too nume- translate but lamely into English. rous to mention, there are few of his Others are German, as Am Rauchen, books but seem innocent and unof- " Whilst Smoking," or, more freely, fending. Comparative praise must “Over a Pipe; and Einerlei, the not, however, be mistaken for unqua- name given to a collection of tales, lified approval. Grave faults are to and touching whose appositeness, be found in some of his earlier works; which is not very clear, M. Karr is and we fear it must be admitted that perfectly inexplicit. The novels with the exception of La Famille composing the * Ink Bottle" set are Alain, and of one or two others, the plainer in their appellations. One of books upon which he has apparently them, called Clotilde, is clever but bestowed most pains are, upon the disagreeable. It contains some wellwhole, the least unobjectionable. Two drawn characters, but all the most of his longest works-written, it is prominent of these are either vicious true, fifteen or twenty years ago,
or fools. Genevieve is another of this when their author was a very young series, and one of the best of the man, but over which he has evidently author's productions. And yet the lingered with love and painstaking chances are that the reader throws it are not only unpleasant in tone and aside before he has got through the untrue to nature, but in parts immo- first fifty pages, and denounces it as ral and licentious. Of his more re- one of the common run of loose French cent writings, the shorter and slighter novels, in which morality is sneered are generally the most exempt from at, or at least lost sight of. In reality, anything likely to shock English read- the chief fault of the book—almost ers. It is an unfortunate peculiarity its only one--lies in those first fifty of M, Karr's that he apparently goes pages.
Could we strike out or reout of his way to deface his fairest model them, Genevieve would be a pages. In France he has a high re- very charming novel. As it is, it putation as a man of esprit ; but esprit begins with a blemish : its commence