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TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF MADEMOISELLE
stalk of the old flower. Then the winter came, but THE LITTLE BLUE HYACINTH.
without rigour for her. For the first time the snow
covered her not with his white sheet ; for the first time ROYER, BY EVA YORKE.
she felt not the embrace of the frozen ground. On
the contrary, the warmth appeared to her to wax FORMERLY the little blue hyacinth lived humbly upon stronger, and the sunshine more brilliant, through the a hill-side, and lifted her graceful stem, under the burning panes of glass, which reflected a thousand clear heavens, in the midst of her companions the times his image. Little Hyacinth, thinking the spring grasses.
In the morning her perfume was exhaled returning, decided on blossoming. But, behold! for the breeze, during the day for the bee or butterfly, during these long days of slavery, her complexion had and at night for God alone. Solitary she grew up, far paled; she had become of an indescribable hue. She from the gaze of man; she chose of her own accord the was no longer violet, she was not rose, nor was she yet soil to nourish her, the spring to bathe in, the rising sun altogether white. Truly, she did not recognise herself to unfold her leaves; the little blue hyacinth was free. when she looked in the drops of water every day
One day she saw, with fright, a man advancing poured around her as a substitute for dow. Thus towards her; with his shadow he covered her entirely. Little Hyacinth lived amongst foreign flowers; years
“Withdraw thyself from my sunlight," said the succeeded one another, and all brought her new grief. gentle flower. But in vain, alas! for men understand Sometimes they exposed her to the burning rays of not the language of plants. Whilst he admired her noonday; sometimes to the purple light of sunset; delicate colouring, her slender form, and her head sometimes in a dry and arid soil; and at others in one timidly bent, little Blue Hyacinth trembled-trembled so wet, that her naked feet were soaked in water, and as if she had foreseen that the hour of misfortune had every change of life reproduced a change of colour. arrived.
Now she has become so accustomed to her new life, Soon, in truth, the wicked man pulled to pieces her her heavy leaves bend and break under their own frail bells one after the other, tearing out all the fibres; weight; her form rises upright and hardy ; her supple in short, subjected her to a thousand tortures, mur- head no longer inclines towards the earth ; but, more muring fantastical names in unintelligible words. lofty and ostentatious, she seems proud of her pomp. This man was a scholar--familiar with the productions | Little Hyacinth has become the queen of our spring; of Nature ; nevertheless, he ignored the pangs of the her sweetest perfumes embalm our dwellings; her expiring flower ; he did not dream that man ought not, graceful garlands crown our maidens' heads; she is no without necessity, to destroy the creatures of God. longer humble, unknown, solitary. Little Hyacinth
This was not yet enough. The little blue hyacinth is no longer blue. . .. But, also, she can no longer was about to lose her native hill, her spring of clear select the light on her native hill, the beloved spring, water, and her liberty.
the morning breeze, and the rising sun. She is no “Come, charming flower," said the barbarous man longer free, and no longer blushes when the gaze of to her, in a voice which betrayed the joy and the pride man penetrates the mysteries of her heart. of his conquest, “thou shalt be henceforth the ornament of our gardens; with care, thy raiment will become more dazzling; thou wilt invest thyself at pleasure with the white robe of the virgin, the saffron
ST. MARY-THE-VIRGIN'S, OXFORD. tunic of Hymen, or the rose-coloured girdle of the Roman dame ; thou wilt borrow the fresh lines of the The visitor who, on some lovely summer morning, maiden's cheek, the azure of heaven, and even the walks up the High Street of the City of Oxford, or purple of monarchs. More abundant supplies of water wanders among its domes and spires by the clear, shall bathe thy fragile feet; a more propitious sun bright, winter moonlight, will certainly not fail to furnish thee with a more fruitful sap; warmth and remark, as one of its chief beauties, the Church of sunshine shall be dispensed to thee with more equal St. Mary-the-Virgin, represented in our engraving: measure; in short, thou shalt live now a princess, The elegant pinnacles at the base of the spire reveal surrounded by other flowers jealous of thy beauty ; its date by the profusion of the ball-flower or pomebut all the glory will be mine who will first have granate ornament, in honour of Eleanor of Castile, shown thee to the world.”
mother of Edward II., in whose reign it was probably Little Blue Hyacinth entreated, wept; in vain. The completed. The chapel of Edward II.'s almoner, man did not heed, or wished not to understand her. Adam de Brome, on the west side of the tower, was She felt herself taken up out of the ground with a founded at the same time, but considerably altered force she could do nothing to resist; and when the in the fifteenth century, when the remainder of the fine threads of her root saw the day for the first time, edifice was entirely rebuilt. little Blue Hyacinth fainted with pain. When she St. Mary's is the University Church, and besides its returned to life she was in a vast palace of glass, in parish services, the University sermons are preached the midst of choice shrubs and rare plants, whose from its pulpit every Sunday during Term-time, all different perfumes seemed strange to her, and at first clerical members of the University of certain degrees caused her great uneasiness. She no longer felt taking their turns. When the preacher is a man of breeze or wind, but an unnatural warmth, wbich note the large galleries are crowded with underplunged her in a mortal languor.
graduates, while the body of the Church is filled to By degrees she accustomed herself to it, neverthe-overflowing with the "dons” of the University and less. But every day men resembling him who had the general congregation. Men of the most diverse thus imprisoned her came to see her. They considered character and opinions have occupied the pulpit, and her with curious eyes, praising her beauty. What the well-known Bampton Lectures--in themselves indiscretion! They dared to carry their regards even a library of theology-are regularly delivered here by to the core of that heart full of mystery. Little Blue divines appointed annually. Hyacinth blushed with shame and became violet. The historical and biographical associations of this
The summer passed ; she faded; but the generous church are of great interest, and strikingly illustrate moisture of a nutritive soil continued to circulate the important part taken by Oxford in the ecclesiastical through her veins. Large leaves, that resembled and religious life of the nation. In St. Mary's Church, ribbons of silk, surrounded as with a mantle the barel John Wycliffo, “the morning-star of the Roformation,"
denounced the erroneous follies of his day. To the an old square cap, he turned to a pillar near adjoining
G. Scott, under whose judicious direction the whole
dear child, do not think it. Repentance- amendment LOVE AND PRINCIPLE.
of infidel principles after marriage-is a rare, almost unheard-of thing. In all my long life I have never known the trust in it justified by the event, but too
frequently have seen the wife, to please her husband, “I do love him, mother ;” and with a deep, burning neglect her God. She stakes her all of future happiblush, Florence hid her face on her mother's knee, ness on his conversion, and loses." while that tender friend passed her arm around her “Oh, mother, spare me!" and the young girl darling's neck, and kissed her flushed brow, saying, clasped her hands tightly over her eyes as if to reluctantly
crush out the terrible thoughts awakened in her “But, dear one, you forget.”
“what you say may be all true, but it is too “I know what you would say, mother ; he has not severe; it cannot apply to him; he is no infidel, only yet told me of his love. I may be deceived; but oh, thoughtless; and for this one little fault-which is all no, no! it cannot be ; he loves me-I feel it-I know you know to charge him with, and which, if he loves it. I read it in each glance of his eye-each touch of me, he will cure-you would not have me throw away his hand; he is not-no, he cannot be-a deceiver." his happiness, my happiness for over?”
“I trust not; but oh! dear child, you know little of “This little fault !” echoed her mother sadly; men and their wiles."
“and is it a small fault in your eyes to neglect God's “Not of inen generally, perhaps, but of him—so ordinances and mock his ministers ? Oh, Florence, brave aud noble, with such high, chivalrous thoughts. Florence !" Oh! mother, mother, you who loved so deeply once, “Forgive me, mother, but I am so unhappy, so can you not feel for me now?"
miserable. I cannot give him up.
I love him so There was a terrible struggle in the mother's heart. much; what must I do ?” and the poor girl, bending She saw how miserable she had already made the child her head against the window, wept bitterly. of her love-her firstborn-and she shrank almost For a moment Mrs. Neil said nothing, and only weakly from increasing that grief, and so, perhaps, gazed sorrowfully upon the slight, bowed figure before estranging the heart of hor darling from her; and yet her, then, taking her daughter's hand, she answered she had heard something which ought, ay, and must gentlybe told.
“Florence, my darling, I would have spared you “Florenoe,” she said at length, “do you
remember this trial if I could, if I dared; but it must not bo. what the two things were, without which, you have God, in his mercy, strengthen and help me to save you always said, you would never marry ?”
from yourself! Not only are Henry Leslie's religious · Yes, I remember them well-similarity in religion principles deficient, but he has none." and principles, and an answering love to my own. Florenco trembled like an aspeo, but said nothing; But why do you ask me this? Does he not love me? and her mother continued—“You have a right to ask Do you really think he does not love me? Oh! the reason for such an assertion, and I will give it. inother, tell me; what is it you fear ?"
Last night, after you had retired, I wanted a book “Not that he does not love you, dearest ; I think- from the drawing-room, and trusting to the moonlight, nay, I believe-he does; but I fear for his principles.” | left my candle up-stairs, and went to seek it. The
“Oh, mother!” and the young girl sprang to her window into the garden was open, and two dark feet; “ do not say so-you have no cause---you judge figures, smoking cigars, stood on the terrace outside. him wrongly, indeed, indeed, you do.” Then, as she I recognised them instantly as Henry Leslie and his caught sight of her mother's sad face, “ But you would friend Mr. Warton. As I entered the room your not torture me thus, did you not believe it; tell me, name was mentioned, and by an involuntary impulse then, what you imagine, for you can know nothing I stood still and heard what followed. Warton was against him."
bantering his friend on his devotion, calling you a "My poor child !” and tears stood in the mother's pretty little Sunday-school angol, who could talk soft eges, as Florence, making neither sign nor move- of nothing but church decorations and wonderful ment, stood fixedly before her, with a look of passion-conversions, and cared more for a Temperance teaate strength on her face, as if waiting to defend him party than an Archery ball. Leslie laughed, and whom sho loved.
silenced him, saying, as he did so“I will ask you one or two questions, my Florence,” “Never mind, Warton; she's a dear little thing for continued Mrs. Neil, “and you shall decide. I know all that; so frank and genuine, it is really a treat Mr. Leslie is what the world calls honourable, is regu- to find such a true, honest-hearted creature in this lar in his attendance at church, and, so far as we know, world of shams. And as for her religion, it is as good moral in his conduct; but that is not all which is a mania as anything else, and a great deal safer required to make men high principled and religious. and less expensive; it does capitally for women When does he attend the Holy Communion, and when and children, keeps them out of mischief, amuses is it that he does not turn the services and sermon into them, and gives them something to think about; but ridicule?”
for us men-c'est tout autre chose. We have plenty to “ But really Mr. Norton's sermons are so very do in this world without meddling with another, and prosy,” faltered poor Florence.
Florence will soon see the wisdom of following our Thoy aro; but, Florence, is it not the part of a example as she gets older.' And they passed on in Christian and a gentleman to look, not to the preacher, the moonlight, and I heard no more." but the doctrine preached-to bear with the faults, Mrs. Neil stopped, and looked at her daughter weaknesses, and, perhaps, even the follies of others, She thought, and rightly too, that the terrible conparticularly the aged, for the sake of that charity versation she had related would work better in silenco. which suffereth long, and is kind ?"
Florence had withdrawn her hand from her mother's, " You are right, mother; but he has high spirits, and now stood up, cold, stony, and pale as a statue. and they carry him too far sometimes ;” and Florence's The expression in her face it would have been hard to lip quivered, as she resolutely kept back the rising read, it was so still and rigid; at last, after many sobs. “ It is not right; but obl he will be better efforts, she spoke, and her voice, though low, was some day.”
calm, almost stern. “When you are married ? Nay, Florence, my dear, Mother,” she said, “I thank you for the love
which has saved me from a terrible fate. I now see mean to alarm you" said the young man quickly, as he I dare not marry him. But, oh, Harry, Harry!” and saw her cheeks and lips become deadly pale, although, at that name the girl's forced composure gave way, after a few moments' violent effort, she controlled her and with a heart-rending cry she darted past her emotion, answering quietlymother, and sought her own room.
“ It is nothing, Mr. Leslie; I am foolishly nervous When Mrs. Neil gained the door she found it fastened, to-day. I thought-I fancied-you had gone out with and, pausing ere she knocked, she heard within deep my father, so I was rather surprised to see you, that sobs and passionate prayers for strength, and with a is all.” stricken heart she turned away, feeling that such “I should have gone, but the Colonel left me here; deep agony was too sacred for even a mother's in- and, in fact, he gave me permission to seek you, or I trusion.
should not have ventured to intrude so early. May I The next morning the sun rose bright and clear over not hope to be forgiven ?" the valley which hid in its green bosom the pretty “Oh, certainly; but I am very busy, I am going little village of H- It was late in October, and to-perhaps mamma will do,” stammered poor Flothe hounds and horses, with their numerous attendants, rence, awkwardly, trying to escape the interview and formed a gay, stirring group in the great courtyard of declaration she saw at hand, and advancing towards the Manor House, as they waited impatiently for their the door, master and his friends.
At length the hall-door “No, I fear not,” replied Leslie, smiling. “It is opened, and a merry party appeared, clad in the cus
I seek. Are you so busy tomary scarlet. First came Colonel Neil, the owner that you cannot spare me five minutes ? " of the house and dogs—a noble, soldier-like old man, Oh, no," and Florence stopped, unable to meet the with beautiful white curling hair, and eyes of clear, eyes whose eloquence it was so difficult to resist, and earnest hazel. Beside him walked a younger man, of which she felt were fixed upon her, and to pray earshort and slight, but erect and graceful carriage, whose nestly, with a beating heart, for help to resist the small feet and hands and wonderful eyes were his sole coming entreaties of him she had known so long, and attraction. But in those eyes lay the secret of the loved so dearly. marvellous power and fascination which their pos- For an instant the silence lasted, Leslie gazing upon sessor appeared to exercise over all with whom he the varying colour and trembling form of the fair girl came in contact, yot, irresistible as they were, none before him, and then, with sudden passion, exclaiming, ever knew their colour; they were not blue, still less as he went forward were they brown, and no grey orbs ever sparkled and “Forgive me, Florence, for this abruptness-I shone beneath their bushy brows as these incompre- | must speak; nay, do not turn away. I have your hensibles did.
father's permission-I love you-love you beyond all But while we have been digressing and attempting that tongue can tell or fancy picture, beyond my life, to describe what is indescribable, the hunters have all my soul—then hear me, dearestmounted, and are now only waiting Colonel Neil's “ Hush, hush, Mr. Leslie—say no more, it cannot signal to depart. We said all had mounted; but it be-nay, do not take my hand-it is useless, for this was not so, for Harry Leslio (the gentleman of the must not be." wonderful eyes) stood on foot by the Colonel's horse, “Why? What do you mean? You cannot doubt talking earnestly to its rider, who bent down to catch -oh, Florence, you cannot doubt my love ?" his guest's whispered words.
“No, no; but At length the patience of the fox-hunters was ex- “What! you do not love another ? " and the fiery hausted, and, after repeated calls, the Colonel, saying blood rushed to his face. “No, no; it is impossible. in a low voice to Leslie, “You will find her in the I have watched you too well, too narrowly; overy house,” rode quickly forward, and joined his com- thought, every wish of your heart I know as well, ay, panions, so that in a few moments Harry was left better than my own.” alone in the courtyard.
“Do you ?" she said, as, with a bitter sigh, she A look of triumph, succeeded by one of deeper, raised her heavy eyes, full of such a deep, hopeless softer feeling, lighted up the loiterer's countenance as grief, that Leslie, taken by surprise, paused in alarm; he turned back, slowly and thoughtfully, into the then, as a sudden idea struck him, he exclaimed, in achouse, passing from hall to corridor till he found cents of relief, “ You are ill; I have been too hastyhimself before a low-browed doorway of polished too impetuous. I have alarmed you-I will go inoak.
stantly-directly, only say one word, dearest, dearest For a moment he hesitated-should he knock? Florence—say that you accept my love." “No,” he thought, “she does not expect me, and I “ I cannot." would not lose her start and blush of pleasure for “Why? again I ask, why?" And his brow darkthe world.”
ened. So he opened the door softly, and looked in. By “Urgo me no more." the open window sat a young girl, her tall figure “ But I must-I will! Florence, you are torturing slightly bent as she leaned forward, her head resting me;" and he paced the room with long, irregular upon her hand, and her grave, sorrowful glance fixed strides, while his strange eyes darkened and flashed upon the ground. The gay joyousness of voice and ominously; and she, nerveless, strengthless, brokenfeature, which had hitherto distinguished Florence hearted, sank back upon the couch beside her, and Neil, was gone, and in its place was a restless quiver cowered down among the cushions like a stricken of the beautiful mouth, and a troubled look on the flower. Suddenly he stopped. smooth, pale forehead, as she moved up and down in “ This is only trifling; you do not mean it, Floher chair in the restlessness of pain.
rence, my own, my darling!” and, before she could Leslie stood motionless, silent, and astonished, prevent him, he had knelt and caught her in his arms. unable to account for this change in her who but the “Yes, yes, you love me; you cannot deny it, for I day before had seemed bright and gay as a wild bird, read it in your eyes. You cannot deceive me-you, and who now- There was no time for further whose every look and thought I have studied day after marvel, for Florence looked up suddenly, and their day for months. My beautiful, my own!" and he eyes met.
pressed kiss after kiss on the palo brow that lay so “Forgive me, Miss Neil-Florence-I did not passively on his shoulder.
For one moment of intense bliss, such as neither For half an hour Leslie knelt there with his face might taste again, Leslie held his beloved in his buried in the cushion; when he looked up, she was
It was a merry breakfast party that assembled in
the sunny dining-room of the Manor House, one bright THEN she awoke from her trance of happiness, and in June day, ten years after the scene we have just terrible contrast to the glowing present, the lonely, related, and the sweet laugh of our old friend, Florence loveless future stood out clear and cold before her, and Neil, rang out as readily and almost as merrily as it she shuddered. Then came the traitor thought, had ever done in the days long since gone by, before a “What need to give him up ? she would not, she disappointed sorrow had touched her happy spirit. could not-she had not promised; besides, did he not And those days had brought many changes. The know now that she loved him, and after that how noble old Colonel and his gentle wife were both dead, could she persist in resigning him ?”
and of their children one had died the lingering death One instant more, and clearly and distinctly to her of consumption, another was married, and the eldest memory returned her mother's words—“Not only are son, Ernest, was at Oxford, while Florence, Helen, Hen; And again—“Repentance, amendment of infidel | much-loved home. principles after marriage-is a rare, almost unheard-of Yet, although there were only three round the thing. I have never known the trust in it justified by table, it was a merry party, for Helen's sparkling, the event, but have too often seen the wife, to please her joyous spirits were even gayer than usual, and husband, neglect her God; she stakes her all of happiness between her and Cyril there was a constant play on his conversion, and loses," to become-what? of wit. Florence's heart, even at this trying moment, an- By-and-by, however, the letters came in, and swered the question—the wretched, heart-broken wife of Helen, eagerly seizing upon hers, read it quickly, an atheist!
then, as a deep blush burned on her cheek, passed it It was too much, and quietly disengaging herself silently to her eldest sister. from her lover's arms, she rose and stood with down- Florence took it, and read the following lines :cast eyes before him. “I told you this could not be,” she said, “and now
“My dear little Puss,-Having certain news to I will tell you why. You are an atheist.” He made impart which I believe will interest you more than a movement as if to speak. “Nay, do not interrupt Florence, I address this epistle to you. A Mr. Leslie, me-I know it; no matter how, or who told me; and
whom it seems you saw every day last winter at my were you all that the world holds of great and brave, aunt's, is here now, and has thrown out so many
broad hints of his wish to see our old Manor House-. I dare not marry you.”.
Her voice had not faltered, but it had grown lower which, it appears, ho visited in the Dark Ages, Heaven and lower, till he could scarcely catch her last words ;
knows how many centuries ago--that I have been and motionless, although not even then believing that obliged to invite him to go home with me, and he has this was her final decision, and resolved to make one
this moment graciously signified his acceptance of the
invitation. more effort, he said, with his burning eyes fixed on her, “This is but a feint; no woman would cast off
“He's a capital fellow, and I approve of him the man she loved, for mere difference of opinion. I heartily, thinking you a very wise girl to overlook am deceived; you love another.”
his age (he must be twenty years older than you, at She reeled and fell heavily backwards, as if he had least) in favour of his principles; therefore I shall be struck her; and so he had, for surely the soul is not quite ready to give you and him my fraternal beneless sensitive than the body.
diction, whenever you think fit to ask for it. Folks In frantic alarm and sudden penitence, Leslie, say he was a terrible mauvais sujet once, but that believing that she had fainted, knelt beside her with must be long enough ago, to be forgotten and fora face almost as pale as her own, and chafed her icy given; anyhow, he is now as earnest and steadily hands.
religious as dear Flo herself, and this is saying a But he was wrong; there was no rest or oblivion great deal, seeing what a good little angel she is. So for that brave heart.
good-bye, and with love to all, She opened her eyes and sat up, Harry still kneel- "Believe me, your affectionate brother, ing at her feet, and with the soft love-light beaming
“ ERNEST NEIL," in his eyes, murmuring“Florence, dear Florence, I did not mean to say so;
"P.S.-He has said nothing absolutely positive to forgive me, pardon me, love me!” and he tried to me at present, but it is easy to see which way the draw her again into her resting-place in his arms.
wind lies." But, resisting the attempt, Florence once more rose “My dear sister," said Florence, after a while, slowly, although her lover did not move, saying, "Mr. clasping Helen in her arms, and kissing her tenderly, Leslie, Harry-I do love you, God only knows how “I am so glad.” much-better than all the world, but not better than “And so am I,” laughed the mischievous sprite, heaven. We part, and for ever; but if you love me “only I wish Ernest wouldn't be quite so stupid ; as you say, if you have ever loved me, listen to my like all men, he has never told us when they are words, the last you will hear me speak. I tell you coming, and now of course the chances are, that when now, and it is as though I spoke to you from the grave, they do come, we shall have nothing to give them for no atheist, with however good a heart, can either be dinner." And with a wry face the gay girl jumped happy or blest; and his love”-she trembled fearfully up, and, “on hospitable thoughts intent,” rushed out
L*must, whether successful or not, bring sorrow to of the room, leaving Florence alone, for Cyril had himself, and agony to others.''
gone to his tutor. Tears choked her utterance, as, obeying a sudden And thus left, Florence sat silent, her hands on impulso, she leaned down and kissed his forehead, her lap, and her head bent down, trying to think. while as she did so a tear, hot and burning, fell Leslie, Helen's lover! she could not understand it. upon it.
She had struggled with her love so long that she had