« AnteriorContinuar »
BY MARY CLAIRE.
Many years have now passed since a family Utterly devoid of self-government, the worls group was gathered one gloomy evening in that first rose to their lips must he spoken; the March around a bright fire, which, hardly contemptuous sarcasın was rarely suppressed, aided by a glimmering from the fast darkening and long after the satire was forgotten by ther, windows, ball shadowed, half lighted up the it rankled in the hearts of those who had been larye dining-room and the young faces of its made to writhe under it. Persons, whom they inmates. These were seven in number, five had represented in a ridiculous light, would sisters and two brothers, who were carrying on hint that “it was a pity the word of a clerer a conversation in that unrestrained freedom that person could never be relied upon;" and almarks " the household nook, where hearts are though their society was courted by others, they of cach other sure.” The subject was a party, I could not help suspecting that many regarded at which they had been present the foregoing them with feelings of fear and dislike. Their evening; and every now and then most musical habits were marked by indolence and procras. laughter burst froin their lips. Had an unseen tination; and, as it is the peculiar privilege of observer watched them he would at once have persons in a country town to know at what time been struck by their sweet-toned voices, the their neighbours rise and retire, the late hours brilliancy of their wit, and the very superior that the Hyltons kept, and their indulgence in language in which, without either affectation or the morning, were well known. Many a prudent pedantry, their thoughts were clothed. Still his mother warned her son that such girls would ears would have been pained by the unjust con- never make good wives, and many a young man clusions they formed of others, the bitter satire, when duly informed of something said to his the wilful exaggeration in which they indulged. disadvantage by the laughter-loving sisterhood,
The Hyltons, to whom we have just intro: was precisely of the same opinion. duced ourselves, were emphatically a talented They too were dissatisfied with themselves, family; whatever they said was better said, and often each one asked herself the question, whatever they did was better and more quickly “Who is the better for iny life?". Every few done, than the words and performances of ordi- months indeed they were 'aroused to sudden nary persons. Two of the family had a talent activity; they would visit the poor, lend books, for drawing and painting, and their portfolios form schools, and teach evening classes; then were eagerly examined, and long lingered over the whole house was, as the servants expressed even by connoisseurs. Some of them played it, "in an uproar.” Sometimes they would be and sung; and, however engrossing might have too late for meals, or occasion dismay by having been the conversation at an evening party, if the a formidable number of dirty children in the Miss Hyltons took their place at the piano or dining-room. But by degrees these fits wore harp, all other voices were hushed, and every off, and they relapsed into indolence till some one present eagerly listened to their bewitching fresh scheme woke up their ill-directed activity. strains. But in addition to these talents they But we are making our tale wearisome by so possessed remarkable conversational powers; lengthened a description, and must now conand being thoroughly well informed, could enter duct our readers back to the pleasant room into most subjects with spirit and animation. where we left the party. The discussion which The young men always succeeded in forcing so deeply engaged them was interrupted by the from the dullest after-dinner party such peals of entrance of a servant with two letters-one for laughter that they not unfrequently reached the Miss Hylton, and the other for her orphan drawing-room, where the lady of the house was cousin, who, just entering, had taken one of the feeling inexpressibly thankful to their sisters for places left vacant by the departure of the two enlivening that sullen, solitary half-hour before brothers. Lucy Dermont blushed deeply as she the return of the gentlemen. It appeared as if glanced at the hand-writing, and was leaving Nature had spent her stores upon these favoured the room when her eldest cousin exclaimed, ones, for they were remarkably beautiful: their
“Now Lucy, don't deny it, that is an offer from beauty, like all else belonging to them, was of a Mr. Gardiner!" and taking her hand, said play; superior order; their figures were tall and well fully she should not escape. The challenged moulded, and their classical features, added to a maiden turned round on the threshold, displayproud bearing, common to the family, gaveing a countenance that strikingly contrasted them an air of singular family resemblance and with those around her-a contrast which did distinction from all others.
not so much consist in her fair tresses and light Yet all these fairy favors” secured then blue eyes, opposed to the raven hair and dark neither love nor happiness. In the formation eyes of the sisters, as in the meek and gentle of their characters one thing was found wanting, expression her features bore, while the form of and that want destroyed the beauty of the rest. her lips betrayed great indecision. She was an
orphan niece of Dr. Hylton, and had been, answer for you, such as Mr. Gardiner deserves brought up from infancy in his family. Every for his presumption !" one observed how different Lucy was from the And in spite of Lucy's feeble remonstrances, rest, how much she was thrown into the back- the thoughtless girl penned a haughty, conground, and how silent she appeared by the temptuous refusal for her cousin, who thus saw side of her brilliant relatives; still such reinarks her fair promise of happiness destroyed without were generally closed with, “Well, after all, I feeling the power to check the ruthless hand like Lucy Dermont the best; it is very pleasant that crushed it. This letter was despatched, to know, that after you have been talking to and the young man, who felt that Lucy had her, your remarks will not be turned into ridi- given him tacit encouragement, mingled his cule. And there were some who discovered bitter disappointment with indignation, and left that when an old lady, or a very young gentle. the neighbourhood, fully determined never to man, was to be amused, Lucy could talk very see her again. pleasantly: while others hazarded an opinion On cool reflection the sisters, though unwilthat her simple Scotch airs had a melody which ling to confess it to each other, felt that they spoke more to them than the Italian operas and had acted wrongly, especially Edith, to whom it German songs that her cousins delighted in. occurred that Lucy might have liked Mr. GarOne had evidently thought so, a young clergy. diner. “ Impossible," she thought again, reman whom she had met the summer before; membering Lucy's passiveness, and so disinissed and who now, after vainly trying to summon up the subject from her mind, as she re-perused resolution to ask a private interview, had com- the letter which she had received at the same mitted his hopes and fears to paper. But alas ! time. It came from a young friend, who was the letter arrived at a most inauspicious mo- lately married, asking her to spend a few weeks ment.
at her new home. Edith sat down to accept the Edward Gardiner was naturally very bashful, invitation without another thought of Lucy; she and his love rendered him positively awkward. little knew that at that moment the poor girl He had been brought up by a maiden aunt, was in her own room, giving vent to the bitter dividing his time between her house and college, tears she dared not shed before her companions, and had consequently been but little into the remembering and weighing every word he would society of ladies. His exterior, without being think she had written. It is all over now," decidedly plain, was unpretending, and poor she said to herself. “Why was I so foolish? Lucy, who had for some time known that he Why could I not tell them a!l the truth? I loved her, had felt most acutely the sarcastic deserve my punishment, but it is greater than I manner in which he was mentioned by the can bear!” others, yet lacked courage boldly to declaim In order not to make our story too prolix, we against such injustice. Now indeed the flood- will pass over some months, and follow Edith gates were opened, pouring forth such a torrent to the house where she was a visitor. of wit and sarcasm, that the tiinid girl was fairly Mr. Staunton, the husband of her friend, was overpowered; every mistake was exaggerated, a man of intellect and intelligence, possessing every action placed in the most ridiculous light, in addition great penetration; he sat as a judge, and his personal appearance so scoffed at, that and often a stern one, upon the characters of you might have supposed the Miss Hyltons the those with whom he came in contact. No wonsisters of fairy-tale renown, where the Beast der that Edith did not feel at home with him: became the wooer of the shrinking Beauty. if her most brilliant sallies were at the expense Had poor Lucy been the heroine of a romance, of others, if her most vivid descriptions were she would have answered scorn with scorn, and too highly drawn, no applause was won froin fought th: battle for her absent lover, but she her rigid host. But if her beauty and talents wanted confidence and strength of mind; she failed to impress Mr. Staunton, he had a visitor could have borne to wed a man whoin her not disposed to be such a Minos, in the person cousins hated, but one whom they ridiculed and of a young barrister, who had officiated as despised--the thought was beyond endurance. groomsman at the wedding, So, when at last Miss Hylton stopped her mirth Frank Glenville thought he had at last found to say, “ of course, Lucy, you have not en- in Edith the woman of whom he had so often tertained the idea of accepting this exquisite dreamed, the character he had singled out from Adonis?” she faintly replied, Why, Edith, I the pages of poetry and romance, but sought thought I would ask your advice, and then-” for in vain among ball-room misses and blues,
Here she stopped.' " And then what, cousin He was a young man of real talent, and could Lucy?"
fully appreciate her powers of mind; being gifted “You know,” was the answer, “ the circum- likewise with a striking personal appearance, stances in which my father died, how entirely I and possessing remarkably agreeable manners. am dependent on my uncle, and—”
Edith, who, notwithstanding her satirical pro"Nonsense, Lucy," cried the sisters, who pensities, had a spice of romance in her disporeally loved their cousin ; " do you think while sition, began to be as much in love with him as we have a home you shall leave us for such a he evidently was with her. consideration ?"
One beautiful evening in July Miss Hylton “ Don't say another word about that,” con- and Frank had been walking together in the tinued Edith. "I will sit down and write an garden, as if they would never weary of its shades, and Edith, pleading an excuse, had re- Hylton's habits been different, yet as she has tired to her room, where she might dream out been brought up in luxury and extravagance, “ her own sweet dreams at will.” She was it forms an obstacle that cannot be lightly restless with very happiness, and throwing open thought of.” the sash, stepped on the small balcony before With a frozen heart, and fixed like a statue, her window: there, in the moonlight, she saw did poor Edith stand listening, as all the worst the rustic arbour where he had sat by her side defects in her character were mentioned, and —there was the white rose, from which he had placed in their true light by the inflexible Mr. gathered the fairest bud for her; and one moon- Staunton. And when at length she heard Frank beam, struggling through the thick foliage, ' argue that she was young, and if he could win marked the very spot where, when that blossom her affections he might correct those faults, fell from her tresses, she had seen him take it ! with deep anguish she caught the reply. up to treasure it next his heart like a fairy gift. “No, Frank; hers' are not faults tr at hapWho can tell the happiness with which a maiden piness can correct; it is only by grief, by disremembers all the tokens of love
appointment and trial, under which an ordinary
mind would be crushed, that such a spirit could “ Uttered not, yet comprehended!"
be chastened and subdued. You cannot love
her as she is now; you cannot respect her chaBut as Edith mused, she heard her own name racter; and love without that foundation is inmentioned by Mr. Staunton, and then an ear- deed ' a house built upon the sands’!" nest, and, as it seemed, an expostulatory answer Edith could listen no longer, and retreating in Glenville's voice. She remembered that the to her room, weighed the accusations brought room in which they were was under her own, against her, whilst her conscience told her they and that the window opened on the lawn; and were true. In the midst of her distress she (we do not say that it was justified, but ours is a thought much of Mr. Staunton's closing words. history, not a romance) she leaned forward to “God knows,” she murmured, “the grief, the hear the conversation-if it were a sin, bitter disappointment, of which be spoke, has come was her penance. She listened while Mr. Staun- upon me; mine is a terrible lesson, but it shall tɔn taxed Frank with love towards her, and be rightly learned !" It seemed as if her unkind heard her lover boldly confess it.
sarcasms, each instance of her disregard for “ Have you told Miss Hylton of your affec- truth, the mental and physical indolence in tion?" was the next inquiry, which was answered which she had indulged, all passed in array bein the negative. “ Then, my dear Frank,” re- fore her ; but the fault she most deplored was plied his host,“ take my advice and leave the wrong she felt had been done to her gentle Bournfield to-morrow, without saying a word cousin. Dwelling on every circumstance, and to Miss Hylton.”
with her perceptions awakened by her own “My dear sir!” gasped the astonished lover. heavy disappointment, she became certain that
“I am perfectly sincere,” returned his friend; Lucy had loved Edward Gardiner. “Oh!" “ Miss Hylton is by no means calculated to exclaimed the weeping girl, “I mocked away make you happy!”
her happiness: bow just is my punishment! Frank began a most indignant remonstrance, But if reparation be possible it shall be made.” but Mr. Staunton interrupted him, saying, Towards morning poor Edith fell into a feverish “ Hear me, and then judge for yourself.' All sleep, and on awaking sent down a message esthat you can say of Miss Hylton's beauty and cusing herself from the breakfast-table. She talents I admit; they make her a delightful listened for every sound, and at length heard a companion, but much more that is wanting in horse brought to the door ; another minute and her character is indispensable in a wise. I have Frank passed the window slowly, but did not watched her narrowly, and you may rest assured look up: she saw that he was very pale, and her moral worth is far inferior to her intellec- | when the last sound of his horse's hoofs died tual powers; she will even stoop to falsehood.” | away in the distance, she Aung herself on her
“ Ímpossible !" cried Frank. *“ I cannot bear knees in one burst of agony and remorse. Col. this, even from you!”.
lecting herself she remembered that none must “ Think,” returned Mr. Staunton. “Do you know her sorrow; so calling up courage she remember a statement made by her yesterday entered the library. (repeating it verbatim)? Now, was that true “ Edith, how pale you look,” cried the unor false? I believe indeed that she has formed suspecting Mrs. Staunion; "it was most unforso fixed a habit of inventing and colouring, that tunate that you were not able to join us at she does not know where truth ends ard false- ! breakfast this morning, for Frank has been hood begins. Besides, she would seriously in called unexpectedly to town. I asked him to jure you in your profession by her habit of return, but he fears he will not be able. He reridiculing almost every one with whom she quested me to present his compliments to you, comes in contact. There is another objection; and say that he regretted leaving without bid. Dr. Ilylton lives, it is generally supposed, up to bing you good-bye.' his income, and will have little to give his Edith made a mechanical reply, and so effecdaughters : you have not much to rely upon tually exerted herself to hide her feelings, that besides your profession, and though this would even Mr. Staunton congratulated himself on her comparatively be of little consequence, had Miss peace at least being undisturbed.
We need not dwell upon the sufferings poor for his education from their scanty funds. Mr. Edith underwent during the remainder of her ' Gardiner offered at once to take him, but this visit; and truly thankful was she when the day Edith would not hear of; she resolved to turn for departure came, not solely on her own ac- her education and talents to some account, and count, but because she felt anxious about Lucy, knowing herself to be justified in asking a large whom she found looking far from well. Dr. salary as a governess, she determined thereby Hylton had observed the change in the drooping to pay her brother's expenses, and at the same girl, and ordered her removal to the sea-side: it time lessen those at home, struck Edith directly that if she could accom- Nearly three years had rolled away, during pany her cousin she might, by kind loving care, which Edith, in a constant round of duties, exwin her confidence so far as to learn from her perienced a calm happiness, which might have own lips whether she really still loved Edward. been envied by many who had every wish ful
Edith's proposal was received with great asto- filled. One day, about this time, Lady Allmaigne nishment, and Lucy felt ber cousin's kindness called upon an intimate friend, who entered with most deeply, and often asked herself if it were an apology for keeping her waiting, as she said, possible the loving, unselfish being who watched “ Miss Grey, my children’s governess, has left her with even a mother's tenderness, could be me, and my time is much taxed her absence. Edith Hylton. At length the question Edith Your governess, I suppose, is not leaving," longed so much to ask was put, and Lucy con- added Mrs. Robinson, “or I would have enfessed her love, but said nothing of all she had gaged her.” suffered. The repentant girl, bending all her No, I hope not,” replied Lady Allmaigne. mental energy to repair her fault, resolved at My house would hardly seem like home, once upon a plan. She determined to see Ed- either to myself or the children, without Edith ward Gardiner, to confess to him the part she Hylton.". had taken, and to assure him that Lucy loved Here both the ladies started, for from the him deeply, though she had weakly yielded up next room, which communicated with the one
Edith having ascertained his address in which they sat by folding-doors, there proin London, persuaded the invalid to spend one ceeded a sound as if a book had been hastily day in town on their homeward route, urging dropped. All being quiet again, the conversathat it would render the journey less fatiguing. tion was resumed. Lady Allmaigne was a warm Leaving her cousin to rest at the hotel, the friend, one who delighted in speaking of those courageous girl hastened to fulfil her resolution, she loved; and in Mrs. Robinson, who knew and presented herself before the astonished eyes something of Edith, she found a willing listener, of Edward Gardiner. She frankly told him her while she spoke of Miss Hylton's talents, her errand, laying all the blame upon herself : at beauty, and elegance of manner, and above all first he was cold and incredulous, but as she of her strict principle, together with the reveproceeded the eloquence of truth prevailed, and rence with which she taught the children to he was only too happy to be convinced of what look upon truth. When at length she paused, he would have given the world to believe. Mrs. Robinson asked a question which most
Edith enjoined secrecy on the young clergy- ladies would have put : My dear Clara,” said man, whom she found it difficult to persuade she, “ how is it that you have been so fortunate not to accompany her back to the hotel, but to as to keep such a paragon to yourself; how can wait a few days and then follow them home. It it be that she has no: been wooed and won is unnecessary to say that he did so; and when, before now?” some months after, 'Edith knelt as bridesmaid “ Not because she lacks admirers, certainly,” at the wedding of her happy cousin, most replied her friend; " but she will give encouthankful did she feel in having been able to ragement to none.
I have not liked to press make full reparation.
the subject; it is the only one on which she is But a short time had passed away since this not communicative.”. event when a heavy trial came upon the family. “ Poor girl!" sighed Mrs. Robinson, who Dr. Hylton was seized with a disorder from was of a sentimental turn. Perhaps she has which he never recovered. It was hinted among been disappointed in love!" Lady Allmaigne his friends that the attack was partly brought made no answer, and her friend rejoined, “I on by the extravagance of his sons, who had think, Clara, your Miss Hylton must have been both entered the army in preference to their born perfect." father's profession, and whose debts he was “ I thought so at first, Mary," was the ancalled upon to discharge. During her father's swer; " but now it is my opinion that she has illness Edith was his constant nurse; the inward made herself what she now is; minds of a high suffering she had endured had strengthened her order have, generally speaking, great impermind to bear outward sorrow. Death came at fections, and are subject to great temptations ; last, and then the poor girl felt all the agony of if these can be conquered, such a character grief which her active employment during her becomes most wonderfully perfect.” father's sickness had somewhat distracted. Some conversation of a general nature passed,
When Dr. Hylton's affairs were examined, it and at last Lady Allmaigne rose to leave, when was found that a bare competency would be Mrs. Robinson detained her, saying, Now, secured to his family: his youngest son was Clara, you must stay to luncheon; it is ready in still at school, and it appeared impossible to pay the library; and then," added she, lowering her
BY ELLEN OGIER.
tone, “I will introduce you to a very agreeable
THE SMILE. friend Mr. Robinson met with at Matlock. Allan soon found him out to be the son of a distant relative, Colonel Glenville, of whom you
(A Hint to the Fair Sex.) must have heard himn speak; he is a barrister, and rising fast in his profession. We found he was likely to come into the neighbourhood for a few days, and insisted on his being our guest.”. “Relinquish, relinquish your sceptre of snow, Saying this, she threw open the door, and
Fhing your icicled mantle aside; they entered the library, where certainly the Tear the frost-covered chaplet away from your brow, luncheon awaited them, but no Frank Glenville !
And give place to the Sun's lovely bride." Mr. Robinson, who came in, appeared surprised, declaring that he had left him reading only an hour before; and after waiting in vain they Stern Winter he langhed at these words of lunched without him.
command But where was Frank, our old acquaint- “ Fair Spring, you must e'en wait awhile ance? Happy Edith! one conversation over- Ere my hoary old kingdom shall fall 'neath your heard formed her character-the next made her hand." happiness! Frank had never loved another,
Spring's only reply was a smile. and after long years of absence had been to her birth-place to make inquiry for her. He found that smile !--what a havoc in Winter's domain ! the family gone; he heard of their misfortunes, but as their circumstances were changed their
How soon was its influence felt! summer friends of G—“knew them” no Stubborn hoar-frost shrieked out, “ Here's an end longer. The Stauntons too had removed from of my reign !” Bournfield, and were unacquainted with Edith's And Snow cried, " I'm beginning to melt!" present residence.
Now, when he almost despaired, what intense Said Winter, “I'm off! I can brave and defy happiness did he feel on coming thus suddenly on her track! It could not be a mistake-no But a smile--not alone in this weakness am I
Both a lowering brow or command; other would be so described ; he remembered Mr. Staunton's words, and felt they had been
But a smile I can never withstand !" fulfilled. After listening with breathless eagerness he had rushed out of the house, enquired of Lady Allmaigne's servants, who were at the door with her carriage, the residence of their mistress, and walked, or almost ran towards it. “The magic music of his heart, beat ever
TWILIGHT. quicker" as he heard her step-another minute and she stood before him. There is no need to depict what passed, nor to describe the astonishinent and delight of the kind Lady Allmaigne, 'Tis Twilight's hour; that season of repose, when on her return she heard from the blushing When Earth nor Day nor Moonlight's influence girl what had taken place.
knows The wedding followed in due time, and, on the first anniversary of that happy day, Edith When Sea and Air are clothed in crimson vest, told her husband of the conversation she had Now spreading widely from the gorgeous West ! overheard, and its influence upon her.
She All Nature sleeps : no feathered songsters now ended by placing on his finger a ring, in the Strain forth their love-songs from each leafy bough. inside of which was engraved "Sweet are the E'en tender plants, whon Phæbus’ rays are gone, uses of adversity!"
Close and unblossom with the setting sun.
Have parent, partner, kindred, stemmed the tide
Of earthly woe, to founder by thy side ?
In such an hour, sad Memory may recall
Such friend or parent, partner, kindred, all!
BY W. I. CLIFTON.
Perchance thou'st loved, and looked from day to Thoughts cradled in their infancy
day Within the nursery of the mind,
On one bright star to guide thee on thy wayBy health sustained, by truth refined, Perchance its light hath flickered for awhile, Shine with etherial brilliancy ;
And left thee 'nighted; yet not ere her smile
Had paid thee for the Like new-born planet in the night,
whi That gives to space another realm,
And seemed to woo a partner in the grave. A light, a guide, a future helm,
If so, go now, and when thou reach the sod, By which mind seeks the infinite,
Wish that thy soul, with hers, had found its God!