Imagens das páginas

quainted in the studio of B clli, and the family

of the worthy old man who acts as my assistant."

"But you will make us exceptions to the rule," pleaded Laura; "Charles will be really hurt if you refuse to come to us." Lewis paused, his impulse was to refuse, but there was a genuine kindness in Laura's manner which vouched for her sincerity; had she been a man he would have adhered to his resolution, but it iras not easy to say no to Laura.

"Forgive my apparent churlishness," he began,

"bat may I ask whether you have any of of your

English friends staying with you?"

"Not at present; Charles and I arc leading a quiet Lumdrum Darby and Joan life, which need not alarm erra your hcrmit-likc habits. You must promise to cine with us to-morrow at six."

"You are most good-natured to humour what must appear to you my absurd caprices," replied Lewis, touched by her thoughtful kindness.

"But you will come," she said, holding out her hand to him.

Lewis took it in his own and pressed it warmly as he replied, "Nobody could resist such gentle pleading."

At this moment the door was flung open, and

Charles Leicester burst in, looking more puzzled,

ncited and angry, than he had ever been known to

1 co in the previous course of his existence; while An

• tait'n, vociferating eagerly in Italian and broken

i Ei^ish, was vainly endeavouring to detain him.


Tut. Honourable Charles Leicester was, take him all in all, about as easy tempered a fellow as ever breathed; but when old Autonclli informed him that his young and pretty wife was closeted with a mysterious stranger, at the same time positively refusing to allow him to enter the apartment in which they were shut up together, even he considered that it was time to exert himself; so seizing the old man

| 1? the arm, and swinging him round with a degree of energy which greatly discomposed thatworthyeicerone, iethrew open the door, and staring with an angry and bewildered gaze into the dimly lighted room, discovered, to his horror and disgust, Laura, quietly sitting with her hand clasped in that of a handsome young Italian, for such did l^wis at first sight appear. The period which had elapsed since Leicester had last K-en him, had produced so marked a change in his appearance, that meeting him for the first time under circumstances so utterly disconnected with all former

, associations, he might well deem lie was addressing a total stranger. Lewis's pale features had regained in

i a great degree their look of health, and exposure to a southern sun had converted the delicate complexion into a manly brown, while, having allowed his moustaches and even a short curly board to grow, the loaer part of his face was enveloped in a mass of

glossy black hair, this, and the stern thoughtful expression of his countenance, caused him to look at least five years older than he really was. He rose as Leicester entered, and advanced a step towards him; then, seeing that the other did not in the slightest degree recognise him, he paused and exchanged a smiling glance with Laura as he marked Charley's puzzled angry expression.

Laura, entering thoroughly into the absurdity of the situation, determined to improve it to the uttermost; returning Lewis's glance with a look into which she contrived to throw an amount of tenderness that by no means soothed her husband's irritation, she began,—

"Ah, Charles, let me introduce you; you will be delighted to hear that Signor Luigi has kindly promised to dine with us to-morrow."

"The deuce he has!" muttered Leicester to himself, " he might have waited till I had asked him, I think;" then acknowledging the introduction by a freezing little bow, he continued aloud,—

"Mow, my dear Laura, the carriage is waiting;" then crossing to the place where his wife was seated, ho held out his arm with the evident intention of linking hers with it and walking her off forthwith.

But Laura clearly disapproved of such prccipital ion; for, without showing the slightest disposition to move, she replied,—

"Restrain your impatience a few minutes longer, Mr. Leicester;—having formed so agreeable an acquaintance," she continued, glancing at Lewis, "you really must allow me time to prosecute it."

It was not in Charles Leicester's nature to be angry with any one for five minutes consecutively; with his wife, whom he idolized, it was utterly impossible; so, making up his mind that Luigi was a kind of lion, (o be regarded iu the light of an exhibition, and stared at and fed accordingly, and that Laura's sudden fancy for him was only an instance of womanly caprice,— "women always went. mad about celebrities," he knew,—he made a short, penitent, civil speech, ;ind then flung himself lazily into a chair, with a look of half-bored, half-sulky resignation, which, under the circumstances, was perfectly irresistible.

That his two companions fouud it so, was evidenced, by their simultaneously bursting into a hearty fit of laughter, increased to an alarming degree by the look of utter astonishment that came over Leicester's face, at their incomprehensible conduct.

As soon as Laura could recover breath she began, "Why, Charley, you dear, good-natured, stupid old thing! don't you see who it is yet?"

At the same moment, the Mysterious One approached him saying, "Have you quite forgotten the existence of Lewis Arundel?"

For a moment Charley gazed in half-sceptical astonishment, and then seizing his hand, and shaking it as if he was anxious to make up for his dulncss by dislocating his friend's shoulder, he exclaimed, "My dear fellow, I 'in delighted to see you—I really am quite ashamed of myself—but 'pon my word you've made yourself look so particularly unlike yourself; and the whole thing altogether is so very strange and unexpected, and more like an incident in a novel, than a real bona fide transaction of every day life—that you must hold me excused. My dear Laura, I began to think you were gone out of your senses, and that I should have to procure a keeper for you. Why, Arundel, then you 've turned out a genius after all, a second Michael Angelo, eh! I said you would, if you remember, that day when you painted the cow?"

As he spoke, he stooped to pick up his cane and gloves, which in the excitement of the discovery, he had allowed to drop; consequently he did not perceive the effect his words had produced upon Lewis. Did he remember the incident to which Leicester had alluded ?—would to heaven he could forget that which was branded on his memory, as with a red-hot iron, the fact that on the day in question, he had for the first time beheld Annie Grant! He turned pale—the blood seemed to rush back upon his heart, and oppress him with a feeling of suffocation,—he was forced to lean against a table for support. •

These signs of emotion were not lost upon Laura's quick eye, and rising at the moment to divert her husband's attention, she observed, "Now I have at length succeeded in enlightening your understanding, Charley dear, I am quite at your service, and that of the horses."

*' Come along then," was the reply; "you '11 dine with us to-morrow without fail, Signor Luigi, alias Arundel, you polyglot mystery. Ton my word it's the oddest coincidence I ever knew, exactly like a thing in a play, where everybody turns out to be somebody else—come along, Laura; I must try and conciliate your old friend the cicerone too, for I swung him round in my wrath most viciously; I hope I have not dislocated any of his venerable joints; I got the steam up to no end of a height, I can tell you, when I fancied I had lost my love. Bye-bye, al piacer di rivederla, Signor." Thus running on, Charley Leicester tucked his wife under his arm, and having handsomely rewarded Antonelli, departed.

In the course of their drive home, Laura, after her husband had again and again expressed his astonishment at the denouement which had just taken place, inquired,—" You never clearly made out the reason why Mr. Arundel quitted Broadhurst, did you, Charley?"

"No! Bellefield hinted in his way, which gives oue an impression without one's exactly knowing what grounds one has for taking it up, that Arundel had misconducted himself in some manner; but the General's letter quite contradicted such an idea, and spoke of him in the very highest terms. I thought nothing of what Bellefield said, for they never liked one another, and, entrc nous, I consider Belle behaved shamefully to him on one or two occasions."

Laura paused for a minute in thought, and then inquired, "What did the remark you made about sketching a cow, refer to?"

"Oh! did I never tell you that?" returned Charles, laughing; "the incident occurred on the occasion of his first introduction to the Grant family;" and he then proceeded to give her a full, true, and particular account of the interesting adventure, with which the reader is already acquainted. As he concluded, Laura observed,

"In fact then, he beheld for the first time Annie Grant. Now I can guess why he turned pale when you referred to it: Charley, you must be very careful how you say anything about the Broadhurst party before him."

"Eh? and wherefore, oh wise little woman, endowed witli an unlimited power of seeing into milestones ?" was the bantering reply.

"Well, if I tell you, you must promise never to mention the idea, for it is only an idea, to anybody till I give you leave," returned Laura.

Clarlcy compressed his lips, and went through a pantomimic representation of sewing them together.

"Nay, but I'm serious," resumed Laura; "if I tell you, you must be careful, and not blunder it out in any of your absent fits ; do you promise P"

"I'll do more than promise," returned her husband energetically; "I'll swear by all

"The heathen gods and goddi
Without skirts and bodices,

never to reveal to mortal ear the fatal secret—so let us have it!"

*' Well then, if you must know, I suspect Mr. Arundel to have had better taste than you, and not to have escaped with a whole heart from the fascinations of Annie Grant."

"Phew !" replied Leicester, giving vent to a

prolonged whistle indicative of intense surprise; "that is the state of the case, eh? then my allusion to the cow was just about the most unlucky topic I could have hit upon. I certainly have a genius for putting my foot in it, whenever circumstances afford an aperture for the insertion of that extremity. I should not wonder if that idea of yours, always supposing it to be correct, might explain his sudden departure from Broadhurst, and account for this strange freak of expatriating himself, and starting as a second-hand modern Michael Angelo. I say, Laura, suppose the fancy should happen to be mutual, Bellefield may have had more cause for disliking Arundel than people were aware of."

"She would never have accepted your brother, if she knew that another loved her, and felt that she returned his affection; Annie is too good and truehearted for that," returned Laura, warmly.

"Time will show," replied Leicester. "I only hope it may not be so; for, between Arundel and Belle, I should not know how to act. Belle is my brother, and to Arundel's good advice I shall always consider I am in great measure indebted for a certain plague of my life—(without whose plagueing the said life wouldn't be worth having, all the same;)—the only course I can take, if our suspicions prove true, will be to preserve a strict neutrality."

"And how would you wish me to act, Charley dear?" inquired Laura, taking her husband's fingers caressingly between her own soft, white little hands. "You know, I can't recommend Annie to marry your brother if she does not love him."

"Follow the dictates of your own good sense and kind heart, darling, and you will be sure to do rightly. I have the most perfect confidence in you, and would not influence you one way or another, if I could."

The tears rose to Laura's eyes at this fresh proof of her husband's affection; and as she reflected on what he had said in regard to Lewis's share in bringing them together, she inwardly vowed that if ever it lay in her power to do him a similar good turn, she would not be slothful in advancing his interests.

True to his promise, Lewis dined with them the leit day; by mutual consent, all reference to the past was avoided, and no allusion made to any of the Broadhurst party. As soon as Lewis found this to be the case, a certain proud embarrassment, observable in bis manner, disappeared; and, yielding to the delight of again finding himself in congenial society, he unconsciously displayed his brilliant conversational powers,—relating, with playful wit, or forcible and striking illustration, the adventures which had befallen him and the scenery he had beheld in his late pedestrian torn, till Charles and Laura, who had only been acquainted with him when the cloud of his dependent position it Broadhurst hung over him and concealed his natural character beneath a veil of proud reserve, were equally delighted and astonished; and when, late in the evening, he took his departure, they vied with each other in performing a duct to his praise. "He talks so well!" exclaimed Charley. "He knows so much !" cried Laura. "He has been everywhere," continued the former. "And done everything," resumed the latter. "He is so clever and epigrammatic," urged the gentleman. "And his descriptions of scenery are so poetical,"

put in the lady.

"His figure is so striking," said the master.

"And his face so handsome," rejoined the mistress.

"What a pair of eyes he has."

"And such a smile."

"Then his moustaches and whiskers are irreproachable."

"And his hands whiter than mine."

"In fact he is a stunner !" declared the baritone.

"Though I detest slang, I must confess that he is," chimed in the soprano.

"If I were a woman I should be over head and ears in love with him," suggested Charley.

"I am both the one and the other," responded his *ife, casting an arch glance at her spouse, as much as to say, "how do you like that ?" which rebellious speech her lord and master punished by stopping her month with—the only remedy we believe ever to 1 have been found effectual iu such a case.

From that time forth Lewis became a constant visitor at the Palazzo Grassini, and at last completed his triumph over Laura's affections, by asking, as a favour, to be allowed to take a sketch of "Tarlcy;" "he wanted a study of a child's head so much;" then the sketch was pronounced so successful, that nothing would serve but that it must be perpetuated in oils, and as the possibility of making "Tarley " sit still long enough for such a purpose, did not exist unless Laura sat also, Lewis consented to paint them together, although he had hitherto steadily refused to take a portrait, in spite of large sums which had been offered him to do so.

Laura received a second epistle from Annie Grant, postponing their visit for another fortnight. Her father had all along expected Miss Livingstone would accompany them, as a matter of course ; but when it came to the point, that redoubtable spinster broke into open revolt, asserted her independence, nailed her colours to the mast, and determined upon death or victory. So resolute was she, that after a most obstinate engagement with sharp tongues, which followed upon two days of sulky silence, the General was forced to make terms, and yield his own will to that of a woman; so Minerva remained behind to garrison Broadhurst. As, however, the General by no means approved of his daughter travelling without some female companion, the journey was very nearly being given up, when at the last moment, a lady, the wife of an Austrian officer quartered at Venice, was discovered, who, seeking for an escort to enable her to join her husband, was only too happy to be allowed to accompany the Grant party. These delays, however, would necessarily retard their arrival for at least a fortnight. Days passed away; the picture (and a very pretty one it was,) of the fair young mother, and her little, rosy, merry child, advanced towards completion, and Lewis began to look forward with a feeling almost akin to regret, to the time when the sittings, and the agreeable friendly conversations to which they gave rise, would be at an end.

Since he had quitted England his thoughts and feelings had undergone various and considerable changes: at first he had striven, in the excitement of active adventure, to banish recollection, and after a time he succeeded so far as to take a lively interest in all he saw. The revolutionary spirit, which has since produced such changes in modern Europe, was then beginning to show itself, and he witnessed the outbreak of a rather serious tmeute in one of the German States, in which he contrived to get mixed up, and by these means he came in for a couple of days' hard fighting, and a week of intense fatigue and excitement. This, paradoxical as it may appear, was of the greatest psychological assistance to him; it roused him effectually, and took him completely out of himself. The excitement was kept up for some little time longer, for, owing to the partwhich his old student associations had led him to take in the affair, he brought upon himself the suspicions of the Prussian government, and the next event of his tour was, in fact, a flight to Bave himself from arrest. During tins period lie was accompanied by a young German, who, much more deeply implicated in the afl'air than Lewis had been, dreaded that his capture might lead to his execution; and, unwilling to atone lor his patriotism with his life, he and his companion hurried from the scene of their exploits, experiencing innumerable dangers, difficulties, and Hair-breadth escapes, ere they arrived at that sanctuary for political refugees, the city of the Sultan. Having by these means regained his energy and vigour of mind, Lewis applied himself heart and soul to the study of his new profession, and in the interest of the pursuit kept his powers, mental and bodily, so fully employed as to hold memory at bay, and to require neither society nor sympathy; but now a change had again come o'er him ; he had in great measure mastered the difficulties of his art, he had solved the problem whether by his talent he could secure a competency for himself and those belonging to him; constant and indefatigable labour was no longer an obligation, and ere the Leiccsters discovered him, he had begun to feel, though he would scarcely acknowledge it even to himself, the want of those social tics from which, in his first frenzy of grief, he had voluntarily separated himself. In the society of theLcicesters he obtained exactly the amount of relaxation which he required,—Laura appreciated and understood him, Charles, without understanding, liked him—while on his part, the lady's society interested and soothed him, and that of her husband afforded him amusement and companionship.

As the day approached on which the Broadhurst party were expected to arrive, Laura became considerably perplexed as to how she might best break the matter to Lewis: she had once, by way of experiment, mentioned to her husband in Lewis's presence, the fact that she had received a letter from Broadhurst, and the start he gave at the name, the death-like paleness which overspread his countenance, the quivering lip, and clenched hand, told of such deep mental suffering, that, frightened at the effects she had produced, Laura immediately changed the subject and had never again ventured to allude to it.

The last sitting for the picture chanced to be fixed for the very morning before that on which the Grants were expected to arrive. Laura consulted her husband as to the affair: Charley stroked his chin, caressed his whiskers, gazed vacantly at himself in the chimneyglass, and then, putting on a look of sapient self-confidence, in regard to the reality whereof it was clear he entertained the strongest misgivings, he began in a thorough master-of-thc-family tone,—

"Why, it seems to me, my love, that the present is exactly one of those emergencies in which a woman's tact is the very thing required. I should advise you to feel your way with great caution, very great caution, and when by this means you have ascertained the best method of breaking it to him, I should speak at once without any further hesitation, and—and—"

"I think you had better undertake the business yourself, Charley dear, as you seem to have such a

clearly defined idea how to set about it," interrupted Laura, with a roguish smile.

"Not at all; by no means, my dear," replied Charley, speaking with unwonted energy. "A—in fact, so strongly do I feel that a woman's tact is the thing required, and that any interference of mine might ruin the whole affair, and in short, bring about something very disagreeable, that I have made arrangements which will keep me from home during the whole morning, so as to leave you a clear field."

*' Oh, you dreadfully transparent old impostor! a child of five years old could see through you," exclaimed Laura, laughing heartily at the detected look which instantly stole over her husband's visage. "Now, if you don't honestly confess that yon have not an idea how to get over the difficulty," she continued, "that you dread a scene with a true degree of masculine horror, and yet have not the most remote notion how to avoid one, I'll 'make arrangements which will take me from home all the morning,' and leave you to flounder through the affair as best you can."

"There is a vixen for you," exclaimed Charley, appealing to society at large. "Poor Socrates! I always had a deep commiseration for his domestic annoyances when I read of them at school, but 1 little dreamed that I should live to have personal experience of the miseries of possessing a Xantippe;" then throwing himself into a mock-tragic attitude, lie ejaculated, "ungrateful woman! I leave you to your fate," and shaking Ids fist at her, pressed his hand to his forehead, and rushed distractedly out of the room—in less than two minutes he lounged in again drawing on his gloves. "What a bore tight gloves arc!" he murmured feebly—" here, Laura!" so saying, he seated himself by his wife's side, languidly holding out his hand, while with the most helpless air imaginable he allowed her to pull on the refractory gloves for him, which she did with a most amusing display of energy and perseverance.

"Voila, Monsieur!" she said; "that Herculean feat is accomplished. Have you aught else to command your slave?"

Charley regarded her with a look of affection as he replied, ""What a blessing it is to have a good, clever little wife to do all the horrid things for one! Goodbye, my own! When you have done victimising Arundel with your alarming intelligence, ask him to dine with us to-day; I want particularly to talk to him. He knows the people here better than 1 do; but it strikes me the politics of the place are getting into a mess."

So saying, he imprinted a kiss upon her brow, admired his hand in the new well-fitting glove, and sauntered out of the apartment as listlessly as though he were walking in his sleep.

Punctual to his appointment, Lewis arrived, looking so handsome and animated that Laura felt doubly grieved at having to make a communication which she was persuaded would tend to renew the memory of a grief against which ho appeared to have struggled ulth some degree of success. Her task was rendered the more difficult from the couviction that Lewis's intercourse with her husband and herself had been of jreat service to him, by insensibly overcoming his iiusauthropic distabte to society. This intercourse, sue feared, the tidings she was about to impart to him vjuld effectually iuterrupt.

"Where is 'Tarley?'" inquired Lewis, after exchanging salutations with "La Madrc."

"In the nursery, adorning for the sacrifice of his personal freedom during the period you may require Urn to remain en position" answered Laura; "shall I ring for him?"

"May I fetch him myself? I promised him a ride

on my back for good conduct at the last sitting, and

he must not be disappointed," urged Lewis, in reply.

"Agreed,—always premising that you take great

care not to tumble the clean frock," returned Laura,

with a gratified smile. "Who could believe that that

una was the same creature who used to look so stern,

ard cold, and proud?" she added, mentally, as Lewis

departed on his mission; "he has as much tenderness

of nature as any woman. If he really does love Annie,

and she can prefer Lord Bellefield, she deserves all

the uuhappiness such a choice will inevitably bring

upon her;—her greatest enemy can wish her nothing

worse. Well, 'Tarley,' arc you going to sit still, and

be good?" she continued, as that self-willed juvenile

entered, seated in triumph upon Lewis's shoulder,

•sd erasping a lock of his horse's ebon mane, the

better to preserve his balaucc.

Tarley Laving signified in the very smallest broken English, lis intention to keep the peace to the best of lis little ability, the sitting began in good earnest, and terminated, as far as that young gentleman was concerned, in less than an hour, during which period, as he only tore his mamma's gown once, made a hole in the sofa-cover, and had one violent fit of kicking, he may, comparatively, be considered (all things are comparative,) to have kept his word. A few finishing touches still remained to complete Laura's portrait, ad these Lewis hastened to add. The conversation (originating in Tarley's escapades) turned on education. "The theory which I hold to be the true one is i aaple enough," remarked Lewis; "the first thing to istukatc is—oblige me by turning a little more to tie light—implicit obedience; that once acquired— nther more still—you may, as the mind dcvclopes, occasionally give a reason for your commands—you see my object is to get a clearer light on the left eje-brow—thank you; don't move."

"But that obedience, to be of much avail, should be iouuded on other feelings than mere fear of consequences," returned Laura; "for that in sturdy aiads produces obstinacy, in weak ones deceit and falsehood, and in both cases necessarily loses its effect ss the pupil advances towards maturity. It always appears to mc, that in our conduct towards children, *e should strive to imitate (with reverence be it ^ken,) God's dealings towards ourselves. We

11 tOL. XIII.

should leach them to love and trust us, and obedience based on affection and faith, will surely never fail for time or for eternity. Then," she continued, as Lenis, bending over his work, failed to reply; "I should endeavour to make their punishments appear as much as possible the natural consequences of their faults; for instance, I should allow them to experience to the uttermost the mental suffering caused by pride and anger, and in their cooler moments point out to them that it may be wise, as well as right, to suffer even injustice mildly, rather than bear the distress of mind a contrary line of conduct is sure to entail. I should impress upon them the evil of coveting, by denying them the thing they so eagerly sought. In fact," she added, hastily, fancying from her companion's silence, that, for some reason, her conversation was distasteful to him; "I have a great many sapient theoretical ideas in regard to education, but how they may turn out when 1 come to put them in practice, remains to be proved."

Lewis, who during the conclusion of this speech had been painting away as zealously as if his life depended upon his exertions, though a close observer might have remarked, by his downcast eye and quivering lip, the effect Laura's words produced on him, replied earnestly,

"Would to heaven all mothers felt as truly and wisely as you do about education; were children taught such principles of self-government as you propose, there would be fewer aching hearts among us."

Having uttered these words, and sighed deeply, he spoke no more until he had finished Laura's portrait.

"There," he said, "I need detain you no longer; with the exception of a few touches to the drapery, which I can do at my own rooms, the picture is completed."

Laura approached and duly admired it, declaring the likeness of Tarley to bo perfect; but feeling quite certain Lewis had flattered her terribly, at which little touch of woman's nature, the young artist smiled as he denied the accusation. And now the moment had arrived, when Laura must break her intelligence to him as best she might. Her straightforward simple nature disdained all subterfuge, and she began accordingly,

"There is a topic which, from a fear, perhaps uncalled for, of giving you pain, Charles and I have avoided, but which I am now compelled to mention to you;—you asked me at our first meeting whether we were alone; after to-day, we shall be so no longer, and the guests we expect are none other than your former pupil Walter, General Grant, and his daughter." Laura had purposely placed herself in such a position that she could not see her companion's features, as she made this communication, and the only sign of agitation which met her ear, w#s the sound of his quick and laboured breathing.

After a moment's pause, he said in a hurried, stem tone of voice,—" I cannot meet them! it is impossible, I must leave tliis place, directly."

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