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bulk of his fortune, amounting to six thousand a year, became her own, without the slightest restriction.
'Such was the substance of her communication — a story that damped my own hopes. If I hated one thing more than another, it was that most despicable character — a fortune-hunter. I own that if I had been smitten before, I was doubly struck now, when a few hours conversation had discovered to me the rich and varied resources of her mind. But there was a sudden dash to my hopes. If she were unJriended, I would have been delighted to have been the friend who through life would protect, and love, and cherish her: had she been -unfriended, I would have 'coined my heart to drachms' for her — I would have felt pride in making my pen support her: but here, amidst wealth and luxury, she was surrounded by friends — she was too far above my aim.
'You who have known any thing of the passion-springs of the heart — of the passion-strivings of the heart — of the enchantment which the heart feels in converse with the one it loves—you can imagine how fleetly flew the hours, while Mariana and myself thus held converse together — free and friendly, as if we had known each other for years. She told me, when I inquired how the accident of the preceding night had affected her, that until that morning she had not been fully conscious of the extent of her obligation to me; that she had thoughtlessly gone to the theatre, and that the gentleman who accompanied her having quitted her for a few minutes to call her carriage, she had missed him; when, as she owned, the sudden sight of myself in the house had strangely affected her. Did I err? —but I fancied that her tones were more subdued, and her voice deepened as she made this confession, half sport, half earnest.
'We parted: but I promised Mariana to see her again. How willingly I kept my word! Day after day saw the chains more inextricably twined around my heart. And Mariana — truth to say — appeared as little loth as myself to continue the acquaintance.
'Sometimes, often indeed, I resolved to banish her from my mind; but the resolution was broken as soon as made. There was this new poem to be read, that song to be practised; I had promised now to accompany her to see her portrait in the exhibition; it was one of the loveliest that Lawrence ever painted; to-morrow we were to visit Windsor Castle; in short, there was a round of engagements, and as these were fulfilled, there were new ones entered into. It was impossible to keep my resolution: perhaps this was the reason why I so often made such resolves.
'I had a friend, a worldly minded, wealthy man, who had made a fortune by the law, as respectably perhaps as it is usually made. He was a shrewd though just man. He would neither neglect his interests, nor would he willingly injure the interests of others. He was so strictly just, that he knew not, I then conceived, how to be generous. I had rendered this man a service, and he professed his gratitude, and tendered me at all times the advantage of his advice. I do not know what impelled me to visit him now; he was the last man in the world of whom you would think I would make a confidant. But I did. It may be because I knew that he would not laugh at me. I told him precisely all my feelings — my hopes — my fears. He heard me
YOL. VII. 73
with attention. 'It strikes me,' said he, 'that this lady and her fortune would be a desirable investment. It is evident that she loves you — that you love her — and, as you would wed her if she were friendless and portionless, I do not see why the accident of her being neither, should stand between you and happiness.' I attempted to argue against this sophistry, but he put me down with, 'If yon had fortune, you would share it with her: it happens that she has it instead, so the case is much the same. Woo the lady and wed her. You will want money, perhaps? Here is a draft for a hundred pounds. Draw on me for what farther sums you may require, and repay me when you have the means. Not a word more. You did me a service once — it is but fair that I should return it as I best can;' and he literally pushed me out of his office.
'I was weak enough — foolish enough—base enough, to suffer my better feelings to be subverted by what the lawyer had said. I continued my visits to Mariana, and saw, with a delight which you can more easily imagine than I can describe, that she was not heart-whole. The crisis was at hand.
'So occupied were my thoughts with her image, that I neglected the common business of life. One great conception filled my breast — this was the conviction that I was beloved. My success as a dramatist — the friends to whom that success had introduced me — the necessity of farther exertion to maintain the high place into which this success had thrown me — all were as nothing. The excitement of these varying thoughts careered through my mind with an impetuosity language cannot paint. Added to this, I had an uncertainty of purpose. I seemed to live, and breathe, and have my being but in the presence of that one loved object.
'One morning, just as I was quitting my residence for Harley-street, three letters reached me, which the servant said had been lying for some days at a coffee-house I frequented. One was from the treasurer of the theatre, enclosing two hundred pounds, as the remuneration for my play. Such satisfaction did this give me, that I thrust the other letters into my pocket without opening them, and hurried to my legal friend. I seldom had felt more real satisfaction than when I repaid him his loan. He looked at me in astonishment, inquired when the marriage had taken place, and looked the image of perfect disappointment, when I told him that matters remained precisely as they were before. I fancy that he considered me as one on whom a lucky chance was thrown away.
'I proceeded to Harley-street. Here I saw Mariana, who seemed more beautiful than ever, and far more interesting. Her cheek was flushed — her words were hurried — her manner betokened much anxiety. An indifferent subject of conversation was started, but neither of us pursued it. Silence followed.
'I know not how it was, but in that silence my hand wandered for the first time round Mariana's waist; a little pause, and my boldness increased. My lips ventured to touch the pouting beauty of her's; ere she could utter a word, although her eyes spoke eloquently enough, I was on my knee, and had told all my fear, and whispered some of my hopes. I told my love — my madness — since first she crossed my path. I did not plead in vain.
4 A deep, deep sigh — along, long gaze — a silence more expressive than the richest oratory — a slight pressure of the hand — tears — sudden and frequent— these were her confession. That moment repaid me for all that I had suffered during the fever of my fear.
'Then followed the full and mutual confession — each to each — of all that disturbs the heart. In the midst of this I remembered that I had one more confession to make — one due to my own honor, to my pride, to my self esteem. I spoke to her thus —for I well remember every syllable that was uttered at that memorable time: 'My dear girl, I have told you much — pardon me that I have not told you all. You have pressed your lip to mine. You have given your heart to mine— all in the trusting hope that I deserved you. Listen to me. / do not. I am the veriest cheat that ever won a woman's heart. I have dared, not forgetful of yourself, to remember your fortune. I have deceived myself—you, I would not. Nor do I ask forgiveness. Spurn me; reject me; despise me; I deserve it all.'
Mariana appeared thunderstruck. At last she spoke. 'Julian, you a fortune-hunter — you a cheat? You must not deceive me now!' I related all that had passed. She listened attentively, and a shade of abstracted thought clouded her brow. At last she spoke: 'I would fain hope that even what you say were true, rather than that, having seen my weakness in confessing that I love you, you would trifle with it thus, and now. Answer me —do you know any thing new concerning yourself? — do you know any thing about Tressilian Court?' Itold her I knew nothing. 'Nothing! Have you no letters?' I remembered the letters which I had not opened, and produced them. She laid her hand upon mine, ere I opened them. 'If,' said she, 'the contents of those letters should make your purpose waver for a moment, (and I know the intelligence they bring, have known it since yesterday, and thought it brought you to my feet to-day,) — if your purpose wavers for a moment, remember, I release you from your vows. I, too, would not be held as a fortune-hunter. Read them now.'
'I opened them: one was from the family solicitor, written a week before, informing me that my uncle and his two sons had been lost at sea, on their voyage to Madeira, whither the latter had been ordered for the benefit of their health, and suggesting the propriety, as I now was heir at law to the title and estates, of my visiting Tressilian Court, where my surviving uncle was anxious to receive me. The other letter was from my cousin Emma, praying that I would lose no time in coming to Cornwall. In a postscript, which always contains the pith of a young lady's letter, she hoped 'that my wooing throve.'
'I suppose you may imagine what my first impulse was. I felt no inclination to release Mariana from her plighted faith — doubly proud that I could best show that it was indeed herself that I had sought.
'She told me that she had been a school-fellow of my cousin Emma's, and from her had known and regretted my evil fortunes — that when she first heard my name, her interest was excited, and all the rest she had confessed an hour before! This she added, that she had already heard from Emma of my change of fortune, and that she believed at first, that it was this ray of sunshine over my path which had led me to tell in words what her woman's wit had long since conjectured. She told me, also, that as I had won her heart long since, she would have given her hand with it, to Julian Tressilian, whatever were his prospects.
'It is full time that I bring my story to a conclusion. I went to Tressilian Court; I soon became a favorite with Sir Edgar. It was a cherished plan of his to marry me to my gentle and lovely cousin; but, / was engaged, and, for the matter of that, so was the lady also.
'One morning, there was a double marriage at Tressilian Court. The beauty of Harley-street became more beautiful in the wilds of Cornwall — and my cousin, transplanted to the garden of Wiltshire, did not become less lovely than before, and (her smiles said) even more happy.
'My uncle lived to see his grand-children climb his knee — to embrace my children also. He was gathered to his ancestors some ten years ago; and if any of my hearers wish to see how we keep up old customs at the Court, Julian Tressilian will gladly show them a happy househould.
'As for our happiness But here comes Mariana, scarcely changed
from what she was when first I saw her, except that her eldest daughter will soon take a part, as she did then, in the great drama of marriage. She weds a husband whose years better suit her own.
'Mariana, I have told to our surrounding friends the story of our 'whole course of love:' it is well, dearest, that you were absent, for otherwise I could not have spoken of you as you were, and are, and will be—the beautiful, the happy-hearted, and the faithful!1
Thus did we hear the story: and slight as it here may seem, it won admiration, and warm thanks from those who heard it. At any rate, it was a frank confession, and lost nothing from the manner in which it was told. We felt that its narrator was not romancing, and perhaps the apparent truth of the tale was one of its greatest charms.
DEATH: (AN EXTRACT.)
BY 1. C. PF.BC1VAL.
'Tis good to think on death — it bends the will From that stern purpose, which no man can hold And yet be happy: we must go and fill Thought with affection, where pale mourners fold The shroud around those chill limbs, whose fair mould Imaged unearthly beauty. Whynot blend With tears awhile, and leave that stern, that cold Contempt of all that waits us, when we end Our proud career in death, where all, hope-lifted, bend.
'T is good to hold communion with the dead, To wr.lk the lane where bending willows throw Gloom o'er the dark green turf, ere day is fled, And cast deep shadow on the tomb below; For, as we muse thus silently, we know The worth of all our longings, and we pay New worship unto purity, and so We gather strength to take our toilsome way, Which must be meekly borne, or life be thrown away.
FAREWELL TO EARTH.
A Young girl seeks the retirement of the cloister, as a peaceful asylum, after the sorrow and bereavement of the world. It is supposed to be the evening before she takes the veil.
All nature is a joy;The wrought soul, freed of earth, might bathe itself
The vesper breeze steals through the open casement,
And the dark ringlet on the maiden's brow
Vibrates to its delicate touch, as it laves,
In its delicious fragrance, her young cheek:
To her —the hyacinth has lost its beauty,
And the plant its bloom, that bends to meet her
So woomgly; and the still breath of eve
Its freshness, for the golden tone is hushed,
And the silver chord loosened at her heart;
Alas! — that one so few of years should wither,
While the slow foot-falls of the aged trace
A pleasant pathway to a distant tomb.
Hark! she sings, and her pent thoughts are breathed
Upon the strings.
'Why should I mourn! — the voices of earth,
Are weaved no more in the charm of mirth; The bloom and the flowers have passed away, As the filmy mist of the fountain's spray;
'Why should I weep ? — can they come back,
'My cabin-home; it is lone and dim,
'And where is he, with his voice to bless,