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Title: Mystery and Confidence Vol. 3 - A Tale
Author: Pinchard, Elizabeth
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mystery and Confidence Vol. 3 - A Tale" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                         MYSTERY AND CONFIDENCE:

                              _A TALE._

                        BY ELIZABETH PINCHARD.

                          IN THREE VOLUMES.

                              VOL. III.



    LONDON:
    PRINTED FOR HENRY COLBURN,
    PUBLIC LIBRARY, CONDUIT-STREET, HANOVER-SQUARE,
    AND SOLD BY GEORGE GOLDIE, EDINBURGH,
    AND JOHN CUMMING, DUBLIN.

    1814.

    B. CLARKE, Printer, Well-street, London.



MYSTERY

AND

CONFIDENCE.



CHAP. I.

                ----Infected minds
    To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
    ----A great perturbation in nature,
    To receive at once the benefit of sleep, and do the effect of watching.

    MACBETH.


Laura, St. Aubyn, O'Brien, and Mordaunt, were seated on one side the
fire, with the sandwich tray before them; on the other side, thrown on a
sofa, Ellen saw a tall thin young man, who, deeply absorbed in thought,
noticed not her entrance. One pale, sickly looking hand hung motionless
by his side, the other shaded his eyes, and over his brow his black hair
fell in disordered curls; his dress, though that of a gentleman, was
evidently neglected, and his whole appearance was

      "Drooping, woeful, wan, like one forlorn;
    Or crazed by care, or cross'd by hopeless love!"

As Ellen entered, St. Aubyn rose, and with subdued emotion, said in a
low tone:

"My love, we waited for you;" then somewhat louder;--"My Lord De
Montfort, will you allow me to introduce you to...." he faltered, and
looked as if he dreaded to pronounce the name ... "to my wife ... to ...
Lady St. Aubyn?"

As he spoke, Lord De Montfort started from his reverie, shook back the
curls which shaded his face, and shewed a fine, but pale and emaciated
countenance. For an instant his bright black eyes flashed, and his
cheeks crimsoned with a sudden emotion. He hastily took two or three
steps forward, as if to greet some well-known friend; but seeing Ellen,
who, half alarmed, leaned upon St. Aubyn, he gazed upon her for a moment
with such an earnest yet melancholy expression as extremely affected
her. She courtesied, and he bent his head with the air of a perfect
gentleman, but spoke not, and then threw himself on his sofa again.

Ellen perceived that St. Aubyn's frame shook with subdued emotion, and
her own trembled with an indefinable sensation.

"Come, Lady St. Aubyn," said Laura, "sit here by the fire; you look pale
and cold; you should not indeed expose yourself to the night air in
crossing the hall and staircase."

Ellen gladly sat down, and while they were taking their little meal, she
glanced her eyes towards the youth, whose mysterious manner impressed
her with feelings of no very pleasing import: she saw that under the
shade of his bent brows he was attentively gazing upon her. The
portentous gloom of his countenance seemed to her troubled imagination
to forebode some direful event, and she grew so pale, that Laura
perceiving it, put a glass of wine into her hand, and begged her to
drink it. Before she would comply, St. Aubyn said:--

"Ellen, neither my entreaties, nor those of his former friend, Miss
Cecil, can prevail on Lord De Montfort to take the slightest
refreshment; try, my love, if you can induce him to take a glass of wine
with you."

Ellen with sudden effort conquering the agitation of her spirits, said:
"Indeed, my Lord, I shall be very happy if Lord De Montfort will do me
that honour. May I, my Lord," speaking to him, "make it my request that
you will do so?"

The soft persuasive tones of her voice seemed to touch him; he rose, and
with a voice deep, melancholy, and impressive, said:

"At _your_ request, Madam!"

He advanced, and took from Laura a glass of wine she offered to him; he
bowed to Ellen, and lifted the glass to his lips, but instantly
exclaimed, while his whole person shook with agitation:

"I _cannot_ drink it! In _this_ house! Oh, God!"

He let fall the glass, and covering his face with his hands, rushed out
of the room.

O'Brien instantly followed him, while the little party which remained
sat in silent dismay and astonishment. Yet St. Aubyn's emotion partook
more of vexation than surprize: he paced the room with hasty strides for
a few minutes, and then approaching Ellen, said, clasping her hand in
his, which trembled with agitation--"This scene has been too much for
you, my love: could I have imagined De Montfort's demeanor would have
been so wild, I would not have brought him hither; yet let us make
allowances for him--he doated on his sister." St. Aubyn's voice seemed
elevated with deep contending passions: for a moment he paused, then
added, "You had better go to your rest, my love, and you, Laura: I do
not suppose this young man will return to-night."

He rung, and inquired of the servant in waiting where the two gentlemen
then were. "They have been in the study, my Lord," said the man; "but
are now gone to their chambers, which Mrs. Bayfield sent to say were
ready for them."

The ladies rose to retire, just as Mr. O'Brien returned: he brought
apologies from his pupil to Lady St. Aubyn, saying that Lord de Montfort
regretted extremely his distress should have shewed itself so visibly,
and doubtless alarmed her. "Forgive him, Madam," said O'Brien: "this is
the first time he has been in this house, or even in England, since the
death of Lady St. Aubyn: and recollections of the sister he lost so
young, the sister he adored, have been too much for him."

"Surely," said Laura, "he must have been uncommonly attached to her,
since six years have not effaced her from his memory." She sighed--the
tear stood in her eye; for she thought--"It is scarcely as many months
since I lost the sweetest sister in the world, yet she is comparatively
forgotten."

"He cherishes every recollection of her," said O'Brien, "with officious
care: he constantly wears her portrait next his heart. Before we left
Spain, he insisted on visiting her grave, and was so deeply affected, I
feared for his reason. To you, my Lord St. Aubyn, I ought to apologize
for details which I see distress you, but I thought it was necessary to
account for my pupil's strange deportment."

St. Aubyn bowed; but traces of vexation were legible in his expressive
face. Mr. Mordaunt made some inquiries after the present state of Lord
de Montfort, to which Mr. O'Brien replied he had left him in bed, and
tolerably composed; that he had consented to breakfast with the family
the next morning, when he hoped personally to apologize to the Countess
for the alarm he had given her.

The ladles now retired, and each went to her respective apartment. Lady
St. Aubyn passed through her own room into that where the infant lay:
both the child and his nurse slept quietly. She knelt a moment by the
bed-side, and offered a fervent prayer to heaven for the health and
happiness of her infant, and for its father, who seemed menaced by some
mysterious disturbance. The contrast presented by the soft sleep, the
placid innocence of the baby's face, to the scene of anxiety and
confusion she had left, deeply affected her. Tears stole down her
cheeks, and wetted the little hands she held pressed to her lips. At
length, rousing herself, she returned to her bed-chamber, where Jane
waited to undress her: "Make haste, Jane," she said, "I am weary." Jane
obeyed in silence; for her Lady's pensive looks had power to quiet even
her loquacious propensities.

In a few minutes Ellen was laid on her pillow, and the tumultuous
throbbing of her heart began to subside. In about half an hour she heard
St. Aubyn go to the room he occupied at present, and fancied, after his
valet left him, she could distinctly hear him pacing the apartment, and
sighing heavily: but this perhaps was chiefly fancy; for the wind still
howled and sobbed round the Castle, and through its large hall and long
galleries. Sometimes it sounded like the low moans of one in grief or
pain: then in shriller gusts it shook the lofty battlements, or swept
over the tops of the high trees, which bent and rustled beneath its
power.

Ellen, restless, uneasy, impressed with the melancholy countenance and
strange conduct of their mysterious guest, vainly endeavoured to sleep,
and turned from side to side, soothed only in the intervals of the storm
by hearing the soft breathings of her infant, whose couch (the door
being open between the rooms) was so near her, that she could accurately
distinguish every breath he drew. Two or three times she was inclined to
rise, and steal him from his nurse's side to partake her bed; for she
felt how glad she should be in that unquiet hour to feel his little
cheek pressing against hers, and hold him to her anxious heart; but
fearing to disturb, or give him cold, she relinquished her purpose, and
endeavoured to compose herself to rest.

At length, just after the Castle clock had struck two, she felt as if
sleep were stealing over her fatigued senses; but starting from a
momentary forgetfulness, she heard a light footstep, yet sounding as if
the person walking wore no shoes, approaching her bed-room door. It was
she knew unfastened; for lest the child should be ill, or want
additional assistance, it was always left so. Starting, she listened:
her breath grew short, and her heart beat audibly, as the steps
approached nearer and nearer; yet not losing her presence of mind she
drew aside her curtain, and fixing her eyes on the door, prepared to fly
into the inner room, should, as she now began to expect, a midnight
robber meet her view.

Slowly, slowly, opened the door, and a tall thin figure, wrapped in a
loose night-gown, just appeared within it. "Sister! sister!" said a
voice, low, tremulous, and impressive: "sister, are you awake? You bade
me call you early."

The figure! the voice!--Oh, what became of Ellen, when in both she
recognized the wild, the mysterious, De Montfort! In his pale hand he
bore a lamp, the flashing light of which fell at intervals on his gloomy
countenance: while his bright black eyes were indeed open, but, oh!
"their sense was shut."

Again, as he advanced into the room, he repeated in the same low
mournful tone, "Sister _Rosolia_! What, sleeping still? You said you
would rise early, and walk with me." Then pausing, he seemed to stand as
if listening for an answer; but suddenly, with a start of recollection
and a heavy sigh, he exclaimed, "Oh yes, I remember! too well I
remember! You cannot rise: you will never rise again!--_You are dead!
you are dead! you are dead!_"

Again a solemn pause ensued, and sighs, which seemed to rend his bosom,
alone broke the terrific silence of the moment.

Again he spoke with an energy of action, as if his sleeping agitations
were breaking into frenzy, addressing himself as in answer to one who
had spoken to him.

"But did he murder you? Was it St. Aubyn? Tell me, I conjure you, and
answer _truly_. Condemn not your own soul, and O, Rosolia, involve not
mine in condemnation by a lie!--A lie!--_Can the dead lie?_--And you are
come to me _here_--aye, _here_, in this very chamber, where in our
innocent school-days you used to sleep--to tell me the truth--the
_truth_, Rosolia."

And now with quicker steps he paced the chamber, as if pursuing one who
fled before him, yet, with that wonderful instinctive power which often
attends the sleep-walker, avoiding every obstacle.

"Nay, fly me not!" he exclaimed: "deceive me not; for I have seen an
angel in _thy place_ to-night; and if thou art not a false and lying
spirit, thou wilt not lead me to injure her." Then pausing again, as if
listening to some one who spoke, he said, with quickness--

"I know it! I know it! That _pistol_--that _ring_! Yes, yes, yes, yes!
Those indeed were direful evidences of his guilt!--Years, years, I have
passed in thinking of them!--Yet he says, he swears, he is
innocent--that it was _De Sylva_--that _thou_ wert guilty! Oh, tell me,
Rosolia, was it--was it so?--But I will pray for thy soul."

He knelt, and placing the lamp before him on the floor, its dismal light
fell on his sad countenance, and shewed his eyes upturned, and his lips
moving as in fervent prayer, while at intervals he crossed himself, and
bowed his forehead to the earth. Then rising with a sudden start, he
exclaimed--

"Hark, O'Brien calls! He will hear me--he shall not know my thoughts. It
might not be St. Aubyn who shed thy blood: yet, oh, Rosolia--oh, my
sister, it _was_ thy blood I saw! And here is some of it on my hand."

He shook his hand violently, and appearing to look at it earnestly, he
uttered a low, mournful, and distracted cry of terror, and rushed out of
the room.

Alarm and horror had kept Ellen silent--she fainted not; yet scarcely
could she be said to live. But as soon as his receding footsteps
convinced her he was really gone, she hastily threw on some of her
clothes, and flew, scarcely in her senses, to St. Aubyn's room. His door
was fast, but with repeated knockings she aroused him, and great indeed
was his consternation to see her so pale, so almost convulsed with fear
and agitation.

"My dearest life!" he exclaimed: "what, for heaven's sake, is the matter
with the child?"

"Oh! I have left him! I have forsaken him!" said she in terror, "all the
doors open too, and that poor distracted youth may perhaps return, and
who knows what injury he may do him! Oh! let us fly to the child," and
she made some hasty steps towards the door.

"Recollect yourself, my Ellen," said the astonished St. Aubyn: "you are
dreaming--sit down in this chair by the fire, and compose your spirits."

"Oh! no, it was no dream," said the shuddering Ellen, "I saw him as I
see you now! he came to my room and said such dreadful things!"--

"Who came to your room?" exclaimed St. Aubyn: "who dared to intrude, to
disturb and alarm you thus?"

"Oh! he was sleeping, I believe! but in his sleep--Oh heavens! he talked
so dreadfully--of such horrid things--and called upon his sister in such
tones! Oh! I never, never shall forget them!"

"Was it De Montfort?" asked the dismayed St. Aubyn.

"Oh yes, oh yes--De Montfort! Oh, his eyes, his face, his voice! I
never, never, shall forget them!" she repeated with renewed agitation.

"Unhappy young man!" said St. Aubyn, with a sigh. "Would to God thou
had'st never come hither! Affright not yourself, my Ellen, with his wild
wanderings. By this time, I had hoped the wretch, who caused this
dreadful mischief, might have been found, and all might have been
cleared. Years have I sought in vain. Still, still, he evades my
search--perhaps exists no longer.

"It is, however, time to reveal the past to you; but now you are too
much alarmed to hear the long and melancholy tale: return to your bed,
my Ellen; try to rest for my sake, for your babe's, who must suffer,
should his tender nurse be ill: go to repose, and I will watch by you
till morning; then, dear, and for ever dear creature, all shall be
revealed; but remember your promise, in spite of all appearances--still
to believe me innocent!"

Prevailed on at length to return to her own chamber, yet Ellen entreated
St. Aubyn to examine the gallery, and see if De Montfort might not be
again returned to visit the room he seemed to know so well; and even
when assured he was not there, she still shuddered and turned pale, as
fancy pictured him standing with his lamp in the door-way, or pacing
with disordered steps the chamber floor.

After obtaining a few hours rest, which somewhat restored her, Ellen, by
appointment, joined St. Aubyn in his study at a very early hour, where
he had promised to explain, as far as he could, the strange and
vexatious events which had so long involved him in the greatest
uneasiness.

Sad was St. Aubyn's countenance, and the cheek of Ellen was yet pale
from her recent agitation when they met. St. Aubyn, tenderly taking her
hand, said, "I half regret, my Ellen, that my selfish love withdrew you
from that sweet content and cheerfulness which surrounded your peaceful
abode when first we met, to partake with me cares and alarms which
otherwise you never would have known."

"My dear St. Aubyn, do not talk so," said Ellen, with a tender tear:
"all the cares, all the alarms you speak of, were they ten times
doubled, could not outweigh, in my estimation, the happiness of being
one hour your wife. Oh believe, my beloved Lord, _that_ fate I would
have chosen, even though I had been sure the next would have brought my
death."

"Matchless creature!" said St. Aubyn, clasping her to his bosom: "in
such love, such tenderness, I am overpaid for all the griefs which
former events have brought upon me, for all the anxiety with which the
present hour surrounds me!--Repeat to me, dearest, as well as you can
remember, what you heard from the unfortunate Edmund in his nocturnal
visit to your apartment."

Ellen, while her cheek was blanched by the fearful recollection, and her
whole frame trembled as she called to mind that terrific visit,
endeavoured to obey, yet she feared to shock him, by repeating those
words which seemed to connect his name with the idea of guilt and
murder; but contrary to her expectation, he heard her without surprize,
and with calm, though sorrowful composure: he sighed heavily indeed, but
no alarm or perturbation appeared in either his countenance or gesture.
As she ended, he said, "All this I knew; but too well knew what horrible
suspicions this unhappy youth has formed, nay own he had great reason to
conceive them. Poor Edmund! these dismal thoughts, working in his mind,
and, as it appears, concealed from all others, have preyed upon it till
reason seems shaken, and his troubled spirit wakes even while his bodily
organs are locked in sleep! No wonder in this dreadful tumult of his
imagination he came to your room, for that room used to be his sister's
when she visited my mother before our unfortunate marriage was even
thought of; and often, doubtless, in the days of his childhood, he has
gone to her door to waken her at her request, and chid her for sleeping
so late when he wanted her to walk with him: for dearly did he love her;
and in those days she was innocent, and she was happy! Alas! poor
Rosolia, whatever were thy faults, thy fate was dreadful!"

He sighed, and was a moment silent.



CHAP. II.

                            Such an act,
    That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
    Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rose
    From the fair forehead of an innocent love,
    And plants a blister there--makes marriage vows
    As false as divers oaths.

    HAMLET.

                          O ye gods,
    Render me worthy of this noble wife,
    The secrets of my heart thy bosom shall partake.

    JULIUS CÆSAR.


"I need not," said St. Aubyn, "say much on the subject of my first
acquaintance with Lady Rosolia de Montfort. You have heard, I believe,
that _her_ father was a near relation of _mine_, and that her mother was
a Spanish Lady of a high noble family, and were Roman Catholics. The
lady's friends were exceedingly averse to the match, and at length
consented only on condition that the sons of the marriage should be bred
Roman Catholics; and after the father's death, should he die during
their minority, be placed under the care of the mother's relations.
Rosolia would probably also have been a Catholic, but her mother died
young, and she was placed in the care of my mother and Lady Juliana
Mordaunt. In the vacations she was generally here, where my mother
constantly, and my aunt frequently, resided; and here also Edmund almost
always spent the time of his school recesses, though twice they went to
Spain with their father, and spent a few months amongst their mother's
connections.

"Rosolia grew up very handsome, but the character of her beauty was not
such as suited my taste: there was too much hauteur in her countenance;
too much pride in the mind which informed it to please me; yet from our
early youth the friends on both sides were anxious to unite us. I had at
that time no particular predilection for any of her sex, nor could I
object any thing against her, though certainly not exactly the sort of
woman I should have chosen; her partiality in my favour, however,
appeared evident, and was too flattering to be resisted by a young man
like me, from a young woman who had crowds of admirers, most of them my
superiors in fortune and quality.

"We were married, therefore, when I was about five-and-twenty, and
Rosolia six years my junior. For two years that my mother lived, we
remained a great deal with her, and in the country, under her eye and
that of Lady Juliana. Rosolia did not discover those unpleasant traits,
which, though they lay dormant, were not conquered.

"On my mother's death, we removed for a time to London, and there
Rosolia lay in of a son, the only child we ever had. But, ah! how
different a mother was Rosolia from you, my Ellen! No care for her
infant subdued the excessive vivacity she now began to display, no
maternal tenderness subjugated, or even softened, the levity of conduct
which now became manifest, and ultimately was her bane. The society of
every idle coxcomb was preferred to mine: my remonstrances, and those of
my respectable aunt, nay, even of her own father, were unheeded. My
disposition, naturally inclined to jealousy, took fire at the lightness
of her carriage; but she held me in contempt, often in derision; and as
the tongue of slander had not yet fixed on the name of any particular
person to connect with her, I was obliged to submit to see her
_flirting_, as it is called, first with one admirer, then another, _and
the last fool as welcome as the former_. My aunt, wearied and vexed at
our domestic unhappiness, in a great measure forsook us, and contracted
a dislike of Lady St. Aubyn, which, in some degree, extended to all her
family. Edmund was still our frequent guest, but his partiality for his
sister would not allow him to see a fault in her, and indeed his extreme
youth made me conceal from him, as much as possible, the uneasy terms on
which we lived together. We had been married about three years, and our
little boy was six months old when Rosolia's father died: by his will,
he appointed me the guardian of Edmund's estates, till he should attain
the age of twenty-four, and requested that I would see him placed under
the care of the Duke de Castel Nuovo, in agreement with the terms of his
own marriage-contract with the daughter of that nobleman.

"This request I could not refuse, yet knew not how to leave my wife in
England; for if her conduct were so reproachable while we were together,
what had I to expect if I left her solely to her own guidance? Yet such
was the perversity of her temper, I doubted whether she would accompany
me abroad: to that, however, she consented, prompted, I believe, more by
a wish to be as much as possible with her brother, than to oblige me.
But nothing could induce her to leave the child behind, though my aunt
offered to take it solely under her own care during our absence,
although Rosolia herself never saw it, except for about five minutes,
once or twice in the day.

"This singular obstinacy inspired my aunt with an idea (which I confess
I partly shared) that Rosolia's intention was to leave the babe with her
paternal relations; for though she called herself a protestant, she
certainly had much inclination towards the ceremonies of the Catholic
Church, and, I grieve to say, held all religious principles so lightly,
that to distress me and vex my aunt, she was but too capable of placing
her child in the hands of Catholics, that it might be bred up in a
religion she knew my aunt abhorred, and I had no good opinion of. To
counteract this, or any other scheme which might be formed to take the
child from me, as well as to ensure its being well taken care of, Lady
Juliana insisted that our good Bayfield should accompany us, and made
her promise never to let the child be absent from her sight. But these
precautions, in the event, proved useless; for the poor babe caught the
small-pox soon after we landed at Cadiz, where we remained a short time,
and died in my arms, attended with undeviating care by the worthy
Bayfield: for, oh, my Ellen, your tender nature will recoil when I tell
you its unfeeling mother refused to see it from the time the disorder
came to its height, though she herself had had it, because its
appearance was too shocking to her delicacy! Every care, however, that
could be obtained, was lavished on it, but in vain.

"Poor Edmund grieved sincerely at this event, and shared my lonely and
sorrowful hours; for he had been attached to the infant with excessive
affection, and always felt for me the sincerest regard, while I
considered him as my own brother, and thought no attention too much to
serve or please him.

"Soon after the death of the child we proceeded to Seville, and, in the
gaiety of that city, the attentions she received from her mother's
relations, and the flattering compliments paid to her beauty by the
crowds of gentlemen who now surrounded her, Rosolia soon lost whatever
traces of sorrow remained for the loss of her infant. She was handsomer
than ever, and shone in all the elegance of dress and the blaze of
unnumbered jewels, with which my lavish fondness, in the early part of
our marriage, and the liberality of her Spanish relations, had profusely
supplied her. Her grandfather, the Duke de Castel Nuovo, at whose palace
in Seville Edmund was to be placed, happened to be absent, having been
suddenly called to Madrid on some important state business, and wrote to
beg I would remain a month or two at his palace, when he hoped he should
return thither to receive his grandson from my hands, to see his
granddaughter, and thank me for the kindness with which I had taken so
long a journey. Having nothing immediately to recall me to England, I
was not sorry to see more of this interesting country; and hearing of a
beautiful villa to be let on the bank of Guadalaxara, I removed thither
with my family, preferring it to a residence in the Duke's palace.

"Nothing could exceed the beauty of our little domain, or the rich
luxuriance of the country in which it stood. This villa was only two
miles from Seville, where at that time several regiments were stationed,
and all the officers of rank eagerly sought an introduction to me and
the beautiful Rosolia. Amongst them was a man of the name of De Sylva."

At this name Ellen started, for she had heard it from Edmund, in his
wild wanderings the night before; though, till that instant, she could
not recollect it.

"Why do you start, my love?" said St. Aubyn; "does some intuitive
emotion whisper to you that this was the wretch whose villainy involved
me in so much misery?"

"It was the name," said Ellen, "which I could not recollect just now;
the name I heard from Edmund."

"No doubt," replied St. Aubyn, "it dwelt upon his mind; for but last
night I again endeavoured to convince him of that villain's guilt. But
to proceed.

"This De Sylva was a young man of a very fine person and elegant
manners; one, in short, exactly fitted to win the favour of any woman,
who looked more to exterior appearance than intrinsic merit. He was, I
afterwards learned, a determined gamester, of broken, if not ruined
fortunes, without principles, and stained with many vices; yet this man
I too soon perceived the light Rosolia had selected as her chief
favourite. If she danced, he was her partner; and often was her lovely
person exhibited in the fascinating but immoral dances of her country:
an exhibition, oh, how unfit for an English matron!--how hateful to the
delicacy of my sentiments. I am perhaps too fastidious; but I again
repeat, such a display, even of grace and beauty, in a married woman, is
displeasing, but carried to the excess Rosolia did, detestable. How can
we wonder at the alarming strides vice has made in this country, when we
see even wives and mothers, in the slightest drapery, and with an almost
unlimited freedom of manners, courting the notice of men whom they know
to be characters which neither honour, nor even the ties of friendship,
can restrain from the gratification of their passions.

"Forgive, my Ellen, this digression, by you so little needed; but I
linger and dwell on any subject which can a moment detain me from those
dreadful scenes I must soon describe. I was speaking of the intimacy
which now took place between this De Sylva and Lady St. Aubyn. In
dancing, walking, or riding, he was her constant attendant; and in the
last exercise she excited the admiration of all who beheld her. Her
English side-saddle and riding-dress, and the ease with which she
managed her spirited Arabian, drew the most flattering plaudits from the
gay military admirers who constantly surrounded her; and most of all
from De Sylva, whose manners at last became so particular and presuming,
I could not avoid noticing it, and telling Rosolia if he altered not his
conduct, I should be under the necessity of forbidding him my house.

"At first she only laughed at my threats, and turned every thing I said
into ridicule, but still persisted in the same manner of living, till I
perceived, that even in that gay country her conduct was disapproved by
all who witnessed it, and who had not lost all sense of decorum; even
two or three of the older officers, men of rank and consequence, began
to look gravely upon her, and with a sort of displeasure at me, as if
they thought me too supine in not more warmly asserting my own honour. I
now determined, therefore, to remove her from the place where she had so
many opportunities of meeting this young man, which, without an _eclat_
I wished to avoid, I could not prevent, as I believed her innocent
though imprudent, and to visit some of the most interesting scenes in
that part of the country where we now were, hoping that a tour, which I
knew she had never made, would give a new turn to the sentiments of
Rosolia: we removed, therefore, with our suite, from the beautiful villa
we had lately occupied, and travelled the first day to Cormona, where we
visited its castle, of immense extent, but now wholly in ruins; from
thence we went by excellent, but very ancient roads, to Cordova, where
we also saw every thing worth notice, and spent a few days very
agreeably; at least they would have been agreeable, had Rosolia seemed
in the least inclined to enjoy the new scenes presented to her, or the
civilities of the inhabitants of this ancient town, where our rank and
relationship to the Duke de Castel Nuovo ensured us a hospitable
reception from all the noble families whose manner of life is cheerful
and pleasant.

"After leaving Cordova, we travelled through the delightful vale of the
Guadalaxara, which runs between the ridges of hills embellished with
hanging woods and olive-yards. Nothing could exceed the beauty of the
scene through which we now for two days travelled. No mind, which had
not entirely lost all power of enjoying the charms of nature, could have
been dead to the enchanting scenes which the banks of the lovely
Guadalaxara now presented in ever-varying succession. Extensive plains,
beautifully tinted by rows of olive-trees, towers and ancient castles
rising at intervals on the side of the stream, afforded a variety of
charming and picturesque views, from which Edmund and myself derived the
warmest pleasure. Alas! the heart of Rosolia was shut to them all. At
length we reached a small but pretty villa at the foot of the Sierra
Morena, which I had learned some time before was unoccupied, and had
hired, and caused to be prepared for our reception. Edmund's health had
appeared to be somewhat shaken by the very warm climate of our abode
near Seville, and it was thought the cool air from those mountains would
brace and invigorate his drooping frame. Here, then, we rested in this
quiet retreat, whence I made occasional excursions, sometimes on foot,
sometimes on horseback, in the picturesque environs of our new abode.
Sometimes I extended them to the northern side of the Sierra, and
visited the romantic country of La Mancha, which Cervantes has
immortalized.

"It is impossible to describe the various beauties these mountains
present; the clear torrent of the Rio de las Pedras, falling over beds
of rocks, through glens of beautiful woods; the wild and unfrequented
solitudes, covered with a rich variety of flowering and sweet-scented
shrubs, and the interesting new colony of La Corolina, of which I hope,
some day, to give you a fuller account; all rendered these excursions
delightful to me; the more so, as they occupied my thoughts, and carried
me from a woman whose capricious humours and inconsistent conduct
rendered my home irksome and distasteful.

"Rosolia, angry at being withdrawn from the society she so much prized,
and still more so at being deprived of De Sylva's company, now assumed
manners the most aggravating, and caprices the most extraordinary.
Sometimes, for a day or two together, the sound of her voice never
reached the ear of any human being; but sunk, in affected apathy, she
pretended scarcely to see or hear any thing that was passing. Then she
would suddenly assume the gayest air, and for hours would scarcely cease
speaking; following me incessantly; never allowing me to read or reflect
a moment; singing, playing on her harp, or with castenets in her hands,
dancing with a gaiety that was as unpleasing as it appeared unnatural,
till her forced spirits being quite exhausted, she would fall into
violent hysterics, and be conveyed to bed, whence she would not rise
again in many days.

"Think only, my dear Ellen, what a life this was for me. With no other
companion (for Edmund was still a mere boy), and dreading every hour to
what the caprices of the next might lead. At length, all at once, she
affected a new humour, and was continually rambling alone, even so late
in the evening, that in the neighbourhood of those wild mountains, I
feared some evil would befall her; but vain were my representations,
vain my entreaties. She told me, she thought it hard to be denied the
only pleasure my jealous temper had left her, and that I had better
revive the old Spanish customs of lattices and duennas, and lock her up
altogether. These, and many such provoking speeches, silenced me; but I
saw that our good Bayfield was suffering from some unknown cause. She
was frequently in tears, and betrayed, at times, a degree of agitation
which astonished me; for in general her composure was remarkable. I
conjectured, that, dissatisfied with her lady, as indeed she had but too
much reason to be, the worthy woman pined to revisit England; but on my
pressing her on this subject, she assured me, that wherever I was, there
she was best pleased to be; and only wished she _knew how best to shew
her devotion to my interests_.

"These last words seemed spoken with particular meaning, but she evaded
any explanation. A new vexation now assailed both her and me: several of
Lady St. Aubyn's valuable jewels were from time to time missing, and
vainly sought.

"Rosolia affected the most perfect indifference about them, saying,
since she had no one to wear them, she cared nothing for jewels: but
Bayfield, who was the only person, who, except her lady, had access to
the place where the jewels were kept, was excessively disturbed at their
frequent losses. At last, a very fine and remarkable ring of mine,
composed of an antique cameo, set with brilliants of great value, was
also gone. I began to suspect my valet of these repeated thefts, though
I had obtained of him the most excellent character; and he had been
three or four years in my service without the slightest suspicion of
dishonesty in any respect.

"Determined, however, to watch this man, I said nothing of the loss of
my ring, thinking if I appeared to have no suspicion I should the easier
detect him.

"About a week after this circumstance, being restless, and unable to
sleep, I rose from my bed at midnight, and sat for some time at my
window, watching the bright moon, which in that clear climate gave a
light scarcely inferior to that of day: but judge of my surprize, when I
saw the figure of a man emerge slowly from a grove of cork trees, at
some little distance; and after looking cautiously around, pass close
under my windows, and approach those of Lady St. Aubyn's apartment. We
had for some time inhabited separate rooms, as she complained of
restless nights, and chose to have her chamber to herself. I fancied
that I had now detected the robber, who, by some means, having gained
access to those chambers, had, from time to time, stolen the jewels I
mentioned; but in a moment I saw Rosolia's window open, and herself
appear at it. She spoke a few words to this man, on whom the moonlight
falling more clearly, I distinctly perceived the height, figure, and I
fancied the features of De Sylva.

"Rosolia instantly threw down a light rope ladder, and the man, whoever
he was, began to mount it; but on a sudden she turned from the window,
as if disturbed by the entrance of some one to her room; and making a
sign to him with a hurried air, he hastily descended: she immediately
closed the window, and the man ran to the grove from which he had first
appeared.

"All this scene passed so quickly, I had scarcely time to recollect
myself, or determine what I ought to do--but hastily seizing my pistols,
which lay always loaded in my room, I descended a private staircase
leading to the garden, and with quicksteps, followed the man, who lay
concealed in the grove. I walked with as little noise as I could,
fearing, lest, if he heard me, he might make his escape, and I should be
deprived of the satisfaction I expected, so that I was close to him
before he perceived me, and seizing him with a powerful grasp, I dragged
him into the moonlight, and there saw it was indeed De Sylva."



CHAP. III.

    Ou suis-je? O Ciel ou suis je? ou porte je mes voeux?
    Zayre, Nerestan--couple ingrat, couple affreux,
    Traitres arracher moi ce jour que je respire,
    Ce jour souillè par vous.
    ----Ah que vois-je? Ah ma soeur
    Zayre!... Elle n'est plus.--Ah monstre ah jour horrible!

    ZAYRE PAR VOLTAIRE.


"Rage almost choked me as I exclaimed:--'Villain! you here, and lurking
under my windows at this hour!' He shook with cowardly apprehension, and
attempted some excuse, which, however, his terror rendered inarticulate:
still the momentary pause gave me time for recollection, and disdaining
to assault an unarmed man, I threw him one of my pistols, and bade him
defend himself: again in faltering tones he murmured some assurances
that he merely came to see Lady St. Aubyn's favourite servant, a Spanish
girl named Theresa; but this hacknied excuse was too shallow to obtain a
moment's credit, and I still pressed him to an instant decision of this
affair. He now, somewhat more firmly, requested me to recollect, that if
we fought, and he fell, what would be the appearance of a man found in
my grounds murdered, as it would seem; and on the other hand he appealed
to my generosity, what would be his situation should I be killed, and
above all, what a slur would be cast on the reputation of Lady St. Aubyn
by such a business. Calmed by these representations, which certainly had
some justice in them, I finally consented to wait till the next evening:
the time between, he told me, he should pass at a little Posada in the
neighbourhood, where, he said, he had a friend waiting for him, who
would come with him to a spot I mentioned near the mountains; and during
the same space I said I would ride to Almana (the next small town),
where a gentleman resided with whom I had some acquaintance, and on whom
I would prevail to be my second in this affair: then bidding him retain
the pistol, and bring it prepared, as I should do its fellow, to the
place of meeting, I sternly told him, that should I see him again
lurking beneath my walls, I would not wait the event of the next
evening, but treat him as a midnight robber deserved to be treated. I
then left him and returned to the house: a faint light yet gleamed from
the windows of Rosolia's room, but the rope ladder was withdrawn, and
the curtains closed, so that I concluded she had given up all
expectation of seeing De Sylva again that night. I watched, however,
till morning, but all was still, and I then threw myself on my bed to
obtain one hour's repose; after which I rose, and spent some time in
settling my affairs, and writing some letters, to be delivered in case I
should fall in the duel with De Sylva.

"After this I went to Lady St. Aubyn's room: at the door I met Bayfield,
who, pale, and with her eyes swollen with weeping, looked as if she had,
like myself, watched all night.

"My good Bayfield,' said I, 'where is your Lady, and why do you look
thus alarmed and haggard?'

"She answered me, but with some confusion, that her Lady was just
dressed, and that she had been induced to watch in the chamber next Lady
St. Aubyn's almost all night, having heard some noises which had induced
her to _rise at midnight_, and go to her Lady's apartment, whom she
found also much agitated, and therefore had remained there till morning.
I made no doubt, and I afterwards found this conjecture was just, that
my faithful old servant's suspicions having been excited, she had gone
to her room, and by interrupting her, had caused the sudden dismissal of
De Sylva, and had since passed the night in bewailing Rosolia's evil
propensities. Without staying for any explanation, however, I left her,
and passed into the Countess's apartment: she started at the sight of
me, for of late we had seldom met but at meals, and her guilty
conscience taught her to consider my visit as extraordinary. I told her
sternly to be seated and hear me, and I then related to her the events
of the preceding night: at first she trembled and turned pale, but soon
recovering her effrontery, she attempted, as usual, to make a jest of
what she affected to term my ridiculous jealousy.

"Mark me, Rosolia!" cried I rising, and eagerly grasping her arm, for,
with affected scorn, she attempted to rush past me. 'Mark me! I am no
longer thus to be deceived. _This evening, this evening shall revenge my
too long endured injuries_--the _wretch_ who has so deeply wronged me,
_this arm shall punish_.'

"At that moment, while my angry looks were fixed upon her countenance,
where rage and disdain contended with shame and fear, Edmund entered the
room, and must, I knew, have heard the threats I uttered: he started and
looked amazed, for frequent as were our altercations, they had never
before risen to a height so alarming.

"I left them together, and taking my horse, rode to Almana, where, most
unfortunately, I did not find my friend at home; and after waiting his
return till I feared I should not arrive at my villa in time enough to
keep my appointment, I left the place alone, and merely going into the
house to take my pistol, I hastened to the appointed spot. There I
waited, vainly waited, for nearly two hours: no De Sylva arrived; and
concluding that he then meant not to keep his appointment, and some
vague fears pressing on my mind that possibly Rosolia might be the
partner of his flight, I hurried back to the villa. It was almost dark
when I arrived, and just as I entered the hall, heated, disordered, not
having changed my dress since the night before, and in the confusion of
my thoughts not even concealing the pistol I had carried in my hand, I
met Edmund, who eagerly asked me where his sister was.

"I know not,' said I; but a thousand suspicions darted into my bosom,
and gave to my countenance and manner an agitation which must have
appeared to him extraordinary. 'Is she not in her own apartment? I have
been out all day and have not seen her since I left her with you this
morning.'

"Nor I,' said Edmund, 'since half an hour before I saw you return on
horseback; she then complained of a violent head-ache, and said she
would try if the evening air would remove it: I offered to walk with
her, but she said she would rather be alone, for she had enough to
occupy her thoughts: she kissed me too,' added Edmund, 'and bade me
farewell, sighing bitterly, and saying her heart was heavy and full of
terror: why then,' said I, 'will you go alone, sister? why not let me
walk with you? I really think there _is_ danger in being out late so
near the mountains.' She forced a smile, and replied, she feared nothing
from the mountains: all her misery and terrors arose at home.'

"Ungrateful Rosolia,' I replied, as Edmund told me this; to which he
answered:--

"Ah, my Lord, it grieves me to see you both so unhappy; I hope my
grandfather's return will soon restore in some degree your domestic
comfort; he will persuade Rosolia to be more accommodating to your
wishes.'

"I sighed, and asked him which way his sister had gone.

"Through the cork grove,' he replied, 'and towards the Hermitage, which
is I know her favourite retreat.'

"'Surely,' said I, 'she would not remain in that lonely place till this
late hour; yet, so strange for sometime has been her conduct, I know not
what to suppose: call the servants, my dear Edmund, to bring lights, for
in that gloomy retreat it will be quite dark, and let us go in search of
her.'

"We set out accordingly, attended by two men servants and my good
Bayfield, who, fearing, as she said, her Lady might be ill, insisted on
accompanying us. The place to which we directed our steps was a quarter
of a mile from the villa, and, as I had said, by the time we had reached
it the darkness of night had come on.

"This gloomy cell stood at the foot of a rock deep embowered in thick
groves: a mountain stream fell from a considerable height near it, and
the dash of its waters alone broke the silence of this secluded retreat,
which was called the Hermitage, from the peculiar style in which it was
fitted up. For some time before we reached it we made the surrounding
thickets resound with Rosolia's name: but all was silent, save the
murmuring breeze and the dashing of the waterfall. I concluded that my
wife was gone off with the infamous De Sylva, and my whole frame shook
with rage and agitation.

"Why do you tremble so, my Lord?' said the affrighted Edmund, who hung
upon my arm: 'do you think any harm has happened to my sister?'

"I know not,' I replied, 'but I fear it, greatly fear it!'

"Just then we entered the gloomy Hermitage: all was dark and still; the
echo of our steps alone broke the awful silence. The men who accompanied
us lifted their torches to throw a fuller light into the cell; and--ah!
my Ellen, I dread to shock your tender nature by describing the horrid
scene which met our view.--Imagine our sensations when we saw the
unfortunate Rosolia extended on the earth! her white garments dyed in
_blood_! in that blood which some hand, either accidentally or by
design, had shed! for on raising the body, by this time stiff and cold,
a wound was discovered in the back of her head, which was evidently the
effect of a pistol-ball, and had caused her death. You tremble and turn
pale, my love: it grieves me to distress you, but think what was _my_
distress, when Edmund, who, in frantic despair, had thrown himself by
his murdered sister, found the fatal weapon which had done this deed of
horror, and I saw at once it was the fellow pistol to that I had in my
hand when he met me in the hall, remarkable for its peculiar
construction and workmanship; the very one, in short, which I had given
to De Sylva. Never, never shall I forget the glance of his dark eyes at
that moment: I saw the direful suspicions he, at that instant,
conceived, and which were still more fatally confirmed by what
immediately followed.

"My poor Bayfield, full of grief and horror, was arranging, with all the
care circumstances would admit, the removal of the body to the house,
when seeing something glitter amidst the horrible darkness which
surrounded us, and our fading torches scarcely broke, she stooped and
picked up _my ring_, that well-known ring, which I indeed had lost, but
had not said so; and which she, from some impulsive feeling, perhaps
fearing the sight of it in that place might implicate me in the late sad
event, attempted to conceal in her bosom.

"What is that?" exclaimed the half-frantic Edmund, darting towards her
and seizing her hand. '_Your ring_, my Lord, _your ring_! at this
time--in this place. The pistol too--those dreadful threatenings of
revenge.--Ah God! Ah God!--what horrible conviction flashes on
me.--Rosolia! poor dear sister!--Ah, basely, basely murdered!' and he
fell senseless on the ground.

"The domestics who attended us were Spaniards, and did not understand a
word he said: but Bayfield stood the image of dismay.

"Ah, my Lord,' said she, 'fly, if indeed your hand by accident has done
this deed, for think what will become of you amidst the bigotted
Catholics, who will seek to revenge it.'

"Fly!' I repeated, 'my good old friend! Can you believe me guilty?'

"Oh no, my dear Lord,' she replied, never, never! but think what these
unfortunate appearances will say against you to those who know you less
than I do.'

"Whatever they say, I will brave,' I exclaimed: 'nor care I much after
this dreadful moment what becomes of me; but never will I, by an
ignominious flight, tacitly avow myself guilty, when I know and surely
cannot fail to prove my innocence.'

"In a few minutes one of the men, who, on Edmund's falling into the
deathlike trance from which we yet vainly sought to recover him, had
fled towards the house for more assistance, returned with almost all the
domestics, who eagerly crowded to satisfy their curiosity, and whose
astonishment and impatient questions may be easily conceived. Between
them they conveyed into the house their murdered mistress, and the still
insensible Edmund, whose spirit we at one time imagined had really
followed hers. To paint the confusion which ensued would be impossible:
one express was instantly sent off to the Duke de Castel Nuovo, and
several men I sent into the mountains and round the neighbourhood to
seek for De Sylva, by whose hand I doubted not the fatal wound, either
by accident or design, had been given. I described his person and
appearance, saying that such a man had been seen lurking about the house
the night before.

"Some of the servants having remarked the capricious character, and, of
late, the melancholy manners of Rosolia, suggested an idea that she had
destroyed herself; but the situation of the wound prevented such a
possibility. Forgive me, my love, these shocking details: they are
indeed unsuited to the tenderness of your nature; but without a very
accurate account of this unfortunate event, it would be impossible for
you to judge what evidences there were of my apparent guilt, or real
innocence.

"Edmund slowly recovered from his deep swoon, but his reason for a time
was flown, and all the skill of the medical people about us failed for
weeks to recover it. Yet still he knew me--still with an expression of
the most vindictive hatred his eyes pursued me. His words frequently
pointed out the nature of his suspicions; but he raved so constantly,
that they remained unnoticed, save by me and Bayfield: too fatally,
alas! we understood them. To her I fully explained all that had passed,
and she told me she had no hesitation in believing that De Sylva was the
author of this direful tragedy. To find that villain appeared
impossible: my servants returned, after a week's search in every
direction, without having discovered the slightest trace of him. Indeed,
to track a fugitive in that wild romantic country is extremely
difficult: immense woods, deep caves, and the recesses of vast ruins,
might easily shelter such a one from pursuit.

"To the servants I held out an idea that some banditti from the
mountains had found their Lady in her lonely walk, as indeed they all
knew I often had feared would be the case, and had murdered her for the
sake of the money and jewels she had about her; and in truth many of
them had seen her go out with some rich ornaments, which she generally
wore, and which certainly were removed from the body.

"On searching the Hermitage the next morning, a parcel was found,
containing a complete Spanish habit for a boy, and a letter--at least a
part of one, for part was torn away, and the remainder contained only
these words:

    _At the Hermitage this evening
                we must fly directly
                  St. Aubyn will wait for
            come alone_

"I easily imagined this was part of a letter from De Sylva, appointing
Rosolia to meet him at the Hermitage. 'St. Aubyn will wait for'
evidently alluded to my waiting for him at the place he had appointed to
meet me; yet even these words seemed fatally to implicate me in this
horrid transaction: whereas, if the whole had been preserved, it would
have entirely exculpated me from blame: so unfortunately did
circumstances combine to throw the appearance of guilt upon me.

"When my messenger returned from Madrid, I learned that the venerable
Duke de Castel Nuovo was too ill to travel: he left the whole management
of this melancholy affair in my hands, expressing himself convinced that
some of the banditti, who it was well known infested the Sierra Morena,
had been the murderers of his granddaughter. He entreated me to take the
greatest care of Edmund, and invited me, when he should be sufficiently
recovered, to accompany him to Madrid, or if I could not make that
convenient, to send him by some person in whom I could confide, and who
would see him placed safely under his own care; and concluded by very
kind expressions of regret that it had been so totally out of his power
to pay me those personal attentions during my stay in Spain, which he
had so anxiously wished to do.

"Thus then I found myself completely exonerated from all suspicion of
having had any share of the late dreadful event, except in the mind of
Edmund, who had by this time recovered his reason, and was by slow
degrees regaining his health, yet still looked on me with horror and
aversion, and was buried in the most profound and gloomy melancholy.

"Unable long to bear this state of estrangement and anxiety, I one day
went to his room, and sitting down by the couch on which he lay, 'I see,
Edmund,' said I, 'too plainly I see, the horrible suspicions you have
formed, and the gloomy hatred so unnatural to your character, which
preys upon your vitals. Neither can you long support a state so
wretched. St. Aubyn was not born to be the object of suspicions so
cruel, nor Edmund to endure them. Hear me then patiently; and though, in
tenderness to the memory of the unfortunate Rosolia, I would, if
possible, have concealed her misconduct from the whole world, and most
of all from you, yet circumstances call on me so imperatively to
disclose it, that I can no longer be silent.'

"I then, my Ellen, related to him every circumstance, as I have done to
you; and though he evidently wavered, yet so strong was the prejudice he
had conceived, that he was not wholly convinced.

"For the pistol," said he, 'you have in some measure accounted: it
might, if this story be true, have been placed there by De Sylva: his
accursed hand it might have been which shed that blood--that precious
blood, which yet in imagination I see flowing at my feet! But ah! St.
Aubyn, whence came that _ring_--that well known ring, which I so often
have heard you declare you valued more than all the jewels in your
possession?'

"Fully to account for that,' said I, 'is not in my power; but on my
honour, I assure you, I had missed it several days, though, in hopes of
discovering the thief, I did not mention it. You know several of
Rosolia's jewels have lately been lost; and many times, since we have
been here, she has asked me for sums of money, though here she could
have had no use for them; but willing to gratify her in even her
fancies, while they did not militate against my peace and honour, I
never denied her, or desired any explanation; yet, in searching her
escritoire and drawers, no money has been found. This leads me to
believe, nay, to be sure, that either the wretch, De Sylva, stole this
ring and the other valuable articles missing, or she gave them to him in
the meetings which Bayfield now owns she is convinced they _have of
late_ frequently had.'

"Impossible, impossible!' cried the noble but prejudiced youth: 'Rosolia
could not have condescended to favour, even with her friendship, so mean
a wretch as one who would have received money or jewels at her hands.
This story, my Lord, hangs ill together, and for it I have only your
word--the word of one to whom it is of the utmost importance that I
should believe it. But think, O think, what a chain of circumstances
appear in proof against you!--The threats _I_ heard you utter, that your
own hand should that very evening revenge your injuries! My meeting you,
heated and confused, after two hours absence, no one knew whither, with
one pistol in your hand--the fellow pistol found discharged by the dear
murdered Rosolia--and, more than all, your ring, which Bayfield,
impressed no doubt by similar suspicions, strove to conceal! Place all
these in array against you, and tell me, tell me yourself, what I must,
what I ought to believe.'

"'It is enough,' I replied: 'I yield myself then to your will. Take me,
if such is your desire, to a prison, to death: your evidence I well
perceive will be sufficient to convict me--to rob me of my honour and my
life. But do you reckon for nothing your former knowledge of my
character and disposition? Am I a man likely to have committed such a
deed?--to have invented such a tale to excuse it, if I had? I swear to
you, Edmund, by all that is most sacred, _I am innocent_--I will swear
it to the latest moment of my existence.'

"Moved by these words, by the remembrance of all my former friendship
for him--permit me to say, by the remembrance of years which I had so
spent as to impress him with a firm opinion of my virtue and veracity,
the generous youth paused awhile, and at length said--

"Well then, my Lord, since in this contrariety of assertion and evidence
it is impossible that I should know what to believe, I will for the
present, at least, act as if I thought you innocent. Seek this De
Sylva--seek him if you will throughout the world. I will breathe no
word, hint no suspicion, that may impede you in the search. Should you
be able to bring his confession in evidence of your integrity, I will
then entreat your pardon for my disbelief. If, on the contrary, any new
appearances of guilt arise against you--should any new discoveries
inimical to your innocence be made, I shall still know how to reach you.

"Here let us part! As soon as my weak state will permit, I leave this
fatal, this detested roof, and will join my grandfather at Madrid: from
his letters I learn what you have led him to believe on this shocking
subject. If, indeed, your tale be true, I ought most thankfully to
acknowledge the lenient tenderness with which you have treated my poor
sister's reputation.--But oh! could she, could she be so guilty?----At
all events, it is well the Duke should credit your statement. At his
age, the doubts which shake me thus would kill him!--Let us meet no more
at present--Should De Sylva be found, write to me: write in English, and
the people about me will not understand your letter. All farther search
into this matter I must postpone till the commencement of my majority
shall leave me my own master; then I must once more visit England, such
is my father's will, to take possession of my estates in that country,
and to receive the accounts from you. Then, my Lord, we will finally
consider all the proofs which shall then have been obtained of your
innocence or guilt; and I shall then either bewail the faults of
Rosolia, or revenge her death, either by my sword or the hand of the
law, as I may think most proper. I shall then be a man, and more able,
both by improved judgment and bodily strength, to assert my own
convictions. Most earnestly do I wish, long ere that period arrives,
your character may be cleared: yet, ah! how can I wish it, if by that
acquittal my poor Rosolia must be proved so guilty!'

"In a few days after this conversation, Edmund, under the care of a
person in whom I could confide, set out for Madrid; and I soon after
discharging all my servants, except Mrs. Bayfield and my valet, whom I
sent to England, left also this fatal spot. I hired a mule, and alone
passed through the Sierra into La Mancha; and at Civedad I engaged a
servant, not choosing to take one with me who had known any thing of the
late painful transactions. On mules we proceeded, making every inquiry
for De Sylva. Not even my servant knew my real name and rank; as I
thought by concealing these I might have a better chance of finding the
villain I sought: but still my search was vain. From Toledo, where I
rested a short time, I wrote to some of the officers of De Sylva's
regiment at Seville, to know if he had returned thither, though it
appeared most improbable he should have done so: but I was desirous of
trying every chance by which he might be discovered. In answer, I learnt
De Sylva had obtained leave of absence about two months before; but
though it had been some time expired, he was not yet returned: so that
the charge of desertion was now added to those others, which I doubted
not induced him to keep himself concealed. I travelled through Spain,
avoiding Madrid, where I knew my friend and correspondent, the Marquis
of Northington, who was resident there in a diplomatic capacity, would
make every search for De Sylva; and passing the Pyrenees, entered the
frontier of France, though with great risk and hazard, had I been known
to be English; but I passed everywhere for a Spaniard, speaking the
language as a native, having from my childhood been accustomed to speak
it with Rosolia and Edmund; and I fancied in those wild mountains I
might meet with De Sylva, who was likely to assort with the desperate
characters with which they at that time abounded. But vain was my
search, and at length I returned to England; and thinking that in
London, perhaps, I might find this wretch connected with gamesters, I
sought him at every house where such persons are likely to be found; but
still, still the search was fruitless.

"I then came hither for awhile, to rest my wearied spirits. Here,
vanquished by the constant harassings I had so long undergone, I fell
into a severe fit of illness, through which my good Bayfield nursed me
with the tenderest care; and as she alone knew all the griefs which
oppressed me, I could without restraint give vent to my sorrows in her
presence.

"Immediately after my recovery I had a letter from my friend Lord
Northington, who had at my request, by himself and his agents, made
every possible inquiry for De Sylva. He informed me that a person of
suspicious character had lately been arrested, and stood charged with
various crimes; and amongst the rest, of desertion; that from my
description of him, he fancied this man to be De Sylva. I instantly
wrote to Edmund, that I hoped the object of my long search was found;
that I should go to Spain immediately, and would see him as soon as any
thing was ascertained: but alas! after all my trouble and fatigue this
man proved to be totally unlike De Sylva, and in no way connected with
him.

"Mortified and disappointed, I yet went to Seville, where Edmund then
was. The Duke de Castel Nuovo had been dead a few months, and his
grandson, under the care of Mr. O'Brien, and some other ecclesiastics,
appointed by the Duke's will to be the guardians of his person and his
Spanish estates during his minority. It was not without difficulty that
I obtained a private conference with him; for these Catholics were
jealous of my supposed influence over his mind.

"I found him greatly altered in person, and evidently a prey to gloomy
and anxious thoughts, which the life he led amongst persons of severe
and superstitious habits did not tend to dissipate. His prejudices I
still found unconquerable, and that he was determined on coming to
England, should I be unable clearly to substantiate my innocence, either
to avenge his sister's death by the sword, or to impeach me as her
murderer--a dreadful alternative, and one from which I knew not how to
free myself: for to find De Sylva seemed impossible, and if found, I
knew not how to bring him to confession; and even of his having been at
my villa, near the Sierra Morena, I had no witness but Mrs. Bayfield,
whose evidence in my favour might, and most probably would, be deemed
partial.

"Thus, and with this shocking prospect constantly before me, the time
has passed since the fatal day of Rosolia's death. Anxious for your
peace and safety, I wrote to Edmund, who ought to have been here three
months ago, and entreated him to delay coming hither till this time,
stating my reasons, with which he complied, and arrived in England only
a week since. Hither he was obliged to come, as Mordaunt had all the
papers belonging to his estates in his possession. You know he has been
too ill lately to go from home, and his signature was absolutely
necessary.

"After O'Brien and Mordaunt went into the library last night, I again
endeavoured to convince Edmund of my innocence; and although I think now
his judgment is matured, and his passions have had time to cool, he is
more inclined to believe me, and to let the matter rest where it is, I
could by no means get him explicitly to acquit me; and this house
reviving the memory of his sister, and all the past events so forcibly,
no doubt was the cause of his nocturnal wandering.

"What will be the event of all this I know not; but if I find him still
inexorable in a conference I mean this day to hold with him, I think
appearances are so much against me, I must at least for a time withdraw
with you and our boy to some safe retreat.

"I have wearied you, my Ellen, and am myself weary with speaking so
long, on such an agitating subject: but tell me, my love, oh! tell me,
that you at least think me guiltless of this direful act!"

"Guiltless!" cried Ellen (whose many tender exclamations and agitated
interruptions had given frequent proof of the interest with which she
had heard this melancholy narrative). "Oh, heavens! the evidence of my
own senses would fail to make me think you otherwise. But in this case
all appears to me so clear, so easy to be traced, that I am astonished
the generous youth you have described can hesitate in his belief a
moment.--Ah! my dear St. Aubyn, let _me_ speak to him; let me tell him
of your virtues, of your gentle nature, of your tender and affectionate
disposition. Surely he will hear me: surely he must yield to the
conviction these must give, that you were not, could not have been
guilty of a deed so horrid!"

"Yes, my dearest, my beloved Ellen," replied St. Aubyn, "it shall be so.
Your soft, your persuasive words and looks will, I am sure, impress him
with conviction that the man you love cannot be a villain.

"Yet, Ellen, do not meanly compromise my honour or your own dignity;
argue, and even, if you can, persuade him to believe me innocent: but if
in this you fail, do not sue to him. I could not accept of life and
honour merely from his _forbearance_; yet for your sake, and that of our
child, I will in some measure set my proud spirit aside, and yield to
terms I would otherwise disdain."

Here they parted, and Ellen retired to her dressing-room, to refresh her
wearied spirits, to kiss and weep over her infant, and to offer up a
fervent prayer for every grace of speech, which might subdue and
convince the prejudiced but generous Edmund.



CHAP. IV.

      We do not know
    How he may soften at the sight o' the child.
    The silence often of pure innocence
    Persuades when speaking fails.

    WINTER'S TALE.


With an air how different from the usual cheerful greetings of the
morning at St. Aubyn Castle, did the party now there assemble in the
breakfast-room.

The Earl and Countess, wearied with the alarm of the night and the late
agitating conversation, scarcely could assume spirits to smile upon
their guests and give them that hospitable reception which every one
generally felt assured of from them. Lady Juliana, stiff and severe of
countenance, scarcely deigned a bow to the salutations of Mr. O'Brien;
and the pale melancholy Edmund, who, constraining his feelings, advanced
towards Lady St. Aubyn, and attempted an apology for what had passed the
evening before, for of his nocturnal wanderings, and her consequent
alarm, he had not the least idea: from St. Aubyn he appeared to shrink
with less aversion than usual, but when seated at the breakfast-table,
his eyes and whole attention seemed fixed on Ellen, who, pale and
mournful as were her looks, yet spoke with such gentle sweetness, as
appeared instantly to attract him, while the soft and pensive character
her beauty had assumed was precisely formed to sooth and tranquillize
the too vehement emotions of this deeply feeling young man. Her power,
indeed, over the heart, of which all who saw her were sensible, arose
from the united charms of voice, person, and demeanor, all of which were
so sweetly harmonized with each other as to form one charming and
consistent whole, and that, so regulated by the most perfect purity of
manners, the most refined delicacy of sentiment, and the most
affectionate tenderness of heart, as ensured not only the admiration,
but the respect and love of all who knew her; yet more, of all she
sought to win or soften. No wonder then if the young and generous heart
of Edmund leaned towards her, and felt before the breakfast hour was
over that for worlds he could not have pained or wronged her.

Mr. Mordaunt had fixed one o'clock at noon to finish the settlement of
all legal concerns between Lord St. Aubyn and Lord De Montfort, the weak
state of his health not permitting him to come earlier to the Castle. As
soon as breakfast was over, therefore, St. Aubyn invited his guests to
walk or ride round the grounds. O'Brien gladly consented, and Laura said
she should like to ride with them; but Edmund coldly refused, saying if
he went out at all, he should merely stroll by himself a short distance,
as he felt languid and unwell. "To you then, my Ellen," said St. Aubyn,
"I recommend our noble guest. I need not I am sure request you to pay
him every attention; if possible, prevail on him to stay and dine with
us: he talks of going the instant his business is completed."

"I hope, my Lord," said Ellen to De Montfort, "you will not do so. The
evenings now close in abruptly, and it will be late before you reach the
end of the first stage from hence."

He bowed in silence.

The gentlemen and Miss Cecil went to prepare for their ride; and Ellen,
ringing the bell, desired Jane to bring her netting-box thither, for she
feared if she went as usual to the nursery, Edmund might escape her, and
no other opportunity offer for the conference on which her heart was
set.

Lady Juliana, as usual, went to her own room, where she always chose to
spend two or three hours of her morning alone.

Edmund had, by the time Ellen was seated at her work, thrown himself in
a meditating attitude on a sofa, and was apparently lost in a reverie;
yet his eyes were frequently fixed on her, and his countenance seemed to
soften as he gazed upon her. She soon saw the little party ride into the
park, and then feeling herself secure from interruption, she considered
how best to begin her intended conversation:--her heart fluttered, and
her fingers entangled her work so completely, that it was impossible to
proceed with it. Painful, indeed, was her situation; for to converse on
topics so deeply interesting with a young man so very lately an entire
stranger was indeed a severe task for the gentle, the timid Ellen.
Rousing her spirits, however, for she felt that time fled swiftly, she
with a tremulous voice said,

"My Lord, I fear you will think I take too great a liberty with one so
lately a stranger, if I venture to enter on a subject of the most
delicate nature, indeed; but one to me so deeply interesting, I cannot
consent to let this opportunity pass, since it may be the last I shall
ever have of speaking to your Lordship without witnesses."

From the moment she began to speak, De Montfort started from his
reverie, and fixed on her an earnest attention, which had, however, so
much softness in it, as emboldened her to proceed in a voice somewhat
firmer and more assured.

"You may believe, my Lord," she said, "that Lord St. Aubyn has not
withheld from me the real cause of the painful scene I last night
witnessed, and a decree of agitation in you, not to be accounted for,
but by a recital which out of tenderness he till this morning never
ventured to make to me."

"Has he then," said Edmund (in that low, solemn, impressive tone which
so deeply interested his hearers) "has he then ventured to reveal to you
that horrid event, that deed of blood, the guilt of which he has never
been able to throw from him?"

"He has, my Lord, explained to me the meaning of many painful hints; of
much uneasiness which I have perceived in him from the first of our
acquaintance: but ah! generous, though misled, Lord de Montfort, can you
really believe him guilty? Can you doubt the innocence of a man whose
life of virtue, whose tender affectionate nature, surely point him out
as of all men the least likely to have committed an action so horrid!
Surely he cannot have fully and clearly explained to you all the
circumstances which preceded this sad event. May I, without too much
wounding your feelings, venture to recapitulate what he has told me.
Surely a story so clear, so consistent, must at once exonerate him from
having had any part in that guilty, that horrid deed."

He bowed assent, and Ellen as succinctly, but as clearly as possible,
brought into one point of view, all the circumstances which were
favourable to St. Aubyn, yet veiling with the most touching delicacy and
consideration those which bore hardest on the fame of Rosolia; affecting
to believe that the wretch De Sylva (whom she asserted St. Aubyn and
Mrs. Bayfield had certainly seen at her window the night before) had
come without her knowledge, and that the same man, meeting her in the
lonely hermitage, had committed the shocking deed for the sake of the
valuables she wore.

It seemed as if Edmund had chiefly resisted the evidences in St. Aubyn's
favour, lest by yielding to them, he must have pronounced his sister
guilty: whether this being now less pressed upon him, or that Ellen
herself, fully convinced of St. Aubyn's innocence, and perhaps less
impassioned than he had been when stating the same story, had placed
circumstances more clearly before him, he evidently gave greater
credence to the tale than he had ever before done. Her sweetness of
voice and manner, and the graceful tenderness with which she spoke of
St. Aubyn's virtues; or his honourable and disinterested conduct to her,
both before and since their marriage, and of the perfect love which
bound them to each other, and wrapt her life in his; tears of tenderness
and blushes of indignation marked the varying sensations which filled
her bosom at the bare idea of his being suspected of such a crime, and
animated her beauty with new graces, appeared to impress him deeply with
sentiments of admiration and esteem. When she paused, he sighed and
said:--

"Is it in nature to resist such a pleader, or to believe the man so
loved by one so pure and spotless, can be himself capable of the
blackest crimes? No, Lady St. Aubyn, were your natures so dissimilar it
would be impossible that you could so love, so confide in him."

At that instant a soft plaintive voice was heard at the opening door,
the voice of an infant. Edmund started, for he had forgotten Lady St.
Aubyn had recently become a mother, and a painful recollection pressed
on his heart of the infant so dearly loved, so deeply lamented, the
child of his idolized Rosolia!

The nurse now appeared with the babe in her arms, for wondering at her
Lady's usually lengthened absence from the nursery, she came to request
some directions concerning the child: supposing all the gentlemen were
gone out together, when she saw Lord de Montfort she would have
retreated but Ellen advancing, took the infant in her arms and said:

"Give him to me, nurse; I will but shew him to Lord de Montfort, and
bring him to the nursery myself:" then unfolding his mantle, she pressed
him to her tender bosom: and when the nurse was gone, with light
graceful steps advancing towards Edmund, (who rose from his seat to meet
her) she said:

"See here, my Lord, a still more powerful pleader; one pure and spotless
indeed, whose opening prospects must be clouded, whose innocent name
must be blasted, if you persist in your intentions, if you seek his
father's destruction. Look at this babe, and tell me if your gentle
nature can doom him to such cruel misfortunes as your denunciation of
his father must bring upon his guiltless head."

Edmund, the noble Edmund, stooped, and gazing on the child, was not
ashamed to shed tears of tenderness and compassion on his sweet face.
The lovely creature opened its eyes, and with the same soft look of
confiding innocence which marked his mother's features, stretched out
his little hands and smiled.

"Oh! this is too much! indeed too much!" exclaimed De Montfort. "I must
not be a man to see this sweet, this lovely infant, and you, angelic
woman, and dare to breathe one injurious wish against that man on whom
the happiness of both depends! From henceforth I dismiss for ever all my
revengeful, perhaps my ill-founded schemes: never shall word or look of
mine attempt to injure the happy, the enviable St. Aubyn. Surely Heaven
would not have favoured him with felicity so rare, had a deed so cruel
as that of which I suspected him stained his soul! I will try to think,
to believe so. Assure yourself, at least, loveliest of women, that from
me he has nothing more to fear; and may Heaven's choicest blessings be
showered on you, and on this sweet, this lovely infant!"

He bent one knee to the ground, and, with reverential awe, kissed
Ellen's hand, lifting his expressive eyes towards that Heaven he was
invoking in her favour: then rising, he took the babe from her arms,
kissed its hands, its cheeks, its lips, and returning it to its mother,
with hasty and agitated steps quitted the apartment: leaving her
impressed with feelings of joy, gratitude, and the tenderest esteem for
this noble, though somewhat eccentric being.

Folding her babe to her fond maternal heart, which seemed to feel even
increased affection for it from the late trying scenes, she passed with
it to the nursery, where Laura found her a few minutes after, and
announced the return of the gentlemen from their ride.

"Where is St. Aubyn?" said Ellen, with a countenance where tears and
smiles contended: "I must see him immediately."

"It is near the time appointed by Mr. Mordaunt to conclude Lord de
Montfort's business," said Laura, "and I believe he is gone to his
study: but what is the matter, Ellen, you look agitated yet joyful? I
never saw you more radiant in beauty; something I am sure has happened
to light up your face in this manner."

Ellen smiled, and said, "Oh, flatterer! but I cannot stay to tell you
now; only I hope I have been fortunate enough to adjust a difference of
long standing between Lord de Montfort and St. Aubyn, and I am impatient
to tell my Lord the result of my morning's conversation with the
former--here, take the babe, Laura, and keep him if you will till I come
again, unless Lady Juliana comes, as usual, and snatches him away." She
then hastened to St. Aubyn, whom she found alone, and had just time to
tell him the result of the conference she had held with Edmund, but not
the particulars, before Mr. Mordaunt and the other gentlemen assembled.

As De Montfort entered the study, Lady St. Aubyn was quitting it, but he
stopped her one moment, and said in a low voice, "Stay, madam, and
witness your power over me." Then advancing, he held out his hand to St.
Aubyn, and said to him in Italian, which he knew O'Brien did not
understand, "Be all our animosity banished for ever." Yet so strong had
been, and perhaps still were his prejudices, that the hand he offered
trembled, and he turned pale, when St. Aubyn took it.

"I never felt any, Edmund," said he. "I made large allowances for you,
and felt towards you a brother's love: my friendship and best offices
are your's at all times."

He then apologized to the gentlemen present for speaking a strange
language, and accounted for this little scene, by saying, that an
unhappy disagreement which had taken place long ago between himself and
Lord de Montfort was now fortunately adjusted.

Ellen just staid long enough to congratulate St. Aubyn in a low voice on
this happy termination of an affair which cost him so much uneasiness,
and turning to Edmund, she said, "You dine with us, my Lord:" he bowed
in silent acquiescence, and she retired, happiest at that moment of the
happy.

Lord de Montfort and Mr. O'Brien remained that day at the Castle, and
the former, though still at times sunk in reverie, yet was composed; and
sometimes almost cheerful. A weight seemed removed from his mind, and
though his manner to St. Aubyn was still constrained and distant, there
were moments when he appeared with difficulty to prevent himself from
appearing friendly and cordial.

Ellen saw, that were they often together, Edmund's long-rooted and
cherished prejudices would insensibly wear away; and on that account
regretted that he would not be prevailed on to stay longer than till the
next morning.

That evening, Laura Cecil, who had been quite pleased to see De Montfort
resuming in some degree the manners which in his boyhood made him so
agreeable, returned to Rose Hill, where Sir Edward Leicester was soon
expected, to whom, it was supposed, she would be married before
Christmas.

Lord St. Aubyn willingly consented that Ellen should inform his faithful
Bayfield of her knowledge of their transactions in Spain, and the happy
reconciliation between her Lord and Lord de Montfort; and Bayfield, who
almost idolized Ellen before, now considering her as the cause of an
event so desirable, felt her love and veneration redoubled.

In the course of the evening, Lord St. Aubyn hinted to Mr. O'Brien, that
some of his family had been disturbed by Lord de Montfort's having left
his room while sleeping, and Mr. O'Brien said, that after any great
emotion, his pupil sometimes did so, but that it rarely happened,
frequently not for months together; in reality, no farther disturbance
took place, and the two gentlemen departed the next morning, leaving the
inhabitants of the Castle with very different sensations from those they
had felt at their first arrival.



CHAP. V.

    My noble gossips, you have been too liberal;
    I thank you for it--so shall this _child_,
    When _he_ has so much English.

    HENRY VIII.


Lady St. Aubyn had received so little pleasure from visiting London the
preceding winter, that she earnestly requested not to remove from the
Castle till after Christmas, when Laura entreated her to spend a month
or six weeks there after her marriage, and wished, as the Countess had
not yet been presented, that ceremony might take place when she was
herself introduced: Lord and Lady Delamore were also expected to be in
London at that time, and Ellen promised herself great pleasure from
becoming acquainted with her. It was therefore determined, that she
should meet Sir Edward, and Laura (who would then be Lady Leicester), in
town the beginning of February, and remain quietly in the country till
that time, where she would have leisure to fulfil those maternal duties
she had voluntarily taken upon herself, and from the due exercise of
which her sweet child grew, and improved every day.

Before they left the Castle, the young heir was christened with all due
splendor. Sir William Cecil and Sir Edward Leicester, Lady Juliana and
Miss Cecil, were sponsors. The christening suit of fine Brussels lace
for the infant, over white satin, and a similar dress for the fair
mother, were the gift of Lady Juliana; the other sponsors were also very
liberal in their presents to their godson.

The hilarity attending this ceremony was not confined within the walls
of the Castle, where, however, all the genteeler part of the
neighbourhood were elegantly entertained, while all the poorer sort were
most hospitably regaled under some temporary buildings and marquees
erected for the purpose in the park, where immense fires dispelled the
coldness of winter, at the same time that they served to dress the
provisions intended to regale the crowd assembled round them. Each
family was also liberally supplied with bread, meat, clothing, and
money, according to its numbers and their respective wants; and as Lady
St. Aubyn and Miss Cecil, attended by Bayfield and Jane, did not
themselves disdain to visit the cottages, and see what was really
requisite for the comfort of their inhabitants, every thing was ordered
with intelligence and regularity, and imposition almost totally
prevented.

Mrs. Neville, the poor officer's widow mentioned before, had for some
time been settled as manager of the Schools of Industry, and other
useful institutions, which Lady St. Aubyn had set on foot during the
summer: her eldest daughter was gone to "that bourne from which no
traveller returns;" but the others, healthy and happy, were in training
for such situations as they seemed calculated to fill. Mrs. Neville was
also very useful in distributing the gifts to the poor, and the
preparations for their entertainment.

A grand display of fireworks finished the amusements of the evening, for
St. Aubyn observed that was the only species of mere entertainment which
all ranks and ages could partake of; and in the present instance, he
wished not only to benefit, but to gratify all his neighbours.

Miss Alton and Mrs. Dawkins were amongst the company received at the
Castle, and so delighted were they with the young heir, so charmed with
the splendour and elegance of the repast, that, contrary to usual
custom, no lamentations or tender sympathetic sighs disturbed the gaiety
of the day.

Soon after this grand fête, the whole family set out for London; and
Lady St. Aubyn, not satisfied with any superintendent of her nursery but
Mrs. Bayfield, begged she might go with them, and be removed entirely
from the more fatiguing post she had hitherto filled.

Jane, now called Mrs. Williamson, having been for some time under Mrs.
Bayfield's direction, was placed in her vacant department, and another,
somewhat more fashionable, lady's woman engaged to attend the Countess.

In London they met the new married pair, and the bride's fair sister,
Lady Delamore, whose extraordinary beauty excited Ellen's admiration,
while her likeness to the sweet departed Juliet involuntarily claimed
her affection.

With such very agreeable friends, and under the respectable protection
of Lady Juliana, Lady St. Aubyn found London a very different scene from
what it had appeared to her the year before: she now possessed also a
greater degree of confidence in herself, and having no longer any thing
to fear, the gloomy hints of St. Aubyn, and her consequent dread, being
for ever explained and removed, she felt a more cheerful flow of
spirits, and enjoyed the amusements which were so amply in her power:
yet still those spirits were softened by the most retiring delicacy; and
those amusements, partaken with moderation and decorum. Still her high
character stood unblemished, and even elevated in the public opinion;
and the splendour of her beauty, which every one thought but now come to
its full perfection, attracted none but _respectful_ admirers.

The St. Aubyns frequently saw Lord de Montfort, who had purchased a
house in town, and was living in very high style, though still under the
direction of Mr. O'Brien, but evidently choosing to be more his own
master than he had been in Spain, to which country he seemed at present
to have no thoughts of returning; his grandfather's will having left him
free to choose his own residence, though he was under a necessity of
visiting Spain at least once in two years.

To Lord St. Aubyn he was polite, though distant: strangers could not
have perceived any thing in his manner indicative of dislike or
resentment; but those who knew what had passed, could at times discover
a particular cast of his eye, a certain tone in speaking to the Earl,
which marked a _recollection_, at least, of former enmity, and were by
St. Aubyn hardly to be endured.

To Ellen he at all times shewed an attention so devoted, and his
expressive eyes displayed so much admiration, that some of those who
witnessed them began to fancy they had discovered the cause of that
gloom which still overshadowed him, and had, from the time of his first
arrival, excited the remarks of every one, and made him the object of
the insipid jests and witless railleries of those who could conceive no
cause but _love_ for the dejection of a young man who could scarcely
count the thousands which swelled his rent-roll.

    Love! ill-star'd passion! doom'd vain scorn to bear,
    To meet the busy mocker's idle jest;
    Nor then allow'd its misery to declare;
    Nor then indulge the woe but half supprest.

For of the pure, though enthusiastic attachment he felt for Ellen, such
minds could form no idea.

One evening, at the play, whither Lady St. Aubyn went with a large
party, amongst whom were Lady Meredith and several gentlemen in her
train, they saw in the box opposite to theirs Lord de Montfort leaning
against the side of it, in his usual state of gloomy apathy--his eyes
half closed, his fine hair disordered, and his whole person expressing a
sort of desolation, which waked emotions of pity in Ellen's gentle
heart: she could not see him without compassion, he appeared so
completely an insulated being, and even in the very morning of life, so
totally without any kind connection or affectionate friend to soothe his
melancholy--that melancholy, of which she so well knew the original
cause, that, as she looked towards him, she could not forbear a sigh;
and the sorrow she really felt appeared in her expressive countenance.

Lady Meredith, who had been attentively watching her with a degree of
malice, of which Ellen had not supposed her capable, now gently touched
Lady St. Aubyn with her fan, and said--

"Upon my word, my dear, I could in pity to the love-sick woe-begone De
Montfort have almost wished he could have seen that soft look, and heard
that tender sigh: no doubt it would have gone a great way towards
rendering him a more cheering object, and that I am sure we should all
have rejoiced in, for at present he really casts a gloom over all our
amusements."

"I do not understand you," said Ellen, with surprize.

"Indeed!" replied Lady Meredith: "I hardly supposed you would have
carried affectation so far. Here, Hamilton," added she, laughing and
turning to the gentleman next her, "Lady St. Aubyn cannot imagine why
her pity and a very kind look should have any effect on Lord de
Montfort."

"Pity and a gentle look from so much beauty," replied Sir James
Hamilton, with affected gravity, "must certainly have a most powerful
effect on the heart of any man--assuredly still more on that of one so
devoted as De Montfort's appears to be."

"I know not, Sir," said Ellen, with modest grace, yet with spirit, "if I
am to consider this as a specimen of that fashionable sort of wit which
you call quizzing or hoaxing. Are not these the _elegant_ terms of the
day? But I am willing to think it no more, as I am convinced you cannot
seriously lose sight of the respect you owe me as a married woman, so
far as to imagine Lord de Montfort can feel, or I permit, a greater
degree of attachment than his long connection with Lord St. Aubyn may
well account for."

Then turning to St. Aubyn, she said in a gay tone--

"Help me, my Lord, to convince Lady Meredith that Lord de Montfort has
really not fallen violently in love with me: how far he may entertain
such a sentiment for her, I will not pretend to say."

St. Aubyn laughed, and said--

"For his own sake, Ellen, I hope he has not been so improvident as to
dispose of his heart in your favour; though I should be happy to hear he
had selected any fair one at liberty to reward his passion."

This well-timed appeal to her husband, and the unembarrassed manner with
which both had spoken, effectually silenced those who hoped to have
extracted much amusement from the confusion of the timid and delicate
Ellen.

Presently afterwards, on meeting her eyes, De Montfort's seemed lighted
up with pleasure, and quitting his box, he came to that where she sat.
St. Aubyn seeing a little smile still playing on the countenances of
Lady Meredith and some of her gay friends, determined to shew his
perfect confidence in his wife, turned round to him, and said--

"De Montfort, how are you? I am quite glad you found us out, for nothing
is more stupid than being at the play without a party. We have plenty of
room: go and sit between Lady Meredith and Lady St. Aubyn; I am sure I
shall make you happy by placing you there, they are both such
favourites: we have just been disputing which of them you preferred."

"You did me great honour," replied Edmund, "in speaking of me at all."

"St. Aubyn only jests," said Ellen: "we were not, I assure you, debating
on the subject."

"No, indeed," replied Lady Meredith, laughing, "that question may be
easily settled: we were all unanimously agreed, I assure you, my Lord."

Edmund, not exactly liking the turn of her countenance, was going to
reply with some warmth, and probably might, with that chivalric
gallantry which marked his character, have openly avowed, what he
undoubtedly thought, that Ellen was the first and most admirable of
women, if she had not stopt him by saying--

"Oh, pray Lord De Montfort, let Lady Meredith enjoy the diversion she is
seeking: she has been in a teasing humour the whole evening."

"Pray, Lady Meredith," said Lady Juliana, with a grave air, "let us have
no more of this rattle: Lady St. Aubyn is not fashionable enough to wish
to be the _favourite_ of any man but her husband."

"Oh, for heaven's sake!" cried Lady Meredith, "do not let us make a
serious business of it. Be assured, my dear Lady St. Aubyn, I had no
intention of getting you a grave lecture: though really," she added, in
a low tone, "I was quite in hopes you were going to be a little like
other people, and not be kept in awe any longer by that starched
specimen of old maidenism. You cannot think, my dear, how much a little
flirting would improve your beauty: then it gives an air of ease and
fashion, which, _entre nous_, is the only thing you want to make you
quite enchanting."

Ellen only smiled at this rattle, but with an air so little encouraging,
she soon put an end to it; yet, to one less fixed in principle, Lady
Meredith would have been a dangerous companion; and certain it is, more
women are ruined by listening to precepts of this nature, half in
earnest, half in jest, accompanied by a sort of _persiflage_ which few
can withstand, than even by the wiles of men: against these a woman of
virtue is on her guard; but she listens without fear to a female older
than herself, and whom she thinks better versed in the ways of the
world, till insensibly she adopts the same sentiments, and acquires that
hateful worldly tone which affects to laugh at every thing serious and
praiseworthy.

Ellen, however, was not so easily misled: her natural penetration
detected the fallacy; and all the shafts of Lady Meredith's ridicule
fell, by her, unheeded.

On the way home, Lady Juliana inveighed bitterly against the flirting
manners and ill-judged raillery of Lady Meredith, who, she said, instead
of improving as she grew older, was every year worse and worse, and was
enough to spoil the conduct of a whole nation of women.

"Pray, my dear," said she, "don't you be led by her nonsense: I hope she
will not persuade you to follow her example. Indeed, nephew, I wondered
at you for placing that odd, wild-looking young De Montfort next my
niece: he does not please me at all."

In short, the old lady was so thoroughly out of humour, that they were
very glad to set her down at her own house.

Two or three days after this, Lord de Montfort took leave of the St.
Aubyns, before he left London, on his way with a party of young men to
see Oxford and Cambridge, and afterwards to go to the Lakes, not meaning
to be again in London till September. He carried with him the most
exalted opinion of Lady St. Aubyn, but he thought of her rather as an
angel than a woman, and was devoted to her with a purity of attachment
inconceivable by the worldly-minded.



CHAP. VI.

    She sees once more those lovely plains expand,
    Where the first flow'ret lured her infant hand.
    No where she thinks the sun so mildly gleams,
    As on the banks where first she drank its beams:
    So green no other mead, so smiles no other land!
    Thou little spot, where first I suck'd the light,
    Thou witness of my earliest smile and tear--
    Loved haunt!

    SOTHEBY'S OBERON.


Nothing more of any moment occurred during the stay of Lord and Lady St.
Aubyn in London, for De Montfort's departure, and the perfect attachment
which subsisted between the noble pair, silenced those tongues, and
stopped those remarks, which Edmund's too obvious admiration had
prepared to annoy Lady St. Aubyn.

They left London early in April, and spent the month of May at St.
Aubyn's, being old-fashioned and _tasteless_ enough not to find any
pleasure in broiling through the hot months in the metropolis, and
leaving the

    "Opening lawns, deep glooms, and airy summits,"

of their own domain untenanted in the most attractive season of the
year.

From St. Aubyn's Castle, the long talked of journey into Wales was to
commence. Ellen longed once more to revisit the haunts of her infancy,
and to see her father and her early friends; and St. Aubyn willingly
consented to gratify her.

The child was to travel with them, attended by the faithful Bayfield and
his nurses: they waited till the end of May, knowing that the bad roads
of North Wales would be hardly passable at an earlier period.

They went from St. Aubyn's to Shrewsbury, and from thence to Carnarvon,
stopping on the way, as in their former journey, to see all that was
worthy of observation; and as this route was entirely different from
that they had before taken, many new objects presented themselves to
their notice. Amongst other picturesque scenes, they passed the woody
banks of the Dee, whence they obtained a striking view of the beautiful
and romantic town of Llangollen, with its church, and elegant bridge,
embosomed in trees.

At Llangollen they rested, and though it has in itself nothing
particularly interesting, yet its environs afford much sublime and
pleasing scenery: amongst these the Vale of Crucis is one of the most
lovely secluded situations that fancy can portray; it is adorned by the
fine remains of Valle Crucis Abbey, and its back-ground, formed by a
lofty mountain, on whose summit stands the venerable ruin of Castle
Dinas Bran.

After seeing all that was deserving observation in this charming spot,
they proceeded through a fine romantic country to Carnarvon, and from
thence to Llanwyllan.

The latter part of the roads were intolerably bad, and the English
servants, who had never seen any thing like them, were in momentary
expectation of having their necks broken; indeed, Lord Mordaunt's nurses
walked several miles, fearing lest the baby should be injured; and in
truth, even Ellen, though fearless for herself, felt a little uneasy for
the infant.

All these perils and dangers, however, at length happily past, and
Ellen's heart beat with ecstacy when she saw the white chimnies of
Llanwyllan Farm peeping above the ancient oaks around it. The carriages
stopt before the house, and in an instant Ellen was folded in the arms
of her father: her fair face pressed tenderly to the rough cheek of the
good old man, while the mingled drops of filial love and parental
affection fell in showers from their eyes: repeatedly Powis clasped his
lovely daughter to his heart, and felt enraptured, that though "so great
a lady, his dear Ellen had not forgotten him:" at length he was at
leisure to see and speak to his noble son-in-law, and the awkward air of
respect he endeavoured to assume was soon changed to one of more cordial
affection by the kind greeting Lord St. Aubyn gave him. In the meantime
Ellen stept into the hall where the nurses and servants were waiting,
and taking the infant from Mrs. Bayfield, returned with him into the
parlour, and with delighted looks, placed him in her father's arms.

Oh, moment of exquisite bliss! moment which might have repaid the
sorrows of many years! Can there be in this world an instant of such
pure delight as the daughter feels when she places her first-born on the
bosom of a venerable parent.

    Some feelings are to mortals given
    With less of earth in them than heaven;
    And if there be a human tear
    From passion's dross refined and clear,
    A tear so limpid and so meek
    It would not stain an angel's cheek;
    'Tis that which pious fathers shed
    Upon a duteous daughter's head.

    SCOTT'S LADY OF THE LAKE.

Mrs. Ross's domestic talents had been exerted to the utmost to prepare
Llanwyllan Farm in the best possible manner for its noble guests: she
did not indeed quite understand all the various arrangements which are
absolutely necessary for the tolerable comfort of such a family; but
with the assistance of Dame Grey, who picqued herself on remembering how
things used to be when she lived at 'Squire Davis's, and the ready aid
of the active Joanna, every thing was far beyond Ellen's expectations;
and as she encouraged no fine lady-like airs in her nursery attendants,
nor even in her own woman, none of those vexatious murmurs disturbed her
which servants often have the happy art of contriving where no real
cause for complaint exists; and certainly the furniture for the nursery
was not quite so rich as Lady Juliana had chosen for that at the Castle:
the nurses found that the young Lord slept quite as well, and his cheeks
bloomed quite as freshly beneath the clean white cotton hangings of this
little couch as under the quilted satin cradle at St. Aubyn's.

The whole party was speedily arranged, for there was plenty of room and
abundance of provisions.

The Earl and Countess had brought no more servants than were absolutely
necessary; and Bayfield, highly as she was respected by her noble
employers, was not above directing the management of their table, or any
other domestic office which could make her useful, and though Powis, at
first, thinking her a much greater lady than he had been accustomed to
associate with, was very much disposed to treat her as his equal; she
soon convinced him by her respectful conduct towards her lady's father
that she considered herself as greatly his inferior.

As soon as Ellen had looked round the house, and seen the arrangements
for her child's accommodation settled, she began to be anxious to see
her good friends the Rosses; and finding from her father they talked of
not coming till the next day, she begged him to give her his arm, and
she would walk to the Parsonage: all fatigue, she said, had vanished
from the moment she found herself beneath her father's roof.

"Come, my dear father," said she, "let us all go: the baby shall come
too: the dear good people will be delighted to see us; they will give us
some tea, and we can return here to eat our fruit supper: you know we
never used to eat anything else at night, and I hope the cream is as
good as it used to be when I managed the dairy."

Powis looked with delight on the sweet unaffected creature, who was, as
he expressed himself afterwards to Mrs. Ross, "Not a bit set up by her
high fortune, but just as she used to be when only Ellen Powis."

The infant now "awaking from his rosy nap," and arrayed with the nicest
care, his lovely face shaded by a rich lace border to his cap, and his
fine cambric robe cut to shew his fair bosom and dimpled arms, with his
beautiful mother in a plain white gown and straw hat, attended by St.
Aubyn and Powis, set out for the Parsonage.

On the way, Ellen spoke with the sweetest condescension to all she met,
and many of the villagers who knew she was arrived contrived to throw
themselves in her way.

Mrs. Howel, who used to do her many little services at the market-town,
happened now to cross her path, and profoundly courtesying, would have
passed on, but Ellen, saying--"Excuse me a moment, my dear St. Aubyn,"
turned and ran after her.

"How do you do, Mrs. Howel?" said she, holding out her hand, which the
good woman hardly ventured to touch, again courtesying.

Ellen made kind inquiries for all her family by name; and seeing her old
neighbour's eyes involuntarily wandering towards the child, as if she
anxiously wished, but was ashamed to ask a nearer view of him, she
beckoned the nurse to bring him towards her, and said:--

"Do look at my little boy, Mrs. Howel: is he not a fine fellow?"

"Ah, Madam," said the good woman, "he is the loveliest babe I ever saw,
except your Ladyship, at the same age.--God bless him, and God bless
you, Madam; for you deserve every kind of happiness."

"Thank you, thank you, my good neighbour. Come to the Farm and see us
when it is convenient: at present, my Lord is waiting for me, so
good-bye." And she lightly ran on, leaving the farmer's wife charmed and
delighted by her sweetness and kind attention.

They soon reached the Parsonage, and were received with unaffected joy.

Great indeed, at first, was the bustle of poor Mrs. Ross, who, not
hoping for such an honour, was not drest, nor her parlour, though always
neat, in that high state of preparation it would have been had she
expected them; but she was soon convinced that the string of apologies
she meditated were totally unnecessary, by finding the warm-hearted
Ellen first in her own arms, and leaving them to fly to those of Joanna,
and then with sweet filial reverence bending to the kind parental
embrace of the venerable Ross. St. Aubyn and the good Powis, in the
meantime, stood gazing on her with rapturous emotion, and both thinking
there never was so enchanting a creature. The babe was admired,
caressed, and finally pronounced a prodigy of beauty and early
apprehension, and his sweet good-humoured smiles were uninterrupted even
by one frown, though handed from one to the other with raptures which
would have made an infant of a less amiable disposition cross and
fretful.

"Well, my excellent friend," said St. Aubyn, aside to Ross, "you see
once more your lovely pupil, from whom you parted with so much regret,
not, I hope, injured either in person or mind by her intercourse with
the great world. Oh, my good Sir, how infinitely am I indebted to you
for implanting principles in her youthful bosom which have stood the
test of many trying scenes. You and I must have a great deal of
conversation, and I know you will be charmed to hear how admirably she
conducts herself on all occasions."

"I _am_ charmed," said Ross, while an affectionate tear stood in his
eye, "charmed with all I see and hear of both: indeed, my Lord, that
lovely unaffected creature adorns the rank to which you have raised her:
the choice you made reflects as much honour on your penetration as I
hope it will ensure happiness to your future life; nor could any young
person have better stood the trying test of sudden elevation, of that
admiration which doubtless has surrounded her. Now see how sweetly she
returns to us without one high air, one look of dissatisfaction at the
inferiority of accommodations or manners she must see.

    "Polite as all her life in courts had been,
    Yet good as she the courts had never seen."

"You have, indeed," said St. Aubyn, "most happily characterized her; but
you cannot think half so highly of her as I have reason to do."

By this time the tea was over; and Ellen, wrapping up her boy, sent him
home; but instead of returning with him, she remained at the Parsonage
all the evening, delighted herself, and delighting all around her.

"Well," said Mrs. Ross, after her visitors were departed, "well, I never
saw any thing in my life so strange! Why, I thought to have seen a fine
lady, all dressed in silks and jewels, and looking stiff and
formal-like; and I thought to have said, my Lady Countess, and your
Ladyship--and behold! here she comes in a plain white gown, but little
better than one I scolded her for wearing once--you remember it,
Joanna?--And flies to me, kisses me, and calls me dear mamma, as she
used to do; and if I had been to have died for it, I could not call her
any thing but Ellen, and child, the whole evening almost, except once or
twice I recollected myself, and said my Lady, when we were at the window
together, and she put her dear arms round my neck, and said dear mamma,
I am _your_ Ellen!--and then she is grown such a beauty!--to be sure,
she always was as pretty a creature as could be I thought, but now she
looks somehow so sensible, and so happy; and then her carriage is so
easy, and yet so grand, that if I did not know to the contrary, I should
think she was born a great princess.--And then the sweet baby--with his
little laughing mouth, and pretty eyes!--And my Lord too, to be so
kind--that I once as good as told I wished he would go away from
Llanwyllan: and so I did wish it, for could I ever have thought it would
come to such honour and happiness for Ellen!"

Ross and Joanna listened with smiles to this long harangue, and though
not quite so fluent in their praises, were at least equally charmed and
delighted with herself.

St. Aubyn and his Ellen remained thus beloved and happy at Llanwyllan
for some time, during which Ellen visited with the utmost kindness every
farmhouse of which she had formerly known the inhabitants, and
gladdening every poor cottage not only with her smiles, but with more
substantial marks of her favour and benevolence.

In the course of the first fortnight Ellen learned that there was a
mutual attachment between her friend Joanna and a young clergyman, who
did the duty of a parish not more than three miles from those filled by
the worthy Ross, and learning from that good man that he had no
objection to the match, for that Mr. Griffiths was a man of excellent
character, and well suited to Joanna, both in age and temper, and that
the only possible objection was the narrowness of his income, and there
being no parsonage-house on the living he served, nor any house within
many miles where they could reside, she consulted with her Lord, and the
next opportunity said to Ross:

"My dear Sir, I have a proposal to make to you. It is the mutual request
of my Lord and myself, and you cannot think how much you will oblige us
by complying."

"I know not," said Ross, "what I could refuse to either of you."

"My father," said she, "complains much of the loneliness of his winter
evenings; yet he does not like to remove from Llanwyllan and come to
live near us, as we earnestly wished him to do; but he says our modes of
life are so different from those to which he has been accustomed, and
the journey appears so alarmingly long to him, who has never been fifty
miles from home, that he says he must be contented with the hope of
seeing us here sometimes, and end his life where he began it. But ah, my
dear Sir, his wishes, as well as our's, are, that you and Mrs. Ross
would remove to Llanwyllan Farm, and leave this house for Joanna and
your future son-in-law. You are now, we all think, too much advanced in
life to serve three churches, as you have done for many years: give up
two of them to Mr. Griffiths, with the stipend attached to them: and
surely, surely, my dearest Sir, you will not refuse from Ellen, from
your little pupil, a trifling token of her love to make your life and
dear Mrs. Ross's comfortable, and to enable you to give Joanna to her
lover with a sufficiency to make them easy."

She rose, and putting a pocket-book into his hand, said, "Not one word:
I will not hear one word. For once, your Ellen will be obstinate, and
not listen even to _you_."

She ran out of the room, and seeking Joanna, made her put on her bonnet,
and come with her to dine at the Farm, leaving a gay message with Mrs.
Ross, that she should hope to hear a favourable answer to her request
the next day.

This hint was sufficient to send the good lady to know of Ross what Lady
St. Aubyn meant: she found him overwhelmed with tender gratitude. The
pocket-book contained notes to a large amount, with a slip of paper
containing these words:

     My dear Sir,

     I have adapted the enclosed rather to your very limited wishes
     than to my own sense of what I ought to have done. Pray let
     this little transaction never be mentioned more, unless any
     plan more pleasing to you than that I shall propose when I give
     you this should occur to you. If my request be at all
     unpleasant to you, pray reject it without hesitation.

     Your ever obliged

     ELLEN ST. AUBYN.

Ross now explained to his wife what had passed, and they both agreed no
plan could be devised more desirable for all parties; and that it would
be both rude and ungrateful to refuse a present, which, however, they
sincerely wished had been of less value.

All was soon finally settled to the great joy of Powis, who was
delighted with the idea of his friendly inmates. The young lovers also
were full of grateful joy, and Ellen relinquished the idea she had at
one time entertained of taking Joanna home with her: Ross objected to
it, as he did not wish her to be introduced into scenes of life so
different from those she had been, or ever would be again accustomed to;
and Griffiths did not like the idea of her going to such a distance:
nay, Joanna herself, much as she had wished to see St. Aubyn Castle,
seemed now very well contented to remain for life in the vale of
Llanwyllan.



CHAP. VII.

    The sky it seems would pour down stinking pitch,
    But that the sea, mounting to the welkin's cheek,
    Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffer'd
    With those that I saw suffer! A brave vessel,
    Who had, no doubt, some noble creatures in her,
    Dash'd all to pieces. Oh! the cry did knock
    Against my very heart!--Poor souls, they perish'd!

    SHAKESPEARE'S TEMPEST.


St. Aubyn had related to Ross the conclusion of those circumstances
which he had confided to him before his marriage with Ellen, and though
that venerable man rejoiced that Edmund's vindictive intentions had been
so happily conquered, neither he nor the Earl felt entirely satisfied on
the subject.

Lord De Montfort was certainly an excentric character, and it was
possible his impetuous feelings might yet take another direction,
especially if the bigotted Catholics, by whom he generally was
surrounded, should obtain any intimation of those apparent facts which
militated so much against the character of St. Aubyn, and which only his
own word opposed; and that they might do so, was by no means improbable,
when his occasional night-wanderings were remembered, in which, as he
had done to Ellen, he might hereafter to some other reveal what would
induce them to insist on an explanation.

Ellen, it was true, had so touched him with admiration and tenderness,
that he could not resist her influence, but now removed from any chance
of seeing her again, there was no saying what new turn his ardent
imagination would take.

All these ideas, which St. Aubyn had carefully concealed from his wife,
he communicated to his venerable friend, who could not deny their
rationality. The wishes of both centered in one point, and that was the
discovery of De Sylva; and nothing could be more improbable than that he
should now be found after years had elapsed, in which the agents of St.
Aubyn, and of the Marquis of Northington, had sought him in vain, though
their search had been extended through every great city in Spain,
Portugal, France, Italy, and England: it was, in fact, most likely,
either that he was dead, or had so completely changed his appearance and
name as to be living obscurely, perhaps on one of the very spots where
they had vainly endeavoured to find him.

These wishes and reflections they never discussed except when without
other witnesses, being mutually unwilling to impart any of their
anxieties to Lady St. Aubyn, who, happy in her benevolent plans, in the
society of her father and early friends, in the improving beauty and
health of her lovely boy, and the undeviating and increasing love of St.
Aubyn, seemed not to have a care remaining.

From Charles Ross, about this time, his father received letters,
expressive of the happiness he felt in his present situation, and of
gratitude to Lord St. Aubyn, who had procured it for him, adding, he
hoped to remain on his present station for some months, as they were
constantly taking prizes, and his share already amounting to a
considerable sum of money.

The Earl or Countess never mentioned either to his parents or sister his
mad mistake respecting them during his stay in London, nor the
mischievous consequences of it, unwilling to give them pain by a
knowledge of those unpleasant transactions.

The situation of Llanwyllan was not above a mile from the sea-shore, and
frequently Ellen and Joanna, attended by the nurses and child, walked
thither, Lady St. Aubyn thinking that the fine breeze invigorated and
strengthened both herself and little Constantine; nor had the
indulgences which her unexpected elevation had procured for her rendered
her unequal to a long country ramble, or less pleased to explore the
haunts of her infancy. Frequently St. Aubyn and Mr. Griffiths, who was a
sensible intelligent young man, with the education and manners of a
gentleman, were their escorts: but there was nothing to fear on this
unfrequented shore, for though ships often passed at a distance, there
was not even a fishing town within three miles of their accustomed walk.

About the middle of July, the weather for three or four days became so
excessively hot, as seemed to preclude any exercise, except very late in
the evening: this uncommon degree of warmth was followed by a tremendous
storm of thunder and lightning; and though the weather cleared a little
in the middle of the day, the evening again closed with a renewal of the
tempestuous weather, attended by a violent wind.

While the weather had been tolerable, the Rosses had walked to the Farm
to spend the remainder of the day, and were there when the tempest began
again with added horrors, and indeed not one of the party was totally
without alarm, lest the violence of the wind should injure the ancient
mansion.

One of the men who had been sent to Carnarvon in the morning on some
commission, and whose road lay near the sea, returned about nine
o'clock. The thunder and lightning had by that time abated, but the
violent wind continued, attended by torrents of rain and excessive
darkness. This man said he had seen a large ship near the coast, and
evidently in great danger, from the beach on which she was driving being
rocky and inaccessible, the tide coming in, and the wind blowing from
the sea, which he said was rougher than he had ever seen it, and the
ship laboured so much he feared she must be lost.

This account soon travelled from the servants'-hall to the parlour: the
cheeks of the females were blanched by terror, and Mrs. Ross, clasping
her hands together, exclaimed,

"God preserve my poor Charles!"

"He is far enough from hence, my dear," said the good Ross, "and in all
probability quite out of the way of this tremendous weather."

"Perhaps so," said Mrs. Ross, "but I never hear the wind blow without
thinking of him, and a sailor's life is so uncertain, one never knows
where they are, or what they are exposed to."

While she spoke, they distinctly heard the sound of a gun fired at sea.

"Hark!" said St. Aubyn, "that is a signal gun! and again!
another!--those are guns of distress: can we do nothing for these poor
creatures?"

"Oh! try, pray try," said Ellen: "but without exposing yourselves to
danger, it is, I fear, impossible."

"There will be no danger for us in going down to the shore," said St.
Aubyn. "You and I, my young friend," (speaking to Griffiths) "with the
men servants, and all the assistance we can collect in the village, will
hasten thither: we can at least light some fires on the beach, or make
signals of some kind or other, which may be of service; you, my dear
Sir," (speaking to Powis) "and Mr. Ross, will stay and sooth the fears
of the ladies."

"Oh, but," said Ellen, "do not expose yourselves too much: the weather
is dreadful."

"We will take care of ourselves, my love, depend upon it: there are
plenty of box-coats in the hall; we will wrap ourselves up, and if we
save one life our trouble will be amply repaid."

"God bless you for your goodness," said Mrs. Ross, "and prosper your
undertaking! Oh! these poor sailors have perhaps mothers and sisters
praying for them, as we do for poor Charles." She wept, and Joanna and
Ellen could not restrain their tears.

The gentlemen, attended by all St. Aubyn's male servants, and several
stout workmen belonging to the Farm, now sallied forth with lanterns,
and such torches as could be hastily prepared: their numbers were
considerably augmented by many of the villagers, who, independent of the
rewards St. Aubyn offered, were prompted by humanity and curiosity to
assist.

They soon reached the shore, on which a high tide was violently beating;
and by the flashes of lightning, which, though fainter and less
frequent, still at intervals broke the total darkness of the night, they
soon discerned a ship of considerable size, now very near the shore; her
sails rent in pieces, and scarcely a mast standing, driving towards
them, and firing minute guns as signals of distress. They all saw that
to prevent her being stranded on that rocky and impracticable coast was
totally impossible, and therefore some of the men were dispatched to the
village for ropes and other articles which might be used in saving the
lives of the crew. In the meantime, those remaining on the shore
collected all the rubbish they could find, and lighted two or three
large fires, shouting when the wind lulled a little, to encourage the
sailors, which a minute after was answered by a shout from the men on
board.

In less than an hour after their arrival, the ship was driven on a ledge
of rocks, almost at the foot of the cliff on which St. Aubyn and his
party stood; and they saw some of the crew crowding into two small
boats, and others coming on shore on pieces of timber, or whatever they
could find. At intervals they rose or disappeared, as the waves were
more or less powerful; but in the end, a considerable number, more dead
than alive, were thrown on the land.

Several of the men, cheered by large promises from St. Aubyn, waded as
far as possible into the sea, and assisted some of the crew with ropes
and by other means, so that at last more than fifty men were saved.

To paint the gratitude of these poor creatures, their mingled
exclamations of joy for their escape, and horror at the recollection of
their danger, would be a vain attempt. Some of them appeared to be
foreigners, and two or three wore the dress of Turks. Amid the darkness
and confusion that prevailed, however, it was scarcely possible to
distinguish one person from another. Several of the English sailors (for
the ship had evidently been English, and the foreigners were apparently
prisoners of war), were busily engaged in succouring a man who had come
to shore with scarcely any signs of life, and about whom they appeared
very assiduous.

St. Aubyn's people had brought spirits and other cordials to the
sea-shore, and after administering such present refreshment as their
wants seemed to require, he now put all that were able to walk under the
care of Griffiths, desiring him not to take them to the Farm, fearing
lest the sight should be too affecting to its female inhabitants, but
dispose of them in the best manner he could, amongst the cottages or
barns belonging to the farmhouses; for in the abodes of all, his bounty
and kindness had procured a welcome reception for any whom he chose to
send; he requested Griffiths also just to shew himself at the Farm, to
say they were safe, and then return again. Some of his party he
dispatched for carts, with blankets, &c. to convey to the village such
of the men who were unable to walk.

The storm by this time had nearly subsided, and a late moon began to
struggle through the black clouds which still hung upon the horizon:
pieces of the unfortunate vessel, with seamens' chests and other
articles, were from time to time thrown ashore; several bodies also came
to land, and St. Aubyn found, though at least fifty had been saved,
several lives were unfortunately lost.

St. Aubyn now saw that the young man, about whom the sailors had been so
assiduous, and whom they called Captain, was beginning to revive, and
approached to speak some words of consolation and kindness. One of the
sailors was giving him a glass of wine, while another held a lantern
almost close to him; for the faint light of the moon hardly served to
distinguish objects. But what was the surprize, what the tumultuous
emotions of St. Aubyn, when, as the light fell full upon the
shipwrecked, half-expiring object before him, he retraced the features
of Charles Ross!--of him, for whom, but two hours before, his mother had
expressed so many tender fears, and poured so many fervent prayers,
though not even imagining he shared the actual danger which excited
them.

St. Aubyn started, but with tender caution, lest the surprize should
overpower the unfortunate man, whispered to his servants not to name him
or the place where they were; and approaching still nearer, he took
Charles's cold hand, and drawing his own hat over his face, bade him be
comforted, for all would yet be well.

The poor young man, too languid to do more than glance his eyes over the
person who addressed him, spoke a few words in a faint voice, expressive
of his thanks, and then feebly murmured a request to know on what coast
he and his friends had been thrown.

"On no unfriendly, no inhospitable shore, assure yourself," replied St.
Aubyn. "Whatever property the sea spares will be cautiously protected
for you and your followers. Many chests have been thrown on shore; and
as the weather is becoming calm, when the morning dawns, the boats of
your ship shall go off to the wreck, and every thing of value, if
possible, be saved."

"I am then on English ground?"

"On the coast of Wales."

"Of Wales! Oh, heavens!----What part of Wales?"

"Be not impatient: you shall know all in good time."

"That voice," said Charles--"surely I have heard that voice before."

"I have been a great traveller," replied St. Aubyn: "we may have met
elsewhere."

Charles asked a few more questions, to which St. Aubyn cautiously
replied; and a cart being by this time arrived from the village, Charles
and two or three others were placed in it, under the escort of
Griffiths, to whom the Earl recounted the late interesting discovery,
requesting him to take care that Charles was not too suddenly surprised
with a knowledge of where he was.

Griffiths saw him safely lodged in the best place that could be found
for him; and leaving St. Aubyn's valet to watch by him, and take care
that no one spoke to him till his return, hastened with Lord St. Aubyn
to Powis's, where they found the whole family had been up all night,
anxious beyond expression; and when Ellen saw St. Aubyn dripping wet,
his hat and great coat heavy with the rain and spray of the sea, she
tenderly reproached him for so exposing himself, while Joanna's looks
read the same lecture to Griffiths: but both were so rejoiced at the
good their exertions had effected, that the chiding was little heeded;
and soon, by the assistance of dry clothing, they made a more
comfortable appearance; and after dispatching as many necessaries as
could be collected to the poor mariners, and above all to Charles
(though yet his being so near was kept a profound secret to his parents
and friends), the whole party retired to rest, which indeed the fatigues
of the night rendered extremely necessary to all.



CHAP. VIII.

    The image of a wicked heinous fault
    Lives in his eye: that close aspect of his
    Does shew the mood of a much-troubled heart!

    KING JOHN.


St. Aubyn would not disturb the repose of Ellen that night, or rather
that morning, for the sun had risen before they retired, by mentioning
the discovery of Charles amongst the shipwrecked mariners; but his own
anxiety how best to break the matter to Ross and his wife would not
allow him to sleep late, in spite of the fatigue he had undergone.

As soon as he was drest, he went to the cottage where Charles had been
placed, and found him greatly recovered: he had been greatly exhausted
during the storm, which had lasted longer at sea than at land: he had
laboured with unceasing activity to save the ship, of which he was the
commander, though he had not the rank of captain, and had not left her
till all hope of her escaping was lost: he was also considerably
bruised, for he would not embark in the boats, but had floated to land
on a piece of timber. Rest, however, had in some measure recruited his
strength, and though still languid, he hoped to be able to rise in the
course of the day, and see what could be done to save his property, and
that of his shipmates.

All this St. Aubyn learned from his valet, who sat by the young man, and
prevented any one from approaching who might too suddenly have informed
him his parents were so near.

St. Aubyn, however, now judged it proper this information should reach
him: he went therefore to the little room where Charles lay--it was
darkened as much as possible; and St. Aubyn sat down by his bed-side
without being recognized. He inquired with great kindness for the health
of the invalid, to which Charles replied he was better: "But surely,"
added he, "I have heard that voice before: even amid the horrors of last
night, when it was so generously exerted in comforting me, and directing
others for the comfort of my poor shipmates, it struck me as one deeply
engraved on my memory, though I cannot recollect the name of its owner."

"It is a voice," said St. Aubyn, "you certainly have heard before: I
recognize your's also, and know your name--it is Ross."

"It is, indeed," said Charles: "pray tell me your's, for it is cheering
to think I am not quite amongst strangers."

"You will be convinced you are not, when I tell you my name is St.
Aubyn."

"St. Aubyn? _Lord_ St. Aubyn?"

"The same."

"Oh, how much do I owe to you!" exclaimed Charles: "I blush to remember
my former ingratitude and folly."

"Speak no more of it--it is quite forgotten."

"Ah, my Lord, how good you are. But did you not say last night we were
on the coast of Wales? Tell me, I beseech you, on what part of that
coast. I begin to hope, knowing Lady St. Aubyn's former residence."

He paused breathless, with contending emotions.

"Lady St. Aubyn and myself," replied St. Aubyn calmly, "are on a visit
to some _friends_ in this neighbourhood. The storm of last night, and
the hearing a ship was in distress, induced me to take out my servants
and some others to see if we could be of any service to the unfortunate
mariners. One of the friends we were with blessed me, and prayed that my
undertaking might prosper. Her prayers were heard: they were the fervent
supplication of a _mother_ for her _son_, though then she knew not nor
could believe he was implicated in the danger."

"Ah! Heavens!" exclaimed Charles, "it was _my_ mother! Speak, my Lord,
speak! Are we not at, or near Llanwyllan?"

"Be composed, and I will tell you."

"I am composed, and able to hear all."

"You are at Llanwyllan. Your father, mother, and Joanna, were obliged by
the storm of last night to remain at Powis's: there I left them sleeping
in peace, not knowing or imagining their son and brother was so near."

The tears ran down the cheeks of Charles, and his heart swelled high
with thankfulness both to his earthly and heavenly preserver.

After a few minutes, for St. Aubyn was glad to see his emotions find a
relief so desirable, and would not interrupt him, he grasped the hand
which the Earl had given him, and would have said something expressive
of his gratitude, but St. Aubyn prevented him by saying:

"Not a word on that score, Mr. Ross: mine was the impulse of mere
humanity, and I rejoice truly that it led me to save a life so dear to
friends greatly respected by me and Lady St. Aubyn. Make your mind easy.
I hope in the course of the day you will be in a state to be placed
beneath your father's roof; in the meantime I will prepare his mind, and
those of your mother and sister, for a meeting so tender; and there is
also another friend at Llanwyllan who will be glad to see you: your
former playmate and youthful companion, Ellen, will rejoice in your
safety. Be at rest; all will go well, and I trust even your property
will go secured, for boats are already gone off to the wreck, and I have
sent such persons as I can depend on, to see all that is saved protected
from depredation."

"You are too good, my Lord; too good!" said Charles, quite overpowered.

"I must now leave you," said St. Aubyn: "our mutual friends will expect
me, and I have an arduous task in prospect, for I dread the effect on
the minds of your parents of the disclosure I must now make to them."

He now took his leave, directing every possible care to be taken of the
invalid.

St. Aubyn waited till after breakfast to unfold to Ross and his wife the
late events; when that meal was concluded, they talked of returning to
the Parsonage, but he requested them not to go, for he had something of
great consequence to tell them: he then in the gentlest and most
judicious manner revealed to them the discovery of the night before, and
they supported the communication better than he had expected.

The pious Ross lifted his eyes and heart to Heaven in thankfulness for
his son's wonderful escape, while Mrs. Ross and Joanna sobbed upon each
others bosom, and mingled tears with their expressions of joy and
gratitude. Ellen dropt a tear of tender sympathy, and rejoiced, without
fear of offending the no longer jealous St. Aubyn, in the safety of her
early friend.

In the afternoon, Charles found himself able to rise, and St. Aubyn sent
his carriage to convey him to the Parsonage, where Ellen and himself
were ready to receive him, and to support the spirits of his venerable
parents and tender sister.

They all bore the meeting with tolerable composure, and, the first
emotions past, were eager to hear how Charles, whom they had supposed to
be cruising near Gibraltar, happened to be exposed to the fury of a
storm on the coast of North Wales.

He told them, that almost immediately after the date of the last letters
he wrote to them, orders had been received for the return of the vessel
he commanded to England, and after refitting at Falmouth to join a small
squadron which was cruising off the coast of France: that on his return
homeward he had fallen in with a French frigate, superior to his own in
force, but which, after an obstinate battle, during which his own vessel
had been much injured he had succeeded in taking; that he had put some
of his own officers and men aboard the prize, and had taken some of the
French and some Algerines, whom they had previously captured, on board
his own ship; that the violence of the storm and the disabled state of
his vessel, prevented him from making the port he wished to have done,
and finally had driven him on that coast, the darkness of the night not
allowing him to ascertain where-abouts he was: what was become of his
prize he knew not, but as she was a better sailer than his own ship, it
was probable she had reached some port on the coast of Cornwall in
safety.

"And now, my dear mother," said Charles, "if we can but secure my chest,
we shall find in it a snug little hoard of dollars, and a few pretty
valuable jewels, which I intend to dispose of as a marriage portion for
Joanna, if any body will have her," (and he glanced archly at Griffiths,
whose tender solicitude about his sister had not escaped him) "and if
not, I shall be entitled to a tolerable share of prize-money, for which
I have fought hard, and will serve to make you and my father easy. To be
sure I must stand a court-martial for the loss of his Majesty's ship,
but that is only a matter of form, and I am sure that my men will bear
witness I did all in my power to save her--and a pretty creature she
was: I never wish to sail in a better, but she was not lost through my
fault, so I must be contented."

They smiled at his sailor-like nonchalance, and were very glad to hear
his sea-chest and all its contents were safely landed.

Amongst St. Aubyn's humane cares for his own countrymen, the unfortunate
prisoners thus cast on a strange shore were not forgotten. He saw that
their more immediate wants were supplied, and wrote to the proper
persons in London to know what was to be their future lot, contenting
himself in the meantime with having a slight guard kept over them;
though of their attempting to escape in their present state, some
wounded, all weak and helpless, there was not much probability.

One of the French captives turned out to be a Catholic priest, a
venerable and respectable man, who had been for many years resident at
Gibraltar, from whence, learning he might now with safety return to
France, he had embarked in the vessel Charles Ross had captured, hoping
to end his days where he had begun them, on the banks of the Garonne.

This circumstance had not been known till two days after the shipwreck,
and the good Ross considering this unfortunate man as the servant of the
same master, though speaking another language, and differing in many
points of belief, had invited him to share his own table; and Mrs. Ross
had, like the pious Shunamite, prepared for him "a little chamber with a
bed," where he might be at rest.

On the evening of that day, the weather being extremely fine, Lady St.
Aubyn and Joanna expressed a wish to walk to the sea-shore to look at
the wreck, and see the place where Charles and his friends had landed.

All the more painful vestiges of the shipwreck had been removed, and the
bodies of the unfortunate sailors which had floated on shore had been
interred in the church-yard, where Griffiths had read the funeral
service.

St. Aubyn and Charles had some little business relative to the survivors
to transact, but they desired Griffiths to attend the ladies, and they
would shortly follow. Mrs. Bayfield also wished to see the place where
the shipwreck happened, and Ellen desired her little Constantine might
go also, as she thought the sea air did him good. They set out therefore
early in the evening, for the storm had cooled the air, and they wished
to spend some time on the shore.

They soon reached the beach, and found the sea so calm, so beautiful, it
seemed unlike the same element which had wrought such destruction the
night before.

Griffiths pointed out to them the wreck, which, as it was now low water,
appeared very near the shore, and shewed them the precise spot where
Charles and the rest had landed.

They both shuddered and turned pale at the painful retrospection, and
Joanna again expressed her thankfulness to St. Aubyn and Griffiths,
whose exertions had saved them.

While they were walking up and down the beach, they met two or three of
the English sailors, who were upon the look-out for any other articles
the sea might have left upon the sands, and speaking to them received
their thanks and blessings for the care and kindness they had
experienced.

On a large piece of timber near the edge of the water sat one of the
Algerines: he looked excessively weak and sickly, and as they approached
him, he surveyed them with a look of gloomy despair.

"How ill that man looks," said Ellen to one of the sailors: "he seems
likely to die."

"Yes, my Lady, and die he will, for he with difficulty crawled hither,
he is so ill; and the woman where he lodges says he bewails himself all
night, and takes no rest."

"Poor creature!" said Ellen: "he laments, doubtless, his native land,
and the friends he has left behind."

"I believe, my Lady," replied the sailor, "he laments his crimes, for
one of the French prisoners that speaks a little English tells me this
fellow owns he has been a great sinner, and that he was bred a
Christian, but renounced his religion and denied his God for the lucre
of gain, amongst the Turks, and Mahometans, and such like."

"Horrible!" said Ellen: "are there such wretches?"

As she spoke, the poor miserable being approached her with feeble steps,
and in French asked her if she would have the goodness to purchase a
trinket he had to sell--all he had left of better days.

Ellen spoke French but imperfectly: she could read and understand it
pretty well, but did not attempt to converse in it; she knew, however,
what he said, and though her nature shuddered at a being of whom she had
heard such a shocking account, endeavoured to answer him with civility:
her voice, however, was low, and her accent not perfectly intelligible
to the Algerine; and thinking she intended to accept his offer, he drew
from his bosom a cross, composed of large rubies set in gold, and put it
into her hand: he sighed heavily; and the sight of this ornament, which
seemed to corroborate the story that this man had been bred a Christian,
gave to Ellen a painful sensation: she endeavoured to make him
understand that his wants should be relieved without his parting from
the trinket, which she offered again to him.

At that moment Mrs. Bayfield, with the nurses and little Constantine,
came towards them: she cast her eyes upon the Algerine--she trembled,
again she looked; she caught the glance of his dark gloomy eyes, and the
sound of his voice met her ears: instantly she exclaimed:

"_That_ wretch!" and snatching the infant from his nurse, she folded him
to her bosom and fled away, crying as she ran--"Come, my Lady, oh, come
for God's sake! leave that monster: come, Miss Ross--run! fly! he will
murder us all."

Wild and extraordinary as this panic seemed to Ellen, her feet
involuntarily obeyed, and with the cross still in her hand, she suddenly
fled from this poor sickly wretch, who, unable to follow, stood amazed
at their apparently frantic demeanour.

Joanna and Griffiths ran after the Countess; though still no one knew
the cause of this extraordinary alarm; and so eagerly did the affrighted
Bayfield speed, that though encumbered with the child, and advanced as
she was in years, they could not easily overtake her.

While they hastened on, each unable to account for the strange terror
which had seized them all, they were met by St. Aubyn and Charles Ross,
who, passing Bayfield at some little distance, were unobserved by her,
and seeing Ellen and Joanna apparently terrified, ran by a shorter cut
to meet them.

"What on earth has happened?" said St. Aubyn, seeing them pale and
almost breathless. "Ellen! Joanna! what has happened? Has any one
frightened you? Griffiths, what has alarmed them thus?"

"Indeed, my Lord," said Griffiths, "I am as ignorant as you are; the
ladies were talking to the poor sick Turk on the shore, and Mrs.
Bayfield on a sudden seized the child from his nurse, ran away, and
called to us to follow, for we should be all murdered: Lady St. Aubyn
and Joanna instantly obeyed, and I followed, but why, or what was the
cause of the alarm, I am unable to imagine."

"I believe--I think," panted Ellen, "that Bayfield knew something of the
man we were speaking to, for she trembled as she looked at him, and said
he would murder us, or words to that effect."

"What is that in your hand, Ellen?" said St. Aubyn. "Heavenly powers!
What is it?"

His limbs trembled, and he grew so pale, she thought he was fainting.

"It is a cross, my Lord," she replied, "a cross that the man--the
Turk--offered to sell to me.--I forgot that I had it in my hand."

She gave it to him; he cast his eyes upon it and exclaimed:--

"That man! Where is he? Merciful heaven! Can it be!"

And suddenly recovering himself, he darted towards the place where the
sick Algerine was slowly endeavouring to follow them.

"Go with him," said Ellen; "follow him, Charles; go, Mr. Griffiths:
surely he cannot know this man; perhaps some mischief may ensue."

They instantly obeyed; and now Ellen and Joanna standing still and
looking earnestly after St. Aubyn, saw him with the rapidity of
lightning fly to the Algerine: what he said they could not hear, but
with an action of the most eager impatience, they saw him with one hand
tear the turban from the brow of the Turk, and with the other seized him
violently by the collar, while the poor trembling wretch sunk prostrate
on the ground before him. By this time Griffiths and Charles Ross had
reached them. St. Aubyn spoke, and instantly they seized the Algerine,
raised, or rather dragged him from the ground, but kept him from moving,
though indeed to move far was not in his power.

Ellen, unable longer to restrain her impatience to learn the meaning of
this scene, now hastened towards them, though trembling so much Joanna
could scarcely support her. As they approached, St. Aubyn exclaimed in a
voice hoarse with contending passions:--

"Come not here, my Ellen; let not purity like thine breathe the air
contaminated by that monster!

"Robber! Murderer! Vile apostate from thy God!" he cried, with gestures
almost frantic, to the shaking wretch before him. "The hand of vengeance
has at length overtaken thee, and long and dreadful is the account thou
now must render. Yes, look at me; I am the man you so deeply injured; I
am St. Aubyn.

"Go, Ellen," again he cried, "leave us; Joanna, go with her; Griffiths,
attend them; Charles and I are enough to secure this villain; besides
here are sailors who will assist us."

Ellen obeyed in silence as fast as her terrors would permit, for now she
no longer doubted of the cause of all this scene, which to Joanna and
Griffiths appeared as if some sudden madness had seized first Bayfield
and then St. Aubyn.



CHAP. IX.

    Oh, it is monstrous, monstrous!
    Methought the billows spake and told me of it:
    The wind did sing it to me; and the thunder,
    That deep and dreadful organ-pipe,
                      ----did bass my trespass!

    TEMPEST.

      ----The seasons thus--
    As ceaseless round a jarring world they roll,
    Still find them happy, and consenting spring
    Sheds her own rosy garland on their heads.

    THOMSON.


Slowly and with trembling steps Ellen left the beach, and went towards
the village: not many yards had they proceeded ere they were met by
Bayfield and two or three of the men-servants. The poor woman had at
length been prevailed on to relinquish her infant charge to his nurse,
who had overtaken her; and fortunately meeting the men-servants, who,
impelled by curiosity, were going to the beach to look at the wreck, she
turned back with them, fearing lest any injury should befall her Lord or
Lady.

"Thank God, Madam," said the good creature, who still trembled and
looked pale, "that you are safe! the dear child is safe also: but where
is my Lord? Oh, my dear Lord! sure he has not trusted himself with that
wretch alone."

"Be calm, Bayfield, be pacified," said Ellen: "you terrify us with these
emotions: your Lord is safe; Mr. Charles Ross and the sailors are with
him: but who is this man you seem so much to fear? The poor creature
looks not likely to injure any one, for he appears half-dead."

"Oh, my Lady, don't pity him," cried Bayfield: "but are you sure he has
no pistols about him? It was a pistol you know, my Lady----, but I
forget myself: one word, Madam, if you please." She drew Ellen aside and
said--"Your Ladyship will not wonder at my alarm, when I tell you the
man you were talking with was the very person my Lord has sought in vain
so long; it was that wretch De Sylva! Oh, I remember the glance of his
dark malicious eye: it has never left my remembrance since the evening I
by accident met him with my late Lady walking in the Cork Grove, three
or four days before her death, when I did not know he was within many
miles of the place; and starting at seeing them together, he gave me
such a look; I never shall forget it: I thought he looked at me just the
same on the beach, and I expected every moment when he would draw out a
pistol and shoot some of us--perhaps the baby out of spite to my Lord,
and that made me run away in that manner: oh, I was not myself, nor
shall I be again this night. Oh that my Lord de Montfort was here to
have all his cruel doubts put an end to for ever, for sure the villain
will confess all now."

Ellen heard her with silent but tumultuous emotion, and hastened as much
as possible towards the Parsonage, sending the men however to meet their
lord.

The Parsonage being nearer to the beach than the Farm was, Ellen and her
friends stopped there, and begged Mr. Griffiths would hasten back to St.
Aubyn, and say where he would find her: she then requested Ross would go
into his study with her, and there, knowing he was perfectly acquainted
with the circumstances which had happened to St. Aubyn in Spain, she
entreated his advice how to proceed, and that he would endeavour to calm
the violent emotions which the discovery of De Sylva had excited in the
bosom of St. Aubyn.

"Surely," said the pious Ross, "the hand of heaven is evident in this
extraordinary event! The kind humanity which prompted Lord St. Aubyn to
save the poor mariners in the storm, was not only the means by which the
life of my son was preserved, and the grey hairs of his mother and
myself prevented from going down with sorrow to the grave, but has also,
I hope, procured for himself the satisfaction he most earnestly wished,
by bringing De Sylva once more within his reach. Wonder-working
Providence! from what apparently improbable causes does thy Almighty
hand bring forth the most interesting events!"

As he spoke, a bustle was heard without, and St. Aubyn rushed into the
room, pale, agitated, almost breathless. Charles Ross, Griffiths, and
two or three sailors, followed, leading, or rather bearing the miserable
De Sylva: miserable indeed was his whole appearance: his Turkish turban
had been torn from his head, and his long black hair streamed round his
face in wild disorder. That face which St. Aubyn remembered a few years
before glowing with animation and manly beauty, was now pale, haggard,
and displayed marks of premature old age.--Those eyes, once so full of
life and gaiety, now rolled in horrible dismay; and that form, so agile,
so graceful when with the unfortunate Rosolia he led the sprightly
dance, was now bowed by sickness, and shrunk by fear.--Oh, what havock
does guilt make in the human face and figure! such as he stood, with
looks that terrified each beholder. De Sylva was then but little more
than thirty years of age, yet the vigour of his constitution, exhausted
by excess, his soul a prey to every agony which racks the criminal--his
course was run; the grave opened to receive him, and a few short days it
was evident must terminate his life and sins together.

"Retire, my love," said St. Aubyn to his trembling wife: "this is no
place for you: you know I perceive who this wretched being is: this
cross, which he offered to you, was that which the ill-fated Rosolia
wore the very evening she went to meet this villain in the Hermitage:
see here my cypher upon this plate of gold, for this, with the rich
necklace from which it depended, was my gift.--Go, my love: the story
which this wretched man has engaged to tell is unfitted for your tender
sensibility to partake of."

Ellen instantly and gladly obeyed, and the sailors also were sent away,
for the unhappy man, faint and exhausted, was too ill to make any
attempt at escaping, nor could he speak till some restoratives had been
administered.

During this pause, Ross suggested to St. Aubyn the propriety of having
some person present to receive De Sylva's confession who was able to
take it exactly as delivered, of which St. Aubyn, who alone was
sufficiently master of the French language to do so, was rendered
incapable by his extreme agitation; besides, it occurred to Ross, that
this person should be totally unconnected with Lord St. Aubyn, that his
testimony might be totally free and uninfluenced.

St. Aubyn perfectly agreed with him, but was at a loss on whom to fix,
when suddenly Ross recollected the Catholic priest, who was at that
moment actually in the house, and whom St. Aubyn had never seen.

This respectable old man was accordingly summoned, and St. Aubyn in a
few words explained to him the nature of the service required of him;
and he readily agreed to take, and witness, the deposition of De Sylva.

He spoke in French, and with frequent breaks and interruption, which his
weakness and emotion occasioned.

"I am by birth a Frenchman, but entered the Spanish service at an early
age, my father being dead, and my maternal relations of that nation
engaging to take care of my future promotion.

"I need not, my Lord, repeat the commencement of my acquaintance with
you, nor the kindness with which you received me at your villa near
Seville, a reception, the hospitality of which I afterwards so ill
repaid.

"The beauty of Lady St. Aubyn attracted every eye, and mine in
particular, for her eye beamed kindly on me in return.

"I will not, my Lord, offend you by detailing the progress of our
intimacy: you became displeased at it, and suddenly removed her to a
villa near Sierra Morena. By the aid of Theresa, her favourite maid, she
contrived to let me know where she was gone; and as soon as I could
obtain leave of absence, I followed her."

"We met frequently in the woods about the villa, and once were met
walking in the Cork Grove by your housekeeper, Mrs. Bayfield, and I had
reason to believe she afterwards watched her Lady's actions.

"Lady St. Aubyn, tired of the dreary life she led, proposed to escape
with me and go to Paris: to this end she furnished me with several sums
of money, and a great number of valuable jewels, amongst them a very
fine ring, which, she told me, was yours, my Lord, and highly valued by
you; and she owned that she had taken that ring in particular, because
she knew the loss would vex you; and she hoped, as Bayfield only had
access to the jewels, the loss of this valued jewel would lead you to
suspect her, and bring disgrace upon the woman we both hated."

Here St. Aubyn hid his face, and groaned: he grieved to hear the woman
he had once loved could have been so atrociously wicked.

"A few nights after this, my Lord," continued De Sylva, "you saw me
attempting to climb by a rope ladder the window of Lady St. Aubyn's
apartment: what followed is well known to you; but nothing was ever
farther from my intentions than meeting you at the place appointed; on
the contrary, I informed Rosolia by means of Theresa of what had passed,
and named that very hour to meet her at the Hermitage, whither I
proposed to bring a boy's habit, and elope with her under that disguise;
for which purpose I procured two horses, and stationed them in a thicket
between the Hermitage and the Posada at the foot of the mountain, where
I had resided since my arrival in that neighbourhood.

"I told you, my Lord, I had a friend there; but that was false, and I
only said it to induce you to wait till the next evening, that we might
have each a friend to witness our encounter.

"Rosolia watched you from the house after your return from Alhama,
whence, as you came alone, we concluded you had vainly sought your
friend; and, I am ashamed to say, in the few minutes we were together,
how much we diverted ourselves at the idea of your vain and fruitless
trouble."

"Go on, Sir," cried St. Aubyn, fiercely--"spare this detail, and hasten
to the conclusion of this detestable story."

"Rosolia then," resumed De Sylva, "told her brother she had a bad
head-ache, and would endeavour to walk it off. From this young man she
was grieved to part, and left him with emotion. She hastened to the
Hermitage: we had no time to lose: she had brought with her all the
valuables she could collect, and had round her neck the fine necklace of
rubies you had given her at Seville, and that very cross I just now
offered to those ladies on the beach.

"I pressed her to change her dress quickly, and was retiring for a few
minutes, while she adjusted her male attire.

"Fearing a surprize, and thinking it might be wanted to defend us in our
flight, I had brought with me the pistol, you, my Lord, gave me the
night before: this I took in my hand, lest any one should approach to
seek Lady St. Aubyn, determined if any did, to put an end to their
existence; and (I will confess all) I should not have been sorry had
Bayfield crossed my path.

"But as I turned to leave the Hermitage, my foot struck against an
inequality in the floor, and endeavouring to recover myself, the pistol
went off in my hand, and the ball entered the head of the unfortunate
Rosolia.

"She fell instantly--one groan alone escaped her. I approached, hoping
she was only alarmed by the report, or but slightly hurt; but to my
astonishment and horror she was a breathless corpse.

"In this dreadful moment, my first idea was instant flight, since that
alone could save me.--But why, thought I, since she is dead, should I
leave behind those valuable ornaments?--And O!--how hardened was my
heart!

"The woman I had admired, and professed to love, had that instant
breathed her last--fallen by my hand, though from an unintended stroke,
and in the very moment, when, by a guilty flight, she had resolved to
give me the greatest proof of love, and unite her fate with mine: yet so
little impression did these dreadful circumstances make upon me, that I
had sufficient composure to unclasp the costly necklace from her neck,
and the bracelets from her arms, though that body, lately so blooming
and so animated, was not yet cold in death.--Such is the love of the
wicked!

"By some means, as I afterwards discovered, I dropt, and lost the
valuable ring I mentioned before; and as I knew I had it just before I
entered this fatal Hermitage, I concluded it was there I had lost it.

"I now fled as fast as possible towards the place where my horses stood,
and mounting one, and leading the other, I galloped off at full speed.

"Concluding the first search for me would be amongst the mountains, I
took a road immediately opposite, and reached the little town of Andurar
that night: I there sold my horses, and bought a change of garments,
lest those I wore should identify my person; for I concluded I should be
suspected of the murder, either wilful or accidental, of the unfortunate
Countess; but I was also convinced I should have two or three hours the
start of my pursuers, as she was in the constant habit of rambling about
at least that time, and consequently would not be missed.

"I travelled, however, chiefly by night, lurking by day either in thick
woods, or the remains of Moorish castles, and only venturing near a town
or village when provisions were indispensably necessary; for now the
fear of being arrested as a deserter, my leave of absence having been
some time expired, made the strictest caution necessary for my security.

"In about a week I reached Almaneca, and disposing of some of my jewels,
I embarked on board a vessel which was going to Venice, where I meant to
remain some time, and then assuming another name, to go to Paris, where
I knew my speaking French like a native would prevent me from being
recognized. We had not been but three days at sea when an Algerine
corsair bore down upon us, and after a short but severe conflict we were
captured, and carried into Algiers.

"Here, robbed of all my ill-gained riches, except that cross, which some
remains of affection for the memory of the unfortunate Rosolia had
induced me to conceal so cautiously that it was not discovered, I found
myself a prisoner, and seemed doomed to end my days in slavery.

"It was my fortune to be purchased by a master high in favour with the
Dey, who, pleased with my vivacity, and the skill I had in music,
received me into his favour, and at length tempted me with such high
offers, if I would become a Mahometan, that I, who never knew what true
religion was, and held my principles too lightly to be very strenuous in
their support, soon consented to be what he would have me, and solemnly
abjuring the Christian faith, I became his adopted son, and heir to all
his riches. By this means too I was certain of escaping any search that
might be made for me; for who could think of looking for De Sylva under
the turban of a Turk, and in the adopted son of the Bey Abdallah?

"About a year ago my adoptive father died; and weary of the supine and
inactive life the Turks usually lead, I determined to fit out an armed
vessel, and amuse myself by sailing up the Archipelago, and visiting
some of the Grecian islands, not without a latent intention of quitting
Algiers altogether, and returning to some European state: to which end I
carried with me all the wealth I could make portable: this design I
executed accordingly, but I had not long quitted Algiers, when we were
attacked and captured by a French frigate.

"From that moment I have never known peace.

"Fearing to be discovered, knowing that the punishment for desertion
must be mine, should we touch at any Spanish port, and I should be
recognized; dreading to be accused of the murder of Lady St. Aubyn, of
which, though innocent, I could not clear myself; and, above all, my
conscience awakened, by being once more amongst Christians, to the sin I
had been guilty of in apostatizing from my religion, I have led a life
of fear, inquietude, and anguish--a life which I feel will soon be
terminated: and, oh, how dreadful the reflection that my punishment is
but beginning.

"Oh, Sir," added the poor wretch, throwing himself at the feet of the
venerable priest, who, as well as all present, had heard the detail of
his crimes with horror, "you are a priest, a Catholic of that church I
so wickedly abandoned. Can you give me hope? Will you pray for me?"

"I am a priest, and a Catholic," replied the old man, "and shall be
willing and desirous of giving you all the consolation in my power. At
present you have given the best proof of repentance, by the confession
you have made, and to confirm it, you must sign it with your name, and
acknowledge the truth of what I have written, before all present."

He then gave the paper to De Sylva to read, who signed it, and declared
it was correct.

"I would swear it," he added, in heart-broken accents: "but oh! by what
can a wretch like me swear, and be believed!"

He was now conveyed to a decent bed in Ross's house, who, like a true
Christian pastor, would not abandon him to his despair; but placed by
his bed-side, strove in conjunction with the Catholic priest, De la
Tour, by the most consoling attentions, and hopes founded on his present
repentance, to beat away the busy meddling fiend, who laid strong siege
unto the wretch's soul.

The miserable De Sylva lingered nearly a week, racked with guilty fears,
and scarcely daring to hope for mercy: yet for mercy his pious
comforters bade him hope, since he repented deeply, and sought it in
that holy name, which, though once he had denied, he now most humbly
acknowledged.

On the sixth evening he expired.

     "Forbear to judge, for we are sinners all."

As soon as De Sylva's confession had been received, St. Aubyn sent an
express messenger to the proper persons in London, requesting permission
to dispatch Jean Batiste de la Tour, a French priest, into Oxfordshire,
where he understood Lord de Montfort then was at one of his seats, with
papers of the utmost importance to that nobleman and to himself, De la
Tour having witnessed the confession of a prisoner since dead, which
involved concerns of the most material interest. He also requested
permission for De la Tour to remain attached to Lord de Montfort's
suite, or to be at liberty on his parole at Castle St. Aubyn, till he
could obtain the consent of government to his returning to his native
country; for St. Aubyn could not bear that this helpless and venerable
old man should remain as a prisoner of war, and end his days in a
strange country.

The answer was favourable to his Lordship's wishes, and Charles Ross
undertook to escort De la Tour into Oxfordshire: in the meantime a
detachment arrived to guard the other prisoners to the depôt in
Shropshire.

Ross and De la Tour departed together, taking with them the deposition
of De Sylva, the cross of the unfortunate Rosolia, which had been found
in his possession, and every other document which could carry conviction
to the mind of De Montfort.

Tranquillity seemed now restored to the village of Llanwyllan, but in
spite of the satisfaction St. Aubyn felt in being thus completely able
to exonerate himself from whatever suspicion might yet lurk in the bosom
of Edmund, his own mind was by no means tranquil.

Painful was the retrospect the confession of De Sylva had forced upon
him: every misery he had so many years before experienced seemed
renewed, and his imagination dwelt upon the horrid scenes of the
Hermitage. The bleeding body of Rosolia lay again in fancy before him,
and his pity for her wretched fate "cut off even in the blossom of her
sins," made him forget all the crimes she had been guilty of towards
him.

For many days he continued exceedingly dejected, and it required all
Ellen's tender attentions, and the cheering smiles of his lovely boy, to
chase from his mind those painful impressions which the late discovery
had planted there.

In as short a time as was possible, a messenger returned from Lord de
Montfort. He acknowledged his full conviction of St. Aubyn's innocence,
and implored his pardon for those years of uneasiness his suspicions had
made him suffer: he expressed the greatest gratitude for the forbearing
kindness of St. Aubyn's whole conduct towards his unhappy sister, of
which he now had such convincing proofs, and a horror of her guilt,
which was too overwhelming to be dwelt upon. De la Tour he requested to
retain in his suite till arrangements could be made for his returning to
France, should the old man ultimately wish to do so.

In a short time after this letter arrived, Ellen received one from Lady
Juliana, in which she expressed some dissatisfaction at their long stay
in Wales, and bade them consider that at her time of life she could not
hope to enjoy much more of their society, and the smiles of her darling
Constantine, whose growth and improvement she longed to witness.

This letter determined Lord and Lady St. Aubyn to quit Wales as soon as
possible: indeed, the autumn was now advancing, and they feared for
their young traveller the miserable roads, and of course wished to be at
the Castle before the summer was ended.

Lady St. Aubyn had however set her heart on being witness to Joanna's
marriage, and seeing every thing arranged for the removal of the Rosses
to the Farm: it was also necessary for Charles Ross to go to London on
his own concerns; Joanna therefore was induced to give her hand to
Griffiths sooner than she had intended, and early in August the ceremony
was performed by the venerable Ross. Lord St. Aubyn gave away the bride,
and when the ceremony was ended, said--

"May you, my dear Joanna, and your worthy husband, but experience as
much happiness as I and my dear Ellen have since this altar witnessed
our mutual vows, and you will indeed be as happy as humanity can hope to
be."

Ellen tenderly embraced her early friend, and with tears of affection
joined in the kind wishes of her beloved Lord.

The whole of the bride's wardrobe had been the present of Lady St.
Aubyn, who shewed her judgment, by ordering every thing excellent in its
kind, but nothing fine or shewy.

Lord St. Aubyn presented the newly-married couple with several useful
and handsome articles of plate and furniture; and when they left
Llanwyllan, they had the happiness of knowing that the worthy Powis
would be rendered truly comfortable by his new inmates, and that all
Ellen's first connections were blessed to the extent of their wishes.

Charles Ross travelled part of the way with Lord and Lady St. Aubyn,
full of grateful thanks for all their kindness to him and his family;
and having conquered every aspiring wish, he was delighted to witness
the happiness of his once-loved Ellen, without envying that of her
excellent Lord.

They had soon after the pleasure of hearing that all matters relative to
his late disastrous voyage had been happily and honourably adjusted, his
prize had safely reached the destined port, and through Lord St. Aubyn's
interest, Charles Ross was soon promoted to the rank of Captain and the
command of a fine frigate.

The St. Aubyns found Lady Juliana waiting their arrival at St. Aubyn
Castle: and her intended chidings for their long stay were turned into
tears of joy at the sight of her darling Constantine, now able to walk
alone, and with expressive looks of love endeavouring to articulate,
though yet but imperfectly, the sweet names of papa and mamma, and soon
learning to distinguish Lady Juliana with smiles of affection, and
little arms twined round her neck, whenever she approached him.

Just before Christmas, Sir Edward and Lady Leicester arrived at
Rose-hill, where they spent some weeks. De Montfort passed that evening
at the Castle, with several other visitors. The once gloomy and
eccentric Edmund was become another creature; and his manners, now
animated and cheerful, were very elegant, and the trifling degree of
singularity which still at times shewed itself in his expressions, only
seemed to give an air of originality to his character.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have now brought our narrative to a close; for scenes of continued
peace and happiness, however desirable to the possessors, are but
insipid in delineation.

St. Aubyn and his charming wife long enjoyed that serene happiness their
virtues merited; and diversifying the scene, by occasional excursions
into Wales, they had there the comfort of finding their friends
surrounded by blessings, for which they were to them indebted. At the
Castle, or in London, surrounded by their lovely young family, they
still acknowledged that in domestic life they found their dearest
felicity; and with no more sorrow than is inseparable from humanity,
their years glided on amidst the joys of friendship, and the delights of
connubial and parental love.


THE END.





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