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Title: Manners: A Novel, Vol 3
Author: Panache, Madame, 1790?-1881
Language: English
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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.

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                      MANNERS:

                      A NOVEL.


            ----Dicas hîc forsitan unde
    Ingenium par materiæ.

                                     JUVENAL.

    Je sais qu'un sot trouve toujours un plus sot pour le lire.

                                     FRED. LE GRAND.


    IN THREE VOLUMES.
    VOL. III.

    LONDON:
    PRINTED FOR BALDWIN, CRADOCK, AND JOY,
    PATERNOSTER ROW.

    1817.



MANNERS.



CHAPTER I.

    ----Whose birth beyond all question springs
    From great and glorious, though forgotten, kings.

    oeCHURCHILL.oe


The lady who did the honours of Mr. O'Sullivan's house to our English
travellers, on the night of their arrival at Ballinamoyle, Miss
Fitzcarril by name, was in person extremely tall; and a carriage of
extraordinary uprightness gave her, with a stiffness, a dignity also of
appearance. Her face, though good natured in expression, was, at that
period, rather plain; but yet sufficient evidence remained to
corroborate her own frequent assertion, that "she had once been a fine
woman;" in making which she flattered herself her auditors would imply,
that she took the same license which the structure of a venerable
language sometimes permits, of understanding, at pleasure, different
tenses by the same word; and that they would from the past infer the
present. In dress and manner she was old fashioned, but stately,
generally wearing garments made of the antique tabinets and satins she
inherited from her grandmother, and which, from the unbending nature of
the material, would have stood alone, nearly in as erect a posture as
that they maintained when encompassing her perpendicular figure; a
double clear starched handkerchief, which Mr. Desmond wickedly called
her transparency, enveloped her neck; and the costume of her person was
completed by a fine muslin apron of curious work, derived from her own,
or her progenitors' industry. Her headdress was the only part of her
attire which was ever varied, and in this she was fantastic in the
extreme, composing it of the most showy materials, and wearing in her
caps and turbans colours only fit for the young and beautiful. Every
acquaintance who visited Galway, Limerick, or Clare, was sure to have a
commission to buy a cap or bonnet for Miss Fitzcarril; and the more
_outré_ in form and colour, the better pleased she was with their
purchase. She was, in mind, the most singular mixture of pride and
parsimony that was perhaps ever compounded; the one she derived from her
highly valued ancestry, the other from her own peculiar fate, and a
mistaken idea of principle; and she reconciled her frugality and her
dignity, by declaring that "the Fitzcarrils and O'Sullivans needn't
trouble their heads about what any one said of them; _every body_ knew
they were come of the kings of Connaught, and had a good right to do as
they pleased." In early life she had lived in extreme poverty, and then
had learned the ideas of management she afterwards laboured to enforce
at Ballinamoyle. Mr. O'Sullivan had been deprived of his wife a few
years before he had also the misfortune to lose his only child; and on
the death of this beloved daughter, he chose Theresa Fitzcarril from
amongst his female relatives, to superintend his establishment, at the
same time settling a comfortable provision on her, in case she should
survive himself; which he considered a mere act of justice, for he
foresaw that the retirement of his residence would condemn her to a life
of solitude and celibacy, the two precise circumstances which least
accorded with her own wishes. Theresa, on her part, actuated by an
excess of pride, resolved she would cancel her pecuniary obligations,
not only to her original benefactor, but to his heir, by saving for the
family a sum more than equivalent to all she should ever receive from
it. She therefore endeavoured (though without much success) to introduce
a system of penury at Ballinamoyle, that, had its owner been aware of
her proceedings, he would not have suffered, as it was diametrically
opposite to his wishes; he seldom however inquired into the _minutiæ_
of his household; and indifferent to every thing, after the loss of his
daughter, he permitted Theresa to do nearly as she pleased; and when he
did object to any of her practices, she was so obstinate, that he found
he must, to get rid of them, get rid of herself also with them, and this
he never could resolve on; but consoled himself with the usual
reflection of his countrymen, when trouble is necessary to avoid any
thing unpleasant, "It will do well enough, my time won't be long." Miss
Fitzcarril sought to relieve the monotony of her life by indulging in
constant speculation. In every lottery she had a sixteenth share of a
ticket; and to ascertain what she might possess in the _matrimonial
lottery_, had frequent and protracted conferences with all the tribes of
cup-tossers, card-cutters, and deaf and dumb men and women, who infested
the country as fortune-tellers,--"Who blind could every thing
foresee"--"Who dumb could every thing foretell." This pleasure however
Miss Fitzcarril was obliged to indulge in secret, as Mr. O'Sullivan and
the worthy priest, who was his domestic pastor, used their best
endeavours to banish this race of vagabonds from every place they had
influence in; so that when she consulted any of these oracles, she was
obliged to conceal herself and them in some remote cabin; but perhaps
the impediment thus thrown in the way of this favourite indulgence made
her but the more keenly enjoy and still more pertinaciously persist in
the practice, notwithstanding the reiterated penances imposed for this
offence by the good father Dermoody, which, though she ventured to
commit, she did not dare to suppress at confessional. A family of the
name of Stewart wandered about the country, presenting papers signed by
respectable names, setting forth, that "their progenitors had been
shipwrecked on the coast of Ireland, about a century ago--that the whole
race were deaf and dumb--but that Providence, in compensation, had
bestowed on them the gift of second sight." To the predictions of a dumb
woman, who claimed this name, and proved she was deaf, by showing that
nature had left her unprovided with ears[1], Theresa gave the most
implicit credit. This Pythoness had learned to write the printed
character, and to draw rude representations of ships, trees, men, and
animals, which she described on a board with a piece of white chalk; and
of these hieroglyphics those who consulted her made what sense best
pleased them. A sharp boy, who had all his senses in full activity,
never failed to accompany her; apparently to assist in expounding her
text, but, in reality, to collect information, which, by the language of
signs, he certainly conveyed to his fellow conjuror, at the most
_à-propos_ moment, as no body concealed from him the information she was
supposed to be (humanly speaking) ignorant of;

    "Tout cela bien souvent faisoit crier miracle!
    Enfin quoique ignorant à vingt et trois carats,
    Elle passoit pour un oracle!"

[Footnote 1: This account of the Stewart family is not fictitious,
either as to name or circumstance.]

In their last conference Judy Stewart had given Miss Fitzcarril the
following enigma:--A rose rudely drawn, followed by the words "of
vargins,"--then, a ship in full sail--then, three suns--and lastly, a
man, four times as big as the ship, holding a candle in one hand, and a
ring in the other. The exposition Barny and the curious spinster gave of
this was as follows:--"The flower of virgins," that is, the eldest
daughter of the direct branch of the O'Sullivan family, was coming from
beyond sea, and would arrive at Ballinamoyle, as soon as the sun had
risen three times, bringing in her train a great personage (expressed by
his extraordinary size,) who would, in winter, designated by the candle,
bestow the wedding ring on the fair Theresa Fitzcarril. Judy Stewart's
credit was luckily saved by the horses, which our travellers so
unexpectedly procured at Tuberdonny, fulfilling the first part of the
prediction; and in Mr. Webberly the credulous maiden saw the hero, who
was to accomplish that part which related to herself.

Extremes are popularly said to meet, which, we suppose, may naturally
account for the Connaught sibyls' most zealous friend and powerful enemy
residing at Ballinamoyle. The latter was the reverend father Dermoody,
who filled the office of spiritual guide to its owner. He was well
informed in mind, and gentlemanly in manners; two circumstances but
rarely united in the Irish priests, who are generally taken from a low
order in society, and do not usually carry an appearance impressive of
the respect, to which most of them are entitled by their real worth. Mr.
Dermoody was a relation of the late Mrs. O'Sullivan, and had embraced
the priesthood from the influence of early disappointment, which had
disgusted him with the world, and led him to devote himself to a
religious life for consolation. He pursued his theological studies in
one of the French colleges, and was deliberating on entering into a
monastic order of great austerity, when he received a letter from his
present patron, acquainting him with his marriage, and offering him the
situation of chaplain to his family, which Dermoody's better stars
induced him to accept. For many years he bestowed on the education of
his relative's lovely daughter all of his time and thoughts, which were
not devoted to his sacred functions; and, since her death, he had been
the consolation of her desolate father, and a blessing to the poor of
the vicinity. As he however avoided society in general, he was not
introduced to our travellers on the night of their arrival, but they
then made acquaintance with Miss Fitzcarril's constant and obsequious
attendant, Captain Cormac, so called by common consent, though he had
never risen in the army higher than a lieutenant, the half pay of which
rank was his only subsistence, independent of Mr. O'Sullivan's bounty.
Though of a different religious persuasion, his family had long been
tenants and retainers of that at Ballinamoyle; and this member of it, on
the strength of his red coat, was considered a gentleman, and, as such,
was every day admitted to Mr. O'Sullivan's table, and made up his card
party in the winter's evenings, generally returning at night to the
house of a better sort of steward, living on the demesne, who managed
the Ballinamoyle property, its owner charging himself with the expenses
there incurred by Captain Cormac.

This son of Mars, conscious of the deficiency of his pedigree, very
unknowingly endeavoured to prove his title to the character of a
gentleman, by paying the most anxious and unremitting attention to the
fair sex in general, and to Miss Fitzcarril in particular; for, in
consequence of his living in this sequestered situation, he was totally
unsuspicious of the improvements in modern manners, which lead so many
of our youth to suppose, that a neglect of the ladies they associate
with, not unfrequently amounting almost to rudeness, is an indispensable
requisite in the deportment of every fashionable beau; but perhaps some
of our readers will suggest an excuse for Captain Cormac's ignorant
simplicity, by acknowledging that beau and gentleman are not always
synonymous terms. Mr. O'Sullivan for instance, was certainly no beau,
though perfectly a gentleman. As this word, in our humble opinion,
conveys a character that is almost all "that the eye looks for," or "the
heart desires" in man, we will not weaken its inexpressible worth by
paraphrase, but hope the actions of the person it has here been applied
to will establish his claim to the most noble appellation the English
language boasts of.



CHAPTER II.

    O! live--and deeply cherish still
      The sweet remembrance of the past;
    Rely on Heav'n's unchanging will
                        For peace at last!

    oeMONTGOMERY.oe


On the morning after her arrival at Ballinamoyle, Adelaide was forcibly
struck with the strange coincidence of circumstances that had conducted
her to this place, so remote from the scenes in which she had once
expected to have passed her life. That day two years, she had no
expectation of becoming an inhabitant of the British isles; and one
fortnight had just elapsed since she received Mrs. O'Sullivan's letter,
announcing her intention of undertaking the journey they had
accomplished. Her meeting with Colonel Desmond seemed like seeing an
inhabitant of another world, who could dive into thoughts, and was
acquainted with occurrences unknown to those she was surrounded by.
Though but four years had revolved since they last met, from the
unexpected nature of the events that had marked them, they seemed, to
memory, longer in duration than all those which had smoothly rolled
away, ere their giant days rose on the wheel of fate, robed in the
strongest hues of joy or sorrow. She felt grieved her journey was now at
an end, as she had derived much amusement from it, and knew she should,
in future, associate much less with Colonel Desmond. "I wonder, (thought
she,) what description of being this Mr. O'Sullivan is, we have come so
far to see--Poor little Caroline! I hope he will be more affectionate to
her than her mother and sisters are."

When Adelaide repaired to the breakfast room, and proceeded to open the
door, her hand trembled on the lock, for she heard Caroline's joyous
voice within, followed by an expression of fondness; and recollected,
with bitterness of heart, that in that room was no relative, who would
greet her entrance with a face of gladness.--She could not go in at that
moment, and retreated a few steps. "Why am I so overpowered this
morning? (thought she,) I ought to be more than usually happy, in
reflecting, that dearest Caroline is this day introduced to her father's
family; the happy one will soon arrive, when I shall be restored to
mine, so _coûte qui coûte_, I go in." Armed with this magnanimous
resolution, she entered the room, and her eyes were instantly attracted
by one of the most venerable figures she had ever beheld. An old
gentleman, dressed in mourning, was sitting with little Caroline on his
knee; his face, as he bent his gray head to gaze on her infant beauties,
was expressive of every benevolent feeling, whilst his dignified figure
impressed the beholder with an awe, which was tempered, but not entirely
removed, by the benignity of his countenance. In him was seen all that
was reverend in age--in the cherub he caressed all that was blooming in
youth. Her silken hair hung, in waving ringlets, on a cheek that mocked
the rose's hue; her transparent skin showed the blue veins, that
meandered on a brow as spotless as the mountain snow. The dark blue eye,
that threw its melting ray on his, seemed to call forth fires that long
had slept beneath those silver brows; and as her ivory arm hung round
his neck, the youthful softness of her hand was more than usually
apparent from the contrast it formed with the withered cheek it pressed.
"Dearest Caroline! may he prove a fond parent to you!" was the ardent
wish of Adelaide's heart, as she gazed on the happy child, and her
venerable relative. Mr. O'Sullivan, looking up, rose to receive her; and
the little girl, springing gaily forward, took her hand, saying, "This
is my own dear Adele Wildenheim, I told you about, uncle; I love her
better than any body in the world; if you will let me live with you, and
will keep her too, I shall be so happy!" Whilst Caroline looked
inquiringly up in his face to read the success of her proposition; the
old man smiled on the lovely girl thus introduced to him, and holding
out his hand cordially to her, said, "Your name is well known to me,
Miss Wildenheim. Baron Wildenheim was the friend and benefactor of my
deceased brother, and his child is truly welcome to my roof." Adelaide's
cheek glowed with the most vivid blushes as she felt a tear trickle
down; the accents faltered on her lips when she attempted to speak, and
a deep sigh burst from Mr. O'Sullivan's breast as he recollected, that
the daughter he had lost in the bloom of youth was, in his eyes at
least, as lovely as the beautiful girl they now rested on.

At this moment Miss Fitzcarril and Mrs. O'Sullivan entered the room; the
latter acting the amicable, aspired to rest her fat hand on the bony arm
of the stately Theresa, who, with smiles of unconscious exultation at
her own towering height, and with an air of condescension, bent her long
neck over her right shoulder, towards her rotund companion, as if the
words she addressed to her would not otherwise be within hearing
distance. The one stalked forward, sweeping after her a long train of
the thickest tabinet; the other (though certainly not a figure for a
Zephyr) fluttered in gauze, whose transparent texture a Roman would have
compared to "the woven wind," her habiliment being about as long as that
of the sapient dame well known in nursery history, after her unfortunate
rencontre with the mischievous pedler.

When Mrs. O'Sullivan espied her brother-in-law, she bustled up to him
with an appearance of lively pleasure; but an observer, with half the
penetration of Adelaide, might have seen a temporary expression of
disappointment cloud his features, as from his brother he had never
received the slightest hint, that might lead him to form an idea of what
she really was, either in manner or appearance; and the beauty of her
daughter and elegance of her ward had made him expect to find her far
different in both; however, this expression was but transient, and he
received her with his usual hospitality, and told her with much warmth
and sincerity, how much he admired the charming little Caroline. The
Miss Webberlys and their brother made their appearance shortly after
Mrs. O'Sullivan's entrance; and the groupe were all assembled round the
breakfast-table when Father Dermoody came into the room, whom Miss
Fitzcarril and the master of the house rose to receive with the utmost
respect, whilst his manner united the humility he felt as a man with the
dignity he derived from his sacred office. When he approached them, the
motion of his hand, and the raised expression of his countenance, told
Adelaide that he passed that silent benediction she had so often
witnessed abroad. His benevolent looks seemed to extend it to all,
though a slight tinge on his cheek, and a half mournful glance of his
eye, betrayed that he felt it would be scorned by some. A reverential
bend of Adelaide's graceful figure, and the mild seriousness that
chastened her smile of acknowledgement as her eye met his, conveyed to
the venerable priest that she at least understood him, and thankfully
received his pious aspirations. He looked in vain for the sign, that
should have marked their conformity of faith, and sighed deeply, then
muttered half under his breath, "In all else how like!"

The English ladies soon found Miss Fitzcarril's gunpowder tea quite too
potent for their nerves, and diluted it in a manner that astonished her;
for this good lady, in her extensive patronage of vagrants, included
smugglers and pedlers, from whom she procured the finest teas and
brandies, for to these articles her ideas of parsimony did not extend;
and as she kept the latter entirely for her male friends, she thought
the former in their utmost strength the peculiar beverage of the fair
sex, and now wondered where these ladies could have been brought up, not
to understand the merits of gunpowder tea at a guinea a pound!

In the course of the morning Mr. O'Sullivan took his usual promenade in
front of his house; and here he appeared in all his glory. In one
promiscuous groupe were assembled the heads of the families his tenantry
comprised, with every other man, woman, or child, that could leave home
to get a peep at the newly-arrived guests, whose appearance at
Ballinamoyle had been looked for with more curiosity than pleasure. For
Mr. O'Sullivan was universally beloved, and the superstitious ideas of
his tenantry made them regard the arrival of his heiress as an omen of
his own death; besides they very naturally dreaded this property being
given to people unattached to them, and unacquainted with their customs.
As the ladies stood at the open windows in front of the house to gaze at
the strange assemblage, many were the remarks their appearance called
forth. According to custom, every domestic went out in turn to
"collogue," as they call it, with their favourite Judy or Barny; and as
Caroline stood on the window-seat with Adelaide's protecting arm round
her waist, she was repeatedly pointed out to the inquirers. But as the
Irish seldom have patience to listen to more than half a sentence, when
their minds are intent on any new subject, Caroline's companion was by
most of the crowd taken for the object of their search. "She is a
beautiful young lady, and looks loving and kind." "She's about the
height of poor Miss Rose." "Ochone, she was the darling! Sun or moon
will ne'er shine on the likes of her again; and while grass grows and
water runs, she'll ne'er be forgot out of Ballinamoyle!" These and many
similar expressions proceeded from the lips of the elder part of the
assembly, whilst the unconscious object of their remarks entertained
herself in viewing the various groupes it consisted of.

Close after Mr. O'Sullivan walked his steward, hat in hand, to receive
his orders, or answer his questions respecting the numerous petitioners
who from time to time approached him. Whenever he turned towards the
crowd, every man's hat was instantaneously taken off in the most
respectful manner--every woman's petticoat, however short, touched the
ground in her curtsy. Sundry sturdy little urchins were thumped on the
back for being rather tardy in paying his honour proper respect; and a
sulky reverence brought more than one little girl to the ground, as her
mother used no very gentle means to expedite her motions; whilst many a
rosy child had its plump cheek or white head stroked for being
"mannerly." When Mr. O'Sullivan's levee had lasted as long as he wished,
and when he had granted potato ground, and grazing ground, and firing
ground, and had remitted fines for trespasses innumerable, his steward
gave the usual signal, and the crowd dispersed to idle away the rest of
the morning:--an idle evening was a thing of course.

Miss Fitzcarril now proceeded to perform that ceremony always observed
in a country house--of showing it, however unworthy it may be of
exhibition. This old-fashioned edifice had been built by the present
proprietor's grandfather with the materials of an ancient monastery,
which had fallen to ruin on its site, which was made choice of for the
convenience of communicating by a covered passage with the remaining
chapel--a venerable and beautiful structure, that had been preserved in
perfect repair. Over the hall door, at the top of the house, appeared
the family arms cut in stone, and underneath the name of the builder and
the date of the year when it was finished, in order, as Miss Webberly
wittily remarked, "to claim the stolen goods by, should any one take it
up on their backs and run away with it." The rooms were large and well
built, and as uniformly square as a bricklayer's line could make them.
The furniture was substantial, and, like Miss Fitzcarril, had been
handsome in its day; but it survived its contemporaries, and the present
race thought it heavy and sombre. The house had altogether a desolate
appearance, and, like the Canal Inn, could rarely boast of a perfect
bell or lock. In the part of the house which adjoined the chapel, Mrs.
O'Sullivan frequently turned the lock of a door she passed by in
traversing the various passages; and her guide always said with unusual
seriousness, "You can't go in there, madam;" at last the question was
asked "Why?" and was answered, with a deep sigh, "That was _poor Rose's_
apartment; nobody has ever been in it since she died but her father and
poor nurse." "Then what a pity," rejoined Mrs. O'Sullivan, "not to block
up the windows; let me see, three rooms back to the chapel, one, two,
three, four, five, six windows--all that much taxes for nothing!" "Block
up the windows of poor Rose's apartment! Blessed powers defend
me!--Child!" said the angry Theresa turning to Caroline, with a
vehemence of gesture and sternness of aspect that made the trembling
infant, while she looked fearfully up in her face, tightly clasp her
arms round Adelaide, "if you ever own this place, take care that you pay
respect to every relict of your cousin; it would be as much as any
one's life's worth to put an affront upon her memory."

Though Mrs. O'Sullivan could not see this apartment, she was resolved to
inspect every other nook of the house, kitchens and store-rooms
inclusive. In the latter she was surprised to see huge barrels of oaten
meal and dried fish, with numerous casks of whisky. Suspended over head
hung the cured carcases of three cows and five pigs, ready to supply the
place of their fellows in the principal kitchen. As they passed down one
of the back stair-cases, they saw in the court yard a number of men and
boys, waiting for the chance of casual employment about the house. The
men were muffled up in great coats, buttoned about their necks, the
empty sleeves hanging at their sides; some leaning against the walls,
some lying on their stomachs basking in the sun; others asleep in
various postures; the boys dancing, or playing backgammon, which they
managed by squares traced on the ground, whilst one called out the
numbers at random, which answered the purpose of dice; others wrestling,
sometimes throwing each other down on the sleepers, who just raised
their heads to give a volley of oaths, and turned to sleep again. The
unexpected entrance of the ladies into the kitchen put to flight a covey
of char-women, who seemed to think they had all the business of the
world on their hands. As strange servants were in the house, they had
determined to keep up the "dacency of Ballinamoyle," by dressing
themselves in their best; but being now at their work (that is, running
in each other's way, at the same time talking unceasingly) all their
petticoats were pinned up about their middle, except a very short dicky;
their shoes and stockings were--not on their feet and legs, but on the
kitchen tables and hot hearths, and the ears of their mob caps were
pinned over the crowns of their heads to keep them clean and the wearers
cool. There was a constant shouting to the boys in the yard to run
incessant messages. At the moment of Mrs. O'Sullivan's first
appearance, the cook called out of the kitchen window, "Do you hear,
Barny, make aff to Jarge Quin for a slip of parsley:--do you mind, be
back in a crack." No sooner was Barny dispatched than she shouted again:
"Jimmy! Jimmy Maloony I say, rin for your life, and make ould Jarge sind
the fruit for the pies." When the ladies proceeded to the servants'
hall, there was an old piper playing, and three girls dancing, that Miss
Fitzcarril thought were busy spinning and sewing. "Get along, you
incorrigibly idle sluts," said she, and they were off in a trice; but it
was out of Scylla into Charybdis, for two or three of the "cutty sarks,"
who had been muddling in the kitchen, met them in the passage, where
they had been drawn by hearing "the mistress spaking mad angry;" and
each seizing her own daughter, and thumping her well, said, "I'll pay
you for your jigging, indeed my lady!" Close to the servants' hall was a
man cleaning knives; he had taken off his coat and waistcoat, one
shoulder appeared through a great hole in the back of his shirt, the
sleeves of which were rolled up to the elbow, and it was open down to
the waist. He had neither shoes nor stockings on, and thus his legs and
arms, with the greater part of his back and breast, were naked; the skin
that covered them was nearly of a copper colour; his head was crowned
with thick, short, curly, black hair, and his unshaved face presented a
luxuriant crop of the same sable material. "What a number of men
servants you keep! pray what compacity does that one fill?" inquired
Mrs. O'Sullivan. "Madam," replied her _cicerone_ (all her pride
colouring her face) "since the world was a world, no such sarving man as
that ever belonged to the name of O'Sullivan! That's Black Frank, the
fool, who comes in to do odd jobs now and again." Black Frank was an
itinerant "innocent," who scoured knives, cleared out ashes, or did any
job the servants of the houses he frequented were too lazy to perform
themselves. He was capricious in his fancies, and never staid long in
any one place, but blessed all his acquaintance in turn. As Mrs.
O'Sullivan went up stairs, she said to herself, "It will be another
guess matter when Caroline rules the roast; I'll soon pack off all these
here wagabonds and ramscallions about their business; she'd be a sight
the richer if these warlets didn't eat up her uncle's fortin. There's
one comfort, he can't live long; when he dies, I'll make this stately
madam and all take to their heels!"

Mrs. O'Sullivan, however, was aware of but a small part of what she
considered her daughter's wrongs; for her brother-in-law, though he had
renounced all society himself, except that of a few distant relatives,
and his friends the Desmonds, authorized his servants to bring their
kindred and "cronies" to his servants' hall, to eat, drink, and be
merry. From twenty to thirty people sat down to dinner there every day,
and on Saturdays and holydays a great many more. And the song and the
jest went round amongst the careless crew, accompanied by the boisterous
laugh of rustic mirth. The young men and women amused themselves of a
winter's evening dancing jigs, whilst their elders "kept the fire warm,"
telling stories of the days of old, superstitious legends, or recounting
the omens each had observed previous to the death of the ever lamented
Miss Rose.



CHAPTER III.

    When wilt thou rise in thy beauty, first of Erin's maids?
    Thy sleep is long in the tomb, and the morning distant far.
    The Sun shall not come to thy bed and say, "Awake, Darthula!
    Awake, thou first of women!"

    oeDARTHULA.oe


When the ladies retired to the drawing-room after dinner, Miss
Fitzcarril proposed walking. Mrs. O'Sullivan was anxious that Adelaide
and Caroline should study the good of their health by this exercise, but
pleaded fatigue as an excuse for declining the promenade herself,
wishing to profit by the opportunity their absence would afford, to
interrogate Theresa as to the nature and extent of the Ballinamoyle
property, and a thousand other _et cetera_. Her two elder daughters, to
whom she had before dinner mentioned her distress at having her anxiety
for information on this subject so _long_ unsatisfied, understood her
manoeuvre, and remained to assist in the gratification of their mutual
curiosity. Adelaide and Caroline accordingly set out on their ramble.
Miss Fitzcarril, in her anxious civility, attended them as far as the
hall door; she had scarcely reached it, when a voice accosted her with
"I want to spake a word to you, Miss Teree--za." "Well, nurse!" "Will
you be plased to give me some whisky for Jimmy Maloony--the paltry
fellow! he let the dinner fall bringing it up, and the spalpeen has cut
his leg very bad; but it was God saved the puddin, Miss!" Adelaide's
eyes were attracted towards the speaker, and she saw a fresh coloured
old woman, dressed in a rich flowered silk gown, underneath which
appeared a pair of coarse shoes and worsted stockings. The gown was open
before, and would have trailed on the ground, had it not been turned
back and pinned up behind, just to touch the edge of a striped green
stuff petticoat, which was surmounted in front with a fine linen apron
as white as snow. Her gray hair was rolled back over a cushion, and a
mob cap was pinned under her chin, the head piece ornamented with a
cherry coloured riband put once round her head, the ends turned back
again just to the ears, and a flat bow pinned on in front. It was not
surprising that the silk gown, which nurse wore in honour of the
strangers' arrival, should be old fashioned in make and texture, as she
had received it, according to custom, on the day Mr. O'Sullivan's
daughter had cut her first tooth. Miss Fitzcarril, before she complied
with the old woman's demands, directed Adelaide how best to proceed from
the hall door, to the following effect: "Do you see that walk to the
right? well, then you're not to go down that, only just as far as the
old oak, and then there is another to the left, mind you don't take
that, it leads to the shaking bog, but keep strait forward, and that
will bring you round and round to the back of the house." From which it
appeared that they were neither to turn to the right nor the left, but
to proceed in a strait line, which would conduct them home in a circle
from the front to the back of the house!

When the two young ladies set off, Miss Fitzcarril returned to nurse;
and while she felt for a key, amongst its numerous fellows at the bottom
of a pocket long enough to cover _her_ arm up to the elbow, shaking it
two or three times in a manner that showed what metal she carried; the
ancient dame said to her, "Our young lady that is to be, is the making
of a pretty girl, God bless her! But I'd rather it was her comrade, she
has more of the portly air and jaunteel walk of the O'Sullivans than any
of them. The others are no great shakes of ladies. But it's none of them
all would be a patch upon my sweet Rose if she was alive! Och Rose dear,
why did you lave your ould mammy to go wid a foreigner? Wouldn't his
honour have given ye gould to eat if ye chose it, and weren't you as
merry as a grig the live long day? It's but little you're happier, now
you're a blessed angel in Heaven, for you lament ye for your poor father
and ould nurse; and you're not a whit beautifuller or better than you
were here. Many's the mass we say for your sowl; but ye're fitter to
pray for us poor sinful craturs than we for you. Weary on ye, Limerick,
that ever ye rose on the face of God's earth, for ye lost me my sweet
child." The poor old woman beat her breast as this burst of sorrow
escaped her lips, and the tears rolled down the furrows of her aged
cheeks in torrents. "Nurse! nurse!" said Theresa, sobbing, "don't take
on so; if your master sees or hears you, you'll make him ill again: you
know what trouble he was in this morning, and that he wouldn't have the
first sight of the little girl before mortal breathing, but sent for her
to his own room." "Well, well, I'll soon lay my gray head in under the
sod; it isn't fit a poor cratur like me should mislist his honour." When
Miss Fitzcarril had composed herself, and dispatched nurse with a "drap
of comfort" to the kitchen, she returned to the drawing-room, and then
answered the interrogatories her visitors put to her in such a manner,
as much to strengthen the favourable impression, which the marshalling
of the tenantry had made on their minds in the morning; and, without
giving any one direct answer, managed to exalt her own and her cousin's
consequence considerably in their estimation.

Theresa, keeping ever in mind the fortune-teller's prediction, which she
graciously interpreted in young Webberly's favour, was extremely anxious
to ingratiate herself with his mother and sisters, and therefore had by
this time almost forgiven the former her proposition of blocking up the
windows of the revered apartment, as well as the affronting supposition,
that Black Frank appertained to the regular establishment of
Ballinamoyle; and the wheedling civility Mrs. O'Sullivan showed her,
encouraged her hopes and her efforts; more especially as Jack, in
compliance with his parent's wishes, had been particularly attentive to
her in the course of the day. Mrs. O'Sullivan had that morning convinced
her children it was for their interest, that Caroline should be her
uncle's heiress, as she promised in that case not to leave her any of
her own riches. She had been induced to hold out this bribe to them,
from perceiving the extreme rudeness with which they were inclined to
treat all around them, which she feared would disgust their host, whose
uniform urbanity was not less conspicuous.

With the Miss Webberlys, interest was scarcely a counterpoise to ill
temper, conceit, and _ennui_; and therefore their deportment varied
every half hour, according to the feeling of the moment. But in the
composition of their brother, ill nature had not been added to folly and
presumption; he was therefore constant in his endeavours to please, in
which he was also encouraged by the hopes, that the success of this
scheme might "put the old lady in a good humour, and make her come down
handsomely when he married Miss Wildenheim, which he would as soon as
they returned to England, please the pigs." Of the young lady's being
pleased he had little doubt; "her being so confoundedly shy was all a
sham."

Whilst Miss Fitzcarril and Mrs. O'Sullivan were playing against each
other, in the conversation which took place between them in the
drawing-room, Adelaide and Caroline pursued their ramble. At a little
distance from the house, one of the most beautiful scenes in nature
presented itself to their view.--A lake, of considerable extent, rose
from the bosom of rocky hills, whose bold forms were reflected in its
pellucid waters. It contained several islands, some with fine trees,
some grazed by cattle, and covered with the most brilliant verdure. On
the centre island stood the ruins of an old castle half covered with
ivy. To the south of the lake was a fine champaign country, and behind
the house rose a beautiful hill of great height, covered from the base
to the summit with an indigenous wood. To the right a narrow defile
opened into a wild and romantic country, showing mountains of the most
picturesque forms. The varied lights, which the declining sun threw on
this enchanting scene, gave it every beauty of exquisite colouring. "Oh!
look there, Adele!" said Caroline, "doesn't the lake and its islands
look as if it was let down from Heaven by that beautiful rainbow that
touches it at both sides? Oh, how I should like to walk up it!" "And
then," thought Adelaide, as she looked at the lovely child, "you might
join the company of the sylphs, whilst they 'pleas'd untwist the
sevenfold threads of light.'" Just at this moment an odd looking man
came close up, and taking off an old regimental cap, said, "I see you're
some of the strange quality ladies; you're quite out of the right
track,"--(rather surprising after Miss Fitzcarril's explicit
directions.) "I'll show ye'z round the place, and take ye'z to the
garden, if you're agreeable." "Thank you, my good man, I shall be much
obliged to you: pray may I ask your name?"--"They call me Jarge Quin at
the big house, Miss, because I was so long at the wars, where I lost my
right eye. I'm his honour's gardiner; and a brave kind master he is til
me, the Lord love him!" Jarge proceeded to do the honours; and delighted
by the questions Adelaide asked, became more than usually loquacious.
"Thon mountain that's foreninst ye, Miss, (said he,) is Croagh Patrick;
on the top of it is an altar, where many a good Christian goes to tell
their padereenes, on Patricksmas day. It's the very self same spot where
St. Patrick stood, when he called all the snakes and toads, and varmint
of all sorts, up the one side, and bid them, and their heirs for ever,
go down the t'other intil the sea, and be aff till Inglant; and that's
the rason the folks over the water have been so hard with us, ever since
that blessed day, no blame to you, Miss." "And what's that mountain,
shaped like a sugar loaf, more to the south?" "I don't know what name
the quality give it, Miss; but we semples call it, _Altoir na
Griene_[2], the name they say it had in ould times, afore St. Patrick
stood on the other mountain."

[Footnote 2: "The altar of the sun." Grieneus was one of the names of
Apollo in the Grecian temples.]

"Do you see that ould castle there, over aginst ye, in the lake? That's
where the family used to live, afore the new house was built, seventy
year agone next Hollontide; and now the good people dance in it every
moonlight night." "And, pray, who are the good people?" "The little
people, Miss, the fairies.--Many's the time Judy Maloony sees them
chasing each other, when they slide down the moon beams, to play swing
swang on the stalks of the ivy leaves.--And, she says, they sail across
the lake in butter cups, to the lavender hedge in the garden, when it's
in flower, to make themselves caps and jackets; and she gathers the
thistle's beard, to sarve them for threads, afore the sun sets, and as
sure as you live, there's never a bit of it there in the morning.

"Do you see that big stone, Miss, a little up the mountain there? That
by the side of the stream they call the goulden river; and that's the
place the boys and girls sit, of a summer's evening, to steal unknownst
upon the Loughrie men--ould men, about as big as my hand, looking as
sour as you plase; but if you'll thrape it out to them, ye won't let
them aff when ye catch them--they'll show you a power of gould they've
hid in under the earth."

Adelaide, though highly amused herself, thought she would give audience
to Jarge another time, not thinking his conversation very edifying to
Caroline, who, with "locks thrown back, and lips apart," was eagerly
listening to every word he said; and therefore proposed returning home.
But Jarge, looking much disappointed, said,--"Och! and won't ye be
plased just to step intil the gardin? it's in iligant order for ye'z
just now; I doubt ye'll never see it as nate again." Accordingly they
were ushered into a walled garden, three _Irish_ acres in extent, well
stocked with vegetables; but at least one third of it was planted with
potatoes. It however produced a quantity of fruit, which almost
exhausted Theresa's patience in preserving for herself and her friends
the Desmonds; for he would have been a bold wight, that would have
ventured to suggest to one of the name of O'Sullivan the propriety of
selling fruit. It was much more consonant to their dignity to let, what
they or their friends could not consume, rot under the trees. A great
gate opened on a gravel walk (besides the entrance door) on which Mr.
O'Sullivan's father had driven his coach and four all round the walks.
But these walks, though just then, as Jarge Quin said, in "iligant
order," were not usually remarkable for neatness. In their progress
round the garden, they came to a very beautiful flower bed, and Adelaide
put out her hand to pull a rose that tempted her sight.--Jarge hastily
stopped her, saying, "You're welcome, as the flowers of May, to any
thing, but that, at Ballinamoyle; his honour will have that himself the
morra. Before I went to the wars, I dug the place for Miss Rose to plant
the tree with her own beautiful hands. In the bed we always put the same
sorting of flowers, after the very moral of what she left them; and no
soul ever pulls them but his honour, and nurse Delany, who dresses the
altar, in Miss Rose's room, with them; and lays them about her monument
in the chapel, where she's cut out in white marble more nat'ral than the
life."

Adelaide made many apologies for the sacrilege she had been about to
commit; and as she entered the house felt all the wounds of her heart
bleed afresh, as she thought, "so would my beloved father have mourned
for me."



CHAPTER IV.


    And do I live to hear the tale!
    And will ambition then prevail,
    Can sordid schemes of wealth assail,
                    A heart so true as his?

    oeIL PERDUTO BEN.oe


As Mr. O'Sullivan's guests were rising from the breakfast table the
following morning, a peremptory ringing of the hall door bell announced
the welcome arrival of the gray headed postman, who travelled on foot at
all seasons of the year, visiting in turn the scattered dwellings of the
gentry of this mountainous region. Adelaide, with sparkling eyes and
eager fingers, opened a letter from Mrs. Temple, in answer to hers from
Shrewsbury, which, besides much domestic intelligence, contained the
following paragraph:--

"I know you are much interested for Augustus Mordaunt, and therefore
will be glad to hear that he is just gone abroad, with his uncle, Lord
Osselstone, who, I am convinced, must grow proud, nay fond of him, as he
has, by this means, an opportunity of being acquainted with the fine
qualities of this noble young man. I am afraid my favourite wish, of his
marrying Selina Seymour, is never likely to be gratified. Mr. Temple
writes to me from London, that it is confidently reported she is engaged
to Mr. Elton, Lord Eltondale's son and heir. He says, no young man in
England bears a finer character (though it is impossible we could ever
compare him to Augustus): a gentleman from Paris told Mr. Temple, that,
instead of entering into the dissipation of that gay metropolis, he
lives quite retired, absorbed in study; also that he had been acquainted
with Mr. Elton in Sicily, where he was desperately in love with a lady
of that country, whom he believed he had married: if this be the case,
it is surely very dishonourable of him not to put an immediate stop to
his engagement with Miss Seymour.--Augustus would never be guilty of
such conduct."

       *       *       *       *       *

Adelaide did indeed take a much deeper interest in Augustus Mordaunt's
fate, than Mrs. Temple imagined; and little did that kind friend suspect
the misery her letter had caused on the perusal. "Gone abroad!"
exclaimed Adelaide, in thought; "perhaps for years."--A deadly paleness
overspread her face, and she precipitately sought the solitude of her
own chamber. Let us not intrude on the privacy she has chosen; but turn
to survey the motley groupes that are now assembling about Mr.
O'Sullivan's door.

This day, being Saturday, Miss Fitzcarril held _her_ levee, which was as
numerously, though not quite so respectably, attended as her host's had
been on the day before. On this day of the week she gave audience, and a
halfpenny apiece, to all the beggars in the country, with many charges
not to spend their money idly. On these occasions she stood at the
breakfast room window; from which spot she inquired into all their
complaints, without scruple; and, with the assistance of nurse,
prescribed for them, and gave medicines, wine, spirits, or black currant
jam, as their wants demanded: this affair being at an end, they all
adjourned to the kitchen door, where each received a pitcher of broth,
and a huge oaten cake, to bake which had been the principal employment
of the women assembled there the day before. An English reader might
suppose, that the amount of Miss Fitzcarril's donation in money had been
limited to a halfpenny to each beggar, from her own inclination to
parsimony; but it was in fact what was customary, a sort of toll, paid
by the gentry to the mendicants, on condition of receiving which, they
forbore to infest their abodes at other times. The country families
generally gave something additional, in the way of provision, according
to their ability; but the inhabitants of towns and villages literally
paid only this new species of poll tax; which, when received from
numbers, amounts to something considerable to each individual. It is a
lamentable truth, that an undue proportion of the Irish population are
beggars, either from necessity or inclination; and the predilection for
this mode of living is encouraged by the extraordinary charity of the
lower order to each other: no suppliant ever leaves the door of the most
miserable cabin, without receiving a handful of oaten meal, or two or
three potatoes, which are put into bags carried for the purpose; nor is
a night's lodging and the use of the turf fire ever denied. The form of
application, and admittance, is as follows:--The beggar stands on the
threshold, and says, "Peace be to this house! Any good Christian
within?"--"What do you want, poor sowl?"--"The blessing of the Lord, and
the holy powers, be about ye; and give a desolate cratur a night's
lodging."--"In the name of the holy Vargin, and the blessed saints,
kindly welcome." After this formula, the beggar, and his or her family,
take up their abode, as long as the neighbourhood affords them
subsistence. In summer, hordes of people travel about the country in
this manner. They plant their potatoes, and sow their oats in spring;
then locking up their houses, repair, like their betters, to the
watering places, where they remain till the season arrives for digging
the one and reaping the other. To the beggars that are acknowledged to
be hale in body and sound in mind must be added those, who draw on the
charity of the working members of the community, as "innocents,"
"crouls," "spey" men or women, those afflicted with fits, dumb people,
and lunatics. Whether it be, that the high premium that is given for any
defect, mental or bodily, induces the fortunate possessor to bring it
forward to publick view, and others, not so distinguished, to
counterfeit infirmity; certain it is, that the eye of a stranger from
England, where such objects are shut up in appropriate asylums, is as
much shocked as surprised at the number of the above mentioned
unfortunate beings, that are seen in the country parts of Ireland.
There are numerous impostors, but still they are the exceptions, whilst
the real sufferers form the rule.

Ere the beggars dispersed, Adelaide returned to the breakfast parlour.
And is this proud and brilliant beauty the gentle, placid Adelaide? A
vivid, perhaps a feverish glow, mantled her cheeks, and gave her eyes a
dazzling lustre, that was almost as repelling as it was beautiful. The
dignity of her carriage approached to majesty. She seemed to walk
triumphantly, as if she led misfortune by the hand, and awed her by

    "The strange powers which lie
    Within the magic circle of the eye."

But had she thus quickly subdued all the rebel feelings, that so lately
had mocked the calm control of reason? Oh, no! The smile that quivers
round the trembling lip may play but to conceal the throb of agony. Even
the melancholy sepulchre sometimes looks bright in the splendid beam of
the sun; and the admiring spectator thinks not of the darkness and
horror that reign within. At that moment Adelaide's heart was the tomb
of hope. When she entered the breakfast room, Mr. Webberly stared at her
like another Cymon, when Iphigenia first appeared to his wondering view.
After gazing at her for some moments, he drew his breath, which had been
repressed by his admiration, so as to give utterance to a most audible
sigh; at the same time resolving, that, when she was Mrs. Webberly, she
should always wear rouge. "When she has a colour (thought he) there is
not a handsomer woman in all Lunnon.--At this very instant she looks as
grand as Madame Catalani, when she acts that Di--Di--that virago queen,
that burned herself like a fool. What a figure we shall cut when I drive
her round the ring at the Park, in an open landaulet, with four dashing
horses, and two out-riders, in smart liveries! No; I think I'll sit
beside her; the fellows will envy me so! and have two postilions, with
purple velvet caps, and jackets trimmed with gold lace!" Having thus
settled his equipage to his satisfaction, he came up to the intended
mistress of it, saying, with all the tenderness of accent he could
command, "There is no body, Miss Wildenheim, I envy so much as Mrs.
Temple; you used always to be so glad when you saw her; I should be the
happiest man alive, if a letter from me would make you look so gay as
hers has done."

A deeper hue painted Adelaide's cheek, and a still brighter beam
sparkled in her eye. "What strange figure is that?" said she, laughing,
and avoiding any direct reply; "mounted like the farrier of Tamworth,
'on a mare of four shilling?'" The equestrian, that thus attracted her
notice, was one of a most unusual description. A sallow, meagre object
was mounted on one of the rough mountain horses of the country; a straw
rope served as bridle; and, instead of saddle, he sat on a well filled
sack, wearing a coarse blanket, fastened under his chin, not to serve
as a garment, as she unknowingly supposed, but to hide the good
condition of those it concealed. "What's your business, good man?"
inquired Miss Fitzcarril.--"I'm a stranger, and ye have a good name in
the country, lady dear; and I'm just come to seek your charity, in God's
name."--"What's that you've got in the sack?"--"Pratees and meal,
honey."--"And where did you get that horse?"--"Troth, I bought him at
the fair, last Tursday was tree weeks." "I've nothing for you, good man:
many's the time I've heard of setting a beggar on horseback, but I never
saw one till now." The following Saturday this hero returned on the same
errand, but without his horse, still however retaining his blanket. Miss
Fitzcarril's lynx's eye recognized him instantly; indeed such a peculiar
figure could hardly have escaped the notice of the most casual observer.
She inquired where he had left his horse? He very quietly answered, "Ye
were no ways agreeable to him, jewel, the last time I was here, so I
just hitched him up at the gate there below[3]!"

[Footnote 3: _Verbatim._]

In the middle of this assembly of beggars, four gentlemen and a lady
rode up to the door; and Mr. Webberly turned away with an expression of
mortification, when he saw Adelaide kiss her hand to Colonel Desmond,
who jumped off his horse, and, with his niece and Mr. Donolan, quickly
entered the house; whilst his brother, with his characteristic
jocularity, stopped to jest with the women on the outside, his son
standing by in silence to enjoy the fun. When they, in a few minutes'
time, joined their party within, the mendicant dames said one to
another, "God bless his merry honour, but master Harry is a hearty
gentleman[4]!"

[Footnote 4: The lower Irish, to the end of life, continue to call every
body by the appellation they knew them in youth. Many a "Master Billy
and Miss Jenny" are, with all propriety, fathers and mothers of large
families. The wives of the peasantry are always called by their maiden
names amongst their equals; and parents speak of "the boy," or "the
girl," even when past the grand climacteric.]

Mr. Desmond was a very handsome man, tall, stout, and well made; his
face, manner, and words expressive of the greatest _bonhomie_, mirth,
and joviality. He had no pretensions whatsoever, but was one of the few,
who openly dare to appear precisely what they are. He went through the
world finding amusement in every person he met, whether beggar or king;
laughing at himself, and with every body else: he danced, rode, and sung
admirably; and particularly excelled in the composition of
electioneering songs and squibs. His family had, for centuries, lost
their blood and their property, in every rebellion Ireland was agitated
by; but, about sixty years ago, had become protestants and loyalists in
the same day; and, as the Irish are never lukewarm in any thing, Mr.
Desmond now figured as Orange-man, captain of a yeomanry corps,
freemason, and magistrate of the most approved zeal, which, however, his
natural good disposition kept within the pale of humanity. Miss Desmond,
who accompanied her father and uncle in this visit, was mentally and
personally a softened resemblance of the former. She was just then
fifteen, but so extremely tall and womanly in stature, that the
spectator was constantly obliged to refer to her face, to correct the
false calendar expressed by her figure. The _dilettante_, in the true
spirit of hypercriticism, congratulated himself on having discovered,
that she was not symmetrically formed; but though some said, "She would
be a fine woman," and some that "She would be a coarse woman," all were
agreed, that in the mean time she was a very lovely girl. Her features
were not perfect, but her countenance was frank, good natured, and
vivacious: a pair of laughing eyes sent forth from beneath their shading
lashes fairy messengers of mirth, to dimple her blooming cheek, or
pucker up the corners of her eye-lids. In manner, though she was not
impudent, she was not bashful, perhaps from the total absence of
self-conceit, which never led her to suppose she occupied a place in the
thoughts of those who did not love her; and on the partiality of those
who did she relied implicitly. Until her uncle fixed his residence at
her father's house, she was nearly as wild as the heaths that surrounded
it. But the observer of nature is well aware, that in such uncultivated
regions blooms many a flower, whose beauty is more exquisite than that
of those the art of man raises in the brilliant parterre. Some happy
star seemed to rule over Melicent Desmond, that saved her from the very
verge of what was unlovely in woman. She was so tall, she would have
looked masculine, but for the fairest complexion in the world, which
gave her face, neck, and arms a most feminine appearance. The expression
of her countenance was so droll, it would have been satirical, but for
the kindness of heart it beamed with. She was so lively she was almost
boisterous; and any other girl, equally careless of her attire, would
have seemed untidy. But all her looks, words, and actions had a peculiar
charm, that, though none would or could have imitated them, few were so
harsh as to condemn; and, in the very act of censure, the face of the
speaker expressed fondness and admiration, of which nobody could define
to themselves the cause: she seized upon the affections with a sort of
arbitrary power, which defied the remonstrances of reason, when it did
not receive her sanction. This dear girl was the idol of her parents and
her uncle: but the latter, though most anxious to see her all that was
delightful in a female character, was extremely cautious in the line of
conduct he adopted towards her; he rather sought to add, than to change,
and was not a little fearful of "improving for the worse," as his
countrymen emphatically express the effects arising from a spirit of
false refinement:

    "Many are spoil'd by that pedantic throng,
    Who with great pains teach youth to reason wrong:
    Tutors, like virtuosoes, oft inclin'd,
    By strange transfusion to improve the mind,
    Draw off the sense we have, to pour in new,
    Which yet with all their skill they ne'er could do."

He more judiciously confined his endeavours to furnishing her with ideas
and examples, leaving it to her unbiassed judgment to choose amongst
them, and make what she pleased her own. He now wished to give her the
advantage of associating, as much as possible, with Adelaide, noticing
her perfections but generally, and trusting to Melicent's discernment to
analyse each particular charm, unaided, save by the happy benevolence of
disposition, which would make such an exercise of her faculties the
first of all pleasures. He had accordingly lost no time in making his
brother call on the strangers, for the purpose of inviting them to
Bogberry Hall. It was settled, in this visit, that the party from
Ballinamoyle should dine at Mr. Desmond's house early in the ensuing
week, where they should remain till the following day, as the distance
was too great to permit of returning at night.

Mr. O'Sullivan prevailed on the Desmonds to join his family circle at
dinner; and when they prepared to return home in the evening, Colonel
Desmond said to Adelaide, in a low voice, "I hope Melicent has not
shocked you by her brogue; I find it most difficult to cure." "Oh, don't
try to alter her accent, (replied she) she speaks the prettiest Irish!
Any thing that would make her less original, would take from her charms:
she is one of the most captivating creatures I ever saw." His only
answer was a parting pressure of her hand, which conveyed his thanks for
her admiration of his niece, and meant more than he yet ventured to
express in words. "How different she is from Melicent, (thought he), yet
how charming!"

A lover and an uncle could not be supposed to be expert at definition,
otherwise he might have said, that the one amused the fancy, whilst the
other touched the heart.



CHAPTER V.

                 Be my plan,
    To live as merry as I can,
    Regardless how the fashions go,
    Whether there's reason for't, or no.
    Be my employment here on earth,
    To give a lib'ral scope to mirth.

    oeCHURCHILLoe.

Bogberry Hall was the abode of mirth and glee: there was nothing but
rattling, and ranting, and singing, and dancing, from morning till
night. The family living in it, consisted of nine happy children, with
an indulgent, tender mother, remarkable for nothing, except her good
nature, and careful attention to their wants and pleasures. This house
was never without company staying in it, principally relations; for the
Desmonds had first, second, and third cousins innumerable. The actual
income of the family was not large, in proportion to their numbers; but
the advantage of situation supplied them with almost every thing they
consumed at a low rate; and many rents, that a non-resident would have
found it impossible to get, were compounded for, partly in kind, partly
in labour. When any body condoled with Mr. Desmond on his large family,
he used to say, "The more the merrier; there never was a child sent into
the world, that it did not bring its portion with it; I wish I had
thirty of them." Calming his mind with this idea, he determined to make
them, as long as he was alive, as merry as possible; for, in his
vocabulary, merriment and happiness were synonymous. A very necessary
part of his establishment, for this purpose, were two fiddlers and a
piper. One of the former was then absent on rather a singular
errand.--Miss Sophy Desmond had been put to school at Galway, and he was
sent to board in the same house, that he might play for her to dance
every evening, and "keep her from thinking long after home." The cause
of Sophy's being sent to school was as singular as her strange
accompaniment. One of Melicent's favourite pastimes the year before had
been to get up on the horses that carried fish, poultry, or eggs, in a
sort of open panniers called creels, to her father's house for sale; and
whilst her mother was giving a dram, or buying chickens three to the
couple, away she went "o'er moor and mountain," amusing herself with the
alarm she should cause, and the hunt there would be after her. One day a
horse was brought to Bogberry Hall, carrying two wooden churns, one
containing eggs, the other buttermilk. Melicent scrambled up the side,
and seating herself between them, off she set; but while she was
galloping along much to her satisfaction, in making a leap over a pit in
the bog before her father's gate, the covers of the churns came off, and
she was soused with the milk on one side, and pelted with the eggs on
the other. The horse took fright, and carried her in this condition
miles round the country, without hat or cloak. She was at last met by
some gentlemen, who brought her home, her clothes dripping wet, and her
face and hair stiff with the contents of the egg shells. The conclusion
her friends drew from this adventure was, that as _Melicent_ was quite
spoiled, _Sophy_ must be sent to school directly. Miss Desmond's
coadjutor in all such pranks (which however she had much intermitted
since the above-mentioned unlucky day) was her brother Launcelot, an
arch boy, one year younger than herself, who, to plague his cousin
"Dilly," as he called Mr. Donolan, now pretended to be yet more
unpolished than he really was. These two were standing in the window of
their mother's drawing-room, on the day on which she expected the party
from Ballinamoyle to dinner, when they espied Mrs. O'Sullivan's gaudy
equipage at some distance. "There, Melicent," said Launcelot, "there
comes Tidy-ideldy and Big bow bow," as he had christened the two Miss
Webberlys. "I declare, Lanty," replied his sister, "when I saw that
ugly Miss Webberly at dinner the other day, with half a rose tree on her
head, I could scarcely keep from saying to you, that she was 'the devil
in a bush.'" "Oh fie, Melicent!" said Colonel Desmond, with an
ill-suppressed smile, "such a great girl as you ought not to encourage
that rude boy; it would be much more becoming for you to think of
receiving your guests with politeness, than to employ yourself in
finding names for them." "Don't be angry, uncle dear," said Melicent,
coaxingly, "and I'll call her London Pride; and that dear beautiful Miss
Wildenheim is Venus's looking-glass:--you have no objection to be Flos
Adonis, uncle, I'm sure. Oh! I wish I was like her, and then you'd be
quite pleas'd with me." "My dearest Melicent," said he, fondly, "I don't
wish you to be like any body but yourself; only control your spirits
to-day, that's a good girl."

In another window Mr. Donolan was expatiating on the merits of frogs
stewed in _red_ champaigne, as he had eat them at the _Café de mille
Colonnes_; whilst his auditor, Mr. Desmond, was assiduously drawing up
his mouth into a whistle, his usual preventive of _mal à propos_
laughter. His lady was preparing to receive her guests on their
entrance, which she did with much kindness, and with the ease of a
person well accustomed to the office. The ladies from Ballinamoyle were
escorted only by Captain Cormac, as Mr. Webberly had unfortunately
sprained his ancle that morning too severely to admit of his moving off
a couch, and his host remained at home in order to show him proper
attention, and Father Dermoody never formed one of so large a party.

The company, when assembled, besides the party from Ballinamoyle and the
Desmond family, consisted of the curate of the parish, the physician of
the neighbourhood, a music-master, occasionally resident at Bogberry
Hall, two smart beaux on a visit there from Limerick, and three very
handsome girls of the name of Nevil, whom Mr. Desmond introduced to the
English ladies as "Battle, Murder, and Sudden Death."

Miss Fitzcarril had hoped much from the effects of a rose-coloured
satin gown and orange turban, on the heart of her promised spouse; and
therefore great was her disappointment, and unfeigned were her
expressions of regret, when she lamented the accident, which deprived
the party of his "agreeable society." Miss Webberly, resolving to take
the _dilettante's_ affections by a _coup de main_, had that day employed
herself in a reperusal of the portable Cyclopædia, and had no less
attended to the embellishment of her person, which she attired _à la
Minerve_, to give him a delicate proof of her just appreciation of his
compliments.

But Cecilia Webberly lost no time in commencing a flirtation with him,
for the sole purpose of plaguing her "sweet Meely." In this however she
was disappointed, for he complimented the mind of the one nearly as much
as the person of the other, hoping thus to earn an equal portion of the
"diet of good humour" for himself, which was as necessary to the comfort
of his moral existence, as the daily aliments which were required for
his physical being. For the purpose of receiving and bestowing flattery,
he took a favourable opportunity, afforded by a pause in conversation,
of producing a gold fillagree case, in which a few yards of pink riband
were rolled up, which some milliner of the _Palais Royal_ had persuaded
him to buy, in order to mark them with the dimensions of the celebrated
statues in the _Louvre_; and he had thus indefatigably measured every
wrist, waist, head, and ancle of the collection; and now as
unremittingly solicited every lady of his acquaintance to apply this
test of symmetry to the corresponding parts of her own person. And many
a female heart beat with anxious expectation as she passed the girdle of
various Venuses round Her waist, in hopes some one might prove a fit
cestus for herself.

By a little false play, Felix now proved Cecilia to be the exact
counterpart of the celebrated Amazon of the Hall of the Laocoon, which
considerably raised her in his and her own estimation. Mr. Desmond,
seeing him preparing to roll this new _line of beauty_ up, called him
over, and whispered loud enough for Adelaide, who was sitting close by,
to hear, "The ladies will be affronted if you don't measure them all,
Dilly; it looks as if you didn't think they would be the right
fit:--begin with Miss Wildenheim; I'll be bound the belt of the _Venus
de Medici_ will fit her as 'nate as a Limerick glove.'"

When the _dilettante_, in the most affected manner possible, presented
Adelaide with the portion of the riband he had passed round the waist of
the Medicean Venus, she politely, but gravely declined the honour with a
dignity that repelled the officious fop; and turning to Melicent with a
kind and anxious glance, by a half sentence conveyed to the intelligent
girl her contempt and disapprobation of the erudite trifling. Colonel
Desmond met her eye, and by looks thanked her both for the example and
advice; and then said, "Why, Felix, if you were to measure wrists and
waists by spherical trigonometry; indeed it would afford a laudable
display of your science. I'm sure Miss Wildenheim would not suffer the
dimensions of her arm to be found in any way less sublime." "Yes,
indeed," exclaimed Melicent, "you're no better, Cousin Dilly, than a
common habit-maker with that little yard. Why don't you make a surtout
for the Venus you are so fond of talking about?" Though Mr. Desmond had
set young Donolan on in hopes of seeing a high scene of comic effect
take place between him and the ladies, as he never let pass any
opportunity of quizzing him, in revenge for the contempt he on all
occasions expressed for that country, which was the object of his own
enthusiastic love; he grinned with delight to see him so mortified,
whilst he at the same time felt much obliged to Adelaide for the good
natured hint she had given to Melicent, which he had predetermined to
convey himself, when it came to her turn to make the ridiculous
exhibition. However, this votary of Momus could not consent to lose his
fun entirely, and therefore said to the discontented connoisseur, "Don't
be dash'd, Dilly, if the young ones are too shy, we'll try the old
ladies;" and snapping the fillagree case out of his hand, he began with
his own wife, and with much laughter found her circumference out of all
just proportion. He then proceeded to Mrs. O'Sullivan, saying, "I'm
shocked, madam, at my nephew's want of gallantry in not ascertaining the
proportions of your figure before he took those of lesser beauties."
"You're wastly polite, sir, but I bant so slim as I used to be; that ere
belt wouldn't compress me now, though time was, Mr. Desmond, when I was
the pride of Bagnigge Wells--I could show shapes with any of 'em." "But,
my dear ma'am, if one won't do, two of them put together will, and then
we can safely say, you have double the beauty of the best French Venus
amongst them all. Here's for the honour of Old England," holding up the
riband; and as she passed it round her waist, "I knew that," continued
he, "it's allowed that one English can beat three Frenchmen; and I could
have laid my life, that one full grown British beauty was at least equal
to two of the first in France." Miss Fitzcarril simperingly anticipated
her triumph, when she should give incontestable proof, that her waist
was smaller than that of the finest model of sculptured symmetry. After
making the modest, she consented to give ocular demonstration of the
fact; and then, holding out one long bony fore-finger, put the tip of
the other on its knuckle, saying, with the utmost exultation, "All that
much less:" which circumstance she related with conscious pride to Mr.
Webberly, the first time she saw him afterwards; and it will long afford
an agreeable subject for Captain Cormac's compliments, who, in truth,
had lately been rather at a loss for novelties of this kind.

The _dilettante_, in an agony of tasteful horror, that the silk, which
had encircled the divine form of the Medicean Venus, should have been
contaminated by touching that of the stiffest old maid in _Connaught_,
shuddered as he internally groaned, "Oh! the she Vandal! But what can a
man of taste expect, who ventures to amalgamate in society with these
modern Boeotians! May the genius of sculpture never again display her
_chefs d'oeuvre_ to my enlightened gaze, if I ever make any further
attempt to give these demi-savages a specimen of the _beau idéal_." He
had scarcely rolled up his riband with undissembled indignation, when
dinner was announced. Had the tables on which it was served been as
animated as Homer's, they would have groaned with the weight of
supernumerary dishes, in all which, however, Mr. Donolan could not, with
the aid of his glass, find any thing he could recommend Miss Cecilia
Webberly to eat. "Not a particle of French cookery," said he,
despairingly shrugging his shoulders, "except, perhaps, that _bashamele
de veau roti_--the piper and the fiddler make such a confounded noise,
no one can be heard. Launcelot! you're next your father, ask him for
some of it." "Anan!" said the youth, pretending to look quite stupid,
"Ask your father to send Miss Cecilia Webberly some of that _bashamele
de veau roti_." "What in the name of the Lord does he mean, Milly?" said
Lanty, turning to his sister; "faith and honour he never spakes legible
now." "Legible, Lanty! indeed I think he speaks copperplate," replied
Melicent; "it's some larded veal he wants."

All this time the piper and the fiddler were playing furiously out of
tune in the hall. Mr. Desmond, addressing Adelaide, said, "I always make
them play up a tune at dinner--it makes it sit light." "What a
satisfaction it must be to you to support those poor blind men!" "Yes,
and their being blind has an advantage you don't think of;--if I have a
potato and herring for my dinner, they don't know but I sport three
courses and a dessert." The noise of the piper and fiddler, of
incessant laughing and talking, the clatter of knives and forks, joined
to the giggling and chattering of the maid servants employed in washing
plates, spoons, forks, and knives, in one common bucket, behind the
half-closed parlour door, with occasional dialogues between them, such
as, "Oh Jasus! I have brok the big dish, and my mistress will be
raving!" "The devil mend you! what cale had you to be peeping in at the
quality, with your face as black as my shoe; and when the master turned
his head, ye made off in such a flusteration, ye let go your load."
"Sarra matter! I'll get Miss Milly to spake a good word for me, and
there'll be nothing about it." All these noises united were too much for
Mr. Donolan, whose "nerves were finer than a spider's web," and he
became quite cross. When Melicent complained of the heat, he said very
gruffly, "It's no wonder you're hot, when you appear in _bear skin_."
She pretended not to understand him:--he retorted--"Really, Melicent, if
you have not _gumption_ enough to understand them, I cannot be
dictionary to my own _bon mots_." "Glossary, rather," thought Adelaide,
"for I'm sure they are barbarous wit."

Whilst Mr. Donolan conveyed to his _inamorata_, who was sitting beside
him, by winks, and shrugs, and contortions of countenance, his knowledge
of the _savoir vivre_, he and she both, as well as the rest of the
company, gave incontestable proof--(at least if there be any truth in
the proverb, which tells us, "That the proof of the pudding is in the
eating")--that Mrs. Desmond's bill of fare, though "gothic to the last
degree"--was very palatable. They even condescended, after demolishing
fish, flesh, fowl, and pastry, to partake of her floating island, served
in a flat cut glass dish, which occupied the place of a modern plateau.
After the ladies had given the dessert "honour due," and the gentlemen
had drank "The king," and "All our true friends, and the devil take the
false ones," and the "Ladies' inclinations," the fair part of the
company retired to the drawing-room. Here Melicent, in great delight,
showed her friends the new grand piano forte her uncle had bought for
her in Dublin. "It was thoroughly well tuned," said she to Adelaide, "by
Mr. Ingham this morning, that we might have the pleasure of hearing you
play. My uncle says you are a perfect musician." Miss Cecilia Webberly
bit her lips, but quickly consoled herself with the recollection, that
he had never heard her sing; and, to turn the conversation, asked Miss
Desmond if she drew; she replied in the negative, but produced a
port-folio of fine drawings of her uncle's. Adelaide had seen most of
them before, and looked at them with the deepest interest, as they
brought past scenes to her memory. Melicent held up one that was quite
new to her;--a lovely female figure, in the freshest bloom of youth, was
depicted holding a scroll, which she was reading with evident pleasure.
The painter had caught one of the softest blushes and most bewitching
smiles, that ever gave to beauty her least resistible charm; whilst the
drapery, which flowed round a form of perfect symmetry, seemed to have
been arranged by the hand of the Graces. This drawing had been executed
by one of the first masters at Vienna, from a sketch of Colonel
Desmond's. On the margin of the drawing were the following verses, the
first few words of which were written on the scroll the fair creature
was supposed to read:

        Adélaïde
    Paroît faite-exprès pour charmer;
    Et mieux que le galant Ovide,
    Ses yeux enseignent l'art d'aimer
        Adélaïde.

        D'Adélaïde
    Ah! que l'empire semble doux!
    Qu'on me donne un nouvel Alcide,
    Je gage qu'il file aux genoux
        D'Adélaïde.

        D'Adélaïde
    Fuyez le dangereux accueil:
    Tous les enchantemens d'Armide
    Sont moins à craindre qu'un coup d'oeil
        D'Adélaïde.

        D'Adélaïde
    Quand l'Amour eut formé les traits,
    Ma fois, dit-il, la cour de Gnide
    N'a rien de pareil aux attraits
        D'Adélaïde.

        Adélaïde,
    Lui dit-il, ne nous quittons pas:
    Je suis aveugle, sois mon guide;
    Je suivrai partout pas à pas
        Adélaïde.


    TRANSLATION.

        Adelaide
    Was surely form'd all hearts to move,
    And more than Ovid we can prove
    By speaking eyes, the art of love
        In Adelaide.

        Than Adelaide
    No softer thraldom could we meet:
    Alcides' self would think it sweet,
    To spin his task out at the feet
        Of Adelaide.

        From Adelaide
    And all her dang'rous beauties fly;--
    Armida's charms and witchery
    Were far less fatal than the eye
        Of Adelaide.

        Of Adelaide
    When Cupid first the features fram'd,
    "In Cnidus' court," he loud proclaim'd,
    "Not one for beauty shall be fam'd
        Like Adelaide."

        "O Adelaide!"
    The sightless boy enraptur'd cried,
    "Alas, I'm blind! Be thou my guide;
    From henceforth I'll ne'er leave the side
        Of Adelaide."

Miss Wildenheim quickly recollected, that these lines were written in a
fine edition of Klopstock's works Colonel Desmond had given her, as a
_gage d'amitié_, the last day she had seen him at Vienna; and when Miss
Nevil turned to trace the resemblance she perceived in the drawing--the
blush, the smile, the attitude, the graceful form, struck her so
forcibly, that she exclaimed, "It _is_ yourself, Miss Wildenheim; I
thought it was the image of you, the instant I saw it." Melicent, with
intuitive propriety, sought to relieve Adelaide's embarrassment, and
said, "Here's a far more beautiful figure; this, Miss Webberly, is my
last production--a charming Paul and Virginia, I assure you. Do admire
Paul's leg, it is thicker than the tree he is sitting under:--I wonder
he doesn't kick Virginia, she squints so abominably."

When this singular specimen of the fine arts was first displayed to the
partial eyes of Melicent's parents, it met with no small admiration from
them. A showy frame was bought, in which it was hung up over the
chimney-piece of their usual sitting-room, and the fond mother gazed at
it from morning till night. When Colonel Desmond returned from abroad,
this was the first object, that, after showing her nine healthy,
handsome children, she directed his attention to. He did not then
express all the horror he felt at the contrast it afforded; but in about
six months' negociation with considerable difficulty accomplished its
being safely deposited in his port-folio.



CHAPTER VI.

        Qu'Adélaïde
    Met d'ame et de gout dans son chant!
    Aux accens de sa voix timide
    Chacun dit rien n'est si touchant,
        Qu'Adélaïde[5]!

    oeMARMONTELoe.

[Footnote 5:

        Adelaide
    Whilst singing steals each list'ner's heart,
    'Tis melody's refined part,
    None can such melting strains impart,
        As Adelaide.
]


As soon as the gentlemen returned to the drawing room, and tea was over,
the mistress of the house proposed music.

The Desmonds, in general, were considerable proficients in this
delightful art; and a trio for the violin, flute, and piano forte, was
charmingly played by Melicent, and her father, and uncle. Though the
former failed so lamentably in drawing, she had a fine genius for music,
which was made the most of by constant practice; it was the only thing
her father had ever studied, and in it he had acquired considerable
knowledge, whilst her uncle had gained, in Germany, a fine style of
playing on the violin; and to their instructions she was more indebted
for her excellence, than to those of Mr. Ingham, who taught her the mere
mechanical part of the science, and even that very imperfectly. As soon
as, according to the rules of etiquette, the young lady of the house had
made a commencement, her guests were in turn requested to display their
talents. Colonel Desmond had whispered about that Adelaide sung
enchantingly; and there was a general impatience expressed to hear her,
which she, in her usual unaffected manner, consented to gratify.

The tones of her voice were exquisitely touching, and they took the
shortest road to the heart, without stopping on the way to tickle the
ear by the tricks of mere execution; each ornament seemed to rise in
its own proper place, by a sort of "happy necessity," and, like the
temple of taste, her singing "always charmed, never surprised." Her
vocal excellences were most called forth in the highest style of Italian
music. In the detached scenes of an opera she was inimitable: her divine
voice painted, as it were, every shade of feeling; and the composer
might have rejoiced to hear the Proserpine or Elfrida, not of his music,
but of his imagination. Still more enchanting than her voice when she
sang was her countenance, which the soul seemed to irradiate with that
immortal light only seen on earth in "the human face divine;" and there
were expressed all those indescribable charms, the offspring of genius
and feeling, which the most melodious sounds are insufficient to convey
to the sense. As she was however too rational, to be sublime out of
place, she did not attempt to introduce the "grand opera" at Bogberry
Hall, but apologizing for her deficiency in English music, which she
feared to disfigure by her peculiar accent, sang a playful foreign
ballad, which perhaps displayed the fascinating graces of her flexible
voice, and polished manner, almost as delightfully as a finer
composition would have done. She was rapturously _encored_, and was
detained singing, till, quite distressed at the idea of excluding every
other lady from the piano forte, she pleaded fatigue, as her excuse for
retiring from the instrument. As the company crowded round her to bestow
their praises, the winning expression with which her soft eyes met the
general gaze, as they seemed imploringly to ask the forgiveness of her
unsought superiority, and which her graceful gestures no less eloquently
entreated, drew from the heart touched by her sweetness and modesty that
exclamation of "charming! charming!" which the lips had opened to apply
to her captivating talents.

During the time Adelaide was singing, Melicent stood beside her uncle in
almost breathless delight, her hand resting on his arm, which she
pressed with earnestness as any note of peculiar beauty met her ear. He
was so completely lost in a reverie, (a most unusual circumstance with
him,) that even after the melody had ceased, he stood in the same spot,
and in the same attitude, as before. Melicent roused him from his
reflections, as she looked up in his face, and said, "How enchanting!
her voice is 'pleasant as the gale of spring, that sighs on the hunter's
ear when he wakens from dreams of joy, and has heard the music of the
spirits of the Hill.'" "I perceive," replied he, almost starting at her
first address, "that you read Ossian as incessantly as ever, Melicent: I
have just been thinking how superior Miss Wildenheim is to her own
acquirements." "I don't exactly understand you, uncle." "If you had ever
mixed in the world, my love, you would without difficulty; you would
there meet with many of both sexes, in whom the painter, or the poet, or
the musician, stand forth so prominently, that the individual character
is lost in the background, indeed, sometimes, with advantage. I'm sure,
when Miss Wildenheim occurs to your mind to-morrow morning, you won't
think _first_ of her singing, though you do admire it so much." "Oh,
no!" replied Melicent, "I shall think of her charming smiles, as she is
endeavouring to persuade Miss Cecilia Webberly to sing the air she
thinks she most excels in.--They are looking for the music; I must go
and assist them." Cecilia now did her utmost to eclipse Adelaide, by
displaying twice the power of voice in songs of greater execution, which
every body confessed she sang _well_, though no one _felt_ she sang
charmingly. After two or three solos, it was proposed, that Mr. Ingham
should join her in a duet. She purposely chose one, which should be a
trial of skill between the performers. It was that style of music, which
Colonel Desmond called the "florid Gothick," from its profuse ornament
and defective taste; it had triplets, volatas, and trills without end.
Poor Mr. Ingham, in more than one sense of the word, _shook_ for his
fame; the merciless Cecilia forgot, that on it depended his bread; she
did not read in his countenance, "He who filches from me my good name,
takes that which not enricheth him, and makes me poor indeed!" But when
they came to the final cadence, impelled by the "glorious fault of
angels and of gods," she aspired higher than fate permitted her to
attain with honour; and in a precipitate fall from D sharp in alt was
hurled on the flat seventh, instead of the perfect third of the key,
which made an unfortunate discord with the note intended to harmonize
with said perfect third in a simultaneous trill; and on this unlucky
seventh she continued to shake without pity or remorse, till the poor
man, in emulation, was nearly black in the face, and was obliged to take
breath twice, in a most audible manner, before she would have done. But
at last she ceased, and the mortified musician's good-natured patron,
seeing his vexation, and being himself shocked at the discord, clapped
him on the back, saying, "Well done, Ingham; both parts famously sung:"
and, with a significant wink, added, "By Heavens! she shook the cat out
of the bag that time; she did you up there, man alive!" Lanty, who had
thought the shake wondrous queer, he did not know why, understanding the
drift of his father's observation, burst into a loud fit of laughter,
which was followed by a peremptory order from his mother to quit the
room. In the mean time the rest of the company were variously occupied:
Mrs. O'Sullivan and Miss Fitzcarril, with the physician and curate,
formed a party at _short whist_, which the former, to assist her claims
to fashion, played at a rate that was much higher than accorded with her
frugal propensities, and which the pride of her companions prevented
from confessing was much beyond what suited their finances. The
physician, who was losing, internally grumbled at this new method of
playing the good old game of whist, by which twice as much may be lost
in the same space of time; and muttered, as he sorted his cards, a
barbarous parody of Shakspeare, "There comes the last scene of
all:--short sight, short gowns, short whist, short every thing!" Leaning
over "John of Gaunt's" chair, (the agnomen Mr. Desmond had been pleased
to bestow on the stupendous Theresa,) stood Captain Cormac, to rejoice
in the goodly row of kings, queens, and aces, which the hand of his
liege sometimes contained, and which was graciously pointed out to him
with an accompanying smile; or to pick up the glove, card, or
handkerchief that fell to the ground, not always undesignedly. Mrs.
Desmond kept herself disengaged to be kind and civil to every body,
sometimes condoling with the losers at whist, sometimes laughing with
the young people, as they played at "consequences," "what's my thought
like?" or "dressing the poor soldier." Miss Webberly was in earnest
conversation with Mr. Donolan, of which Mrs. Desmond's ear, unwilling,
caught one or two sentences. In answer to an observation from Amelia, he
said "A very good match for _him_," with a sort of conceited emphasis on
the word _him_, which insinuated "it would be a very bad match for
_me_." "Scarcely even for _him_," retorted Miss Webberly, "German gentry
are but sma." This quotation was followed by a laugh of affected
vehemence from both; and when Cecilia, exulting in her triumph over Mr.
Ingham, came up to them, the witticism was repeated; and they then, in a
playhouse whisper, extended their strictures to all the company in turn,
only interrupted by fits of laughter. Mrs. Desmond turned away in
disgust, and, looking for Melicent, proudly thought, "My little mountain
girl may want polish, as Edward says, but, with all her wildness, she is
still the lady." The object of her thoughts was, at that moment, in
conversation with her uncle and Adelaide, whom they had joined, when
Cecilia Webberly sat down to the piano forte. When she had finished her
duet, in the manner before mentioned, Miss Desmond said, "What a pity it
is, Miss Wildenheim, that people, in the attempt to astonish, will
insist upon showing what they _cannot_ do." "My dear Melicent,"
interrupted her uncle, "you may take it as a pretty general rule, that
when a lady attempts or even succeeds in _astonishing_, all is not
exactly as it ought to be; am I not right?" continued he, turning to
Adelaide, "Oh, perfectly," replied she; "but, indeed, Miss Webberly
executed her songs extremely well, with the exception of that
unfortunate shake." "I have heard my uncle say," rejoined Melicent,
"that an _execution_ is sometimes a _murder_; in that sense, I allow she
has executed them well; but, surely, music that is not pleasing, can
never be good." As Melicent never spoke _sotto voce_, her uncle was
afraid her observations would be heard, and therefore, to divert her
mind from Miss Webberly's singing, took up a book of poems, which was
lying on the table they were standing near, and addressing Adelaide,
said, "I condemned these verses this morning, as being unnatural:
Melicent, to all my objections, only answered, 'Oh! dear uncle, I
delight in them.' Do be our umpire, and show her, that something more
is necessary to prove her admiration to be well founded, than the bare
assertion that she does admire; when she dislikes, she has reasons
enough at command, but when she approves, it is with an extravagance of
enthusiasm, that admits of no analysis." Adelaide read as follows:--

    The sigh of her heart was sincere,
      When blushing she whisper'd her love,
    A sound of delight in my ear;
      Her voice was the voice of a dove.
    Ah! who could from Phillida fly?
      Yet I sought other nymphs of the vale,
    Forgot her sweet blush and her sigh!
      Forgot that I told her my tale.

    In sorrow I wish'd to return,
      And the tale of my passion renew;
    Go, Shepherd, she answer'd with scorn,
      False Shepherd, for ever adieu!
    For thee no more tears will I shed,
      From thee to fair Friendship I go;
    The bird by a wound that has bled,
      Is happy to fly from its foe.

"What can she find so affecting in those lines?" thought Colonel
Desmond, as he marked Adelaide's changing countenance. Memory had
raised the shades of departed joys, which appeared in her eyes not clad
in their original brightness, but wrapped in sorrow's watery veil;
reason quickly bade them be gone, but not ere her attentive observer had
marked their shadowy footsteps as they crossed her brow. When she looked
up, his penetrating glance read her mind, and expressed his own. She
painfully felt her heart was open to his view, that there was now no
retreat, and therefore calmly said to Melicent, "I agree with you, Miss
Desmond, the feelings of Phillida are perfectly natural." "But,"
interrupted Colonel Desmond, in a tone and manner not to be mistaken,
"don't you think, that though she might turn in scorn from the unworthy
object of her first attachment, she might solace her wounded heart by
admitting the love of another?" "Never!" replied Adelaide: "even in
endeavouring to view him with indifference, her mind must have been too
long filled with his idea, not to feel the impossibility of its ever
being possessed by a second choice." Colonel Desmond knew the human
heart better, and flattered himself, not unjustly, that if he had
patience to play the friend, and did not too quickly assume the lover,
he might imperceptibly win her regard in that character. He was not
hurried away by the imprudent warmth of feeling, which would have
deprived a younger man of his self-possession, but determined to destroy
the impression of what the seriousness of his looks and tones had
conveyed to her mind; and therefore with apparent carelessness, asked
her how she liked Ireland. This question a stranger is plagued with in
every company, from the day he lands in that country till the one he
leaves it; which with its twin tormentor, "Do you like England or
Ireland best?" serves to commence that sort of conversation, which
begins in Great Britain with observations on the weather. By the way, it
is strange that no moralist has ever remarked how providential it is,
that the climate of this latter island is so variable, considering the
propensity its inhabitants have to talk of it. It certainly affords a
beautiful illustration of the doctrine of compensation.

But to return to our friend Desmond:--he was too well bred to have asked
such an unfair question, had he not been completely _distrait_. When the
mind is absent without leave, the deputy it leaves behind to secure its
unmolested retreat most resembles that apish faculty, memory, and
mechanically imitates the manners, and repeats the phrases of others.
Adelaide, more embarrassed, though not so _distrait_ as her
interrogator, replied, that she was even more pleased with the country
than she had expected to be from the favourable picture held forth in
some late publications. He agreed to the justice of these
representations; while his brother, happening to hear him, was nettled,
to the quick, and abruptly said, "Not a bit like, Ned; quite too
ridiculous." "But, my dear Harry, there is nothing in the world so
tiresome as direct panegyric; you must allow a little for the malice of
human nature, to make an individual or a national character loved, its
virtues must be relieved by its foibles." "I'll tell you what, Ned, the
devil a good there is in dressing us up in a fool's cap and bells, to
make a set of fat English squires laugh who have eat themselves stupid."
"How can you be so illiberal, brother? That des----"--"By the piper that
danced before Moses," interrupted the elder Desmond; "it's themselves
that's illiberal.--There's the two Webberlys, and that airified nephew
of my wife's, mocking us all, by the Lord! and all the time of tea, and
while Milly was playing on the forte, they were laughing as if their
sides would burst. I'm bothered from the head to the tail with them,
that's the truth of it. But come, Miss Wildenheim, a tune from you would
save any man from being in a passion--give us 'God save the King,' and
that will remind me that I ought to comport myself as becomes a
peaceable subject."

In nothing did Adelaide excel more than in playing an air, in a manner
that seemed to give it beauties that it was not before suspected of
possessing. She called to her aid all the powers of harmony, and united
boldness of execution with tenderness of expression. She now played "God
save the King," in a manner that electrified the company; the card
players had dispersed, and there was such a nodding of heads, and
marching, and whistling, and singing, and drumming on tables, and
rattling watch chains, and beating time, that the performance of a
person who could not have brought forth all the power of the "forte," as
Mr. Desmond called it, would have been lost amongst all these various
noises. The tune was played and replayed, till Adelaide laughingly said
her fingers ached; and then dancing was proposed, and being agreed to,
the company repaired to a large hall for the purpose. Here Mr. Desmond
vented the remnant of his spleen against the Webberlys, by calling to
the piper, "Play up the humours of Ludgate Hill there!" with a
significant wink to the music master, (who, by the by, was more of a
wag than an Orpheus), and though the wink was of no use to the blind
piper and fiddler, the tone of his voice was sufficiently understood by
them to need no second order; and they accordingly struck up their
favourite tune of "Jig Polthogue," to which Mr. Desmond amused himself
by mimicking, in turn, the dancing of all the set; and his imitations,
being general, offended nobody in particular, but in truth he even
satirized with so much good humour, that he hardly ever gave offence. It
seemed always to be the fashions of the times he quizzed, rather than
the people who exhibited them. "What an entertaining, exhilarating
people the Irish are!" said Adelaide to Colonel Desmond. "Yes," replied
he; "but yet, with all their cleverness, how strangely inconsistent is
their conduct! If Melicent Desmond was a sovereign princess, her father
could not have had more pride about her than he has; and yet here she is
associating with her music-master, dancing in the very set with him;
and I never can persuade him there is any impropriety in it." "How well
she does dance!" remarked his fair partner. "And what a capital
caricature Captain Cormac and Miss Fitzcarril would make--he all
flourishes, she as stiff as the genealogical tree that hangs up in the
hall at Ballinamoyle. Do you observe," resumed he, "how much of the
'_incedo regina_' there is in her manner to him occasionally! This good
lady is a singular being, I can assure you. She can be 'proud with
meanness, and be mean with pride.'" "Such a character," rejoined
Adelaide, "reminds me of Homer's princesses, who, from doing the honours
of the palace, proceed to wash the clothes of its inhabitants in the
neighbouring river, to which pleasant employment they drive right
regally." Mr. Desmond now coming up to turn her in the dance, took that
opportunity of saying, "I tried to touch you up, but I couldn't--it's a
shame for you to bear away the _bell_ in every thing:--I never saw any
one in my life _handle their feet_ as you do."

After two or three dances the company adjourned to the supper table, and
here again all was mirth and glee. Colonel and Mr. Desmond sung comical
songs, and told droll stories, till the whole party were in fits of
laughter. Three of the children, younger than Melicent and Launcelot,
were kept up to supper, and they sang catches and glees with their
father and uncle, in a manner that surprised every body who heard their
sweet voices and saw their childish faces. Before they began, a dispute
arose between Mr. Desmond and the music-master, relative to the key
note; the one sounded one, and the other another; when, to settle the
matter, the former called to his second son, "Do you hear, George, take
this note out in your mouth to the forte, strike it, and bring me word
if I'm not right, and be sure you don't drop it by the way." How far
George was an impartial testimony, or how much the note lost or gained
in its ascent or descent, must ever remain in doubt; but, like a dutiful
child, when he returned, he said, "_You_ were right to be sure,
father--listen here;" and sounding the octave above as clear as a bell,
and as sweetly as possible, they all set to, the little performers
keeping time and tune admirably; whilst the mellow base of the
gentlemen, and the enchanting soprano of their sister, contrasted
delightfully with the juvenile strains of these "young-eyed cherubim."
Melicent's fine notes made most of the party express a wish to hear her
in a solo, and she sang the "Exile of Erin," with a pathos that drew
tears from many present. Adelaide seemed particularly to feel it; which
Mr. Desmond perceiving, he said, "Come, Melicent, that's too
dismal--I'll tune you up a lilt;" and he immediately sang, in a most
comical manner, a ballad he had written himself, entitled, "Miss Jenny's
lament for the loss of her petticoat;" in which was ably satirized the
present style of _undress_. Soon after this the party separated with as
much hilarity as they had met.



CHAPTER VII.

    Jeunes beautés qui venez dans ces lieux,
    Fouler d'un pied léger l'herbe tendre et fleurie,
    Comme vous je connus les plaisirs de la vie,
    Vos fêtes, vos transports, et vos aimables jeux.
    L'Amour berçoit mon coeur de ses douces chimères,
    Et l'Hymen me flattoit du destin le plus beau,
    Un instant détruisit ces erreurs mensongères,
    Que me reste-t-il? Le tombeau![6]

    oeLEVIZACoe.

[Footnote 6:

    Ye fair ones that, with agile bound,
    Dance o'er this turf in frolick round,
    Whose tender flowers scarce bend their head,
    Beneath your footstep's airy tread;
    Like you I once, with sportive mien,
    Join'd laughing Pleasure's joyous train:
    Then life and all its hopes were new,
    And love its brightest visions drew:
    Those joys are past--the vision's flown:
    What now remains?--The tomb alone.
]


When Adelaide returned to Ballinamoyle, she thought of the day she had
spent at Bogberry Hall with the most lively pleasure; the unrefined
good-natured gaiety of its inmates had seized her with so strong a
grasp, that it had dragged her along with the general current of mirth,
and, leading her thoughts out of their ordinary course, had, with no
unwelcome violence, broken the chain of their painful associations. Her
eye had early been accustomed to the animation of foreign countenances
and gestures; and as she had only been acquainted with English manners
in a very retired country place, it is perhaps not surprising, that she
should have felt chilled by their apparent monotony, and abashed by the
half-reproving look she sometimes met with; when, pausing for an instant
to consider what she had done wrong, she found she had, in the
earnestness of conversation, raised her hand and arm full six inches
from her side, where it was arrested in its graceful action, and
remanded by the blushing offender to its former quiescent station. But
censure was not even thus avoided, for in the very effort to please,
she had committed a second error, by moving that beautiful brow, which
expressed every feeling of her heart; and her dismay, at perceiving her
observer still unsatisfied, produced some other involuntary gesture
still more reprehensible than the first.

She now therefore saw the Irishmen change from one leg to another,
flourish their arms, rattle their watch chains, and swing their chairs,
without the horror so elegant a female was bound to experience on
beholding such ungraceful motions, for which no sanctioning precedent
could be produced at St. James's. And she even granted absolution to the
varying expression of the women's countenances, which sometimes bordered
on grimace; and extended it to their voices, running through half the
gamut in the changes of the most decided brogue that ever offended ears
polite.

To speak seriously, she found very great amusement in observing a
national character, so dissimilar to any that had ever before fallen
under her observation, and which presented itself with so many comical
and so many amiable traits. In every individual she had met, there was
something strongly characteristic, from Moll Kelly on the strand at
Dunleary, to the proprietor of Bogberry Hall; and, with the exception of
Mr. Donolan, who was spoiled in an attempt at refinement, warmth of
feeling and good nature seemed to be the portion of each. In order to
become better acquainted with this national character, which so much
interested her, she determined, during her residence at Ballinamoyle, to
visit the cottages in its neighbourhood, and to cultivate the
acquaintance of her friend Jarge Quin, hoping to learn from him the
peculiar customs and superstitions of the country, while to the
venerable Father Dermoody she applied for their explanation and origin.
She did not now feel quite so much at ease in referring for information
to her former _cicerone_, Colonel Desmond, as she had done previous to
their ambiguous conversation in his brother's drawing-room: but his
guarded conduct the remainder of the evening tended much to destroy her
first impression; and she felt the utmost confusion, whenever those few
sentences came across her mind, accusing herself of the most egregious
vanity in annexing a sense to his words that he did not mean to give
them; and asking herself, time after time, whether he could have
perceived her mistake. However, these unpleasant ideas soon wore away,
and Colonel Desmond played the part of friend so well, that she
convinced herself he had not understood her; and in a short time this
circumstance, which made her at first feel so embarrassed in his
presence, was erased from her mind. And indeed he so dexterously availed
himself of all the advantages he possessed to make his society agreeable
to her, that she soon began to feel almost uncomfortable without it. He
would talk to her of the scenes of her infancy; and she would then
gratefully recollect the pains he had taken to teach her the English
language, which she now felt of such essential advantage; and would
sometimes remind him of the good-natured patience he had also shown,
when he first condescended to accompany on the violin her childish
performance of concertos and sonatas, and the remembrance of many an
inveterately ill-timed passage afforded them now considerable diversion.
There was one subject of the deepest interest, that he, and he alone, of
all her associates, was master of the virtues and talents of her father;
and this, in her enthusiastic filial affection, and his regrets and
admiration, was inexhaustible. At first Baron Wildenheim's name was but
slightly glanced at; but by degrees she could bear to hear his
sentiments and his words repeated, and her heart warmly thanked the man,
who had so carefully treasured them in his. Colonel Desmond's humanity
and fine feeling told him exactly where to stop. He would,

    "When the soft tear stole silently down from the eye,
    Take no note of its course, nor detect the slow sigh;"

and the sympathy he showed in her affliction tended much to restore her
mind to its wonted serenity, by gently drawing forth all those agonizing
reflections and remembrances that had fled to hide themselves from human
knowledge, to the most secret recesses of her heart. Under all these
circumstances a penetrating observer would, perhaps, have pronounced,
that if Colonel Desmond steadily pursued his present plan, it would
ultimately be crowned with success. At least it is contrary to all
experience, that a young woman can long continue to feel _friendship
alone_ for an unmarried man, who is in all things a lover, except in the
declaration of his passion;--nay, if there is no love on either side at
first, it is highly probable there will be on both at no distant period,
whenever a similarity of taste, ideas, and pursuits, induces a desire of
association and intimacy, which circumstances permit to be gratified.
Every inexperienced female should be thoroughly aware of the high
probability which exists of her bestowing her affections on the man
with whom she is so situated.

The second evening after their return from Bogberry Hall, Mr.
O'Sullivan's guests were assembled at tea, when they heard the sound of
music in the open air; and looking out, saw a gay groupe of young men
and women dressed in their best, two fiddlers playing merrily before
them, one of the party carrying a pole, on which were tied small hoops
covered with garlands of flowers, intermixed with finery of various
sorts, and gloves cut out in white and coloured papers; after them
followed the elder members of their families, and, lastly, a crowd of
children. The Miss Webberlys saw, with surprise, that not one of the
females of the assembly had hat or bonnet. All the young women, except
the queen of the garland, wore white round caps, ornamented with some
gay riband; some had open gowns of a brilliant calico, others of white
linen, with a stuff petticoat, blue, yellow, red, or green, according to
the fancy of the wearer; white aprons, handkerchiefs, and stockings,
completed their attire. Their showy dress, rosy complexions, and
animated countenances, had altogether a most lively effect.

The dress of the old women was rather different. It consisted of a white
mob cap, with a black silk handkerchief brought over the crown, crossed
under the chin, and tied behind; a calico gown, with a large and gaudy
pattern; and, in addition to the handkerchief and apron, a white dimity
bed-gown, with short sleeves, and the skirt reaching half way to their
knees; with a bright scarlet cloak hanging on one arm. All the men who
were not dancers wore a great coat, of the peculiar frieze of their
country. In the dress of the young men there was nothing remarkable,
except that each had on a showy waistcoat, or silk handkerchief, to make
him look as smart as his sweetheart in her gay gown and petticoat.

Adelaide was delightedly viewing the joyous scene, when she suddenly
heard Colonel Desmond's voice returning Mrs. O'Sullivan's salutation,
"It's midsummer's eve," said he, addressing her, "and I could not resist
coming to witness your surprise at the curious customs observed here on
this night." "I should think Miss Wildenheim wouldn't be such a fool as
to go trapesing out on the damp grass with such a set of vagabonds,"
said Mr. Webberly, who was himself confined to the sofa. Colonel
Desmond's attention was too much engrossed by the sweet smiles and
tones, with which Adelaide thanked him for his kind recollection of her,
to notice the morose look which accompanied this observation; and he
acknowledged the speaker no otherwise than by a distant bow, as the fair
object of his solicitude left the room to join the rest of the party at
the hall door. The crowd had by this time ranged themselves in a
semicircle, in the centre of which stood the king and queen of the
garland, the former carrying the pole. The rustic queen was the
handsomest young girl of the country--

    "Health in her motion, the wild grace
    Of Pleasure speaking in her face."

Her head was crowned with a chaplet of flowers, whilst her long hair,
which is highly prized in Ireland as a part of female beauty, flowed in
profusion down her back, and its raven hue contrasted well with her
snow-white linen gown. A sky-blue petticoat appeared under her apron in
front, and from her girdle hung a wreath of flowers, forming a festoon
of varied tints. The temporary king was the best dancer, wrestler, and
cudgel-player, and the "tightest and clanest boy in all Ballinamoyle
town land." On the right stood the fiddlers, playing Plansety
O'Sullivan. When the venerable possessor of this name came forward to
welcome the crowd, the united strength of all their lungs sent forth a
heart-felt wish of "Long life to his honour, and God bless him, hurra!
hurra!" There is perhaps nothing more overcoming than the voice of a
rejoicing multitude. The old man felt the present and the past, as he
thought how his beloved Rose was hailed on such anniversaries; and
whilst he made his bows of acknowledgement, the tear stood on his aged
cheek. When silence was proclaimed, the village schoolmaster stepped
forward, and presented him with a song he had written on his honour, and
which "Brian Murdoch would make bould for to sing." Brian began with an
"Och--" half a second in duration, and then proceeded as follows:--

          In Connaught, my deer,
          Did you walk far and neer,
          At a poor man's requist,
          His honour's the best
            Of all in the land, of all in the land!
          When poverty's near,
          He ne'er turns a dafe ear,
          But is free wid his store,
          Gives kind words galliore,
            Wid a bountiful hand, a bountiful hand!
    Och!--Wheresomdiver he goes
          A blessing there flows,
          Like a beam of the sun
          Or the soft shining moon,
            The joy of our heart, the joy of our heart!
          Then long may he rain
          Widout sorrow or pane,
          And in Heaven be blist,
          When he takes his last rist,
            Tho' we to the heart rue the day he depart!

The intention of this composition was certainly better than the metre;
but for once a poet did not flatter, for Mr. O'Sullivan exercised all
the benevolence of his kind heart, in making his tenants happy; and they
would in return, to use their own expression, have "gone through fire
and water at the dead hour of the night, to sarve his honour. They had a
good right to lay the hair of their head in under his feet."

Brian's performance was applauded and encored, and when it was over,
there was a little murmur amongst the crowd as if to settle the next
act. "Which is her?" asked the king of the garland. "Why, that beautiful
lady to be sure, talking to the fat madam in the lavender blossom dress,
with the borders all figured out in white," replied an ancient matron,
who had been one of the first assembly at Ballinamoyle. The young man
now walked up to Adelaide, and with a bow down to the ground, begged the
honour of dancing with her; and she, perceiving it was a national
custom, instantly complied; and hearing from Captain Cormac, who handed
her to the spot she was to dance on, that the figure of the jig she was
expected to perform, was that of a minuet danced quick, she went through
it with a spirit and grace, that were unalloyed by any airs of exalted
languor.

What! danced with an Irish peasant, and with spirit to! Look down, ye
German Barons of sixteen quarters, and ye noble British Peers, on your
descendant, and--behold her with pride! for she could be dignified
without haughtiness, and complaisant without familiarity--perfectly
understanding the art of adapting herself to her associates, without
thereby assimilating her manners or ideas to theirs; always preserving
that elegance, which "was around her as light," giving to her
performance of the trifles of every day intercourse a charm peculiarly
her own, and which as invariably adorned her in the humblest cottage, as
it would have done in the most brilliant court, dancing with this king
of a rustic pageant, as with the Autocrat of all the Russias; and had
she been one of those selected for that honour, she would perhaps,
whilst she paid due homage to the rank of the Emperor, have no less
forcibly impressed her august partner with the _dignity of the lady_.

However, the most scrupulous belle need not be much annoyed by the
contamination she would suffer, by dancing with the king of the garland;
for actuated by that respect, which the lower Irish so strongly feel for
their superiors, he never presumes to take her hand, but contents
himself with dancing opposite to her with all his might and main, at
about three feet distance. Thus Adelaide's partner beat the batter on
the ground, sprung, capered, hit the sole of his foot with his hand,
danced the garland, beat the batter again, set, shuffled, and capered
in turn. Every now and then there was clapping of hands, and "Well done,
Lary, keep it up, keep it up!" and a murmur of approbation for Adelaide
went round: "She's a beautiful cratur; and what kindly ways she has with
her," said one. "The Lord love her little canny feet, how they do humour
the music!" remarked another; and so on, till she made her curtsy when
the jig was ended; and then there was a general shout of "Huzza! for the
young lady and Lary for ever." "Arrah, whist wid your noisy tongues,"
said an old woman; "you'll trouble his honour, and mind him of Miss
Rose. This day two and twenty year she danced on this very spot of
ground, and the sarra lady has done the same since from that day till
this. Do you see old Dennis there, Cisly?" continued she to her
daughter: "Well, Miss Rose smiled so sweet, (I mind it as if it was but
yesterday), and said, 'What a wonderful old man Dennis is, to be able to
tire me in a dance, at sixty years of age! I hope he'll live to see
many a midsummer's eve.' They say the prayers of them that's soon going
to their long home is uncommon lucky; so she left these words for a
blessing to ould Dennis, though she was too good to live herself." The
old woman's caution was unnecessary--Mr. O'Sullivan had pleaded the
damps of the evening and retired, but begged of Colonel Desmond to take
his place, and keep the dancers as long as they afforded amusement, as
his room was at so distant a part of the house, his _sleep_ would not be
disturbed. "Alas, no!" thought his friend, "poor man, he will never
cease to grieve for his angelic daughter, till she smiles on him once
more in another world."

Colonel Desmond perceived there was a stop in the proceedings of the
crowd, and recollected that it was customary for the master of the
house, or some one in the place, to dance with the queen of the garland,
and therefore requested Captain Cormac would do the honours the
_etiquette_ of such occasions demanded. At another time he would have
enjoyed doing so himself; but at this moment his head was too full of
Rose and her father, to think of dancing--or even of Adelaide! Captain
Cormac took the garland, as every man was bound to do, and flourished it
about, and out-capered Lary himself; whilst his pretty partner, at
stated times, cast her fine eyes on the ground, and was swung round by
him with averted head, then danced boldly up with one arm akimbo,
alternately took the garland, followed, or was chased by him. Little
Caroline was wild with spirits, when the crowd, finding out their
mistake with regard to Adelaide, raised her on a stout man's shoulders,
and pressed round to shake hands with her in turn, while she received
their greetings with the utmost cordiality; and, when let down again,
she danced and capered about, as Jarge Quin said, "as merry and as
pretty as the little people trip it on the blossoms on May morning."

Mr. Webberly had by this time nearly recovered from the ill humour the
sight of Colonel Desmond had put him into, and had been wheeled in a
large chair to the window, for the double purpose of viewing the festive
scene, and watching the proceedings of Adelaide. He was evidently in
pain either of body or mind, and looked so mournful, so deserted, that
she could not resist the impulse of compassion, and addressed to him,
from time to time, some casual remark on the groupe before them. For
many months she had not voluntarily spoken so much to him; and as
Colonel Desmond observed his satisfaction, some painful reflections
crossed his mind: "He deceives himself," thought he, "and so do I--she
has no love for me either. I ought to tear myself from her; yet a faint
heart never won a fair lady, and I see as little cause to despair as to
hope." But with an inconsistency, that the agitation of his feelings
alone could account for, he whispered to Adelaide, "Be more stern, and
you will be more humane; your heavenly sweetness undoes your victim."
She looked up surprised, and read that in his countenance, which
immediately gave to hers a degree of gravity which he had never before
seen her features wear; and bowing slightly in answer, addressed herself
to Mrs. O'Sullivan. He soon found an opportunity of speaking to her
again: "Adelaide," said he, sorrowfully, "you are offended; are you like
all the rest of the world, capricious and fickle? Do you _reject_ the
friend of your infancy?" "Colonel Desmond," said she calmly, "I must be
frank--infancy does not last forever, '_altri tempi, altre maniere_.'"
In these few words she had spoken volumes. To recover himself, he talked
sentiment and science to the two Miss Webberlys, and in doing so, heard
and made such a display of _esprit_, that it soon deadened his feelings,
and in a few minutes he _appeared_ as much at ease as ever.

In the mean time the merry rustics performed Quaker minuets, which
consist of a mixture of quick and slow movements, a sort of strathspey
called petticoatties, and some well executed handkerchief dances, the
figures of which are of the same kind as the shawl-dances of the opera,
and admit six or eight at pleasure. It is surprising with what a degree
of natural dexterity and vivacity the lower Irish dance: Adelaide
thought, "If Horace had been an Irishman, he would not have described
the dancing of the Nymphs and Graces in the spiritless manner he has
done:--

    "Jam Cytherea choros ducit Venus, imminente Luná,
    Junctæque Nymphis Gratiæ decentes,
    Alterno terram quatiunt pede.[7]"

[Footnote 7: Literally nearly thus:

Now beneath the beaming moon, Cytherean Venus leads forth the band. The
decent Graces, joined by the Nymphs, strike the earth with alternate
foot.]

But profiting by Mrs. Temple's hint, she never now said any thing that
might lead to the supposition of her being a "learned lady;" at the same
time, she heartily joined in the praises, which even Mrs. O'Sullivan and
her daughters bestowed on the groupe before them. "It is not all pure
nature, however," said Colonel Desmond; "itinerant dancing-masters go
about the country, and there is no lad or lass so poor, that once in
their lives, at least, can't afford half a crown for the benefit of
their education in this particular. They all gather together in some
waste building, or on the level turf; and the scenes that take place in
these assemblies are ludicrous beyond description. It is said, that one
of our Connaught Vestrises found it necessary, to tie a straw rope about
the right leg of his pupils, calling it suggar, and the other gad; and
that he used to sing this rhyme to a tune that marks the time
inimitably, beating it all the time with his foot: only conceive the
bodily and mental labour of such a task!

    "'Out with your suggar, my girl,
    Right fal la fal la di dy,
    Then the gad you must twirl,
    Right fal la, &c.
    Shuffle your suggar and gad,
    Right fal la, &c.
    Then you must set to the lad,
    Right fal la, &c.'

"It is not surprising," continued he, "that some such contrivance should
sometimes be necessary on our Irish mountains, when the Scripture
informs us, that a hundred and twenty thousand Ninevese could not
discern between their right hand and their left." Adelaide was much
entertained by this allusion. And here let us advise those, who regret
any accidental coldness that may have arisen with a friend, if they have
drollery enough in their composition, to make him or her laugh by all
means. It is the surest way in the world to restore familiarity of
manner; for we cannot look suddenly cross at the person, who has, in
spite of our best endeavours at sullenness, excited the unwilling smile.
Those who are "too dull for a wit, too grave for a joker," may try the
pathetic; and if they can draw forth sympathetic tears at any horrible
story, it will answer the purpose nearly as well, though our experience
certainly inclines to the former method.

Whilst the smile yet played on Adelaide's countenance, old Dennis
walked up to her, and said, with a look where pleasure and regret strove
for preeminence, "Faith, Miss dear, when I see your teeth as white as
the water-lily, and your eyes dancing like the sunbeams on the lake, ye
mind me of Miss Rose; you're the sauciest lady I've seen since she
parted us, when she was in her fifteenth! The sweetest Rose was she in
all Ireland, and the like will ne'er bloom again in Ballinamoyle."
Adelaide graciously received the old man's compliment; and her eyes
filled with tears, as she said to Colonel Desmond, "How much I feel
interested for this Rose! She must have been most amiable, to be so long
loved and remembered by these grateful people." "She was indeed,"
replied he, "one of those beings, that would lead a fanciful imagination
to suppose, they had nearly arrived at perfection in some pre-existent
state, and had been sent on earth, for a short space, to complete their
probation, and show what a superior nature might be, even clogged with
our corporeal infirmities. Mr. O'Sullivan never breathes his daughter's
name, nor is it ever mentioned before him, except by nurse, whom it is
impossible to restrain. His life has passed away so monotonously, that
it seems but as yesterday since he lost her, and she now rises again
forcibly to the remembrance of the elder inhabitants of this
neighbourhood, from the circumstance of Caroline O'Sullivan being
brought, as it were, to take her place; which, I assure you, they
consider as a sort of sacrilegious usurpation, and feel no small
indignation at her having been born in England. Poor Rose! hers was a
fatal marriage!--But this is not a fit time to sadden you with the
details of her melancholy story."

It was now dark, and some of the dancers came forward to receive the
customary donations, after which they proceeded in a body elsewhere.
They were in the act of setting up their last "hurra!" when, as if by
appointed signal, all the hills were instantly illuminated with
innumerable fires. In the distance blazed the altar of the sun, like a
pyramid of light; the nearer flames were reflected in the still waters
of the lake. Every island was gay with moving figures and bonfires.
Within the spacious walls of the old castle in the centre islet was the
largest of all, which was seen brightly beaming through the arched
windows and dilapidated walls, while round it a groupe of merry boys and
girls were dancing; and a sudden blaze showed here and there similar
circles on every hill. Rejoicing voices rose and fell on the gales of
night, which also conveyed, from time to time, the music of various
instruments. "I never beheld so beautiful a scene," said Adelaide; "what
is the origin of this custom?" "It descends to us from our pagan
ancestry," replied Colonel Desmond, "who on this evening offered
sacrifices to the sun on every hill. A similar custom was observed on
the first of May and on the last of October, on which night we keep up
the same ceremonies, which Burns has so beautifully described in his
'Hallow E'en.' At this moment the whole of this island is gay with
garlands, and dancing, and music; and her numerous population are poured
forth on every hill in their best attire, accompanied by mirth and glee,
leaving all their cares behind them at their cottage doors." "I hope,"
said Caroline, "the fires in the castle won't hurt the little fairies
Jarge Quin told us of, Adele; I dare say they ran in a great hurry up
the walls; or may be the lake is covered with their tiny boats to take
them away. When I live here, I never will let a single cobweb be swept."
"Why, my dear child, have you so suddenly fallen in love with the spider
tribe, as well as the fairies?" "Oh, nurse says they steal in at night
through the keyhole, to take the cobwebs to make sails of them; and,
when the wind blows them off, they stick to the trees and every thing,
and they are twice as good for cuts as those in the house. I have been
gathering a whole heap of them to take to England. Oh, Adele! I wish
you would come and hear the beautiful stories nurse tells about kings,
and queens, and giants. She puts her spectacles on her nose, and reads
all morning out of a book she calls the 'Rabby Night's Intertinmant.' I
run down to her every night before I go to bed, and she takes me on her
knee, and tells it to me, and gives me cakes. Sometimes she cries when I
kiss her, and then she talks to me of my _dear_ papa, what a fine young
gentleman he was before he went to be a soldier. I'll marry a soldier
when I grow big. I think nurse and uncle love me better than any body
but you, Adele." It was in vain that Caroline's best beloved
endeavoured, in a low voice, to assure her of the warmth of her mother's
and sister's affection; she said little in reply, but felt all the pain
of being convinced against her will.

The party, when tired of admiring the admirable night scene the
surrounding country presented, retired to the house; and by this time
the rustic assembly had repaired to an empty barn, where they danced
till sunrise, and then went out to make hay.



CHAPTER VIII.

    Whilst summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele,
    I'll sweeten thy sad grave.

    oeCYMBELINE.oe


The remainder of the month of June and July passed at Ballinamoyle in
various degrees of pleasure or tedium to its unusual inmates. Mrs.
O'Sullivan and her three elder children saw the time originally fixed
for their departure approach, with almost undissembled pleasure.
Notwithstanding the anxious endeavours of their host and his circle, to
show them the utmost respect and kindness, and to procure them every
amusement within their reach, nothing pleased, nothing interested them;
but if they could find little to admire in England beyond Hyde Park
Corner, could they be expected to tolerate Irish barbarism? They
associated much with the Desmond family; but, though this circumstance
saved them many hours of _ennui_, it gave them none of real enjoyment.
The Miss Webberlys saw Melicent's natural graces with too much contempt
to envy them, and for once they associated with a lovely girl without
being tormented by this passion. But her father and uncle they little
short of hated; the one for his successful raillery, the other for his
admiration of Adelaide; which circumstance rendered the latter equally
obnoxious to their brother, who attributed to him the bad success of his
suit to Miss Wildenheim, still more than to his sprained ancle, which
had kept him a close prisoner, and enabled her effectually to shun his
society. At home--Mr. O'Sullivan was dismal, Miss Fitzcarril
insufferably proud; a Catholic priest was of course an object of
illiberal aversion; and of all their associates, young Donolan was the
only individual who found favour in their sight; but he had, by his
heartless gallantries and fulsome flattery, ingratiated himself so much
with both sisters, that he was a source of constant bickering between
them.

They therefore so plagued and prejudiced their weak mother, that she was
as much out of humour as themselves. She and Miss Fitzcarril almost
quarrelled, though the one was nearly as anxious to court the cousin, as
the other to win the son; and the ridiculous pride of ancestry in the
spinster kept pace with the narrow-minded pride of riches in the matron.
Mrs. O'Sullivan and her amiable children vented all their ill humour on
their servants, who, in revenge, quarrelled with the domestics of the
house, and expressed their own and their superiors' contempt of every
person and thing they saw, without reserve. All this Miss Fitzcarril was
mean enough to suffer to be repeated to her with those additional
charges scandal-mongers are certain to lay on their retail goods; and
she came sometimes full primed with rage from the kitchen, ready to
discharge her fire-arms in the parlour, which would not unfrequently
have happened, had not Adelaide dexterously managed to unload the
offensive weapon.

Miss Fitzcarril found the amenity of her manners as invariable as the
benignity of her heart. She would, boiling with passion, confide to her
friendly ear some tale of horror she had been told by nurse, or the
cook, the housemaid, or Black Frank himself; and always heard, in
return, some extenuation of the offence, or expression of sorrow that
purchased its forgiveness.

Mr. O'Sullivan's guests did not venture to treat him with disrespect,
nor Miss Fitzcarril to annoy him with the recital of her various
_brouilleries_; his uniformly dignified deportment preserved him from
both: yet Mr. Webberly and his sisters he disliked for their airs of
affected superiority to others; and had Caroline depended on her
_mother's_ powers of pleasing, to obtain her uncle's estate, her claims
would not have met with much success. An Irish country gentleman,
however unpolished he may be himself, is to an extreme fastidious in
his ideas of female gentility. Every one has a code of his own, which he
thinks it necessary a woman should follow, to be what he calls
"_ladylike_." His punctilios are frequently unreasonable, and
excessively troublesome to the female relatives, who are obliged to
conform to them; but the warm affection, from which they derive so much
happiness, is also the source of that pride they sometimes find so
annoying. A writer of eminence has clearly shown the difference between
_rusticity_ and _vulgarity_. Many an unpolished rustic girl Mr.
O'Sullivan might think _ladylike_: but a vulgar woman, such as his
sister-in-law, was perhaps the object in the world the most disgusting
to him; and it required all his good-nature, and all his hospitality, to
make him conquer his involuntary repugnance sufficiently to treat her
with the kindness due to his brother's widow. Though Maurice O'Sullivan
had been only his step-brother by their father's marriage, very late in
life, and there was twenty years' difference in their ages, he had
always felt for him even more than the usual warmth of fraternal
affection; and had, for a long series of years, been bountiful to him in
a degree that but encouraged his extravagant dissipation; till the elder
brother, at last provoked by his career of folly, finally discharged his
debts, on condition of the entail being cut off, to enable him to bestow
the family estate on some more worthy member of it. But the grave had
now closed on all the faults of Maurice's character, whilst memory
exaggerated all its virtues; and O'Sullivan would frequently contrast
Caroline with her mother, saying in the pride of his heart, "How much of
the _father_ she has in her! She shows good blood runs in her veins."

To Adelaide Mr. O'Sullivan was unconsciously as kind as to Caroline.
Before she had been many days in his house, he had made up his mind that
she was "_quite the lady_," and of course possessed of every good
quality necessarily consequent on that, in his mind, highly valued
character. Besides he was much gratified by her inclination to be
pleased with every thing that was worthy of commendation in his place,
and in his country generally; and with the proper feeling and good
breeding, which restrained her from wounding his pride by those
offensive remarks he constantly heard from his sister-in-law and her
elder children, which however were at least equalled by those of Mr.
Donolan. Adelaide had moreover a strong claim on his gratitude for the
kindness she showed to his niece. Caroline's father had lavished on her
the most unlimited fondness, whilst her mother treated her with
comparative coldness. Had she been left to herself, there is no doubt
she would have felt the same love for her as for her other children; but
she was unfortunately entirely guided by the Miss Webberlys. Cecilia she
loved, and Amelia she also feared; and they contrived to alienate her
affection from Caroline, whom they considered as an intruder, who would
unjustly deprive them of a part of their lawful inheritance. It is not
surprising, therefore, that Adelaide, mourning for the loss of a fond
father, should see in Caroline a fellow-sufferer, and should bestow her
affections on the only object around her that would receive or return
them. The child, repulsed by every body else, flew into her open arms,
and loved her with the most doting fondness. She could not bear now to
lose sight of her, was the first that entered her room in the morning,
and when she was busy, would sit for hours at her side, occupied in any
employment Adelaide charitably provided for her. This little girl had
naturally a fine understanding, which her friend's judicious management
prevented running to waste. It was now with the utmost pain that friend
thought of their approaching separation on her return to England; and
this idea gave an increased tenderness to her looks, when she gazed with
regret on the lovely child, and anticipated the probable blight of the
fair promise, internally adding, "Alas! I may not venture to love any
one; it is my fate to be torn from all my heart has ever cherished!" In
consequence of this reciprocal attachment, every one associated Adelaide
and Caroline in idea together; those who loved the one loved the other,
and their united attractions gained them the good-will of every
individual at Ballinamoyle.

But with none of its inmates was the former a greater favourite than
with the venerable Father Dermoody: her manners to him were expressive
of that deference she had been accustomed to see the Catholic clergy
treated with abroad, and she willingly granted that respect, which the
impressive, though mild sanctity of his deportment extorted from others;
and when he saw once more under Mr. O'Sullivan's roof a young and lovely
female all sweetness and intellect, he thought of his beloved pupil,
Rose, and sometimes looked at Adelaide, till he fancied he traced a
strong resemblance to her who had been the adopted child of his
heart--his only earthly pride! He loved to converse with Adelaide as to
the recent state of countries, he had visited in his youth, and he still
more delightedly answered her inquiries regarding the history or customs
of Ireland, or the antiquities the neighbouring country abounded with,
to visit which, Mr. O'Sullivan had induced his guests to make many
excursions, as one of the best means of amusing their time. To
illustrate these remains, Father Dermoody produced from his patron's
library many a musty manuscript and fabulous legend of ancient fame,
which he read and explained to Adelaide, with an enthusiastic admiration
that was delightful to her to behold; though she was sometimes almost
tempted to smile at the excess of his patriotic credulity; for there is
scarcely any thing on the subject of national glory too extravagant for
ancient Irish manuscripts to assert, or for modern Irish feeling to
believe. Adelaide and her venerable friend went one morning to the
above-mentioned library, in search of a work relative to "Conaro the
turbulent and swift footed," whose tomb at the foot of the altar of the
sun they had lately visited. They long looked for the precious relick in
vain, but at last Mr. Dermoody descried it on the very top shelf; it was
out of his reach, but by the help of a number of boxes piled on one of
the heavy old mahogany chairs, Adelaide possessed herself of the
treasure, and was preparing to descend, when she heard a gentleman's
voice and step in the passage leading to the room. This made her prefer
the quickest method of reaching _terra firma_, and she instantly leaped
into the middle of the floor; and Colonel Desmond entering at the same
instant, exclaimed, "Inimitable, by Jove! Why, Miss Wildenheim, if the
principal _sauteuse_ of the Parisian opera had seen that graceful
flight, she would, through all her rouge, have turned pale with envy. I
should think you must find that preliminary much the pleasantest part of
the proceedings attendant on the studies those loaded tables tell me you
have lately been engaged in." "I hope," said Adelaide, laughing and
blushing at his raillery, "you, as a true Milesian, are not inclined to
slight their contents?" "Except to you, my revered friend," rejoined he,
addressing himself to the priest, "who have charity to forgive even
greater offences, I never dare own what a capacity of unbelief I have on
such subjects; but, Miss Wildenheim," he continued, "I am at this moment
much more anxious to hear what you think of the modern Irish, than to
dive into the best accredited accounts of our ancient history. Come,
confess to this worthy father--did you not expect to find us a set of
demisavages, for whom you could feel little else but disgust?" "I am
more than half affronted," replied Adelaide, "that you could possibly
suppose me to be so illiberal." "And with justice," replied the priest;
"wherever the human form is seen, there, I am sure, you find objects to
love and reverence;--the Supreme has impressed on every being he has
created some marks of his majesty and goodness." "Yes, my dear sir,"
rejoined his youthful auditor; "but the proud heart of man draws a line
of circumvallation round the cities he has erected, within which he
confines every thing that is admirable in the human race. Surely we
should rather imitate the liberality of the ancient poets, who peopled
every hill and dale with superior natures." "You must however
acknowledge," said Colonel Desmond, "that those classic favourites of
yours never imagined any thing half so beautiful as our northern
fairies! I don't know which of those ill-behaved scolds, the goddesses,
it would not be an affront to compare a modern _élégante_ to; and pray
what are all the accomplishments of Minerva, the best amongst them, to
those of a girl of fashion, unless indeed she could plume herself on
speaking Greek, in the style of the simpleton who was lost in admiration
at the acquirements of the Gallic ladies, who could all converse in
French with so much fluency? But the pure, elegant Queen of Fairies is
the very prototype of female loveliness! I suffer considerable
uneasiness on your account, Miss Wildenheim," continued he, with much
gravity. "On my account, Colonel Desmond?" "Yes; for I am informed by
those most in her majesty's confidence, that, 'when to the banks of the
dark rolling Danube fair Adela hied,' she was seen by some of the fairy
court; and that very evening, 'late, late in the gloamin, Hillmerry came
hame,' being thought insipid in comparison of the more charming Adela.
And now behold her conducted to the chief seat of the fairy power! But
if she could be tempted to show that a small portion of human malice
lurks in her heart, we might hope to keep her still; therefore I am more
than ever anxious she should answer the question I put regarding the
mortal inhabitants of this island." "I could not presume," replied
Adelaide, colouring as she spoke, "on a casual acquaintance, to suppose
myself qualified to estimate fully the merits or defects of the Irish
nation; perhaps national character is of all subjects the one on which
a woman is least competent to form a correct judgment;--but the Irish
character, as it has presented itself to my view, is one I most
sincerely and warmly love." Colonel Desmond seizing her hand in delight,
shook it almost unconsciously for a second or two, whilst Father
Dermoody, in an emphatic tone, and with a complimentary bow, said--

    "La sagesse est sublime, on le dit, mais, hélas!
    Tous ses admirateurs souvent ne l'aiment guère;
    Et sans vous nous ne saurions pas,
    Combien la sagesse peut plaire."[8]

[Footnote 8:

      Wisdom's sublime, we still are told it,
    Yet few admire, though all uphold it;
    And but for thee we ne'er had prov'd,
    How much e'en wisdom may be lov'd.
]

Gentle reader, if you are _not_ Irish, you will be perhaps much puzzled
to find out what Adele said on this occasion, so marvellously wise. If
you are an Hibernian, you will say, "The dear creature!" Be that as it
may, Miss Wildenheim pleased her auditors better than if she had
uttered three pages of Socratic sense. Poor Colonel Desmond felt but too
deeply the admiration the priest had expressed; and putting up a prayer,
that she might one day descend from generals to particulars, in the
application of these sentiments, was suddenly most assiduous in the
examination of the contemned manuscripts.

Adelaide, curtsying her thanks for Mr. Dermoody's flattering application
of the lines he had repeated, was alleging some trifling excuse for
retiring, when Mr. O'Sullivan came into the room to make his daily
request, that she would join him and Caroline in a saunter round the
garden, where he went every morning with them to gather the nicest fruit
it contained for his two favourites.

The party had not proceeded many paces from the house, when they were
joined by Mr. Webberly, who was now sufficiently recovered from his
sprain to persecute Adelaide once more with his attentions. Mr.
O'Sullivan, addressing him with much civility, said, "I am happy to
say, Mr. Webberly, that your mother has consented to remain with me till
after the first of September, in order to celebrate my dear little
Caroline's birth-day; and bespeak for her the good wishes of my
tenantry, who will assemble to congratulate us on the occasion." "Dear
uncle, how I love you!" said the little girl, twisting her arms round
him; "only for Adele, I think I should break my heart when I go away
from you." He pressed her fondly in his arms, and said, "What will be
your consolation, Caroline, will be an additional grief to me! My dear
young lady," continued he, turning to Adelaide, "you know not the sorrow
the idea that I may never see you again causes me; your society has
given me more pleasure, than I thought I ever should have felt again.
Your sweet attentive manners have reminded me of one whom even you might
be proud to be compared with!"--He paused--his faltering voice had told
how deeply he was affected, and a general silence prevailed for a few
minutes, which was interrupted Mr. Webberly saying, "I'm sure you'll
have no objection to celebrate Miss Wildenheim's birth-day too,
Sir;--she will be of age on the thirty-first of August; that day
one-and-twenty years, Sir, was a happy day for the world, Miss
Adelaide!" "Happy! Good God!" exclaimed the old man; and dropping
Adele's arm, which he had slipped within his, retreated to the house. "I
had almost forgot--" said Colonel Desmond to the priest, much moved,
"was that the day----" "Yes, the day," interrupted he: "Alas! a father's
heart never forgets."



CHAPTER XIII.

    Vous êtes belle, et votre soeur est belle,
    Entre vous deux tout choix seroit bien doux,
    L'Amour étoit blond, comme vous,
    Mais il aimoit une brune, comme elle.[9]

    oeBERNIS.oe

[Footnote 9:

    Thou art lovely--so is she,
      Say, which should my heart prefer?
    Cupid sure was fair like thee.
      But his love was brown like her.
]


Whilst these scenes passed in Ireland, Lady Eltondale and Miss Seymour
arrived at Cheltenham. At first, Selina's delight at breathing once more
the pure air of the country made her almost wonder at the pleasure she
had so lately found in the feverish amusements of London. Her step was
still more elastic, as she trod the beautiful meadows that lay along
the banks of the Chelt; and when, mounted on her favourite mare, she
extended her rides to the surrounding hills, she seemed to regain a
fresh existence.

The picturesque beauties of Dodswell, the magnificent panorama of
Lackington Hill, the curious remains of Sudeley castle, all were in time
explored and admired by Selina; and often did she prefer a solitary walk
amongst the sheltered lanes of Alstone, to accompanying Lady Eltondale
to the morning mall, where crowds assembled at the Wells ostensibly in
search of health, but really in pursuit of pleasure. In one of these
morning walks, as she rested under the shadow of a gigantic oak, while
the fresh breeze played on her glowing cheek, and the song of earliest
birds alone interrupted the general silence, her thoughts involuntarily
turned to those days which had glided by in similar scenes, when she
used to bound like the fawns she chased through the park at Deane, or
with more measured steps, though not less buoyant spirits, attended her
father, as in his Bath chair he took his morning exercise on the broad
smooth terrace, that stretched along the south front of the venerable
mansion. The whole scene rose to her mind's eye, and she saw, in
imagination, the lawns, the fields, the gardens, in which she had spent
so many happy hours, and which were

    "Once the calm scene of many a simple sport,
    When nature pleas'd, for life itself was new,
    And the heart promis'd what the fancy drew."

She dwelt with a melancholy pleasure on the recollection of all the
beloved companions of her earlier years, and sighed to think, that those
moments of innocent delights would never again return to her. From this
painfully pleasing reverie she was roused by the crying of a child, and
the sound of an angry voice, exclaiming in a harsh key, "Hold your
tongue, you little devil--ban't I going as fast as I can?" It seemed as
if manual correction followed this expostulation, as the infant's cries
were redoubled, and Selina heard its little voice, saying in a plaintive
tone, "Mammy, mammy, me be a-hungry, me be tired." At that moment a turn
in the road presented the speakers to her view, and she beheld a young
woman, in whose pallid cheeks disease and wretchedness struggled for
preeminence. A few coarse black locks strayed from under a cap, which
might once have been white, but now in dirt and yellowness rivalled the
complexion of the wearer, whilst it served to contrast a gaudy riband,
by which it was encircled; a ragged, coloured handkerchief scarcely
concealed her shrivelled bosom; and a cotton gown, which in its
variegated pattern showed all the hues of the parterre, trained in the
dust, and was partly caught up under her arm, below which appeared a
tattered stuff petticoat, that scarcely reached to her knees. Her
countenance was, if possible, more disgusting than her dress: her dark
black eyes and oval forehead showed still some trace of beauty; but an
expression of unblushing vice called forth sensations rather of disgust
than of compassion. The little ragged urchin, that trotted by her side,
endeavoured, on seeing Selina, to hide its head beneath her gown; but
after a moment's deliberation, she dragged him from his concealment, and
pushing him forward, desired him to demand charity. Selina, pitying the
infant, more from the appearance of its associate than even from its own
wretchedness, could not deny its request; and while she gave the poor
child all the silver her purse contained, she inquired if the woman was
its mother. "To be sure I am, my lady," replied she, in a tone of
impertinent carelessness; "else what do you think I'd be troubled with
such a brat as that for?" "It seems a fine boy," returned Selina,
willing to rouse the maternal feelings that seemed so nearly extinct.
"And where do you live?" "Down in that hut yonder, and a pretty penny I
pay for it. Our landlord never comes to these here parts; if he did, he
wouldn't let us be so racked; but he never thinks of us when he is
away, and Mr. Smart, his agent, raises our rents just as he pleases; but
he has our curses for his gains;" so saying, she seized the child
roughly by the arm, and pursued her way, muttering imprecations Selina
shuddered to hear. She also proceeded towards home; but her thoughts now
took a more unpleasant turn. She recollected with sorrow how many poor
cottages on her estate might also, with reason, lament the loss of a
landlord, who had always inquired into their distresses and relieved
their wants. But she, though possessed of such extensive means of being
useful to her fellow-creatures, had hitherto seemed to consider the
possession of fortune only as affording her a more ample opportunity for
selfish gratification. She called to mind the happiness she had formerly
experienced in charitable occupations; and reflected, with remorse, that
since she had plunged into the vortex of dissipation, no tear had been
wiped from the cheek of indigence by her generous aid--no smile of
gratitude had hailed her approach to the couch of misery or pain. Of the
many hours she had wasted in the pursuit of pleasure, not one had been
devoted to the purposes of benevolence; and while she had lavished
uncalculated sums in extravagance and folly, she had never purchased the
inestimable benefit of a poor man's blessing.

This trifling incident served to awaken in Selina's mind feelings and
reflections that had long lain dormant. The whole tenour of Lady
Eltondale's conduct had been calculated to efface all the impressions
formerly made on her, both by the precepts and example of the admirable
Mrs. Galton; and while her Ladyship contrived, by cautious degrees, to
impede, and finally almost destroy the correspondence with her, which
might have served occasionally to recall the first, the latter was
almost totally obliterated from her mind by the entirely new scenes,
into which she had been introduced. As to the habits of charity, to
which both from inclination and instruction she had been early
habituated, but little opportunity for their exercise had occurred since
her residence with the Viscountess; for the very servants at Eltondale
were too polite to admit a vulgar beggar within its gates; and in London
she had been taught to consider all vagrants indiscriminately as
impostors, whom it was almost a crime to relieve.

But are those aware, who are anxious to find plausible excuses for
delaying or omitting the fulfilment of the duties of charity, that the
feelings of the human heart, though inflamed by casual restraint, are
extinguished by a continued suppression? And wo be to that breast, in
which the sentiments of benevolence and compassion are destroyed! The
virtues of humanity, as they are those which most peculiarly belong to
this present state of existence, so is the exercise of them most
necessary to our individual happiness in this world; for he, whose heart
has never melted at the sorrows of others, will assuredly, sooner or
later, know the agony of seeking in vain for one sympathising bosom on
which to repose the burden of his own.

When Selina returned home, she was scarcely less pleased than surprised
to find Mr. Sedley seated at breakfast with Lady Eltondale. They were so
deeply engaged in conversation, that her entrance was unnoticed by
either; and as her astonishment at perceiving so unexpected a guest made
her pause for a moment at the door, she heard Lady Eltondale say,
apparently in continuation of a previous speech, "And have you proof of
this from himself, Mr. Sedley?" "Yes; proofs such as must convince even
your Ladyship; otherwise I would never have made the proposal I have
done." Selina here interrupted him, but her appearance was so sudden,
that it was many minutes before he could collect his thoughts to address
her with any composure. Lady Eltondale, however, showed no
embarrassment; she inquired most kindly what had so long detained
Selina; said that she and Mr. Sedley, whom she had accidentally met at
the well, had walked miles in search of her; and finally joined in her
vivacious raillery against Mr. Sedley for his visible confusion. In
answer to Selina's inquiries when he arrived at Cheltenham, "Only
yesterday," said he; "I was quite disappointed at not meeting you at the
rooms last night. How is the detestable head-ache that Lady Eltondale
told me prevented your accompanying her there?" While Selina hastily
dismissed the subject of her casual indisposition, which, in truth, she
had hardly remembered, a momentary surprise glanced across her mind at
the recollection, that Lady Eltondale had not mentioned to her having
seen Mr. Sedley; but she had not time to dwell on the thought, as the
Viscountess immediately renewed her inquiries as to what could have so
unusually prolonged Selina's walk; and the beggar woman and her boy
recurring to her mind, she forgot all her doubts and past reflections,
in the earnestness with which she entered into the description of all
the wretchedness, which she "was sure the poor infant must suffer from
its unfeeling mother." Lady Eltondale seemed to take uncommon interest
in the relation, which she prolonged by apposite questions and remarks
of "Poor child!--Of course you gave it something.--No wonder you
returned so late.--I suppose you were just come home, just opened this
door, as I perceived you.--Dear infant, I should like to have seen it!"
And thus continued the conversation, while Mr. Sedley took a turn or two
across the room; put into his pocket a letter-case that lay beside his
coffee-cup, and regained all his customary self-possession. With his
usual manners he resumed his place in Selina's estimation; and the hours
flew by unnoticed, as he entertained her with the relation of a thousand
ridiculous adventures, all of which had occurred either to himself or
"his particular friends," during the space of three weeks, which he
called an age, since they parted. And in truth he did not much
exaggerate, when he described his regret at their having been so long
separated. Like the unguarded moth, he had flitted round the flame till
he actually suffered for his folly; for his improved acquaintance with
Selina, during the latter part of their stay in London, had so far
increased his admiration of her, that what was at first merely a
preference chiefly influenced by pecuniary considerations, had now
become a passion almost too powerful to be controlled. He had yet
however sufficient command over his feelings, to avoid any verbal
expression of them; and, while he carefully demonstrated how interesting
to him had been all her observations, by delightedly referring to their
former conversations, and recapitulating even her most trifling remarks,
his present adulation was so delicately conveyed by inferred compliment
alone, that, while Selina was gratified by the flattering attention,
thus obviously paid her, she felt it would have but compromised her own
modesty, had she, by disclaiming praise thus subtilely offered,
appropriated to herself an admiration that was only insinuated. And how
did Lady Eltondale approve of this? In truth she was not aware of the
whole tendency of Mr. Sedley's discourse; a stolen glance or a peculiar
emphasis explained his application of a particular sentence to her, who
alone he meant should understand him; _et au reste_, the Viscountess,
like a skilful navigator, always floated down a stream she found it
impossible to stem.

Selina almost persuaded herself, that every clock and watch in the house
was out of order, when Lady Eltondale asserted, that the hour was come
for Fazani's raffle, which she had particularly patronized; and as,
accompanied by the Viscountess and Sedley, Selina walked under the dark
avenue, that led to that fashionable rendezvous, she could not help
internally observing, "how much Mr. Sedley's vivacity and good-nature
enlivened every society of which he was a member."



CHAPTER X.

     _Lady Sneerwell._--You are partial, Snake.

     _Snake._--Not in the least; every body will allow, that Lady
     Sneerwell can do more with a word or a look, than many others with
     the most laboured detail.

     oeSCHOOL FOR SCANDAL.oe


When they entered Fazani's, the raffle was only waiting for the arrival
of the Viscountess. The prize was a beautiful work-box, and Fortune, who
at that moment seemed to smile with peculiar benignity on Sedley, chose
him to be the successful adventurer. As soon as he was declared victor,
he immediately brought the treasure towards Lady Eltondale and Selina,
and the latter, with pardonable vanity, flattered herself that he
intended it as a present for her. But in this she was mistaken. He
addressed himself to Lady Eltondale, and in a low tone said, with
peculiar emphasis, "Will your ladyship accept this from me as a _gage
d'amitié_?" "I take it as a flag of truce," replied she in a similar
tone. "Then from henceforward you are my friend," exclaimed Sedley,
seizing her hand with unusual vehemence. "At least not your enemy,"
answered the Viscountess.--"But this is not a proper place to settle our
preliminaries."

This conversation was unintelligible to Selina, yet not uninteresting,
as she felt a vague consciousness, that it in some way related to
herself, and a momentary distrust of both speakers glanced across her
mind. But her attention was quickly attracted by Lady Hammersley, who,
on perceiving Lady Eltondale, had advanced from amongst the crowd to pay
her compliments. The Viscountess was as minute in her inquiries
regarding all that could concern Lady Hammersley, as if she had been
sincere in her professions of being glad to meet her; and though Lady
Hammersley's eyes were fixed on Selina, it was some minutes before she
was sufficiently disengaged to accost her; at length she abruptly
exclaimed, "Miss Seymour has, to all appearance, profited as much by her
residence in London, as I prophesied she would; possibly amongst her
other acquirements she may have learned the art of forgetting old
acquaintances." Selina's colour rose, and the implied rebuke checking at
once the friendly salutation with which she had prepared to address her,
she returned her recognizance with an elegant but frigid compliment,
worthy a pupil of Lady Eltondale. "Admirable!" retorted Lady Hammersley
with a scornful smile: "My penetration is not baffled. I must write to
Mrs. Galton, to notice the improvement _I_ always anticipated." "Why,
does your Ladyship know Mrs. Galton?" inquired Selina anxiously; while
Lady Eltondale, leaning on Mr. Sedley, took the opportunity of escaping
from her "Dear Lady Hammersley." "I do know Mrs. Galton," replied she;
"we were together all last winter at Bath; and she, Miss Seymour, was
so convinced of your perfection, that she never would believe it was
even in Lady Eltondale's power to _improve_ you, as I guessed she would,
and see she has done." "Dear, dear aunt Mary!" exclaimed Selina,
bursting into tears, as she heard this instance of a disinterested
partiality, to which she had lately been unused, even though the recital
had been made with more of acrimony than of benevolence. Lady Hammersley
looked for some moments steadily at Selina, and then continued in her
usual cynical tone, "Pray, Miss Seymour, compose yourself; Lady
Eltondale will be shocked at my having betrayed you into so gross an
impropriety. I had not the slightest idea that the mention of Mrs.
Galton would have roused your feelings, and still less that you could
have been tempted to exhibit them." Selina felt hurt at the undeserved
censure, which both Lady Hammersley's words and manner expressed, and,
with a look of dignity, replied, "I am indeed ashamed of betraying them
where they can be so little understood;" and took leave of her Ladyship
with a proud politeness, which admitted of no reply. Lady Hammersley for
some moments looked after Selina, as she moved to a distant part of the
room, where Lady Eltondale was waiting for her. "That girl is still
worth knowing," thought she; and for once she turned an unprejudiced eye
on the lovely form and heavenly countenance of the innocent girl, who
had hitherto so undeservedly shared in the contempt and hatred, which
her Ladyship had always been accustomed to feel for every thing, that in
the remotest degree appertained to Lady Eltondale.

Meantime Selina joined the Viscountess, while "disdain and scorn rode
sparkling in her eyes." "Has Lady Hammersley been entertaining you with
any sententious aphorisms?" asked Lady Eltondale. "No," replied Selina,
laughing. "For once she has been talking on a subject she does not
understand." The Viscountess was not sufficiently interested in her
Ladyship's harangues to inquire further, and they continued their walk
till it was time to separate for dinner.

The amusement allotted for that evening was a public concert, and Lady
Eltondale and Selina had acceded to Sedley's earnest entreaty of
attending it. He accordingly took post in the outside room, waiting for
their arrival, and anxiously inspecting every passing groupe, as the
different parties entered, in hopes of recognizing them. But his
expectations were disappointed; no Lady Eltondale or Selina made their
appearance: he bewildered himself in conjectures; and at last, in a
moment of pique, attributing their delay to caprice, he left the rooms
before the concert was finished, cursing woman's inconsistency, and his
own folly, in ever having suffered himself to be interested about any.
This sage reflection was however chased long before morning, not only by
the recollection of Selina's manifold charms, but of his own manifold
creditors; and at an early hour he repaired to the well, where he and
Lady Eltondale had agreed to meet, in order to finish a conversation
neither was particularly anxious Selina should witness.

But Lady Eltondale was not to be found; and when the hour for the
general dispersion of the company arrived without his seeing her, he
lost patience, and hastened to her house to inquire the cause of her
protracted absence.

But there, to his utmost consternation, he learned that an express had
arrived, just as the ladies were preparing to go to the rooms the night
before, to inform the Viscountess, that Lord Eltondale had suddenly
expired at Eltondale, after having partaken of a turtle feast with more
enjoyment, and even less restraint, than ordinary. Of course neither
Selina nor Lady Eltondale was visible, and Sedley returned home agitated
by a thousand conjectures and emotions.

It was not to be expected, that Lady Eltondale would deeply lament the
death of a husband, who, notwithstanding his uniform indulgence to her,
had never possessed either her esteem or affection; but nevertheless
Selina could not help being shocked at the total apathy and ingratitude
she displayed; as without even assuming a grief, which it would have
been almost more a virtue to dissemble, than thus openly to contemn, she
only thought of, only lamented, the change of her circumstances the
event would inevitably produce. Selina listened in astonishment to the
calm retrospection of past extravagance, and the despairing anticipation
of future poverty, in which she indulged even in those first moments of
widowhood; and disdaining to offer consolation to the only sorrows she
could hear unmoved, at an early hour retired to her own room.

There far, far different reflections agitated her bosom. There is a
certain sympathy in misfortune, which, touching a chord that has once
jarred, finds an echo in our own breast;

    "Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows,
    Which show like grief itself."

Thus the sudden dissolution of Lord Eltondale recalled to Selina's mind
all the circumstances of her father's death; and though neither in her
judgment nor affection they could ever have been compared, yet the last
sad scene of mortality blended her recollections of both, and with
unrestrained tears she gave way to all the poignancy of regret, in the
solitude of her chamber, which the freezing insensibility of Lady
Eltondale would have repressed, in the presence of her who should have
been the greatest mourner.

In the morning her swollen eyes and pallid cheeks bore testimony to her
sleepless night; and as from Lady Eltondale she expected reproof rather
than sympathy, she was not sorry to receive a message, stating that her
Ladyship wished to breakfast alone, as she was engaged in writing
letters.

Selina, lost in reflection, unconsciously prolonged her solitary and
almost untasted meal, till she was roused by the abrupt entrance of Lady
Hammersley, who, profiting by her plea of relationship, had come to
inquire all the particulars of the Viscount's death. Though Selina now
felt a degree of repugnance to Lady Hammersley, which her almost
impertinent remarks had provoked, yet she could not with propriety
refuse the details she demanded; and she accordingly answered her
numerous questions with as much brevity as politeness permitted. But her
auditor seemed to attend more to her countenance than to her words, and
at last abruptly exclaimed, "I certainly did not expect to see so much
real sorrow in this house of mourning; you are a good girl, I believe,
after all; and I like you for having at least _some_ feeling left."
Though Selina was always grateful for advice, and even reproof, dictated
by affection, yet she did not feel, that Lady Hammersley was in any way
authorized to offer her either; and therefore she replied, with an air
of _hauteur_, which the recollection of her observations the day before
increased, "My acquaintance with your Ladyship has been so short, that
neither my feelings nor character can be known to you: have you any
commands, madam, to Lady Eltondale?" and rising as she spoke, she
prepared to quit the room. But Lady Hammersley, taking hold of her hand,
exclaimed, "What, proud too! well, I like you the more for it; come, sit
down, you and I must be better acquainted. For once I am inclined to
think I have been mistaken. When first I saw you at Eltondale,"
continued she, in a tone of unusual kindness, "I was interested by your
personal appearance; but above all, by your simplicity of character: but
as I knew these were the two precise points, which must infallibly be
most changed by your residence with Lady Eltondale, I looked upon you
only as a fine piece of plaster of Paris, which she would probably mould
to external perfection, but leave all hollow within. I should therefore
(forgive my frankness, Miss Seymour), most likely, never have thought of
you again, had I not met Mrs. Galton; who spoke of you in such terms,
that I own I was curious to learn whether my prognostics were verified
or not. Circumstances have accelerated my knowledge of you; and since I
find, at least to all appearance, that Lady Eltondale's arts have not
entirely spoiled your character, I am anxious that her schemes should
not militate against your happiness." "Schemes! Lady Hammersley, I am at
a loss to understand you." "Her favourite scheme," returned her
Ladyship, "is this,--she intends you should marry her step-son Frederick
Elton, now Lord Eltondale; and her visit to Deane Hall, which you may
remember this time twelvemonth, was to procure your father's consent to
the match, in which she succeeded." "My father's consent!" exclaimed the
agitated girl. "But Mr. Elton and I are unacquainted; we have never even
seen each other. You must be mistaken, my dear madam." "No, there is no
mistake; both your late uncle and Mrs. Galton were my authorities." "And
do you say my father gave his consent?" "I do say so: and I also know,
that Frederick is now on his return to England, intending to propose
for you. Come, my dear, do not be so agitated: he is one of the finest
young men of the day: his character amiable, and his manners attractive;
so perhaps you cannot do better than make choice of him, provided your
affections are not otherwise engaged." A pause of some minutes ensued.
Lady Hammersley then continued: "But in telling you Lady Eltondale's
scheme, it is fit I should explain her motive; for be assured, Miss
Seymour, no action of hers can ever be disinterested. The fact is, she
has long known, that the Eltondale estates are as much encumbered as the
entail permits them to be; and in securing your property for Frederick,
she flatters herself she has secured an increased jointure for herself."
Selina shuddered, but could make no reply. And Lady Hammersley rising,
said, "I have now, my dear Miss Seymour, told you all I know: you may
think me an impertinent old woman, but, be assured, I only wished to be
a kind one. God bless you! perhaps we may never meet again; for I
suppose Lady Eltondale will leave this place immediately. But don't
forget the key I have given you to her character; and believe me it is
not a false one." So saying, she affectionately kissed Selina, who took
leave of her with a gratitude and cordiality, she would a few hours
before have believed it scarcely possible she could ever have
experienced for Lady Hammersley.

It may be supposed this conversation made a deep impression on her mind;
and one of the most painful feelings it excited was the insight it gave
her into Lady Eltondale's selfish and dissembling character, confirmed
as it was by her own previous observations. But even these feelings had
not long power to withdraw her attention from that part of Lady
Hammersley's communication which related to Frederick, and which was
also corroborated by her recollection of several remarks and casual
speeches of Lady Eltondale, which, at the time they were made, had
seemed to her accidental and undesigned, but each of which, on
retrospection, appeared "squared and fitted to its use." Nor did the
circumstance of her deceased father having given his consent to the
match serve, as with some romantic ladies it might have done, to
determine her against it; on the contrary, it rather served to prejudice
her in its favour; and a long train of reflections was concluded in her
own mind by Lady Hammersley's observation, "So perhaps you cannot do
better, provided your affections are not otherwise engaged."



CHAPTER XI.

                        Why she, even she--
    Oh! Heav'ns! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
    Would have mourn'd longer.

    oeHAMLET.oe


Selina's meditations were disturbed by a summons to Lady Eltondale's
dressing-room, on a subject of no less importance than the choice of
mourning: a mixed sentiment of contempt and indignation took possession
of her mind, as she saw every feeling, that should have been called
forth in that of the recent loss, absorbed in the more momentous
reflections suggested by the comparative merits of the bombasins. But
when the bevy of milliners left the room, and Lady Eltondale, hiding her
face with her handkerchief, gave way to an outrageous burst of grief,
Selina condemned herself for her premature judgment. "That is fortitude,
which I have cruelly termed insensibility," thought she; and softened by
her tears, the first she had ever seen her shed, she kindly took her
hand, and addressed her in terms of condolence. But Lady Eltondale
interrupting her in a tone, which from contending passions almost
approached a scream: "Spare me, spare me," exclaimed she, "I can bear
any thing but _pity_. Good God! is it come to this! am I, the envied,
flattered Lady Eltondale, born to be _pitied_?" Then turning to Selina,
with a countenance distorted with rage, and her figure distended into
more than common loftiness, "You mistake me, Miss Seymour," she
continued; "though that man of sloth, that dormouse, Lord Eltondale, has
left me almost pennyless; though all my entreaties, all my reasons,
could never rouse him from his indolence, to make him active for or
against ministers, either of which would have procured me a pension; yet
do not fancy I am yet to be despised. My spirit is independent, be my
circumstances what they may, and they may still be bettered."

Selina was thunderstruck at this address. She could scarcely recognise
the calm, dignified Lady Eltondale, in the being convulsed with rage,
that writhed beneath her steady gaze. In the contortion of uncontrolled
passion, the veil had dropped, and the delusion vanished. A silence of a
few moments ensued, and both the ladies recovered themselves; Selina to
explain the condolences she had meant to offer as kindnesses, and Lady
Eltondale to receive them with that degree of gratitude, she timely
recollected it was most prudent to profess. And now,

    "Brief as the lightning in the collied night,
    That in a spleen unfolds both Heav'n and earth,"

did the Viscountess reassume all her usual calmness, and more than her
usual charms. Stretching out one white hand towards Selina, whilst she
pressed the other on her forehead, "Forgive me, my love," exclaimed
she, "this sudden misfortune has quite overpowered me. But you, Selina,
I know will bear with me; you will not forsake me."

Selina gave her every assurance, that duty and compassion, if not
affection, could suggest; and Lady Eltondale, with that feverish
restlessness of mind, which was no less distinguishable in her, than the
calm self-possession of her external deportment, immediately proceeded
to arrange the plans for her future life. "We will leave this directly,"
said she, "as I am anxious to return to Eltondale as soon as possible,
after the funeral of my poor dear Lord is over. I want to arrange my
papers, and my jewels, and a thousand little trifles that are my own
property, and may be useful to me hereafter; and then we can be decided
by Lord Eltondale's answer to the letters I have written to him, whether
to await his return at Eltondale, or to spend the intervening time at
Brighton." "Or suppose, my dear Lady Eltondale, we return to Deane, I
shall be so delighted----" "Impossible, my love," interrupted the
Viscountess; "in my present weak spirits such a retirement would kill
me." But this selfish, unfeeling woman was yet to learn by deprivation
the value of those blessings she had hitherto disregarded, and of that
kindness she had only despised. Before she could decide at which of the
gay watering places it would be most advisable for her to pass the first
months of mourning, Lord Eltondale's steward arrived, in the utmost
consternation, with the agonizing intelligence, that the Viscount's
creditors had seized on all his personal property, to pay some part of
the debts her extravagance had so largely contributed to contract. They
had possessed themselves both of the house at Eltondale and in Portman
Square; and mercilessly stripped them of all they could lay claim to of
their splendid furniture, not even sparing her Ladyship's "jewels, and
the thousand little trifles," which she had determined to appropriate to
herself. Bitterly did she now inveigh against the memory of him, whose
inconsiderate compliance with all her unreasonable demands had
principally occasioned the distress of which she so unfeelingly
complained. At last, having exhausted her passion in invective, she next
employed herself in suggesting and debating on a variety of schemes for
her immediate residence: and at length being convinced, that a few
months of the very retirement at Deane, which she had at first so
indignantly rejected, was the most advantageous measure she could now
adopt, she endeavoured to make a virtue of necessity, and accepted
Selina's proposition in such a manner, as would have convinced a
stranger, that her sole reason for doing so was compliance with Selina's
wishes.

The delighted girl did not, however, pause to investigate the motives of
the Viscountess's assent to her plan. With a little of the vivacity,
which once had marked her every impression, did she now anticipate with
fond delight her return to those beloved scenes of her happy infancy.
Her heart beat high as in swiftest thought she pictured to herself being
once more pressed to the maternal bosom of Mrs. Galton, and once more
enjoying the calm unembittered pleasures of her earlier years. Overcome
by the various emotions these thoughts gave birth to, she retired to her
own room, to regain composure, and to write to persuade her dearest aunt
to meet her there.

But an unforeseen difficulty arose to their quitting Cheltenham. Lady
Eltondale, with her usual inconsiderate extravagance, had run into debt
with almost every shopkeeper in the town; and the tradesmen, from the
moment her departure was announced, sent in their demands with what she
was pleased to call impertinent importunity. Her own resources had been
long exhausted; and perhaps of all her mortifications, none was to her
so severe as being under the necessity of applying to Selina for
pecuniary assistance. But notwithstanding Selina's accession of
fortune, when she lost her habits of early economy, she with them lost
the power of being generous. The last letter she had received from her
banker had informed her, that her account was so much overdrawn, he
could no longer accept her frequent drafts: and when she was obliged to
refuse Lady Eltondale's request for money, she received a practical
lesson on the folly of extravagance, which was more effectual than any
precepts could have been. But Lady Eltondale was not to be repulsed by
trifling difficulties; her brain, ever fruitful in expedients, suggested
the possibility of Selina anticipating her rents, by drawing a bill on
her agent in Yorkshire. Impatient of delay, and dreading the demands
which her other numerous creditors in London and elsewhere might bring
forward against her, she prevailed on Selina to go the next day to
Mr. ----'s bank to negotiate the transaction in person, and fixed to
leave Cheltenham as soon as possible afterwards.

Accordingly, very early the following morning, she proceeded to obey
Lady Eltondale's directions, having desired the steward, who professed
to be well versed in such business, to meet her at the bank, in order to
explain all that was necessary for her to do: she however needed no
introduction, the wealth of the great Yorkshire heiress was too well
known to require any confirmation; and on signing a paper which she
scarcely looked at, she joyfully received the sum she desired, without
stopping to calculate at what price the banker and the steward had
agreed she was to purchase the accommodation.

Elated by her success, she sent the money to Lady Eltondale by the
steward, while she proceeded to take a farewell ramble amongst her
favourite walks, and to indulge in their retirement the pleasing
reveries the idea of returning to Deane Hall had excited. Her solitude
however was soon interrupted: Sedley, who for the last three days had
with restless anxiety hovered round her door, had followed her unseen,
and now hastily overtook her. On first seeing him she was half tempted
to return, but he, perceiving her intention, half seriously and half
carelessly, put her arm within his, and led her forward. At first he
paid her the common compliments of condolence; but when, in answer to
his inquiries, she told him she and Lady Eltondale were to leave
Cheltenham that day, his surprise and disappointment overcame all his
resolutions, and with a vehemence of manner and expression, that almost
terrified Selina, he declared his passion in the strongest terms. So
little had Selina been accustomed to think of him as her lover, that at
first she considered his address merely as an effusion of gallantry, and
as such returned it with careless _badinage_. But his renewed
protestations convincing her he was in earnest, her trepidation
increased, nor would she probably soon have recovered her composure, had
she not perceived that he misconstrued her prolonged silence. As soon
therefore as he would permit her, she interrupted him, by politely
thanking him for his good opinion of her: "But," continued she, "it
distresses me even more than it flatters me: I cannot encourage a
partiality I feel I do not return." With an agitated countenance, and
looks almost of menace, he now inquired who was the favoured mortal she
preferred. "It is not that I prefer another," replied she, "but I do not
sufficiently prefer you. I think the only way I can repay your kindness
is by treating you with perfect frankness. Do not therefore think me
harsh when I say, that though I certainly prefer your society more than
that of most others, and though I prize your friendship most highly, I
by no means feel for you that exclusive partiality, of which I know my
heart is capable; and without which, in my opinion, there can be no
happiness in married life." "But may not time and assiduity win your
affections, dear, dearest Selina; let me still hope." And then, with all
the eloquence he was master of, did he implore her to consider him
still as her friend; and to permit him in that character to enjoy her
society, and at least endeavour to gain her love.

But the delicacy of Selina's mind shrunk from the idea of encouraging an
attachment she never meant to return; and scorning the little arts by
which so many women gratify their own vanity, at the expense of those
feelings which they seem to soothe, she steadily refused to give him any
ground for expecting her to change her present sentiments: for within
the last few days she had "communed with her own heart," and understood
it better than she had ever done before. However her refusal though firm
was gentle; and when Sedley parted from her at Lady Eltondale's door,
the tempered smile that played on her lip, and the tear that gemm'd her
eye, spoke so much of female softness and benevolence, that he departed
more enamoured than ever; and, hastening home, shut himself up in his
chamber, to indulge in a variety of schemes and reflections, which all
concluded by his determining never to relinquish her pursuit, and by a
natural consequence persuading himself his case was not yet desperate:

    "None without hope e'er lov'd the brightest fair,
    But love will hope where reason would despair."

When Selina entered the drawing room, she found Lady Eltondale too much
engrossed by her preparations for departure, to notice her protracted
absence and agitated appearance. And when a few hours afterwards Selina
actually found herself seated in the carriage, which was to convey her
to her own home, her thoughts became so entirely occupied by painfully
pleasing retrospection connected with it, that for a time all others
faded from her mind. Orders had been dispatched for its being prepared
for their arrival. And as they travelled but slowly, sufficient time was
afforded for their execution. For the last few miles Selina preserved an
uninterrupted silence, her whole attention being occupied in
endeavouring to recognize every well known object; and as each
succeeding tree, and cottage, and spire, met her view, a sentiment of
pleasure, amounting almost to agony, oppressed her. At last, when the
carriage turned up the long avenue, her feelings could no longer be
repressed. She sobbed aloud, and concealed her face in her handkerchief,
which she did not remove till she found herself pressed to the
palpitating heart of Mrs. Galton, who having received Selina's letter
when on a visit in Lancashire, had succeeded in anticipating her arrival
by a few hours.



CHAPTER XII.

    Thou yet shalt know how sweet, how dear,
      To gaze on beauty's glistening eye,
    To ask and pause in hope and fear,
                                  Till she reply.

    oeMONTGOMERY.oe


Immediately after the departure of Lady Eltondale and Selina from
Cheltenham, Sedley had also quitted it, as he could not bear to remain
in a place, which had been to him the scene of his fondest hopes--his
bitterest disappointment. In fact his having met Miss Seymour there was
by no means the effect of accident. When she and the Viscountess had
left London in June, he had found such a loss in her society, especially
in those particular hours, which he had of late been accustomed to pass
in his daily visits to Portman Square, that life appeared a blank, and
his regrets for her absence first taught him the extent of his regard.
Not however that his mind, tainted as it was by so many of the
fashionable follies, if not vices of the day, was capable of truly
comprehending all the chaste and simple beauties of hers. His admiration
was confined to her personal charms; and though, had she been fated to
move in a humbler sphere, he would perhaps have sought her as a
substitute for the pretty little opera dancer, that was now under his
_protection_, as it is elegantly termed; yet with all Selina's
loveliness, his aversion to matrimony would scarcely have been subdued
by any less powerful motives than those suggested by her riches. For,
like all spendthrifts, Sedley was avaricious; and these united
interests, confirmed by habits of association, and increased by vanity,
led him by degrees to feel for her an attachment, of which at first he
could scarcely have supposed his heart to have been susceptible. Having
once convinced himself, that the possession of Miss Seymour's hand and
fortune would contribute to his own individual happiness, (for of hers
he did not stop to think,) his next object was to determine how to
procure it; nor did he consider her being the destined wife of his
friend as any impediment to the accomplishment of his own wishes. He,
however, was well aware, that it was of the utmost consequence to him to
obtain the countenance and support of the Viscountess; and as he
possessed sufficient penetration to discover the master passion of her
soul, he took his measures accordingly. Soon after she went to
Cheltenham he wrote her a letter, in which he so far betrayed the
confidence Frederick Elton had reposed in him, as to communicate to her
all he knew of his attachment to the fair Adelina at the villa
Marinella; and concluded by proposing, in the most guarded and delicate
_terms_ to her Ladyship, that she should befriend him instead of
Elton--offering, if she would procure for him Selina's hand, either on
the day of their marriage to give her a large sum of money, or to
settle an annuity on her for the remainder of her life.

The information thus conveyed to Lady Eltondale of Mr. Elton's
attachment to a foreigner did not very much surprise her. She suspected
that the reluctance he had expressed about two years before, to accept
an honourable and lucrative employment in the diplomatical line, which
his father had procured for him, and which had obliged him to leave
Catania to reside in Paris--his subsequent return thither, and his
protracted stay on the continent, had all proceeded from some such
motive.

But on the other hand Mr. Elton had, in his letter to his father, stated
explicitly, "that he was not only willing, but anxious, to make every
endeavour to gain Miss Seymour's affections, and bestow his own on her;
convinced, on mature deliberation, that such an attachment would
effectually conduce to his happiness, by filling that void in his heart,
which so much militated against it." And as he was expected to return
very shortly to England, she hesitated to accept Mr. Sedley's offer,
although it was a temptation she could scarcely resist. The result,
therefore, of her deliberations was, that she would remain neuter; and
whichever of the candidates Selina's unbiassed judgment made choice of,
she would endeavour to persuade owed their happiness to her influence.
She therefore wrote an equivocal answer to Mr. Sedley, which he
construed of course in the sense most favourable to his wishes, and
hastened to Cheltenham, where he used all his rhetoric to secure her
friendship; and she, with many a subtle argument, endeavoured to
persuade him not to propose for Selina till after Frederick's arrival;
and as he was by no means confident of the place he held in Miss
Seymour's estimation, he probably would have postponed his declaration
till time had more matured the regard he flattered himself she felt for
him, had he not been irresistibly impelled by circumstances, as has been
before related. Her refusal, however, did not entirely extinguish his
hopes, although it changed his plans; and as the public prints had,
about a fortnight before Lord Eltondale's death, given notice of Mr.
Elton's departure from Paris, on his return to England, Sedley
determined to repair to London immediately, for the purpose of meeting
him, as he knew business would require his presence there. Nor was he
disappointed; in about three weeks Lord Eltondale arrived; and Sedley
sedulously sought to renew their intimacy, as much then from interested
motives, as he had once done from inclination and preference. But though
these two young men associated as much as they had been accustomed
previous to Lord Eltondale's residence abroad, little remained of their
original friendship, except its familiarity of intercourse, which a
_habit_ of intimacy will long preserve. Yet Frederick was scarcely
conscious of this aberration of regard, which was, on the part of
Sedley, produced by a rivalship Lord Eltondale was unsuspicious of; and
on his own was principally owing to the gradual change, that had taken
place in their characters. Sedley, by the influence of dissipated
companions, had converted his natural vivacity of spirits into levity of
principle. Lord Eltondale, by the peculiar circumstances which had led
him to self-communion, study, and reflection, had turned the energies of
his nature to pursuits worthy of the powers of his mind, and of the rank
he was by nature and fortune destined to hold amongst the sons, which
England proudly boasts as truly noble.

Lord Eltondale had written to the Viscountess, that it was his intention
to pay his compliments to her and Miss Seymour immediately on his
arrival in England; but he, from one day to another, sought excuses for
delaying this visit to Deane Hall; and Sedley was not unwilling to
assist in the search, for he still hoped to gain by delay. When he had
first met Frederick, he had inquired, with as much indifference as he
could assume, whether there was any foundation in the newspaper report
of his marriage with Miss Seymour; to which his Lordship replied, in a
peremptory tone, "Yes, if she will have me;" and immediately changed the
conversation in such a manner, that Sedley had not again the courage to
renew it. However, at last his Lordship fixed the day for the
commencement of his journey to Yorkshire, and the evening before he as
usual spent in his friend's society. They were conversing of far
different matters, when Sedley abruptly said, in a tone of marked pique,
"Well, Eltondale, so you have at last determined to do Miss Seymour the
honour of proposing for her. Upon my soul, a great condescension!
Notwithstanding your damned lecturing letters, I knew you would forget
your 'charming Sicilian maid, fairer than Proserpine,' and all that pack
of metaphysical stuff you used to write to me. I knew well enough from
the first it was only an ideal Laura you fancied yourself Petrarch to;
and if, while you were dreaming of her, you had lost the incomparable
_heiress_ your designing step-mother intended for you, it would only
have been what you deserved." "For Heaven's sake, Sedley, what do you
mean?" said Lord Eltondale, colouring deeply. "Is the incomparable
_heiress_ the Laura of your dreams?" "No, no, my Lord," answered Sedley,
with a composure produced alike by envy and mortification, "I leave it
to _you_ to play the part of sleeper awakened--I never lost my senses
for any _Adelina_." "Sedley!" replied Lord Eltondale, with the serious
energy of deep feeling, "if any spark of our former friendship remains
in your bosom, I conjure you never to mention that name again. I can
never forget _her_, but she refused _me_." "Refused you!" exclaimed
Sedley, in a tone of unfeigned surprise; "well, no doubt your pride has
cured your love; but upon my soul I almost pity you; for when a man is
once fascinated by a pretty woman, it is devilish hard to get out of her
toils." "So far from my pride being my cure, her refusal raised my love
to a pitch that made my former attachment seem cold in comparison. You
may smile, Sedley, but if you have a heart to be moved, it must be
touched when I tell you of her noble conduct on that occasion. I believe
I told you of my intention of proposing myself to her; but I never could
summon fortitude to acquaint you with the result. I had perceived a
marked change in her manner to me some time before I wrote you the last
letter concerning her; but I attributed it entirely to her father's
influence, as I had not come to a direct explanation, and therefore took
an opportunity of demanding an interview for that purpose, when I knew
him to be absent.

"When she entered the room where I was waiting in breathless expectation
of her arrival, she was enveloped in the most icy coldness of manner,
which, however, I was not dismayed by, but poured forth my love with all
the ardour I felt. She changed colour many times, and was silent for a
few moments; but when she did speak, rejected my addresses with such
dignified politeness, and with so much calm self-possession, that,
mortified to the very soul, I, without reply or remonstrance, walked out
of the house. That I might hide my wounded feelings from every eye, I
struck into a private path which led through a flower-garden Adelina's
sitting-room opened into. I instinctively turned to look in, when I
beheld her kneeling, evidently in the act of prayer, her eyes streaming
with tears. To see her weep, and retain self-control or resentment, was
impossible. I was at her side in an instant;--she started up, and
endeavoured to fly, but I forcibly detained her; and as the expression
of her countenance was not to be misunderstood as to the cause of her
grief, I implored her not to destroy our happiness by harbouring any
false impressions of me or my family; entreated her to tell me the
impediments to our union, that if it were possible, by any exertion of
mine, to do them away, they might cease to exist. She turned aside her
head to hide the gushing tears, and in a faltering voice desired me to
leave her.--'Leave me,' said she, 'only for a few moments, that I may
recover composure to tell you all.'

"I respected her feelings sufficiently to remain in the garden till she
made a sign to me to return.

"When I entered, grief, in her calmest attitude, was seated on her brow.
No tear dimmed the majesty of her commanding eye, but a convulsive smile
sometimes passed over her pallid lip. She told me that her father,
though a German Baron, was a British subject by birth, but that some
unfortunate circumstances induced him to condemn himself to perpetual
exile from his native land; that she could not desert her duties by
leaving him, in the evening of his days, to sad solitude in a foreign
country; nor would she ever consent to obscure the morning of my life by
suffering me, if I were so inclined, to quit my country, and leave my
high calling unfulfilled, to waste my hours at her side in unavailing
regret for my lost character: and addressing me with the utmost
solemnity, said in conclusion, 'Frederick, if you really love me, as I
think you do; if you are the noble being I believe you to be--you will
not, after this meeting, try my feelings by any further solicitation. My
resolution is unalterable--do not deprive me of my self-esteem, by
making me feel the sacrifice I make to filial duty too painful.'

"I then told her, if she would promise to be mine when these obstacles
to our union were at an end, I would wait in joyful thankfulness any
length of time.

"'No, no,' said she, 'I could not, in justice to you, enter into such an
engagement. Our affections are involuntary--you _cannot_ answer for the
continuance of your attachment. Time, absence, your country, your
family, will estrange your heart from _me_; and honour alone would
continue to bind you to me when love had fled. I should, when too late
for recall, be doomed to inconsolable misery, by finding your sense of
duty had destroyed your happiness. As for myself, I could not live
under such a load of hopes and fears. No, Frederick, from this day I
will endeavour to destroy every memento of our having ever met. Hope
must be completely eradicated.' Irritated by the misery of my mind, I
had the _inhumanity_ to upbraid her in words that I would now give
worlds to recall, with being cold and unfeeling. 'Would to Heaven I
were!' exclaimed she, and abruptly leaving the room, forbid my following
her.--I never saw her afterwards."

Here Lord Eltondale started up, and paced the room in an agony of
feeling difficult to describe. Even Sedley was moved with compassion.
"Poor fellow!" said he, in a suppressed tone, "And did you make no
further attempt to change her resolution?" "I wrote several letters from
Catania, and returned from Paris after my second visit there to see her
once more, but the villa was deserted--Baron Wildenheim and his daughter
had gone no one knew whither."

"Wildenheim!" exclaimed Sedley, "Good God, is it possible!--Wildenheim
did you say?" Frederick repeated this name, and he, on hearing it a
second time, danced about the room like a madman. "Sedley, are you
absolutely and entirely insane?" exclaimed his friend, indignant at the
levity of his behaviour--"Beware!--by Heavens, you trifle too much with
my feelings!" "Well, you shall judge of the justice of my conjectures;
but if you give me the smallest interruption, I will leave you in the
state of blessed ignorance you at present enjoy," replied Sedley,
wringing his hand rather than shaking it. "First, then, to describe your
charmer, for I spent a month in the house with her last autumn.
_Imprimis_--her mind I know nothing about; she was so damned shy,
sitting alone all morning writing amatory odes to your Lordship I
suppose--there now, if you interrupt me I have done."

Here Sedley made a short pause. He felt that all was at stake: the
effects of a few minutes' conversation might decide his fate for life.
He hastily revolved in his mind Lord Eltondale's Sicilian letters, which
he had lately read for the base purpose of divulging their contents to
the Viscountess, and calling to mind the points on which Frederick's
admiration had been founded, endeavoured to paint Miss Wildenheim's
charms in those terms which he judged most likely to raise his friend's
love and regrets to their _acmé_, and thus for ever defeat Lady
Eltondale's schemes for uniting him to Selina. In reply to Frederick's
entreaties to proceed, he continued with affected carelessness, "I can
scarcely give you a more minute description of her person than of her
mind. Her beauty is not to be compared to ----" (Miss Seymour's, he
would have said with well acted indifference, had he not timely
recollected her name was a "word of fear," not only to himself but his
auditor)--"that of some of our reigning belles; but 'the charm of Celia
altogether' is so captivating, so _touching_, that no one ever thought
of _beauty_ in her presence; nor is admiration the sentiment she
excites, that, like her attractions, can only be felt, not described.
Come, don't be jealous; her indifference to me, and every other man she
associated with, was too marked to encourage that love it would have
been impossible not to have felt but for this coldness. Her form and
motions were so graceful, that my attention was too completely engrossed
by their exquisite elegance to observe her stature; nor was I more at
liberty to remark the _minutiæ_ of her features, rivetted as I was by
the enchanting expression of her countenance, where softness is ennobled
by dignity, and animated by intellect.

"In short, I no longer wonder at what I once termed infatuation, if '_la
bella Adelina_' be (as I verily believe she is) the lovely Adelaide
Wildenheim----" "Where is she, for God's sake where is she?" "Why, your
Venus is at this moment--not rising from the sea, but--enjoying the
delights of a mud bath in a bog in Ireland. I will furnish you with
proper directions to find her. I advise you to lose no time; I assure
you, you have a dangerous rival in the son of the lady she resides
with;--a year may have made a great change in her sentiments though."
Here a severe and long continued fit of coughing saved Sedley from
betraying the laughter he was almost convulsed by, at the thought of the
rival he had terrified Lord Eltondale with, in the person of Mr.
Webberly. "Better, my dear fellow, better," said he at last, in answer
to Frederick's earnest concern on his behalf: "though, to continue my
speech, her aversion even to him was so decided, I have no doubt her
constancy to you would stand a much greater probation." At first Lord
Eltondale's joy was too great for him to believe all this was not a
dream; and he questioned Sedley over and over again as to every
particular regarding Miss Wildenheim. The latter had profited
considerably by the lessons he had received during his intercourse with
the Viscountess, in the science of insinuation and _finesse_, and now
therefore artfully related every circumstance likely to strengthen his
friend's passion for the "divine Adelaide;" but perceiving at last from
Frederick's countenance that he was in danger of over-acting his part,
he abruptly discontinued a _tirade_ on her perfections, by exclaiming,
"All this comes of romancing, Eltondale; if you could have condescended
to have designated your dearly beloved by any more specific term than
'the fair Adelina,' this _quid pro quo_ would never have occurred.--Why
the devil did you never tell me she was plain Adelaide Wildenheim?" "I
had very strong reasons for my silence as to her surname. Though I never
knew a man more highly endowed in mind than Baron Wildenheim, or whose
manners bore the stamp of more refined elegance, more impressive
dignity, yet there was something extremely mysterious in the manner in
which he sometimes avoided, sometimes sought, conversation on English
affairs; in a moment he would interrupt a discussion he had seemed much
interested in, with a perturbation that excited unfavourable
suspicions, which were confirmed in my mind by a variety of minute
circumstances.--None made a stronger impression than the following
occurrence:--I one evening unexpectedly met him and Adelina walking
through a beautiful grove in the neighbourhood of their villa. They were
conversing earnestly, and, to my astonishment, in English--he with that
pure accent a native only can possess, which was forcibly contrasted by
the pronunciation of his daughter. I claimed him as my countryman, and
rallied her for concealing her knowledge of my native language. She,
evidently embarrassed, blushed deeply, (how beautiful she looked!)
whilst the Baron, with a haughty austerity, only answered my compliment
by a profound bow; and, after some trifling remark, pointedly addressed
to me in _French_, alleged the lateness of the hour for taking their
leave, and expressed a flattering wish to see me the following morning;
thus politely giving me to understand my presence was not at that moment
particularly agreeable. This confirmed my former surmise, that in the
revolutionary period he had been engaged in some dark affair inimical to
the interests of Great Britain, and that Baron Wildenheim was merely a
_nom de guerre_, to cover the _incognito_ he found it expedient to
assume; therefore I purposely avoided mentioning it to you. Now as for
Adelina--that is the Italian diminutive of Adelaide, which her father
always called her; it was the first I heard her addressed by; it is one,
in short, that has a charm in my ear, which none who has not loved,
_approved_ as I do, can conceive." "It is strange enough, Eltondale,"
remarked Sedley; "but you and Miss Wildenheim must have been in Paris at
the same time; for she related to me one day a whimsical occurrence,
which took place in the Chamber of Deputies, that one of your letters
informed me you had also witnessed." "Is it possible!" exclaimed
Frederick, "how unfortunate we did not meet! I now recollect, I once
thought I saw her at the _Théâtre François_; if so, she had contrived to
forget me in a great hurry; for though it was but three months after a
parting that was almost death to me, she was looking as gay and as happy
as possible." Here Sedley made an involuntary grimace, internally
exclaiming, "The devil she did! That agrees but badly with the _Il
penseroso_ I have described with such effect." "Baron Wildenheim,"
continued Lord Eltondale, "I certainly did see, but could not ascertain
whether the lady who was with him was Adelina or not; for when I
approached near enough to put the matter out of doubt, either by
accident or design, she threw a large shawl over her, so as effectually
to conceal her figure from my sight; and before I could push through the
crowd to speak to them, they had left the theatre. However I trust,
thanks to you, my dear friend, we shall soon meet; and if her heart is
still mine, what happiness!--Gracious Heaven! Miss Seymour!"--and the
recollection of his situation regarding Selina glanced through his mind,
turning all the past to pain--"I must not, dare not, think of her now."
"And why not?" replied Sedley, with an agitation little inferior to his
own, "You are not irrevocably engaged to Miss Seymour, Eltondale?" "I am
as much as a man of honour can be, who has not received the lady's own
consent from her own mouth. But my poor father got Sir Henry Seymour's
consent to our marriage above a year ago--read those two letters,
Sedley, the last I received from Lady Eltondale immediately after my
father's death. You will see by the tenor of it, that she considers the
business as concluded; and though she does not positively tell me Miss
Seymour's opinion, she distinctly says she has no doubt of our mutual
happiness!"

The first of these letters gave Sedley the most unequivocal proofs of
Lady Eltondale's double-dealing, in speaking of Selina to Frederick as
decidedly his future wife, at the very moment when she seemed to favour
his own pretensions. He dashed the letters, one after the other, on the
table, with a violence that made it resound, and internally imprecated
"the treachery, the artifice, of this damned dissembling woman!"

A sense of the moral rectitude, which should guide the conduct of
_others_, grows surprisingly acute, even in the breast of the most
worthless, when they themselves begin to suffer from the effects of
dissimulation in their associates. At that moment Sedley could have
demonstrated sincerity to be "the first of virtues"--in theory at
least--deferring the _practice_ of it to a more convenient season.

For some time both these young men remained absorbed in their own
reflections; till at last Sedley endeavoured to persuade Lord Eltondale,
that it was not incumbent on him to pay his addresses to Miss Seymour:
but neither the sophistry of his friend, nor still more the pleadings of
his own unconquered passion, could make him swerve from the rectitude of
his principles. He knew that even in his very last letter to his
stepmother, he had mentioned his intention of proposing for Selina, and
therefore, under all the circumstances considering himself as pledged
to do so, he endeavoured to find solace in what would once have been the
_acmé_ of misery--a belief that Adelaide no longer cherished any regard
for him.

On the other hand Sedley, passing at once from hope to despair,
conceived it impossible Selina could refuse an offer so unexceptionable;
and attributing her indifference to himself to her ambitious views,
internally vowed revenge on both. The rival friends separated with
feelings, which resembled only in their poignancy and defiance of
control; and the next morning Lord Eltondale left London, pursuing, with
agitated haste, his journey to Deane Hall.



CHAPTER XIII.

    Thou speak'st as if I would deny my name.

    oeKING HENRY THE FOURTHoe.


And where meantime were Lord Osselstone and Mordaunt?--It may be
recollected, that they had left London, previous to Lady Eltondale's
great ball, on a tour to the continent--a journey which was not
undertaken solely from motives of amusement. One of Lord Osselstone's
brothers had many years previous to that period left England; and though
the Earl had, by means of a mutual friend, a Mr. Austin, learned from
time to time that he was still in existence, he had never succeeded in
discovering his retreat; but for the last eighteen months he could learn
no tidings whatever of his brother, as during that time Mr. Austin had
been at the Madeiras with an invalide daughter; and as from some
circumstances he was induced to think he might gain satisfactory
intelligence on this subject at Vienna, he, accompanied by Augustus,
proceeded thither for the purpose of procuring it.

The late Lord Osselstone had married twice. His first wife brought him
two sons, namely, the present Earl, and Charles Mordaunt, father to
Augustus. But his second lady, a German by birth, only one child, called
Reginald, who, becoming an orphan at the age of sixteen, was left by his
father to the sole guardianship of his eldest brother.

Reginald, as his mother's heir, inherited German estates of considerable
value, which unfortunately deprived him of the happy necessity of
applying the powers of his ardent mind to any determinate pursuit, and
also made him an object of speculation to those vicious beings, that lie
in wait for the unwary youth, who is sufficiently wealthy to recompense
the trouble of destroying him.

Never were two brothers more sincerely attached to each other than
Reginald and Lord Osselstone. The Earl cherished a twin soul in the
aspiring spirit and lofty genius of his youthful charge, whilst he was
himself the model and the pride of his admiring ward. Though Lord
Osselstone's father had, by sage precepts and example, compressed,
rather than exalted the energies of his nature, yet he was unfortunately
too young to serve as a Mentor to his brother, at the critical period in
which he was confided to his care. In truth, his partiality saw in him
no fault; but if he had, his experience was insufficient to teach him
how to control his restless spirit: and thus, though the affections of
Reginald's heart were excited by the warmth of fraternal love; though
his talents were improved, and the deep feelings of his soul rendered
still more intense by his strengthened intellect; yet his reason, as it
regarded the conduct of life, was totally uncultivated; and in place of
steady, well-defined principle regulating his thoughts and actions, he
was _impelled_, rather than guided by his imagination and his feelings,
which taught him to cherish a mistaken species of honour, that made him
more tenacious of his _fame_ than careful of his conduct. As long as he
was "no man's enemy but his own," he thought himself blameless. But no
accountable being should dare to wage this civil war against itself. The
man who is his own _enemy_, is nobody's _friend_, and almost always a
pest of society.

Shortly after Reginald came of age, Lord Osselstone was grieved and
terrified to see him follow the steps of Charles Mordaunt, who led the
impetuous youth into a vortex of dissipation. The acuteness of the
Earl's feelings giving a corresponding tone to his reproofs, their
asperity only served to make Reginald shun his society, and seek, with
more avidity, that of his second brother; by whom he was initiated into
all the agitating, destructive pleasures of the gaming table; and soon
became entangled with a set of gamblers, who, in a short time, brought
his finances into a state of considerable embarrassment. The chief of
this depraved crew was a Mr. Mortimer, who, by the attractions of a
beautiful daughter, lured young men to their destruction at the
gaming-table, where she, with all the fascinations of the most
accomplished Syren, favoured his schemes. But her charms were more
generally acknowledged than her claims to respect; and her reputation
being on the decline, her father was anxious to marry her to some of his
victims, in order to give her, under another name, that station in
society she was on the verge of forfeiting in her own. She made an easy
conquest of Reginald, who was so bewitched by her attractions, that,
playing with even less than his usual skill, he lost in a few nights at
the faro table a sum he feared would complete his ruin, by rendering the
sale of the greater part of his maternal inheritance absolutely
necessary. He therefore lent a delighted ear to Mr. Mortimer's proposal
of allowing this honourable debt as a portion to his captivating
daughter. Reginald, overjoyed to obtain at once the woman he
passionately loved, and the relief of his embarrassments, without a
_public_ exposure of his follies, sought his brother Charles, to
communicate to him the gratifying intelligence. Charles Mordaunt was
horror-struck on hearing it, fearing it would be impossible now to
withdraw Reginald from that labyrinth, into which he had unwarily led
him; and knowing full well, that, if he was once connected with
Mortimer, no effort could save him from entire destruction. However,
concealing his distress from his unsuspicious brother, he immediately
communicated the circumstance to Lord Osselstone, making a candid
confession of his own share in the transaction, and painting, in the
most forcible terms, the impending danger of Reginald. The Earl, without
an hour's delay, discharged Mortimer's claim, threatening him with the
utmost vengeance of the law if he ever admitted either of his brothers
to his house again, and, in the most peremptory manner, insisted on his
writing a letter, acknowledging the payment of Reginald's debt, and
stating that Miss Mortimer declined the honour of his addresses. Lord
Osselstone then repaired to Reginald, when, unfolding Miss Mortimer's
true character, he accompanied his assertions with such "damning proof,"
that her hitherto infatuated lover could not refuse to acknowledge his
conviction of their truth. But now, in a paroxysm of rage, accusing the
Earl of the most savage cruelty in undeceiving him, he said, his honour
was engaged, there was no retreat; but he must, like a second Decius,
plunge into the gulf with his eyes opened to all its horrors.

Lord Osselstone suffered him for a time to _feel_ and express all his
distraction; and when he had, in idea, raised himself to a pitch of
insupportable misery, he gave him the letter he had extorted from
Mortimer. Reginald's joy and gratitude were then as unbounded as his
anguish of mind had so lately been, and he willingly acceded to Lord
Osselstone's propositions. These were, first, that he should accept a
commission in a regiment, then stationed in distant country quarters, by
which he hoped to separate him effectually from all his worthless
associates, and break the chain of his destructive habits. Secondly,
that he should resign the conduct of his affairs to Mr. Austin, a lawyer
of probity and talent, and consent to receive, for some years, only a
limited stipend from his extensive German estates, of whose value the
Earl was better informed than their possessor; but he wished, by this
means, to make Reginald feel the deprivations his follies deserved;
knowing also, that the most probable method of destroying his habit of
prodigality would be to limit his power of expenditure. To gratify his
brother's feelings, the Earl consented to receive, by yearly
instalments, the large sum he had advanced for his benefit; but, at the
same time, generously resolved to restore it at a future period, when
the gift would run no risk of proving a curse.

Reginald rigidly kept his promise of for ever renouncing the
gaming-table, giving, in the regularity of his conduct, the best proof
of his lasting gratitude to his brother, and the most delightful reward
that brother could receive for his almost paternal solicitude. Three
years after this period, Reginald's regiment was ordered to Ireland,
where he was stationed at Limerick. He admired, in turn, several of the
beautiful women that place was then famous for; but finally fixed his
affections on Rose O'Sullivan, the only child of the present proprietor
of Ballinamoyle. This lovely girl was at that time entrusted to the care
of an aunt, who resided at Limerick, her father being anxious to vary
the retirement of her home, by what was to her, from the effect of
comparison, a scene of extreme gaiety. Perhaps few women could have
boasted of equal beauty, the effect of which was to Reginald rendered
irresistible by the vivacity of her artless manners. Soon seeing her
innocent partiality to himself expressed in her speaking eyes, any
doubt he had before entertained of the expediency of proposing for her
was set aside by this discovery.

When she returned home, he followed her to Ballinamoyle; and on the day
in which she completed her seventeenth year, he received her hand, which
her father gave with mingled joy and sorrow. Happily his regrets at
resigning his idolized Rose were not rendered insupportable, by
foreseeing that this act would for ever deprive him of his blooming
child, and condemn her to an untimely grave!

At no very distant period, Reginald's regiment was ordered to the
neighbourhood of London; and the tears of heartfelt grief which Rose
shed on bidding adieu to her father, and the scenes of her happy
childhood, were dried by her husband's fondness, and by his descriptions
of the pleasures London would afford her. But in proportion as
Reginald's eye became familiarized to his wife's personal graces, he
deplored, with keener perception, the rusticity of those very manners,
which had at first delighted him from their bearing the stamp of
unsophisticated nature, and forcibly contrasting with the artful
blandishments of the worthless Miss Mortimer. His pride could not brook,
that fastidious elegance should find aught in his wife to ridicule or
disapprove. He therefore determined for some time to seclude her from
the world, till he should, by the aid of the best masters and his own
assiduity, cultivate her talents and polish her manners; for which
purpose he purchased a beautiful cottage in the neighbourhood of London.
Though her extreme quickness of parts, stimulated by her unceasing
anxiety to please Reginald, enabled Rose to make a rapid progress in the
various accomplishments her masters taught her; yet she reflected with
sorrow, that she "never dreamed of having her schooling renewed by her
marriage." When Reginald, with ill-concealed chagrin, criticized her
every word, her slightest movement, she would say to herself, whilst her
beautiful eyes swam in tears, "My poor father thought all I said was
right; and so did Reginald too when I was at Limerick;" whilst the
reflections that kept pace with these in his mind were, "By Heavens, her
brogue is incurable! I despair of ever breaking her of calling me
'Reginald dear, and darling.' Thank God, Lord Osselstone is at
Athens!--She never will be presentable!"

In short, he was still more weary of instructing than she was of
learning; and it would be difficult to say, whether pride or
mortification predominated, when he came at last to the conclusion, that
there was no reason why he should seclude himself from the world,
because his wife was not sufficiently polished to be introduced to those
brilliant circles of fashion, in which alone he would suffer her to
move. The result of these deliberations was, his establishing himself in
the most fashionable lodgings in town, leaving the young and lovely Rose
to improve her mind, and "mend her manners," in almost total solitude.

One day, in Bond-street, he accidentally met an old friend of the name
of Montague, who took him home to introduce him to his new married lady;
who proved, to Reginald's astonishment, to be no other than the
_ci-devant_ Miss Mortimer.

The fascinations of her wit, the polished elegance of her manners, again
bewitched him, and he indulged without restraint, though equally without
design, in the dangerous pleasure of associating with her. He became a
constant guest at Montague's table, flattering himself "there could be
no impropriety in their intercourse--she was married, and so was he."
The consequence of this renewed intimacy was the revival of their former
attachment. His respect for the laws of honour, his regard for his
friend, and some latent compassion, if not love, for his deserted wife,
kept him for a short period hovering on the borders of virtue, sometimes
slightly passing its bounds, sometimes retiring far within. But Mrs.
Montague, led on by her passion for him, as well as an undefined mixture
of good and evil in her natural disposition, revealed the plan her
husband, in conjunction with her father, was following, to make him once
more a victim to his former passion for gaming; for Mr. Montague's
fortune and character were alike ruined by his connection with Mortimer.

Reginald's rage knew no bounds at this discovery of his supposed
friend's perfidy; and hurried on by love and revenge, he persuaded Mrs.
Montague to elope with him. Montague was equally exasperated at being
made the dupe of his own arts; and by the idea, that while he had
employed his wife to delude his intended victim, she had only deceived,
betrayed himself. Pursuing the fugitives without delay, he unfortunately
overtook Reginald. Their mutual recriminations produced a duel, in which
all the usual forms were set aside, and Montague's life fell a sacrifice
to his own and his antagonist's dereliction of principle. All sparks of
virtue were not yet extinct in Mrs. Montague's heart;--horror-struck at
hearing the dreadful catastrophe, she told Reginald their guilty
connection must from that moment cease, and enjoined him to seek his
safety in immediate flight. Unknowing what course best to pursue;
impelled at one moment, by his distracted conscience, to deliver himself
up to justice; withdrawn the next from this resolution, by the love of
life and the suggestions of pride; wavering between the two, he almost
mechanically returned to his lodgings in London. Here retiring to his
usual sitting-room, he threw himself in a state of distraction on a
sofa, eyeing from time to time, with varying intent, a pair of pistols
he had laid on the table. At last, startled by a noise he heard in an
inner room, he sprung up, and was in a moment locked in the arms of his
fond wife, who, alarmed at his long-protracted absence, had timidly
ventured hither to seek him, and had just heard of his elopement with
Mrs. Montague. "I _knew_ it wasn't true!" said she, "My darling
Reginald, you could never have the cruelty to break my heart by leaving
me: you will come back to Richmond with me, and then I shall be happy
again." "Never, never!" exclaimed he, in an agony of despair: "No
happiness for me, Rose!" Then, with a look and action bordering on
madness, he whispered in her ear, "I have killed Montague!"

Rose was one of those women, whose fortitude and strength of mind are
scarcely even suspected, till they are called forth by the hour of
trial. Though these few words had sent a death blow to her heart, as
soon as she recovered from their first shock, she thought of them only
as demanding immediate exertion for the preservation of her husband's
life. As the first step, she proceeded to remove the pistols. Reginald,
roused by the attempt, desired her to desist. "You do not _dare_ to
die," said she, looking at him with steadfast earnestness. "You shall be
satisfied; justice shall take its course, and then you will be
sufficiently revenged! Rose, begone!--this is no scene for you!--Go!"
continued he, stamping with vehement fury on the floor--"By the eternal
God I _will_ be obeyed." "No," said she, calmly, "never will I part from
you more, Reginald. In breaking your marriage vows, you have forfeited
your right to my obedience. Even to the grave will I follow you!" She
then threw herself at his feet, imploring him, by every tender name, to
consult his safety without delay; represented that, in a foreign
country, he might, by years of future happiness, repay her for the
sufferings of the dreadful present. Overcome by his feelings, he had not
power to interrupt her; and at last, in a state of stupefaction, allowed
himself to be disposed of as she pleased: he was conveyed from London
that night, and by the exertions of Mr. Austin was enabled to reach
Hamburgh in safety, where they took up their residence. Here Rose used
every exertion to soothe the anguish of her miserable husband's mind.
Neither in thought, word, or look, did she make one selfish reproach;
her very prayers were breathed more for him than for herself. His love
and admiration far exceeded what he had ever before felt. When he looked
back to the few preceding months, he wondered how he could, for a
moment, have slighted this angelic being, whose superiority to himself
he now with tears acknowledged; but his tenderness came too late. She
had suppressed her feelings on hearing his fatal communication, to save
the object who excited them; and she now, with merciful affection,
concealed all those melancholy forebodings so natural to the timid
female in her anxious situation, though she felt her health rapidly
declining, and anticipated with regret her approaching doom. She sighed
to think she must, in all her blooming charms, bid adieu to the world,
its brilliant pleasures yet untasted. She daily besought Heaven to spare
her, to sweeten the bitter cup Reginald had prepared for himself;
implored that she might again bless her father's eyes, once more receive
the fervent benediction of the instructor of her early years, and
confess her errors to his pious ear; and dearer than all, she longed to
bestow a mother's love on her babe--to welcome its first smile, to
return its endearing caresses. But with the patient resignation of a
saint, she submitted to her fate. When Reginald beheld with rapture the
tremulous lustre of her eye, the fatal hue that glowed on her cheek, and
crimsoned her love-breathing lip, he knew not what they too plainly
indicated!

Three months after they reached Hamburgh, the innocent, lovely Rose
expired a few hours after giving birth to a daughter, whom almost in her
last moments she presented, with smiles of anxious pity, to her
unfortunate husband, saying, "Be consoled; my child will love you as I
do. You are dearer to me now than ever. You have been but too
indulgent;--I have lately repented of many trifling offences--forgive
them when I am gone." Here exhausted, she paused for a few minutes; then
once again addressed him: "Don't weep, Reginald; 'tis fitting I should
die; my erring fondness would have injured this dear babe.--Comfort my
poor father!" She feebly pressed his hand, and her dying accents
murmured a half audible "Bless you!"

She was lovely in death! The clay-cold hand he with unutterable anguish
pressed to his lips, mocked the statuary's art. The ministering angel
who received her parting spirit, seemed to have shed celestial light on
her countenance, whilst the bloom of earthly beauty yet lingered on her
soft cheek and smiling lip. One dark lock lay on her alabaster bosom.
Alas! motionless it lay--the warm heart had ceased to beat. Gaze,
wretched Reginald, on thy heart's treasure! Soon shall the grave close
for ever on all her charms! The despair of his soul, as he looked on her
seraphic smile, and vainly watched to see her eye once more open with
love's beam, was for a time lost in insensibility. When again, conscious
that she was indeed no more, his agonized feelings led his mind to the
very verge of frenzy.

In his first distraction, he wrote a letter of penitence and grief to
his father-in-law, deploring his heart-rending loss, but omitting to
state precisely, that this infant had survived her mother; and from the
ambiguous expressions of this incoherent communication, the afflicted
parent concluded, that Rose and her child had perished together.
Irritated by the misery her loss occasioned him, Mr. O'Sullivan made no
reply, sending only a notification by Father Dermoody, that it had been
received, with a request that his feelings might not again be wounded by
further correspondence with the man, whom he not unjustly accused of
having shortened his daughter's days by his unworthy conduct.

Reginald had in this letter humbled himself as much as it was in his
nature to do to mortal man; and indignant at the asperity of such a
reply, he made no second attempt to move O'Sullivan to forgiveness. The
ill success of this endeavour to soften the heart of the most benevolent
of human beings discouraging him from any further efforts, either of
atonement or conciliation, he adopted the resolution of withdrawing
himself from the knowledge of all his connections. To his brother, Lord
Osselstone, of all mankind he could least brook making any overtures,
now that he was "fallen, fallen from his high estate." When he pictured
to himself how he had disappointed that brother's exalted hopes and
anxious cares, his pride and his better feelings alike prevented his
submitting to receive either reproof from the austerity of his virtues,
or that compassion from his affection, "which stabs as it forgives."

As a preparatory step to avoiding any future intercourse with his native
land, he entreated his friend Mr. Austin to meet him, without delay, at
Meurs, on the Belgic frontiers of Westphalia, near which his estates
were situated, that by disposing of some of them, he might finally
arrange his affairs, and discharge all his English debts. Mr. Austin
immediately obeyed the summons, and found Reginald in a state of the
utmost wretchedness, occupied with the wildest schemes for carrying his
ideas into execution; proposing, with feverish restlessness, to fly for
ever from civilized society, in order to join some tribe of Bedouin
Arabs, Mamelucks, Tartars, or North American Indians. The counsels of
this wise and judicious friend did much to bring back his erring mind,
to submit to the calm dictates of reason. Mr. Austin combated, in turn,
all these chimeras; opened his eyes to his duties as a father; and
finally finding him unalterable as to his determination of concealment,
suggested the most advisable means of carrying it into effect, which
were, to avail himself of the facilities circumstances afforded for
adopting the name and character of a German subject. From his mother,
Reginald had learned to speak the language with the fluency of a native;
and his friend now reminded him of a circumstance he had informed him of
a week before his fatal elopement from London, which at that time he
slighted, namely, that one of his estates, being part of an ancient
feudal tenure, entitled him to the rank of Baron by its own
appellation; the adopting which would not only procure him station
amongst a people of all others the most tenacious on the subject of
birth, but effectually conceal him, as the circumstance was yet unknown
to all his English friends.

On hearing this proposition, Reginald with vehement joy, exclaimed,
"Thank you, thank you, Austin; I shall know something like peace when my
ears are not tortured by the detested name I now bear. Though I am
outlawed because Osselstone was not in England to interfere with his
powerful interest, though that damned Gazette has declared me for ever
incapable of serving in the British armies, though it has stamped my
name with indelible disgrace, yet will I cover this new appellation with
fame in the field of glory."

Reginald accordingly availed himself of this expedient; and all legal
forms prescribed by German jurisprudence being gone through, his
daughter at the Chateau of Wildenheim was enrolled on the family
records by the name of Adelaide, which was that borne by the last
heiress of that house; her mother's finding too sad an echo in her
father's bosom, to be heard or pronounced by him without the most
afflicting feelings. All his estates, except the Barony of Wildenheim,
were sold; and the surplus, which remained after discharging his various
debts, was remitted to Vienna, where he repaired with his infant
daughter, on parting with Mr. Austin. Here he felt himself completely
alone in the world; and his feelings being too agonizing to render a
life of inaction supportable, he entered the Austrian armies. His rank,
his fortune, and his talents, soon procured him a command, which he
filled with honour, and redeemed the promise he had made to cover his
new appellation "with fame in the field of glory." Amongst the officers
placed under his orders were Maurice O'Sullivan, the uncle of his wife,
and Edward Desmond; he took a melancholy pleasure in serving the former
with his purse and his interest, for the sake of his beloved Rose, and
the virtues of the latter made Reginald no less zealously his friend;
but from both he most carefully concealed his country and his parentage.
They fought side by side at the battles of Hohenlinden, Rastadt, and
other desperate engagements, that fatally signalized the disastrous
campaign, which was concluded by the peace of Luneville. Reginald's
remaining estate was unfortunately situated in the territory ceded by
that treaty to France, and was by its new masters bestowed on a soldier
of fortune. He was by this event reduced from affluence to mediocrity,
and broken in fortune, health, and spirits, he proceeded to Vienna to
visit his daughter, then in her sixth year. He found her as beautiful as
a cherub, and the image of her mother. When she twined her arms round
his neck, calling him by the endearing appellations infancy bestows, he
felt that the world yet contained a being that would fondly cherish him;
and remembered, with sad delight, what now seemed the prophetic words
of his dying Rose, "Be consoled; my child will love you as I do."



CHAPTER XIV.

    When I am forgotten, as I shall be,
    And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
    Of me must be heard--say then I taught thee.

    oeKING HENRY THE EIGHTHoe.


During the period Reginald had served in the Austrian armies, his mind
had undergone a complete revolution. His proud spirit had been subdued
by misfortune. In his professional career he had learned to submit to
human control. In the field of danger the daring energies of his nature
had been fully excited; and, by the frequency of that very excitation,
exhausted, whilst the aspect of death, in its various horrors, led him
to serious meditation. Often has he passed from the stunning tumult of
the field of battle, to the awful stillness of midnight solitude in his
own tent; and here he first acknowledged the justice and mercy of
Heaven, whose avenging arm had awakened him from the giddy dream of
presumptuous passion, to the dreadful consciousness that he had
perverted the best gifts of Providence, intended for the benefit and
ornament of society, to be its bane and its disgrace. He had previously
thought more of forfeited reputation than of violated virtue; and,
though what he might have been rose to his mind in agonizing contrast
with what he was, yet he mourned rather for the internal sentiment of
degradation than of guilt. But he gradually acquired a more fitting
penitence, becoming at last resigned even to the ever present sense of
his former misdeeds, and submitting to it as their just punishment; at
the same time forming the virtuous resolution of endeavouring to atone,
if possible, for the past by the future.

Accusing himself of having deprived his child of her inestimable mother,
he felt in justice bound to fulfil towards her more than the common duty
of a father, and therefore resolved to give up the profession of arms
for her sake, in order to devote his existence to her welfare. He would
often, as he pressed the little smiling Adelaide to his heart, put forth
a prayer that the virtues of the daughter might plead at the bar of
offended Heaven, in mitigation of the vices of the father; and would
soothe his grief with the hope of giving her that virtuous firmness of
character, the want of which had rendered all the blessings of his early
lot of no avail to himself. Summoning religion and reason to his aid, he
wisely executed the task he had laudably undertaken, of forming his
daughter to emulate the perfections of her mother; whilst of the errors
he instructed her to shun, he was too fatally enlightened by his
intercourse with Mrs. Montague, on the causes of whose defects he had
made many deep and painful reflections. Convinced by these that
imagination, which is naturally too ardent in the generality of women,
is cultivated to a fatal excess by the usual mode of education,
confined, as this almost exclusively is, to the study of music,
painting, and poetry; he therefore, after establishing the grand
principles of religion and morality in his daughter's mind, directed his
attention principally to forming her _judgment_; limiting her fancy to
the subordinate office of _attendant_ on reason, never suffering it to
usurp the place of guide. He had also observed, that vanity is still
more dangerous to the female mind than even imagination. But it is only
a long and steadily pursued course of exertion that can reduce this
passion, so natural to the human heart, to exercise in its native
kingdom only its just power. Solicitous that no latent vanity of his own
should counteract his endeavours to limit its dangerous empire in his
daughter's mind, he was sparing in the use of that powerful stimulant
_praise_, which, though a very happy _consequence_, is too often a
dangerous motive. As Adelaide had no domestic companion, her vanity was
neither excited nor mortified by comparison; and it is one of those
enemies to our peace, that suffer more from neglect than defeat. Nor
was the baneful passion of envy introduced to her heart under the
specious name of _emulation_, of which all ought to know it is the
illegitimate sister, though the friends of emulation do not acknowledge
the relationship. Her mind was endowed with knowledge, extensive enough
to enable her to estimate justly the insufficiency of all human science,
and to show her how far short of the _acmé_ of even that imperfect
wisdom her own attainments fell. Being taught never to court display,
she was thereby exempted from the torments of envious mortification, and
early understood she was educated, not to bring forth her acquirements
like a holiday suit, in which to shine occasionally, but to keep them in
constant every-day use, to promote her own happiness, and the pleasures
of those with whom she associated.

Adelaide's docility, rather than her talents, enabled her to be every
thing her father desired (for she was not, in truth, more highly
endowed by nature than the generality of well-organized children); and
he returned her enthusiastic love and veneration, by an affection little
short of idolatry. But a father's too ardent love was beginning to
wither in its bloom the plant it had so successfully reared; for
Adelaide, when grown up, insensibly acquired an influence dangerous to a
young female to possess over the mind of any man, and which is never so
unlimited as over that of a father's in the decline of life. The virtues
of the parent and child were alike dangerous to the future peace and
well-being of the latter. He was too reasonable to subject her to those
occasional acts of injustice, or fits of caprice, which every woman in
her intercourse with mankind must expect and submit to, as inseparable
from her condition. She, from the most laudable motives, was unceasingly
occupied in the embellishment of her mind, which, though far preferable
to an equally constant attention to externals, will, by a very
different route, terminate one part of their course in the same
end--_selfishness_. And as woman owes every thing that is admirable in
her nature to a constant sacrifice of self, no acquirements can
compensate for the perfection of character she can alone derive from
this source. But in truth, the very best education a man alone can
bestow on a woman must be defective. He may adorn her with the virtues
of his own sex, but he cannot teach her the charities, the decencies,
the proprieties of life, which it is the peculiar lot of hers to
exercise. A female mind adorned with greater virtues only, without their
connecting links, resembles a beautiful country, where the traveller
passes from one bright region to another, over deep chasms, where,
perhaps, he may fall to inevitable destruction. With all the generous
virtues of her heart, with all the high endowments of her mind, Adelaide
had yet one more necessary lesson to learn, which was painfully taught
her when she lost her father; namely that, however imperative her
welfare was to his happiness, she was of small consequence to the world
in general, which would go on nearly as well whether she was living or
dead, happy or miserable; and that she must thenceforward derive her
felicity rather from her attention to the feelings of others, than from
theirs to her own.

Until Adelaide was seventeen, Baron Wildenheim resided principally at
Vienna: here associating with the most distinguished characters of the
day, to whom his talents and his various knowledge made him an
acceptable companion; a select number were admitted to his own house, in
order to promote the improvement of his daughter by such intercourse.
Profiting by the facility which his German rank afforded for the
purpose, he visited, in the short intervals of peace which Gallic
ambition permitted, Italy, France, and most of the other Continental
states; occasional change of scene being almost as necessary for the
amusement of his mind, as advantageous for the improvement of his
daughter's. But though for this latter purpose it was successful beyond
his hopes, yet the slow but constant progress of disease was not thus to
be warded off; and a residence in a mild and equable climate being
pronounced by the physicians of Vienna absolutely necessary for the
preservation of his life, about two years before Adelaide's arrival in
England they removed to Sicily, where he made choice of Catania for his
residence.

Here for the first time in her life Adelaide enjoyed the pleasures and
advantages of female society. The Catanese are amongst the most elegant
women in Europe; and the attractive graces of their manners appearing to
her with all the force of novelty, she quickly and involuntarily made
them her own. Her youthful beauty--her artless elegance, and her
cultivation of mind, caused her to be admired to an excess, which gave
her father as much pain as pleasure, as he trembled lest it should call
forth that vanity and inordinate desire of pleasing, which he had so
earnestly laboured to repress, too well aware of its having been the
cause of Mrs. Montague's destruction.

"_La bella Adelina_" was the object, to which the young Catanian
nobility paid the most flattering attention, the most exaggerated
compliments. Luckily for her she felt so little awe of her father, that
she told him without reserve all the feelings this new scene excited in
her mind. And he, appealing to her good sense, pointed out to her notice
the hyperbole of the praises she received, thus rendering them in a
short time more tiresome than agreeable. The Baron had early suffered
his daughter to know she was handsome. She had hitherto been as much
accustomed and as indifferent to the beauty of the robe in which her
soul was enveloped, as she was to the habitual elegance of her every-day
apparel.

He now went still further; and as piety was the main spring of all her
thoughts and feelings, he taught her to be religiously thankful for a
gift, which pre-disposed her fellow creatures in her favour;
representing also that it ought to make her still more desirous to
retain an approbation thus gratuitously bestowed. By this means her very
beauty made her humble; as, in her estimate of her own character, she
always attributed the praises she received but to a premature and
therefore exaggerated opinion of her merit, which she consequently
endeavoured to make in intrinsic worth equal to its received value.

About this period in the formation of Adelaide's character, Frederick
Elton arrived at Catania. Though he was perhaps the most ardent of her
admirers, his peculiar ideas regarding women in general led him rather
to call forth the powers of her mind by rational conversation, than to
weaken it by flattery. He was luckily not able, like his Sicilian
rivals, to write sonnets, or make improviso stanzas by the hour "to her
eye-brow;" and therefore had the less inducement to emulate the laudable
endeavours of his competitors, to make her frivolous and silly solely
to display their own abilities.

Oh! that her guardian angel would sometimes whisper in exulting beauty's
ear, that man is often only enraptured with his own genius, when he
seems most to adulate her charms!

Baron Wildenheim directed all his penetration to the investigation of
Frederick's character; and, fearing to trust entirely to his own
observation on a point of so much importance, resumed his correspondence
with Mr. Austin, from whom he received the most satisfactory
confirmation of the honourable opinion his judgment had previously led
him to form of the lover, on whom his daughter had unconsciously
bestowed her affections. He therefore resolved, that whenever Mr. Elton
should demand her hand, he would restore her to all her rights, by
accomplishing her introduction to her mother's family and his own. His
satisfaction at the prospect of securing Adelaide's happiness, by
uniting her to a man worthy of his highest approbation, reconciled him
to the idea of losing the only solace of that life, which he felt would
not be much longer a burthen to him. Not less generous was his
daughter--and from the moment she was aware of Frederick's love, she
determined to discourage it, for the reasons he related to Sedley. The
Baron's indignation at Frederick's abrupt departure was as great, as the
satisfaction his love for Adelaide had afforded him. She endeavoured to
preserve her usual cheerfulness; but his penetration soon discovered she
had feelings, that were not communicated to him. One day, on perceiving
her ill suppressed agitation, as the subject of conversation glanced on
Elton, he muttered, "Villain! rascal! how he has abused my confidence!"
Adelaide, hurt at this undeserved censure, entered warmly into his
defence, and her father soon extorted from her, that she had refused his
offers, though she still concealed, or thought she concealed, her
motives and her regrets. "Adelina!" exclaimed he, with unusual asperity,
"is this the reward of an existence devoted to your welfare? I could
not have believed that you would have set at naught my authority; nay
worse, have _deceived_ me." When she however threw herself into his
arms, imploring his forgiveness, all the tenderness of his feelings
returned with redoubled force; and penetrating her motives, he pressed
her fondly to his heart, making a silent vow that his "too generous
child should not sacrifice her happiness to his." The name of Elton was
never again articulated by either; but the rapid progress of Baron
Wildenheim's complaint warned him he must quickly put his design in
execution, or that his lovely daughter would shortly be left in a
foreign country, without relation or protector; Sicily being perhaps of
all others the most dreadful to leave her in thus situated, from the
depravity of its inhabitants, and its corrupt, ill administered
government.

When he informed Adelaide of his intention of taking her to England, her
joy was extravagant; but on perceiving the mournful expression of her
father's countenance, she ceased to display her pleasure, and
affectionately embracing him, said, "You know, my beloved father, you
are all the world to me; my greatest delight in the prospect of going to
England is, that I shall there see you in your native country, with your
own friends: I can never be happier than I have been with you; but I
often mourn, that all my exertions are insufficient to make you so."
"Adelina, I charge you, be silent on that subject," replied the
afflicted parent; and, overcome by the torturing reflections she had
unconsciously conjured up, retired to compose his mind in solitude.

A few days after this conversation they proceeded to Paris. From whence
Baron Wildenheim wrote an earnest request to Mr. Austin and Maurice
O'Sullivan to meet him at Dover, for which place he immediately set out
when their answers reached him; and there without delay delivered to the
former a will, appointing him trustee to all that remained of the wreck
of his fortune, for the benefit of Adelaide, with the exception of a
small annuity reserved for his own life, but nominating Maurice
O'Sullivan her guardian. The unhappy father then went through the
distressing task of disclosing to his former friend and fellow soldier
the principal events, which had marked his life previous to the
commencement of their acquaintance, beseeching him to relate them
hereafter to Adelaide as delicately as possible, and also to introduce
her to her grandfather and Lord Osselstone. Both these injunctions
Maurice willingly promised to fulfil, happy to have any means of serving
a man to whom he owed many obligations. The Baron had never told his
daughter the history of his early years: he could not in her childhood,
and when she was capable of accurately distinguishing right from wrong,
he feared it might irreparably injure her character, to have her respect
diminished for the person engaged in forming it. Perhaps his reluctance
to be his own accuser to his child was not the least powerful motive
for silence on this subject: he could not bear to think she should ever
in his presence be obliged to appeal to her affection, to silence the
censures her judgment must pass on his conduct--such voluntary
self-abasement, in a mind of this high tone, was indeed almost more than
human nature is equal to. He therefore had contented himself with
informing Adelaide, that some disagreeable circumstances had made him
prefer residing in the country in which his estates were situated, to
that of which he was a native. He would sometimes converse with her of
Lord Osselstone, whom he early taught her to love and revere; but never
made the most distant allusion to her mother's name or connexions,
partly because the subject was too afflicting to himself, partly because
he could not in that case account for his having concealed his
relationship from the uncle of Rose, with whom he had been so many years
associated, and with whom he had subsequently maintained a constant
correspondence, having resolved to resign his daughter, in the first
instance, to the protection of Maurice, whenever the effects of
unextinguishable grief should indicate the probable termination of his
own life.

When Mr. Austin met the Baron at Dover, he entreated him to leave
England as speedily as possible, lest the friends of Montague, who
resided in the neighbourhood of that town, should, by some fortuitous
occurrence, make out his identity; a circumstance by no means
improbable, as his person must be recognised should he meet the brother
of his unfortunate antagonist, who not unfrequently visited the very
hotel they inhabited, and which they could not quit without exciting
observations that might prove dangerous in their consequences. Though
Wildenheim cared not for life on his own account, and would willingly
have resigned it to satisfy the laws of his country; yet he trembled in
every nerve for his daughter's peace, should he fall a sacrifice to
their justice; and therefore fixed the third day after their landing to
bid her an eternal adieu!

Though he had sufficient strength of mind to resolve on tearing himself
from his child, yet he felt totally unequal to the trial of witnessing
her affliction on first hearing the dreadful intelligence. Mr. Austin
therefore undertook the task; and on the morning preceding the day
appointed, informed Adelaide of the indispensable necessity of their
separation, and of the arrangement made with Maurice O'Sullivan, to
introduce her to Lord Osselstone, presenting her with a packet of
letters her father had written for her benefit, which she was to make
use of when she came of age, in case any unforeseen occurrence should
prevent her appointed guardian fulfilling his promise; adding, that
should her relations refuse to receive her, he was in possession of the
necessary testimonials of her birth. Of all these particulars the
afflicted girl at the moment only understood she was to be deprived of
her father! The thinking faculty within her was almost suspended by the
agony of this idea. She offered no remonstrance to Mr. Austin; and
making a sign of acquiescence, instantly sought her father, to try those
powers of persuasion which never yet had failed in procuring from him
every wish of her heart: but on seeing the despair of his countenance,
she was wholly overcome; the hope, which had supported, now forsook her,
and she sunk senseless in his arms.

When she revived, she implored his pity in the most moving terms; asked
how she had merited this dreadful separation; and finding him, though
deeply affected, inexorable in his determination, at last departed from
her usual docility, saying, "Of what would promote your happiness, my
dearest father, there can be no doubt; I am the best judge of my own and
_will_ not leave you: to lose you in the course of nature would be
sufficiently dreadful; but this living death is tenfold more horrible:
oh! can you desert your child, who lives but in you, whose only joy is
in your approving smiles?"

Her miserable auditor now did violence to his feelings, by assuming, for
the first time in his life, all the sternness of parental command.
Adelaide convulsively sobbed on his shoulder. "Pardon me, pardon me; I
submit, though my heart will break: that angry look would kill me to
think of; smile on me, my father." "Smile! oh, my God! I shall never
smile again;" exclaimed the wretched parent: then fondly caressing her,
said, "My child, have mercy on your unfortunate father; my own feelings
are those of desperation; spare me the sight of yours. By your present
affliction I secure your future happiness; but mine--Adelina, I
entreat--in a few hours we part: do not speak of what is yet to come."
He was obeyed; and that day passed in the sullen calm which precedes
expected misery.

Adelaide retired at a late hour to her own apartment, but not to bed;
for she had perceived with terror how alarmingly ill her father looked;
and fearing the return of a spasmodic complaint he was subject to, sat
up, to be able to apply the necessary remedies at a moment's warning.

He in the mean time prepared to set out immediately on his voyage,
wishing to spare her a parting he felt his own fortitude unequal to. Her
room was inside his, and supposing her to be at rest, he entered it to
take a last look of his lovely child!

She was sitting half asleep, overcome by drowsiness and anxiety--the
light flashed across her eyes--she started up in wild affright, and
forcibly impressed by the feelings of her agitating dreams, clasped him
in her arms, saying, "We will never, never part, whilst life remains."
His fortitude utterly forsook him; and with a deep groan he sank in the
arms of his child.

       *       *       *       *       *

His countenance in death was impressed with the happy consciousness,
that his last look on earth had been blessed with her image; and with
the pious hope, that sincere and protracted penitence had made his peace
with Heaven.



CHAPTER XV.

    In my last humble pray'r to the Spirit above,
    Thy name shall be mingled with mine.

    oeMOOREoe.


Oh! how did Adelaide now wish she could obtain that separation she had
so lately thought worse than death itself! No tear escaped her
bewildered eye; no complaint issued from her lacerated bosom; mute and
motionless she sat, unconscious of all that passed around, musing on the
fearful, fathomless void within! Her constitution could not long support
this existence of silent horror; and a violent fever, which for several
days endangered her life, and reduced her to a state of extreme
weakness, saved her mind from destruction. When she recovered, her
grief, though deep, was placid, and her mild dejection won her the love
and pity of all whose hearts were not harder than adamant. As soon as
she was able to bear the journey, her guardian brought her to Webberly
House, and, during the short time he survived her father, endeavoured to
soothe her sorrow by the most affectionate kindness. His delay in
executing the promise he had given, of presenting her to Mr. O'Sullivan
and Lord Osselstone, arose not from any intention of ultimately
defrauding her of her rights, but from an anticipation of the
mortifications his doing so would probably occasion him to experience in
his domestic circle. He knew the respect with which he was treated by
the Webberlys was principally owing to the idea that he or his daughter
would one day possess a valuable estate; and though in his own person he
could, from the manly firmness of his manners, command a sufficient
degree of consideration for the common purposes of every day
intercourse; yet he was well aware, that when he was not present, his
little portionless Caroline would be treated by his wife's children
with the utmost contumely; and he was moreover weak enough to dread the
first explosion of Mrs. O'Sullivan's violent temper, when her hopes of
increased wealth should be disappointed by the establishment of
Adelaide's claims. He therefore, from day to day, shunned the expected
storm. At night he would sink to sleep, in the firm determination of
informing his wife on the morrow of Adelaide's relationship, as a
preliminary to his writing to her grandfather on the subject; but when
the morrow came, he either thought Mrs. O'Sullivan in such good humour,
it was a pity to spoil the short-lived pleasure arising from it, or else
that she was so much the reverse, it was impolitic to choose that very
time to irritate her further. On other mornings, when convinced she had
attained that happy medium most favourable to his important
communication, business or company interfered; and in the evening he had
too frequent recourse to intoxication, to drown the pains of
recollection. Thus, in impotent resolve and fruitless repentance, passed
the few months he survived after Adelaide was committed to his care. On
his death, Mr. Austin would have done what this spirit of
procrastination had prevented; had he not found, on examining the papers
put into his hands by Adelaide's father, that, though there was enough
to convince willing relatives of their truth, yet the evidence they
contained fell far short of legal testimony. Every necessary formality
to prove her parentage had been neglected at Hamburgh--a circumstance
easily accounted for, by the distraction of her father's mind on leaving
that place; and the name of Wildenheim, which she had received at Meurs,
made it still more difficult to prove her identity as the child of Rose;
for which purpose Mr. Austin then entered into a correspondence with
various people resident in different parts of the Continent. From the
apparent frigidity of Lord Osselstone's character, he had no hopes of
his interesting himself for his orphan niece; whilst from her mother's
family he expected open opposition. He therefore enjoined Adelaide to
remain unknown to her relations, till the period prescribed by her
father for her acting for herself, in case her guardian should fail to
fulfil his promise, by which time, if ever, he hoped to obtain every
necessary proof in support of her claims; and lest any youthful
imprudence should betray her into a premature disclosure, he carefully
concealed from her her relationship to the O'Sullivans, though with her
affinity to Lord Osselstone he knew she was already acquainted.

The time appointed for terminating Miss Wildenheim's suspense at length
arrived, and found her under the roof of her only remaining parent,
though as yet totally unconscious of their relationship. On the eve of
the day on which her minority expired, she retired to her own apartment
in Mr. O'Sullivan's house, sorrowfully reflecting, that in two more she
should part most probably for ever from this interesting old man. But
this feeling was soon lost in the joy with which she remembered, that
on the morrow she should make the first step to claim the love and
protection of her uncle, and the rest of her paternal relatives. She
fondly anticipated the praises which would delight her ear, as due to
her beloved father's virtues and talents; and with heartfelt pleasure
recollected, that Augustus Mordaunt was almost her brother. But the
happiness of these thoughts was damped by the idea, that he and Lord
Osselstone were then abroad; and she reflected with sorrow, that were it
not for Mr. and Mrs. Temple, she should, on her return to England, be as
desolate as ever. "But God," thought she, "tempers the wind to the shorn
lamb;" and her heart dilated with gratitude to earth and Heaven, on the
remembrance of what she humbly felt to be unmerited friendship. Her
first feelings led her to open the portfolio, which contained the packet
of letters Mr. Austin had charged her not to unseal till this period;
but at the sight of her father's writing, the agony of the moment in
which she had received it, with all the dreadful scenes which
immediately followed, rose to her mind in all their first horror; and,
completely overcome, she felt the dreadful consciousness, that none now
existing on earth could fill that vacuum, which the loss of this beloved
father would ever leave in her heart. The vision of happiness, which a
few moments before had appeared so vivid, now seemed to have been but a
vain illusion, that had mocked her with a dream of bliss. At that
instant earth had no consolation to offer for her sorrows; but she
turned to Heaven and found it there.

When she rose from her supplications, she hastily returned the packet to
her portfolio. "I will not trust myself with it again," thought she; "I
have here no friend to soothe, to _control_ my mind.--In a few days I
shall be with Mrs. Temple."

There are minds, which are capable of an intensity of regret, that
others can scarcely conceive. Long after it has lost the more
tumultuous character of grief, it lies deep in the recesses of the
heart. The cares, the pleasures of the world, may for a time conceal it,
even from self-consciousness; but there it ever endures. The vigour of a
strong mind may reduce it to temporary inertness, but it will at times
break every bond, and vindicate its empire. Like the Genius of the
eastern tale, who, though for ages confined in the casket by the seal of
Solomon, rose when the signet of wisdom was broken, in the same awful
might he had possessed, before reduced to submission by its coercive
power.

Whilst in one room at Ballinamoyle a daughter mourned her father, in
another a son defied his mother. Mr. Webberly was at that moment
informing Mrs. O'Sullivan, he would, on the morrow, make his
long-meditated proposal to Miss Wildenheim: he had fulfilled his promise
of waiting till she was of age; and said, that if she was so
unreasonable as to require still further delay, he could no longer
comply, as the difference of a day might deprive him of Adelaide for
ever. The Desmonds were to take their farewell on Caroline's birth-day;
Miss Wildenheim would commence her journey to England on the following
morning; and it was not at all likely Colonel Desmond would suffer her
to depart, without making those offers some people thought would be
accepted. This very idea made Mrs. O'Sullivan more eager in her
entreaties, more authoritative in her commands to her son, to defer his
intentions till their arrival at Webberly House. The conference ended in
passion on both sides, he exclaiming, "By Gad, mother, you are never to
be satisfied;--be damned if I stand shilly shally any longer!" "Then,
Jack, you shan't have my blessing for an _opthalmia_; and you know
that's better worth than the priest's, as the song says."



CHAPTER XVI.

    And if there be a human tear
    From passion's dross refin'd 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.

    oeLADY OF THE LAKEoe.


That day which had nineteen times been passed at Ballinamoyle in solemn
sadness, as the anniversary of the death of its lovely heiress, arrived
once again--and was again marked by those outward signs of woe, which
gratified the feelings of a disconsolate father, as a tribute of respect
to the memory of her, who still in the freshest youth lived in his
heart.

No stranger on that day approached the desolate mansion, to partake of
its hospitality, or receive its charity. The domestics, habited in deep
mourning, flitted about the halls and passages in total silence; every
countenance was impressed by a dejection, that affected the most
thoughtless with unusual seriousness--even Mrs. O'Sullivan's servants
spoke in a whisper.

When the visitors assembled in the breakfast-room, neither their host
nor the priest appeared; and Theresa informed her guests, that the
former always passed this day in solitude. The same depression which
pervaded the rest of the house, seemed to exert its saturnine influence
in this apartment also. Mrs. O'Sullivan and her son were both too much
irritated, and each too completely engrossed in forming plans to
circumvent the intentions of the other, to offer a single word of
conversation. Adelaide and Miss Fitzcarril were occupied by a train of
distressing reflections, little aware, that they were caused in the mind
of each by the same event. The Miss Webberlys only interrupted the
general silence, by occasionally indulging in that pettish crossness,
which the sight of unparticipated sorrow always produces in weak and
selfish minds, whilst their fretful words and looks terrified the timid
little Caroline.

In the mean time Mr. O'Sullivan, after assisting in that service, by
which the Catholic Church permits the living relative, with fond
anxiety, to extend its cares beyond the grave, retired with the reverend
priest to his own apartment.

"Oh, my friend," said the afflicted parent, "you received my child into
the bosom of our holy church; you heard her first innocent confession,
you sanctified her fatal marriage vows, and how soon after did you offer
up the prayers of my broken heart for the repose of her departed soul!"

"She was almost as much the child of my affections as of yours," replied
the priest, greatly moved: "and how graciously did Heaven reward my
endeavours to form her mind to the practice of every virtue! Never did a
purer spirit inhabit a human form! Let us rejoice in this," continued
he, his countenance beaming with the cheering hopes of devotion; "we
have both hitherto offended by a grief that 'would not be comforted.'
Shall we, standing on the brink of the grave, still presume to murmur?
Let me exhort you to break through the accustomed indulgence of
unavailing sorrow, that would vainly strive against the will of Heaven:
you have always shunned consolation, seek it humbly and sincerely, and
it will be sent from above!"

The old man sighed deeply, and made that devotional sign which marks the
pious Catholic. His eyes were cast upwards, and his lips moved as if in
prayer. Whilst the creature addressed his Creator, the holy minister of
religion paused in reverential silence; but when the spontaneous
supplication had ceased, he again addressed his friend. "I would fain
impose a trial on you--a bitter one I confess; but could you accomplish
it, you would hereafter feel as becomes a mortal sufferer. The solitude,
the lugubrious forms of this day, nourish the grief it behoves you to
struggle against. The presence of strangers is a fortunate circumstance,
and will afford you an assistance your own domestic circle is incapable
of. Return to society; receive your guests as if this were to-morrow and
to-morrow will rise with a feeling of satisfaction, to which you have
long been a stranger."

Though O'Sullivan afterwards pondered on these words till he almost
believed them to have been an inspiration from Heaven, he at the moment
vehemently asserted the impossibility of his making such an exertion. A
considerable time elapsed, before the remonstrances of Father Dermoody
could overcome his reluctance to wrestle with "this cherished woe, this
loved despair;" but at last the advice of the friend, the admonitions of
the pastor, prevailed; and Mr. O'Sullivan, accompanied by his reverend
guide, appeared amongst his visitors, who were still assembled in the
breakfast-room. On entering, he bowed profoundly to all, then seated
himself in silence, with a mournful sternness that repelled every body
from addressing him, farther than to manifest that respect, which was
always involuntarily testified towards him. Miss Fitzcarril could
scarcely have been more surprised, had she seen the apparition of Rose
herself, than she was by the sight of her father on this morning;
lifting up her hands and eyes, she whispered her astonishment to Father
Dermoody, who requested her to abstain from exhibiting any further token
of it. Some of the party continued their occupations, some their
idleness, but no one spoke; and all, from time to time, anxiously looked
towards the windows, to judge from the increasing gloom of the sky, how
near the tempest it foreboded approached.

The aspect of nature was at that moment as dreary as O'Sullivan's heart.
That stillness, which sometimes precedes the coming storm, reigned
unbroken. Clouds of portentous blackness were slowly congregating, to
dart the forked lightning; but not a leaf moved, not a bird flitted in
the motionless air; and as the dark veil hung over the lake, its dormant
waters gave but the idea of fearful profundity. The silence of night is
awful, yet the soul confesses it the repose of nature; but when this
dread torpor appals the joyous day, every animate and inanimate object
seems fearfully resigned to await her dissolution. While the ear paused
in expectation of the hollow thunder, and the eye half closed as it
anticipated the vivid flash, a wild cry arose--"Good God! what's that?"
was the general exclamation. It was the wail, with which the children of
this mountain region deplored their dead. No softening gale lent it
beauty; the winds that were wont to sport with the accents of human woe,
wafting them to the mountain's rugged brow, or saddening the smiling
valley at its foot, now slumbered in the slowly rolling clouds. Horrible
and harsh the lamenting voice of hundreds smote the ear. Once it was
reverberated from rocks as lifeless as the being it bemoaned, whilst
the mourners and their sad burden were hidden from the view.

O'Sullivan started, and his eyes rested on the figure of Adelaide. As
she had compassionately viewed his sorrowful countenance, memory had too
faithfully depicted to her mind the anguish, which had always marked
this eventful day to her father. The sudden doleful lamentation had
completely overcome her spirits, and with her hands clasped in agony,
torrents of tears were streaming down her cheeks, whilst, as the chilled
blood recoiled to her heart, her dark hair threw a melancholy shade on
her palid face. The impulse of humanity overcame the silence of sorrow;
O'Sullivan instantly seized her hand, and as her eyes mournfully met
his, exclaimed, "Desmond has told me all; you grieve for your father, I
for my child. A desolate old man like me has little comfort to offer.
But for her sake, whose living image you are, in my heart's core could I
hide you from all trouble." Adelaide, leaning her head on his shoulder,
sobbed aloud.

Mrs. O'Sullivan, inflamed by anger at her son, and by jealousy of the
tenderness expressed in her brother-in-law's countenance for the lovely
mourner, whose confiding attitudes seemed to repose her affliction on
his solacing compassion, now whispered to Amelia, "This is _too_ bad;
that artful baggage has got him under her thumb too;--mayhap he may
devize his fortin to _her_ instead of Caroline, after all--I'll tell him
what she is." So saying, passion accelerating her utterance and
crimsoning her face, she addressed Mr. O'Sullivan with, "Sir, sir, that
Miss that's putting a sham upon you is a wagabond; and if she doesn't
look to her ways, I'll have her sent home by the alien act, as Meely
bids me. She tells up about English relations; but in two years she's
lived with me, she wouldn't never tell me who they were: she's an
imposter, and vill make a cat's paw of you, as she did of your brother,
and----" "Gad zooks, mother" interrupted Webberly, "what odds is it
who's her relations; when she marries, her husband's family is all she
has to look to." "Jacky! Jacky! you'll never come to no good--you're an
undutiful son! I'll get her packed off to Germany as sure as----"
"What's all this, madam?" said Mr. O'Sullivan, with a look of
contemptuous displeasure, that produced instant silence: "I will stand
in the place of my brother to this young lady, if she will honour me by
committing herself to my protection. Your threats against the
unoffending ward of your husband are shameful." "Sir," said Adelaide,
commanding herself to composure, "the gratitude I feel is inexpressible!
But on this day there is no impediment, to prevent my satisfying Mrs.
O'Sullivan's desire to know my parentage; of this she is well aware. My
father, madam," continued she, with grave steadiness, "Reginald Baron
Wildenheim, was the youngest brother of the present Earl of Osselstone.
Soon after my birth, he renounced his family name of Mordaunt, and
adopted his German title." O'Sullivan essayed to speak in vain; his lip
quivered, but no sound met the ear of man; and his half palsied hand
trembled as it passed a sign of deepest import to the priest, who
darting forward, exclaimed, "Your mother's name, young lady--speak, did
she die at Hamburgh?" "Alas! yes, on the day I was born; her name was
one which, honoured and lamented here, I trembled to pronounce--it was
Rose!" The old man uttered an hysterical laugh, and clasping her in his
arms, faltered out, "Her child then was saved!" "Produce your proofs!"
exclaimed the priest; "by every sacred name I conjure you, produce your
proofs!" Mrs. O'Sullivan, raging with passion, vociferated, "She is an
impostor; an artful minx, come to cheat Caroline." The Miss Webberlys
screamed in Adelaide's ear, "Produce your proofs if you dare!" Their
brother, with equal fury, interfered on her behalf. Little Caroline
clung crying to her knees, "They shan't hurt you, dear Adele, they
shan't hurt you!" Whilst Theresa, with terror in her looks, went from
one to the other, saying, "For God's sake have done; leave the room if
you can't be quiet; Mr. O'Sullivan will never get over such a piece of
work on this day, of all days in the year!" But Adelaide was unconscious
of all; she had taken her grandfather's agitated laugh, his
unintelligible words, for a wandering of reason, on hearing a name
resembling his daughter's unexpectedly mentioned; and, horror-struck,
had sunk lifeless in his arms. When he saw the paleness of death in her
cold cheek and blanched lip, stamping on the floor, he exclaimed, "You
have killed her! Unfeeling wretches, you have killed her!" Father
Dermoody and Theresa hastily stepped forward to offer that assistance he
was incapable of bestowing, and immediately removed her to a
neighbouring apartment, excluding every body else.

It was long ere Adelaide revived. When consciousness returned, she found
herself in a strange apartment. The gloom almost of midnight was
around; the storm had burst, and was raging with awful fury; the thunder
rolled tremendously above her head, and a vivid flash of lightning
illuminated the countenance of one kneeling at her side, on which she
saw despair--the despair of venerable age, depicted. With an involuntary
shudder she averted her head, and raised both her hands, as if to save
her from the terrific vision. "Father of mercy!" exclaimed O'Sullivan,
"I lost my child, and lived--lived but to see hers shun me." "Oh, my
God!" ejaculated the agonized girl, "have mercy on him!--poor old man!
poor old man!" and she burst into a paroxysm of tears. When she
recovered a little from the racking emotions which tortured her, she
mournfully took his hand, and said, "I do not shun you; God knows to
console yours would be a delightful solace to my own afflictions. But I
implore you to pause before you cherish these delusive ideas; a few
minutes will suffice to convince you of the fatal error you have fallen
into." She then, in a whisper, entreated Miss Fitzcarril to procure her
portfolio, as she feared to irritate Mr. O'Sullivan's mind, by leaving
him herself. Theresa fulfilled her request, and then with true delicacy
retired.

Adelaide eagerly tore open the important packet, and the first paper
that presented itself was one directed to Mr. O'Sullivan, which, with
inconceivable trepidation, she presented to him; but at the sight of the
writing he dashed it from him with looks of fury--"Never will I read
another from that detested hand, that last blasted my every hope of
earthly happiness!" The priest seizing the letter, hurried him out of
the room. "Unfortunate man!" exclaimed Adelaide; "Oh, why did I mention
his daughter's name, after the warning I received from Colonel Desmond?"
In an agony of mind not to be described, she attempted to read a letter
addressed by her father to herself; but when it informed her of such of
the particulars of his life as were necessary to explain her
relationship to her present venerable protector, she was so bewildered,
that she half despairingly pressed the letter to her heart, and silently
implored a supporting power from above. When she had again composed her
mind sufficiently to comprehend its contents, she was so stunned with
surprise, that she had scarcely power to feel how happy she ought to be,
as she repeated, "My grandfather! can it indeed be possible?" But she
was roused to a painful sense of anxiety and acute perception of sorrow,
when she came to the following paragraph, "Let it be your consolation,
my beloved child, that all the happiness I have known since your angelic
mother's death, has been your boon. Heaven permitted her to leave you to
me, as a gift of love, as a pledge of its mercy. I bequeath that filial
piety, which has been the solace of my existence, to her father, as a
reparation for the loss of his daughter. For my sake he may be harsh to
you, perhaps refuse to receive you; but pardon him, and, if he will
permit you, soothe the sorrows of his old age; he has much to forgive
your erring father." With indignation she now recollected how his letter
had been received, and every softer feeling, every selfish
consideration, was swallowed up in offended filial affection, as she
thought, "Never will I accept of kindness from one, who could spurn me
from resentment to my adored father!"

At that moment she heard O'Sullivan's step. Oh, who shall tell the tide
of tumultuous thoughts that overwhelmed her soul, as his hand
tremulously turned the lock of the door? 'twas but an instant--but how
much of misery cannot the human heart suffer in this short earthly
denomination of time!

He entered; and, as he approached, her heart seemed to die within her.
At first she could not move, but gazed almost unconsciously on his face,
and seeing there the mildness of grief, the benevolence of pity, the
warmth of paternal love, she knelt at his feet in speechless emotion,
whilst her looks, her attitude, implored his benediction. "Oh, may the
God of mercy bestow those blessings on you, that were denied your
mother!" He pressed her in his arms, and wept as he said, "My child, my
beloved child, I have not lived these years of misery in vain! Bless
you, bless you!" And now "joy and sorrow strove which should paint her
goodliest. You have seen sunshine and rain at once--her smiles and tears
were like a better May--those happy smiles, which played on her ripe
lip, seemed not to know what guests were in her eyes, which parted
thence as pearls from diamonds dropp'd."

When the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed, the anxious parent
looked at his loved treasure, first fearfully, and then a happy smile
seemed to say, "Thank God, here at least she is safe from every storm!"
with that a closer embrace pressed her to his heart. "My father!" were
the first words she attempted to articulate. "Adelaide," interrupted
the old man, "whatever may have been his errors, you will, on reading
that letter, easily believe I no longer resent them. I erred deeply,
sinfully, in not receiving the prodigal son when he first implored my
forgiveness; but passion blinded me, and I have been severely punished.
I knew him not then! Oh! did he live now, my heart would warmly open to
him." Adelaide was nearly suffocated with her sobs. O'Sullivan supported
her to the window for air: for the elemental strife was now over, and
the rushing torrents had ceased to fall. The rippling waters of the lake
laughed in the beams of the sun, and softly rolled on their verdant
banks. Every bough waved in the wanton air, and from bush and brake
innumerable birds poured forth joyful melody. The cottage cur once more
barked at the stranger, and the peaceful herds again grazed the green
islets. Adelaide felt the composing power of the scene, and, drying her
tears, read the letter she had received.

     oeTO CORNELIUS O'SULLIVAN, ESQUIREoe.

     The misery I feel at this moment is not less, than that which rent
     my heart when last I addressed you. Time has but made the
     remembrance of my beloved Rose dearer, more afflicting to my soul;
     and her child, who for nineteen years has been my only earthly
     happiness, I now resign, as the sole reparation I can make, to
     Heaven and to you, for the errors of that guilty course, which have
     not been expiated by years of misery and penitence. I once again
     implore your forgiveness for all the sufferings I have occasioned
     you. Oh, my God! what a wreck of happiness I have made for myself
     and others! I have been a misfortune to all connected with me. What
     a stab must I not give to my daughter's heart, when I tell her we
     part _to meet no more_! What tears of bitter anguish will she not
     shed, when she hears the recital of those misdeeds, so degrading to
     the memory of the father, whom she fondly thinks the first of human
     beings! Yet the misery of her mind on hearing my errors would be
     felicity compared to the anguish mine has endured, when, for her
     sake, I have undergone the martyrdom of her praises. My lovely
     child!--Had you seen the happy smiles, the endearing caresses, with
     which she bid me good night, but a few minutes ago, and known the
     _despair_ of my soul, as I thought, never shall I behold that
     unclouded smile again; but once more hear those words, you would
     say, the forfeit of his guilt is paid; and lament for the
     unfortunate being you have hitherto cursed. By every sacred name,
     by the memory of her sainted mother, by the agonies of a wretched
     father, I conjure you, protect, cherish, and console my child. All
     that a parent's heart could wish, all that the daughter of Rose
     should be, she is--and we part for ever. I shall not survive to
     have my miserable days cheered by the affection, with which I know
     you will treat the inheritor of the virtues of your beloved Rose,
     but my last moments will be brightened by the joyous hope----

     "Enclosed you will find papers written at a calmer moment, for the
     benefit of Adelaide--pardon him you once called son. As you value
     your eternal hopes, I charge you to be kind to my child. She has
     never offended you; her mother's form is renewed in hers; her
     mother's virtues perpetuated in her mind. Say not that Rose exists
     no more--in Adelaide she is again restored to your arms."

Adelaide had wept, when there was something of consolation, of
tenderness, in her emotions. But now her anguish admitted not of tears;
the universe presented but one idea to her mind--the agony of her
father's soul when his hand traced the words her eyes rested on.
O'Sullivan addressed her in accents of the tenderest affection; she
answered him but by that bitter smile, with which misery sometimes loves
to make her devoted victims confess her empire. He was alarmed by her
fixed looks, and said, "Rouse yourself, Adelaide; I will leave you to
compose your agitated feelings, but not in solitude: come with me to the
companion of many a sad moment." He opened an inner door, and grasping
her hand with convulsive earnestness, said, "There is your mother's
portrait; and at the foot of that altar she daily poured forth her
grateful thanksgivings. There the supplications of her father daily
ascend to the throne of grace." He hurried away, and Adelaide long and
fervently prayed in a spot so hallowed. Her tears again flowed, as she
turned to gaze on the resemblance of that form, which had never blessed
her conscious sight, and mournfully exclaimed, "Both, both lost to me!"

Rose had been drawn as Astarte inscribing her lover's name on the sand.
The dejected expression of her heavenly countenance sadly contrasted the
brilliant beauty of her youthful charms. Was it the melancholy of
_Astarte_ the painter's art depicted? or had the fair being, whose form
he traced, been already struck by the hand of sorrow? O'Sullivan's
grief was daily renewed as his heart whispered, "Not thus my child
looked under this roof.--So soon was all her innocent gaiety gone?"

Adelaide was so absorbed by the ideas which rose in her mind, that she
did not perceive the entrance of nurse, who came to perform her diurnal
task of dressing the altar, and who standing behind her, now said,
"That's the picture, dear, that Mr. Mordaunt sent his honour from
London, six months after Miss Rose married him--an unlucky day that
same! And a black-hearted false man he was, to leave my sweet angel, and
run away wid another woman." Fire flashed from Adelaide's eye; the
indignation which deprived her of utterance was expressed in her whole
figure. Nurse awed, and as it were fascinated, by a look from which she
could not withdraw her gaze, stared at her for a second or two, and then
evidently terrified, exclaimed, "The blessed powers presarve me!--Who
are you?--What are you? You're the very moral of Miss Rose! What brings
you in her room this day of the year? No mortal has ever darkened the
door since she died but myself and his honour. You're like enough to be
her fetch, come in the storm to take him away from us. I pray God I may
die first," continued she, weeping bitterly: "my heart was broke when I
lost my sweet child. I trust in his mercy I haven't lived on these weary
years, to drag my ould bones to his grave!"

"Dear, dear nurse," said Adelaide, kissing her affectionately, smiles
and tears struggling for mastery in her eyes, "I'm not come to take him
away from you, but to make you both happy--I'm your own Rose's
daughter." The old woman set up a shout of joy, and kissed her, and
hugged her, and drew back to a little distance, resting her hands on
Adelaide's shoulders to look at her from time to time, saying, "The very
moral of her! the very moral of her! Her daughter! You wouldn't be so
mischievous as to make an ould body crazy? It's not joking you are,
jewel?"



CHAPTER XVII.

    Half a loaf is better than no bread.

    oeOLD PARRoe.


"So Caroline may do with the twenty thousand?"----This was Mrs.
O'Sullivan's reflection as her carriage, for the last time, drove out of
the demesne of Ballinamoyle. How she came to this conclusion, the reader
must now be informed. Neither Miss Wildenheim nor her grandfather was
visible for the remainder of the day, on which the trying scenes, that
have just been related, occurred. But immediate steps were taken to
prevent the celebration of Caroline's birthday, as had been intended, on
the following morning; and Mr. Dermoody waited on her mother, to explain
the reasons for this disappointment. He accomplished this task with
much difficulty, as she interrupted him every three minutes with, "I
can't understand nothing about it, Sir. She's an odorous imposter--I
tell you, Sir, she's an abominable imposter." And she, in fine,
threatened to take the law of Mr. O'Sullivan:--she'd see her child
righted, cost what it would, and bring that artful baggage to shame. Mr.
Dermoody then reminded her, that Caroline had no _right_ to her uncle's
estate, who had given her father a large sum to cut off the entail; so
that if Miss Wildenheim's claims were absolutely nugatory, it was
entirely in his own disposal; but that as this transaction had taken
place since her birth, it was invalid, as Adelaide was the heir at law
in preference to Caroline's father; but that, to put the matter beyond
doubt, the present proprietor intended to bequeath his estate
immediately to his grandaughter, who would thus inherit it by a double
tenure. He was too much incensed at that moment to tell her his belief,
that Mr. O'Sullivan would also provide for his favourite little
Caroline. "Wery vell, Sir, wery vell, I see how it is; she has set you
up to cheat me. All these outgoings for nothing! I'd have seen your
shabby old place at the dickens before I'd have come so far, if I'd
guessed how it would have turned out. Me and mine will be off to-morrow,
Sir;" so saying, she flounced out of the room.

Father Dermoody had scarcely finished this discussion with one
unreasonable woman, when he had to encounter a second with another. Miss
Fitzcarril way-laid him in the passage from Mrs. O'Sullivan's apartment,
to remonstrate on the folly of suffering all the expense and trouble,
which had been incurred in the preparations made to entertain the
tenantry, to go for nothing: "Why put off the meeting?--Wasn't Adelaide
as good an heiress as Caroline? Another sort, on my conscience! I vow
and declare I think it's very hard there shouldn't be just as much made
of her as the other." "But you don't consider the indelicacy of such a
thing; Mrs. O'Sullivan's feelings are sufficiently mortified."
"Indelicacy, indeed!" retorted Theresa, sputtering, as she always did in
the heat of an argument; "she knows just as much about delicacy as my
foot does; and I should like to see her mortified just for her
impertinence." The priest muttered something about an unchristian
spirit, and rather gravely said, "If you won't listen to reason, madam,
I must inform you in brief, that Mr. O'Sullivan won't suffer it; his
pleasure you know is final." Theresa walked off, gesticulating with both
her hands, and muttering, "Good Lord! was there ever any thing half so
provoking! These men never have the least consideration, after all the
trouble I have had! I'm sure I don't know what's to be done with the
_loads_ of things that have been got!"

The following morning Caroline did not, as usual, come to Adelaide's
room. She rightly guessed she had been prohibited; but as she was
proceeding to obey a message from Mr. O'Sullivan, to breakfast with him
in his study, as he was too unwell to see more than one or two people
at a time, she saw the little girl leaning over the bannisters of the
stairs, sobbing as if her heart would break. "What's the matter, my
darling?" said she, taking her fondly in her arms. "Unkind Adele!"
sobbed out the afflicted child, "I wouldn't have hurt you for the world;
and mama says you're my bitterest enemy. This is a dismal birthday to
me; mama's going away, and I shall never see you again, Adele; and
nobody loves me but you." Here the poor child, throwing her arms about
her friend's neck, cried bitterly. "Dearest little Caroline, every body
loves you." "No, no, Adele, my heart will break when I leave you." "We
will not part," said Adelaide, straining her to her heart; "come with
me." And taking Caroline to her grandfather, she placed her on his knee,
and drew forth a repetition of her artless tale. "Mr. Dermoody has told
me," said the generous girl, "that you have changed your intentions in
her favour. How it would grieve me to injure her prospects! I am amply
provided for; I do not desire any increase of fortune; all my heart
requires is some being whom I may _securely_ love and be cherished by;
and in you is not all this granted? Look at this little angel, and pity
her, my dear parent. Oh! her heart will be either broken, or I should
never forgive myself the destruction of this lovely creature, whom
Providence has, I trust, employed me to save. On condition of your
giving her your estate, I'm sure her mother would resign her to my
charge till her minority expires." "Adelaide," said the old man, whilst
the tears stood in her eyes, "you are as like your mother in mind as in
person. Till now I thought no mortal could be as perfect as she was.
Caroline shall stay with us, if I can accomplish it. My estate I cannot,
will not, give her; but I have much to bestow besides, which I will
offer her mother, on the conditions you mention." He proceeded
immediately to Mrs. O'Sullivan, to execute this benevolent commission.
Pride, and some remains of natural affection, made her hesitate to
accept his offers. She retired to consult her elder children, and
promised to return an answer in an hour. When she informed them of Mr.
O'Sullivan's proposition, Mr. Webberly said, "As far as a few thousands
goes, I have no objection to humour the old Don; and Caroline would be
welcome to live with us. You needn't fret, mother; if this new heiress
marries me, isn't the estate ours after all?" "That's true, so it is,
Jack; you'd best make her an offer with all speed." "Do, brother," said
Miss Cecilia Webberly, with an eagerness that little accorded with her
usual languid delivery; "as I understand the matter, you'd be nephew to
Lord Osselstone, and then Meely and I would be _fier ton_." When Mr.
Webberly went in search of Miss Wildenheim, he was told she was in her
own room, and could not be seen. "What was to be done?" As there was no
time to lose, it was then settled in the family conclave, that Mrs.
O'Sullivan should endeavour to gain admittance to the lady, who was
now, like Dr. Lenitive's mistress, possessed of "ten thousand charms,"
for the purpose of _soliciting_ that hand for her son, which four and
twenty hours before she had so openly disdained!

When she entered, Adelaide naturally supposing she came on no very
friendly errand, received her with a curtsy of the most repulsive
dignity; and with a cold gravity of manner, that made her visitor feel
she had undertaken a commission she should find great difficulty in
executing. She fluttered, and coloured, and hemmed, and played with the
costly seals of the watch she always ostentatiously wore on the most
conspicuous part of her person, till Adelaide, advancing towards her,
said, "May I beg to know your commands, Madam? I own, I scarcely
expected the honor of this visit." "Why, Miss Wildenheim, I just vanted
to speak to you about my little Carline." "I shall be happy to hear any
thing you have to say regarding my dear Caroline, Madam: will you do me
the favour to sit down?" Adelaide, taking a chair opposite to the one
on which Mrs. O'Sullivan deposited herself, fixed her dark eyes
attentively on her face, whilst the former, in a style and dialect that
almost conquered her command of countenance, proposed that she should
not only take charge of Caroline, but commit herself to the guidance of
Mr. Webberly. Offering her as a _douceur_, to have all her
_grandfather's_ estate settled on herself; and also half the sum he
intended to give Caroline; and promising moreover to "make Jack a fit
husband for ere a duchess in the land." The astonished girl, rather
doubting her ability to fulfil this latter gracious promise, and highly
amused by the attempt to bribe her with Mr. O'Sullivan's fortune,
replied, as soon as she could speak with proper decorum of feature and
tone, "I cannot pretend to say that I have not perceived the polite
attentions which Mr. Webberly has been in the habit of favouring me
with; you will, I hope, Madam, do me the justice to acknowledge that I
have never encouraged them: you might have been spared much unnecessary
uneasiness, if you had looked on my conduct with unprejudiced eyes; for,
(pardon me, Mrs. O'Sullivan,) your son was not a man that I could, under
any circumstances, have married. I should not make these observations,
but that I am anxious you should understand, that the occurrences of
yesterday have made no change in my sentiments; and though--" "Forget
and forgive ought to be the word amongst _friends_," hastily interrupted
her auditor. "Some things I _cannot_ forget," returned Adelaide; "I can
never forget, that you are the widow of an uncle from whom I received so
much affectionate kindness; nor, that to yourself I owe many personal
obligations, for affording me an asylum in my hour of adversity, when I
had none other to fly to!" And then, in all the winning charms of her
captivating manner, she held out her hand, saying, "Though I cannot
consent to any nearer connexion, whenever you are inclined to consider
yourself my aunt, I shall be happy to show you the duty of a niece."

Mrs. O'Sullivan, quite overcome, said, "You were always a good girl; I
wasn't as kind to you as I ought to have been, but--" "I do not wonder,"
interrupted Adelaide, "that you should have been inclined to dislike me;
it was very natural, under all the circumstances; but we are quite
cordial now; so pray don't distress me, by referring to a period when
you were less my friend than at this moment. If you will confide in me,
so far as to resign Caroline to my care, I shall owe you an everlasting
obligation." "I will leave her with you," replied the poor woman,
bursting into tears; "for I know you will breed her up to be more
dutiful to me than the rest; but that's all my own fault. God bless you,
if you make my child a comfort to me in my old age." Adelaide said every
thing to console her; and Mrs. O'Sullivan, on retiring to her children,
addressed her son, with "She wont have you, Jack, and I'm sorry for it;
she's the best girl in the world, after all; but your cousin Hannah
Leatherly, is a sweet cretur too." When the hour appointed for the
departure of the Webberly family arrived, Caroline, while she held fast
hold of Adelaide with one hand, lest she should be torn from her, clung
with the other to "her own mama," weeping to part with her; and perhaps,
if her mother had not been hurried away by her elder daughters, she
could not have withstood this demonstration of her child's awakened
affection; but they took care she should not have time to reflect on
what she was doing. Adelaide, and her quondam guardian separated in
perfect amity, but the Miss Webberlys to the last kept up their envious
dislike, and scarcely curtsied whilst they refused her offered hand.
Their brother, on the contrary, could not conceal his sorrow, as he bid
her good bye; and, touched by it, she cordially shook his hand, and with
much sincerity, wishing him every happiness, thanked him for the
good-natured attention he had always shown her. When Miss Fitzcarril
saw him depart, she said to herself, "Well, well! Judy Stewart didn't
spey it _all_ right, after all; but, to be sure, _winter_ is not come
yet!" At the moment in which Mrs. O'Sullivan made the reflection with
which this chapter commences, Colonel Desmond rode past, and her son's
spirits were not much enlivened, as he pictured to himself his mission
to Ballinamoyle, and its probable success.



CHAPTER XVIII.

                    Nobly he yokes
    A smiling with a sigh: as if the sigh
    Was that it was, for not being such a smile.

    oeCYMBELINEoe.


About the time of Adelaide's arrival at Ballinamoyle, Lord Osselstone
and Augustus sailed from Dover, and took the direct road to Brussels,
intending to stay in the principal towns through which their route lay,
as long as would afford them opportunity of seeing such curiosities as
principally deserved their attention. From Brussels they proceeded to
Liege, and stopping a few days at Spa, crossed to Bonn, and from thence
enjoyed the delightful scenery which the banks of the Rhine presented.
The melancholy with which the remembrance of his brother was connected
in the Earl's mind, threw a softened shade of sadness on his manners,
which perhaps won more on the affections of his nephew, than the most
brilliant sallies of wit or imagination could have done. For every sigh
that escaped Lord Osselstone found an echo in the heart of Augustus. The
concentrated susceptibility of his natural disposition, and the peculiar
turn of his education, had equally contributed to give a stability to
his feelings, beyond what his age would have promised: impressions made
on a mind so formed were not easily to be effaced; as the marble, though
impervious to slight incisions, if once impressed, loses the form but
with its own existence.

He had never known the endearing cares of a sister,--never had enjoyed
the blessing of maternal smiles. In Selina Seymour alone all his first
affections were centred, and as his matured reason watched her opening
charms, his judgment sanctioned his love.

It was true, that in the vortex of dissipation into which she had lately
been plunged, he had found something to reprove in her manners, and a
great deal to deplore in her conduct to himself; yet with the lenity
which belongs to true affection, he sought excuses for what he most
condemned; and though with the resignation of despondency he had given
up all hope of being dear to her, he did not endeavour to discover flaws
in the chrysolite, because the precious jewel was not to grace his
coronet. But the contending emotions of his soul preyed on his health;
and in his faded cheek and saddened brow Lord Osselstone read the too
plain indications of a grief smothered, but not subdued.

It was towards the end of July when the travellers reached Bonn, and the
beautiful scenery in the neighbourhood of that town, where they first
saw the Rhine, tempted them to prolong their stay in it for some days.
At length however they pursued their journey, and as the weather was
sultry, preferred travelling in the cool of the evening. The shades of
night are however little adapted to German roads or German drivers.
They had scarcely traversed half the distance between Andernach and
Coblentz, when their postillions carelessly drove against the roots of a
tree, and overturned the carriage. Fortunately neither of the gentlemen
received any injury, but the accident occasioned a considerable delay,
as the carriage was much shattered, and they were obliged considerably
to lighten it of its luggage, before it could reassume its proper
position. At last, after the drivers had indulged themselves in a
variety of oaths and ejaculations, and the two gentlemen, aided by their
servants, had made use of more effectual means of repairing the
disaster, they were enabled to proceed, though at a greatly retarded
pace; and at last reached Coblentz, without further accident.

The master of the hotel, but too happy to receive once more "_Des milors
Anglais_" as his guests, with alacrity provided them the best supper his
house could afford, and the Earl and Augustus were congratulating each
other on their escape, when the door suddenly opened, and Lord
Osselstone's gray-headed valet burst into the room, rage and dismay
struggling for pre-eminence in his countenance; "There, my Lord,"
bellowed he, "there, I knew how it would be. I told you you'd get no
good by travelling in this damned country: they have robbed you; they
have stolen it, that's all;" and he was leaving the room with as much
precipitation as he had entered it, when his master called him back, to
inquire calmly what was lost. "Only your red box, that I know you
wouldn't part with for a thousand pounds." In an instant, to Augustus's
inexpressible astonishment, he beheld Lord Osselstone's countenance
convulsed with contending passions--he started up, and seizing the
trembling old man by the collar, "Find it, find it, villain, or never
see me more," said he, in a voice of thunder; and with one thrust pushed
him out of the door. Then holding his burning forehead with both his
hands, he traversed the room with hurried steps, and soon retired
precipitately to his own chamber. This scene was perfectly
incomprehensible to Augustus; but instead of bewildering himself in
conjecture, he, with his usual promptitude, immediately exerted himself
to repair the loss which so much agitated his uncle. Conceiving it
possible the box might have fallen out of the carriage when it was
overturned, he instantly dispatched one of the postillions in search of
it, offering a large reward for its recovery. After about two hours of
suspense, during which time he did not venture to intrude on the Earl,
the messenger returned with the lost treasure, which was almost broken
to pieces. Augustus however joyfully seizing it, hastened with it to his
uncle, who opened the door, and snatched it from him in silence. But the
box was so shattered that in doing so the bottom of it gave way, and
most of its contents, consisting principally of letters, fell to the
floor. A miniature case rolled to some distance, and lay open on the
ground. Augustus ran to pick it up, but on viewing it, exclaimed
abruptly, "Good God! my mother! this surely is a copy of the portrait of
her my father left me;" and turning with an inquiring look to Lord
Osselstone, he perceived his lip trembling with emotion, the cold drops
of agony bursting from his forehead, and his frenzied eyes fixed on
Mordaunt, with an expression which made him shudder. "Audacious boy!" at
last muttered the earl, in the deep tone of smothered passion, "how dare
you seek to know the sorrows of my heart?" Augustus, pitying his evident
suffering, approached him, and laying his hand on his, with involuntary
affection, said, "I do not seek to know them, I only wish to soothe
them: consider me as a friend, as a son, who--" "Son!" exclaimed Lord
Osselstone, shrinking from him with horror; "Son! God of Heaven! do I
live to hear the child of Emma Dormer mock me with the name of father?
leave me," continued he sternly, "and never again blast me with your
presence. Fool, fool that I have been to cherish the viper that stings
my heart; your cradle was the grave of my happiness; and you have but
lived to fester the wounds your parents made." Indignant at such
unmerited reproaches, Mordaunt hastened to leave the room, but turning
to take a parting look at his last surviving relation, who thus spurned
him, he beheld the man, whose calm unbending dignity had so often awed
the wondering crowd, trembling with unconquerable feelings, whilst the
scalding tears chased each other down his face. He stopped--"I cannot
leave you thus," said he; "to-morrow will be time enough to part." Lord
Osselstone turned towards him in silence. The look was not to be
misunderstood; and in an instant Augustus was pressed to his bosom. A
long pause ensued. At last the Earl, wringing Mordaunt's hand;
"Augustus!" said he, "I believe you sincere in the regard you profess
for me: but beware of deceiving me." He stopped to recover himself, then
proceeded, in a hurried tone: "When I was about your age, with a heart
as warm as yours is now, and feelings even more susceptible, I fixed my
affections on Emma Dormer. I believed her mind as faultless as her
person; and loved her to adoration. She pretended to return my passion;
and her father was happy, nay eager, to see her share my title and
fortune. The time was fixed for our marriage; but two days before the
one appointed for it, she eloped with the man she had the cruelty to
tell me was her first, her only love. My own brother was my rival!" A
deep groan burst from the Earl; at length, he continued, "I never saw
her afterwards; though, when her extravagance and my brother's
dissipation hurried them into ruin, she often wrote to me, _yes_, _to
me_, for assistance; and I have the satisfaction of thinking, that I
relieved the wretchedness of her who plunged my life in misery. She died
four years afterwards, and my brother survived her but ten months. Even
in death he wronged me; for, mistrusting my feelings towards you, he
chose Sir Henry Seymour for your guardian. When I first saw you,
Augustus, your hated likeness to both your parents froze my blood. When
you came to Oxford, I was a constant though secret observer of your
actions; and, prejudiced as I was, I thought I saw in your youthful
follies and marked alienation from myself, the errors of your father's
character hereditary in yours. Accident and time changed my opinion of
you; and, contrary to my predetermination, nay, even against my
inclination, my heart has once more been open to feelings of interest
and affection; if I am again betrayed----however the poison will find
its own antidote. Now, Augustus, good night.--Yet, one word more.--I
charge you, as you value my friendship, as you regard my peace, never
recur to this subject again--never recall the occurrences of this
night."

It would be impossible to describe the various feelings this recital
occasioned in the heart of Augustus. He retired to rest, but his
thoughts were entirely engrossed by the Earl; and while he shuddered at
the duplicity and ingratitude of his parents, he bitterly lamented his
own precipitancy, which had led him so much to misjudge his uncle's
character. When however they met the next morning, all trace of the
storm had vanished. The surface of the wave, that had so lately been
agitated almost to fury, was again calmly bright, if not transparent.
Augustus could almost have believed the scene of the night before was
but a vision of his distempered fancy, had it not been for the silent
and almost imperceptible pressure of his hand, which accompanied his
uncle's first salutation.

One other change was also apparent. They had scarcely commenced
breakfast, when Lord Osselstone sent for his valet, to desire him to
make some other coffee, as his Lordship had just recollected that he
always preferred what he prepared to any other. The alacrity with which
the old man obeyed the command, showed how much he valued the
compliment thus paid to the very point of his character on which he most
valued himself, next to his talent for arranging full-bottomed periwigs,
which he always contended were the most becoming dresses ever invented
for young gentlemen. When he returned with the coffee, "There," said he,
with a look of triumph, "I have taken pains with that, and you'll find
it ten times better than these jabbering Frenchmen can make, here in the
heart of Germany; but you'll get nothing fit to eat till you get back to
Old England; I always told you so." His expostulations were however
unavailing, as the travellers pursued their journey towards Vienna,
where they arrived in the beginning of September. Not the most distant
allusion was made by either to the confidence Lord Osselstone had
reposed in Augustus, though the almost indefinable tokens of increased
kindness, that now marked the Earl's manner to his companion, showed
that, however painful the communication had been at first, yet his grief
in being shared was lightened. As when the soft breath of spring
dissolves the icy chain that binds the torrent, though it may at first
burst in desolating fury, yet its streams gradually subside in peace,
and glide in smoother currents, blessed and blessing on their way.



CHAPTER XIX.

    Could I, not prizing thee, give thee my hand,
    I should despise myself--and how not prize thee?

    oeLLOYDoe.


Immediately on their arrival at Vienna, Lord Osselstone commenced his
researches after his brother; and, through the active exertions of the
gentleman who had formerly been Reginald's banker, first ascertained the
existence of Adelaide, and also other testimony concerning her and her
father, that served most satisfactorily to corroborate the intelligence
that now reached him from Ballinamoyle, as Mr. O'Sullivan, even more
anxious than Adelaide herself to receive the sanction of Lord Osselstone
for the child of his beloved Rose, had prevailed on Mr. Dermoody to be
himself the bearer of the letters addressed to the Earl; and the
venerable priest, with unwearied zeal, followed the travellers from
London to Vienna, where he finally was more than rewarded for his
anxiety by the cordiality and readiness with which both his Lordship and
Augustus acknowledged her claims.

The purpose for which Lord Osselstone had undertaken this journey being
thus accomplished, though in a very unexpected manner, he and Augustus
immediately prepared to return to England, both anxious to be introduced
as relatives to Adelaide, whom Augustus recollected having admired when
he only knew her as the ward of Mrs. Sullivan, but for whom he now
already felt the partiality of a cousin; and his description of her
elegant person and captivating manners prepossessed Lord Osselstone in
her favour, even more than the exaggerated, though sincere encomiums of
Father Dermoody. He willingly accepted the Earl's proposal to accompany
them back to London in his carriage, from whence it was settled he
should hasten home for the purpose of escorting Adelaide to Osselstone
House, provided she accepted her uncle's invitation of coming to reside
with him for a few months, and that Mr. O'Sullivan could be prevailed
upon to part with her. When they reached Calais, they found a packet
ready to sail by the following tide for Dover, in which they secured
their passage; and Mr. Dermoody meantime profited by the opportunity
afforded him by a few hours' delay, of visiting some of his early
friends; whilst the Earl and Augustus beguiled their time in reading a
variety of English newspapers of different dates, which their host
procured for them.

They had not very long been thus engaged, when Lord Osselstone's
attention was attracted by the evident agitation of Augustus, who,
starting with a convulsive shudder, threw down the paper he was reading,
and paced up and down the room with quick and uneven steps. Lord
Osselstone glanced his eye on the rejected newspaper, and immediately
attributed his emotion to the following paragraph:

     "Viscount Eltondale left town this morning for Deane Hall,
     preparatory to the celebration of his Lordship's nuptials with its
     lovely and accomplished heiress."

For some minutes he only expressed by looks his commiseration for his
nephew's feelings; but at length addressing him, "I own," said he, "I
did not expect Lady Eltondale would have succeeded in her designs on
Miss Seymour. I watched her closely and unremittingly while in London,
and from some trifling circumstances I was led to believe, she would
have made a far different choice. But my dear boy," continued he, with
parental kindness, "though we have both been deceived, your misery is
not aggravated as mine was. Do not despond; if Selina was capable of
being either the tool or the dupe of Lady Eltondale, she was unworthy of
you. Perhaps it is all for the best; perhaps the charming Adelaide you
already so much admire, may yet repay you for all your sufferings."
Though Augustus was incapable of receiving consolation, or listening
even to reason at the first moment, yet he could not long remain
insensible to the deep interest Lord Osselstone's looks and manner
evinced; and in unburthening to him his whole soul, he felt a temporary
relief from the grief that oppressed him; and thus, from a strange
coincidence of circumstances and similarity of situation, the only
confidant of his passion, except Mr. Temple, was the very man whose
usual impenetrability of character repulsed all intimacy, and forbid
even approach. Augustus, feeling the impossibility of communicating,
even by letter, with Lord Eltondale on the subject of Selina's property,
determined immediately to resign his charge as trustee, and was no less
impatient for their arrival in London than his companions, in hopes, if
possible, of anticipating in that respect the hated marriage. The very
evening on which they reached town, Augustus hastened to
Portman-square, to inquire whether his Lordship were still at Deane. He
there learned that the Viscount had left it a few days before; and the
servant, with agonizing precision, informed him, that orders had that
day been received for the house in town being without delay put in
order, as his Lordship expected to be married immediately, and he
believed he was then at Eltondale, making similar preparations. Poor
Augustus scarcely heard the concluding sentence, and returned to Lord
Osselstone in a state almost of distraction. "I will go myself to Deane
to-night," said he; "most of the papers are there in my bureau. I may
get in time to deliver them to Mr. Temple before Lord Eltondale returns
there.--It will be my last visit."

In prosecution of this plan, Augustus left London that night in the York
mail; and such was his agitated impatience, that he scarcely thought
even that conveyance sufficiently rapid. Anxious to avoid being either
recognized or impeded in passing through the village of Deane, he
alighted from the mail at a few miles distance from that place, and by a
more unfrequented road entered the Park at one of the most retired
gates. His feelings rose to agony as he again viewed all the well-known
haunts of his infancy; and more especially when he recollected, that
nearly at the same time the year before he had returned thither, to
receive the dying benediction of the kind-hearted Sir Henry. Wishing to
escape these sad remembrances, and desirous, if possible, to fly even
from himself, he sprang forward, and darting into a neighbouring grove,
was scarcely conscious of his near approach to the house. A rustling in
the trees at last attracted his attention, and he turned towards the
place from whence it came. In a few moments he perceived his favourite
dog Carlo bounding towards him, and in an instant the faithful creature
lay panting at his feet. A little basket, filled with chesnuts, was hung
round his neck, in which, in former days, the dog had often carried the
flowers Selina used to gather in their rambles. But almost before
Augustus could caress him, Selina's voice calling "Carlo," thrilled to
his heart, and springing from behind a fence with no less activity than
the truant animal she pursued, she stood beside him like a bright vision
of former days. "Selina!" "Augustus!" each exclaimed at once; and looks
more eloquent than words told their mutual feelings.

But soon Selina endeavoured by language also to express her pleasure at
once more beholding Mordaunt; and, forgetting at the moment all her
disappointments, all her resentment for his apparent neglects, she gave
her cordial and artless welcome with unembarrassed joy. Not so Augustus.
Her unconcern he attributed to indifference, her evident happiness to
her approaching marriage; and thus to his distempered judgment her
vivacity almost appeared an insult. Selina quickly and resentfully
perceived the coldness of his manners, and turning her head aside to
hide the starting tears, invited him, with formal politeness, to
accompany her to the house. But there the delighted Mrs. Galton was
waiting to receive Augustus. She had seen him from the windows, and
hastened to express her happiness at once more beholding him. The
faithful old servants crowded round to bid him welcome. All
congratulated him on his return to Deane, except its mistress. "And
where has Selina flown to?" exclaimed Mrs. Galton; "we shall no doubt
find her in her favourite room. Come, Augustus, I will introduce you,
though you are already acquainted with it." His heart palpitated as he
followed her through the well-known cedar hall, and up the massy
staircase he so well remembered. But what were his emotions when she led
him into what was once their school-room, and had been afterwards his
own study! Selina had fitted it up with every elegance of modern
improvement, arranged with her own peculiar taste, and in it she had
assembled her various occupations of work, drawing, music, and books.
When they entered, she was herself standing at a writing-table; her
bonnet lay beside her, and her luxuriant hair, discomposed by her race,
fell in loose ringlets on her shoulders; whilst the tear of wounded
feeling stood on her beaming cheek. Augustus stopped, and casting his
eyes around the altered room, "Is _this_ your favourite apartment,
Selina?" said he, while love, joy, and gratitude glowed in his
countenance. "I sometimes sit here to enjoy the morning sun," answered
she, blushing deeply; whilst his ardent and penetrating gaze increased
her confusion. At last withdrawing the glance that evidently distressed
her, his eye rested on the bronze _garde de feuille_, which represented
Carlo. He took it up, and was examining it attentively, when Selina,
with an expression of pique, observed, "That is scarcely worth looking
at, Mr. Mordaunt; it is as trifling as the donor; I really forgot both,
or I should not have kept it here;" and with an air of unusual dignity
she left the room. "Incomprehensible, girl!" exclaimed Mordaunt, after
a pause. "Tell me, Mrs. Galton, what am I to understand?" "Nothing,"
said she, "but that Selina refused Mr. Sedley, who gave her that dog:
for the same reason she has since refused Lord Eltondale." "Refused Lord
Eltondale?" repeated Augustus, quite bewildered. "Yes;" replied Mrs.
Galton, "his Lordship came here express, hoping to say _Veni, vidi,
vici_; and proposed himself to Selina before he was three days in the
house. Of course, even if she had been actuated by no other motive, she
would have declined a proposal that could only be for her fortune, and
she accordingly refused it almost with resentment. Lady Eltondale
manoeuvred, and stormed, and raved, but to no purpose; and finally,
much to our satisfaction, set off for Brighton." Mrs. Galton might have
continued her discourse _ad infinitum_. Augustus had turned to the
window to conceal his emotion. There he caught a glimpse of Selina
passing towards the shrubbery; seizing his hat, he rushed past Mrs.
Galton, exclaiming, "There she is!" She smiled, and took up her book;
but anxiety scarcely permitted her to comprehend one word of its
contents. At length, after an absence of two hours, which to her
appeared an age, and to them a second, Selina and Augustus returned arm
in arm. Mrs. Galton looked up through her spectacles, and guessing the
result of their conversation from Selina's blushes and Mordaunt's
countenance, "Thank God!" exclaimed she, clasping her hands, whilst the
tears rolled down her cheeks, "I have lived to see my two dear children
happy!"

Lord Osselstone was scarcely less rejoiced than Mrs. Galton, at
receiving Mordaunt's letter, informing him of Selina's having promised
him her hand. In his answer to it he said, "I have myself written to the
very charming niece you are going to bestow on me, to express a part of
the joy I feel on the occasion; but as I have much more to say on the
subject, will you obtain her permission for me to pay my compliments to
her and Mrs. Galton, in person, at Deane Hall, when I hope to make my
peace with Miss Seymour, for having told you the story of Carlo's
portrait, as you have no doubt already obtained her forgiveness for
obtruding his little bronze duplicate into her cabinet."



CHAPTER XX.

    J'ai vu beaucoup d'hymens, aucuns d'eux ne me tentent,
    Cependant des humains presque les quatre parts
    S'exposent hardiment au plus grand des hasards,
    Les quatre parts aussi des humains se repentent[10].

    oeLA FONTAINEoe

[Footnote 10:

      Many weddings have I seen,
      By none of them I'm tempted;
    Yet still full three fourths of mankind
    Incur the risk--and still we find
      Full three fourths have repented.
]


To return to Ballinamoyle:----One day Mr. O'Sullivan was sitting in his
study, examining some old family writings, and rather wearied with his
task, was not displeased to hear that familiar knock at his room door,
which announces the approach of a friend. "Pray come in," said he: "Oh,
Edward, is it you? I am happy to see you." "I should not have intruded
into this _sanctum sanctorum_," replied Colonel Desmond; "but that I
have in vain visited the library, and the parlour, and the drawing-room,
without seeing a living creature, except the great dog who is lying
asleep before the fire in the breakfast-room; and yet when Phelim took
my horse, he said you were all at home." "That only means," rejoined Mr.
O'Sullivan, laughing, "that with the aid of a telescope you might be
able to discover all the party within a circuit of two or three miles:
any thing on this side Tuberdonny he calls home. Miss Fitzcarril and
Caroline are gone to cure Mrs. Cassady with some infallible remedy for
the rheumatism; and Adelaide has rode with Mr. Dermoody, to see a
curious ruin, that attracted his notice as he came from visiting a sick
penitent yesterday. But it is late," continued he, looking at an old
fashioned time-piece that stood on a bracket over the fire-place; "they
will soon return."

In the conversation which ensued, Colonel Desmond appeared extremely
absent, answering "Yes," or "No," at random to Mr. O'Sullivan's various
inquiries; and his usual florid complexion was much heightened as at
every little noise he looked towards the door, or eagerly gazed out of
the window. At last Adelaide's mellifluous voice met his ear, gaily
singing one of the cadences of that exquisite strain of Guglielmi's:

    Del mio sen la dolce calma liete eventi al corpredice,
    Son contento son felice, altro il cor bramar non sa.

He started up, but the melody had ceased, and he was again disappointed
in his expectation of seeing her, for she had entered at the back of the
house, and crossing one of the halls, ascended the stair-case which led
to her own apartment. "Lovely creature!" exclaimed he. "She is indeed a
lovely girl," replied the delighted old man; "I never knew but one her
equal. Do you know, Desmond, I am quite happy, now I feel that the
evening of my days will go down in peace. But," continued he, after a
short pause, "I shall feel rather dull at first after Adelaide leaves
me." "Leaves you, my dear Sir!--when! where!" "She goes next week to her
uncle Lord Osselstone. Dermoody has strongly impressed me with the
necessity of this step; and indeed the only reparation her father's
family can now make for the wrongs of my poor Rose, is to show the world
they are proud of her child. Lord Osselstone, as the most public
acknowledgement he can make of his niece, is anxious to have her
presented as soon as possible; until something of this sort is done, a
shade of doubt might hang over her birth, which my pride could not
brook. We only wait till the last formalities have been gone through, to
enable her to bear the name of Wildenheim in England. It appears that
her father requested Lord Osselstone to use his interest to have this
accomplished in the letters we sent to Vienna. It is certainly most
prudent; for her dropping the appellation by which she has been known to
so many people abroad, whom she may probably meet in London, would call
forth much distressing inquiry." "And what have Miss Wildenheim's own
wishes been respecting this journey?" eagerly demanded Colonel Desmond.
"Notwithstanding her anxiety to see her uncle, I could scarcely prevail
on her to leave me till the winter was over. She said I should miss her
less in summer, when I could go out--Oh how like her mother she is! I at
last represented that a thousand unforeseen events might prevent her
ever again visiting her uncle; and that her acceptance of his present
kindness was due to the memory of her father. She then consented, for
she loves that father as much as----poor Rose loved him." The gentlemen
were both silent a few moments, when Colonel Desmond said in a hurried
tone, "No doubt with _her_ charms, fortune, and connections, she will
make a splendid alliance; you will rejoice----"--"Rejoice!" interrupted
his auditor, "what to have her heart broken by some fashionable
profligate like----No, Edward, my utmost wish would be to see her
married to one of my own countrymen, who would not only be a fond
husband to her, but, by residing here, would also prove a bountiful
landlord to the poor people, who for so many years have stood in the
place of children to me." "Is it possible?" said Colonel Desmond,
seizing his hand, whilst his countenance brightened with his new-born
happiness; "Is it possible, my dearest friend, you could be inclined to
favour the wishes--alas! I dare scarcely call them hopes--of one who has
nothing but a devoted heart and an honourable name to offer." "Edward,"
replied the old man, "your virtues would render you worthy the
acceptance of an Empress; my happiness would be inexpressible to see you
her husband. Would to God I had bestowed her mother on such a man!"

In a few minutes Colonel Desmond was conducted by O'Sullivan to Miss
Wildenheim's sitting-room; and when the anxious parent retired, pleaded
his passion with love's own eloquence. Adelaide, much agitated, moved
almost to tears, which she could scarcely restrain as she spoke,
expressed her esteem, her gratitude, for this long-continued
kindness--her regard for him as her father's friend, as her own: yet
concluded by saying, "An insuperable obstacle divides us; generously
spare me the distressing recital wherefore. I implore your forgiveness
if my conduct has unintentionally deceived you." "No, no," interrupted
he, "you twice before conveyed your sentiments to me in a manner I could
not mistake; but I have acted like an idiot--nothing has deceived me but
my cursed folly and presumption." "Oh, do not say so," exclaimed
Adelaide, with earnest kind anxiety to soothe his wounded feelings; "my
judgment tells me, that, of all men living, I should be happiest with
you, if my affections----" The sentence remained unfinished; but her
swimming eyes and mournful tones were sufficiently expressive.

Colonel Desmond instantly retired, for he was too noble-minded to pain
her feelings by further solicitation, and much too proud to have
accepted her pity in place of her love. As he passed through the hall,
he met his venerable friend, and pressing his hand, said, "Your kindness
is of no avail. Melicent will now be my only consolation. When you are
alone, you shall see me again;" then drawing down his hat over his
brows, hastily left the house.

Mr. O'Sullivan proceeded to Adelaide, and sorrowfully remonstrated with
her on her rejection of his friend. To satisfy his feelings, and justify
herself, she detailed all the circumstances that related to her regard
for Frederick Elton. "But, my dear parent," said she in conclusion,
"this attachment, once so strong in my father's sanction and my own
feelings, is now inert; if, as is most probable, he has bestowed his
affections elsewhere, I trust I am too just to resent, too proud to
repine. All I exacted from him, and promised for myself, was complete
forgetfulness. I thought I had succeeded, but, forgive my weakness,
every word Colonel Desmond spoke recalled the idea of Frederick from
the oblivion I had condemned it to. We will never mention his name
again, my dear Sir." She faltered, and throwing her arms about her
grandfather's neck, wept bitterly. When again composed, she continued,
"I know you think I ought to struggle against this romantic folly;
believe me I do, I always have; never, even to my beloved father, did I
expose the weakness of my heart as I have this day to you. For the last
two years I have divorced myself from my own feelings, and my mind has
dwelt with the thoughts of others. Time will do much; but I have not
that ardent affection for Colonel Desmond necessary to make either of us
happy." "I do not now wish, my dearest child, to influence your choice,"
replied O'Sullivan; "but his affection for you is unbounded, and with
the high estimation you hold his character in, you could not fail to
return it in time." "I fear, my dear Sir," said Adelaide, "that to have
any rational expectation of happiness in marriage, a woman ought rather
to depend on the love she feels for a man, than on his for her, as on
her own sentiments alone she can depend with certainty. But I, of all my
sex, have surely the least temptation to marry, who am so happy as a
daughter. My future husband, whoever he may be," said she, with assumed
gravity, "will have small reason to thank you for your indulgence; none
of the lords of the creation will ever again treat such a little
undeserving subject with the same lenity." The old man kissed her
affectionately, and forbore any further solicitation for his friend.

On the day preceding that fixed for Adelaide's departure, she was
sitting with her grandfather, examining the route he had traced out for
her, and promising obedience to his injunctions not to catch cold: "I
would not have Lord Osselstone see you for the first time with red eyes,
swelled nose, and chapped lips, not for half the barony of
Aughrakillynch; and I beg you won't wear any of the trumpery Mrs.
O'Sullivan bought you in London last summer, but put on my favourite
black satin dress you brought from Naples; you look like a queen in
that. You said you'd wear it to-day, dear. God knows if ever I
shall----" The accents died on his lips, and, ringing the bell with
agitated vehemence, he ordered Miss Wildenheim's new travelling carriage
to be driven round the ring in front of the house, that he might see how
it ran. The trampling of horses soon announced the approach of the
carriage. "Adelaide, dear, look for the seal you gave me, that I may see
if the arms are done right," said Mr. O'Sullivan, who, in the mean time,
went to the window to look out, exclaiming an instant afterwards, "It
was well I had it round, that lazy rascal Phelim has never cleaned it
since it came; it is splashed all over! And what the devil has he been
doing with my horses--they are jaded to death! Hey day! who have we got
here? Why, Adelaide, there's the handsomest young man I ever saw has
opened the door for himself from the inside, and jumped out actually
before the horses stopped."

At that instant she heard her own name pronounced, in the hall, by a
voice which thrilled to her heart, as she instantly recognized it to be
that of the handsomest young man _she_ ever saw. She flew towards the
door, but if with an intention to escape, was too late, for the stranger
entered at the same instant, and seizing both her hands, presented
Frederick to her view!

Her first emotion was that of delighted surprise; joy sparkled in her
eyes, and irradiated her whole figure. His looks, his tones, his
incoherent words, betrayed his inexpressible feelings. Mr. O'Sullivan
stood gazing on the youthful pair in mute astonishment. Adelaide, in a
few minutes recollecting herself, turned towards him, and, covered with
blushes, introduced "Mr. Elton;" and, whilst the gentlemen were making
their bows, retired from the room, but so lightly and swiftly made good
her retreat, that till she was out of hearing, they did not perceive she
had attempted it. The old man looked on Frederick with the deepest
emotion, for Adelaide had turned to him with the same melting glance
that Rose first entreated his approval of her beloved Reginald. Too much
agitated to speak, "thought on thought rolled over his soul," impressing
their melancholy seriousness on his countenance. Lord Eltondale, though
a man of fashion, and a man of the world, was no coxcomb, and could feel
embarrassed sometimes, as on the present occasion, when his eyes rested
on the venerable figure that, excited by the feeling of the moment, rose
from the slight bend with which age and sorrow usually tempered its
commanding loftiness; and, with the dignity that fancy lends to the
chieftains of ancient story, stood tacitly demanding explanation and
apology. Frederick felt indescribably awed, and, with a feeling of
painful confusion, wished himself out of the house, almost as earnestly
as he had but a few minutes before wished himself in it. After making
one or two more profound bows than were absolutely necessary, he stooped
to pick up his hat from the floor, where he had dropped it at the sight
of Adelaide, and then, with his colour nearly as much heightened as hers
had been, addressing Mr. O'Sullivan, said, "I know not what apology to
offer for this abrupt intrusion, Sir; will you pardon it, and permit me
to pay my compliments to you and Miss Wildenheim to-morrow morning?" Mr.
O'Sullivan's national and characteristic hospitality quickly banished
the involuntary repugnance with which he had at first regarded the
unexpected visitor, nor indeed could he long look with coldness on a
countenance illuminated by his beloved grandchild's smiles; and
therefore, on being thus addressed, extended his hand in sign of cordial
welcome, whilst he replied, "Willingly, Sir, on the condition that you
remain here to-night. I should be guilty of little less than homicide,
in suffering you to drive over those mountains again this evening;--'tis
almost dark at this instant." "Thank you, thank you a thousand times, my
dear Sir!" exclaimed Lord Eltondale, if possible still more grateful
for the manner in which it was granted, than for the much-coveted
permission itself. "Could you but know the happiness your invitation
gives me. I see you can pity the feelings of a young man." "I can _pity_
them," said O'Sullivan, smiling. "When I know you better, young
gentleman, I will tell you whether I wish to encourage them. In the mean
time I consider you only as my guest; and in that light, Sir, you are
heartily welcome to Ballinamoyle." Mr. O'Sullivan soon terminated the
forced conversation which then took place between him and his guest, by
offering to have the latter conducted to his room to change his boots
before dinner, which proposition was willingly accepted.

All the family party had reassembled in the drawing room, with the
exception of Miss Wildenheim, when her maid came to inform her dinner
would be served immediately; she looked once more in the glass, to see
if the profuse expenditure of rose water she had indulged in had been
effectual in effacing all traces of tears; for she was perhaps not less
anxious to avoid appearing before Frederick "with red eyes, and a
swelled nose," than her grandfather was that she should not thus
encounter Lord Osselstone. When she entered the drawing room, O'Sullivan
smiled with pleasure, to see her "look like a queen," in the favourite
robe, that, in many a silken fold, "giving and stealing grace," flowed
round her exquisite form. Her luxuriant hair, as it wound in plaited
lustre round her fair brows, seemed indeed to crown them with the diadem
of beauty. But more than beauty adorned her angelic countenance; she had
seen the dawn of felicity arise; its brilliant beam trembled in her soft
eye, whilst its tenderest hues of roseate red tinged her cheek. As she
drew near the circle, each, by some involuntary token of kindness,
welcomed her approach; and the bewitching smile which played at hide and
seek with her ruby lip, when she returned the greetings of affection,
at once rewarded and excited them.

But no air of pretty consciousness spoke her prepared to act "_L'Idola
bella_," or that she expected Lord Eltondale to fall at her feet, and
worship her at the first gracious signal. Her manner had that
self-possession, which was due to her own dignity, and under which every
woman of true delicacy would shroud her feelings in a similar situation.
Frederick forebore, by word or look, to cause her the least confusion;
he was too generous to inflict the pain of distressed modesty on the
woman he loved; perhaps also his love was so deeply, so anxiously felt,
that it shrunk from the gaze of other eyes than hers who excited it.
Neither of them addressed the other directly, but he soon managed, with
well-bred ease, to introduce general conversation, which banished all
appearance of constraint.

When dinner was announced, Mr. O'Sullivan, who always insisted on giving
Adelaide precedence of Miss Fitzcarril, notwithstanding her
representation of that lady's seniority, now formally requested Lord
Eltondale to conduct her to the dining parlour; as her beautiful hand
lay on Frederick's arm he took it in his, and would have pressed it to
his heart, had not a half-reproving glance recalled to his recollection,
that they were closely observed by several servants, who stood in goodly
row, almost forgetting what for, in their eager scrutiny of his face and
figure. Mr. O'Sullivan followed, leading Miss Fitzcarril in all the
stateliness of _la vieille cour_; little Caroline skipped gaily along,
playing tricks with Captain Cormac and Mr. Dermoody, whilst the former,
by a wise shake of the head, prevented her touching his patron's silver
locks, which were tied with a black riband, in an old fashioned tail,
that reached half way-down his back, and daily tempted the merry
sprite's ivory fingers.

A well lighted room, with a blazing fire and an excellent dinner, made
the party almost rejoice to hear the whistling wind and driving
showers, that foreboded a stormy night. Lord Eltondale was so overjoyed
to find himself once more seated beside Adelaide, unshackled by any
engagement, and almost certain of her regard, that all his former and
characteristic vivacity returned; and his lively sallies infecting every
body with his own gaiety, she talked to him with that flow of spirits,
which her delight at seeing him naturally excited in her mind; and
whilst his admiration increased every moment, she did not fail to
remark, that "he was more intelligent in conversation, more elegant in
manner and figure, than any man she had ever seen, except her father,"
who was still her model of perfection.

When the gentlemen unwillingly suffered the ladies to retire to the
drawing-room, Mr. O'Sullivan called his granddaughter to him, and as she
bent her head in a listening position; her brilliant countenance
confirmed the cheerful acquiescence her words conveyed to his proposal.
Frederick rightly guessing it was a request to defer her journey, as he
opened the door for her to pass, said, in a low tone, with a sort of
happy playful assurance in his looks, "Thank you, Adelina." She
coloured, and her head was fast rising to the true altitude of feminine
pride; when he, standing so as to impede her escape, without seeming to
do so, whispered, "Forgive me; I presumed on former recollections; I had
flattered myself the spell was broken, that separated me and happiness."
One of Adelaide's enchanting smiles dissipated the uneasiness, that had
quickly clouded his features.

It is not to be supposed, that all this escaped Miss Fitzcarril's
notice; accordingly the drawing-room door was scarcely closed, when,
with a significant wink, she proposed taking Caroline to assist her in
settling her closet, when any of the gentlemen should return from the
parlour, where she rightly conjectured Mr. O'Sullivan's fine claret
would not long detain some of the party. Adelaide, with an imploring
look, took her hand, saying, "I entreat you, my dear Madam, if you have
the least regard for me, not to think of such a thing; I would not lose
your society an instant this evening for the world."

The ancient maiden understood her, but thought she was only going to do
as she would be done by; and recollected, with a sigh, that this was not
at all the solution she expected of Judy Stewart's prophecy.

Adelaide's journey was postponed but one day; and she soon had the
happiness of finding in Lord Osselstone almost a second father in mind,
manner, and person, hourly reminding her of the beloved parent, that,
till she knew her uncle, she thought none on earth had ever resembled.

Amongst the young men of fashion, that now seek the smiles of "the
beautiful and accomplished" (according to the technical term which
designates every high-born heiress) niece of the Earl of Osselstone,
none seems to meet his Lordship's approval so decidedly as Viscount
Eltondale, who, we may safely prophesy, will soon win on the regard of
his Adelina's noble uncle, as much as he gained on that of her venerable
grandfather, during his short visit to Ballinamoyle.

    "Tant que Phillis eut un destin prospère,
    Plus d'un amant lui dit d'un ton sincère,
              Que vos beaux yeux
                Sont gracieux,
              L'amour pour eux
                Fixe mes voeux,
    Chaque instant redouble mes feux,
    Le temps n'y peut rien faire."


THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *

Printed by S. Hamilton, Weybridge, Surrey.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Transcriber's Note: Hyphen variations within volume and between volumes
left as printed.]





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