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Title: Lothair
Author: Disraeli, Benjamin, Earl of Beaconsfield, 1804-1881
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lothair" ***

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LOTHAIR

By Benjamin Disraeli



CHAPTER 1


"I remember him a little boy," said the duchess, "a pretty little boy,
but very shy. His mother brought him to us one day. She was a dear
friend of mine; you know she was one of my bridesmaids?"

"And you have never seen him since, mamma?" inquired a married daughter,
who looked like the younger sister of her mother.

"Never; he was an orphan shortly after; I have often reproached myself,
but it is so difficult to see boys. Then, he never went to school, but
was brought up in the Highlands with a rather savage uncle; and if he
and Bertram had not become friends at Christchurch, I do not well see
how we ever could have known him."

These remarks were made in the morning-room of Brentham, where the
mistress of the mansion sat surrounded by her daughters, all occupied
with various works. One knitted a purse, another adorned a slipper a
third emblazoned a page. Beautiful forms in counsel leaned over frames
embroidery, while two fair sisters more remote occasionally burst into
melody as they tried the passages of a new air, which had been dedicated
to them in the manuscript of some devoted friend.

The duchess, one of the greatest heiresses of Britain, singularly
beautify and gifted with native grace, had married in her teens one of
the wealthiest and most powerful of our nobles, and scarcely order than
herself. Her husband was as distinguished for his appearance and his
manners as his bride, and those who speculate on race were interested
in watching the development of their progeny, who in form and color, and
voice, and manner, and mind, were a reproduction of their parents,
who seemed only the elder brother and sister of a gifted circle. The
daughters with one exception came first, and all met the same fate.
After seventeen years of a delicious home they were presented, and
immediately married; and all to personages of high consideration. After
the first conquest, this fate seemed as regular as the order of Nature.
Then came a son, who was now at Christchurch, and then several others,
some at school, and some scarcely out of the nursery. There was one
daughter unmarried, and she was to be presented next season. Though
the family likeness was still apparent in Lady Corisande, in general
expression she differed from her sisters. They were all alike with their
delicate aquiline noses, bright complexions, short upper lips, and eyes
of sunny light. The beauty of Lady Corisande was even more distinguished
and more regular, but whether it were the effect of her dark-brown hair
and darker eyes, her countenance had not the lustre of the res, and its
expression was grave and perhaps pensive.

The duke, though still young, and naturally of a gay and joyous
temperament, had a high sense of duty, and strong domestic feelings. He
was never wanting in his public place, and he was fond of his wife and
his children; still more, proud of them. Every day when he looked into
the glass, and gave the last touch to his consummate toilet, he offered
his grateful thanks to Providence that his family was not unworthy of
him.

His grace was accustomed to say that he had only one misfortune, and
it was a great one; he had no home. His family had married so many
heiresses, and he, consequently, possessed so many halls and castles, at
all of which, periodically, he wished, from a right feeling, to reside,
that there was no sacred spot identified with his life in which his
heart, in the bustle and tumult of existence, could take refuge.
Brentham was the original seat of his family, and he was even
passionately fond of it; but it was remarkable how very short a period
of his yearly life was passed under its stately roof. So it was his
custom always to repair to Brentham the moment the season was over, and
he would exact from his children, that, however short might be the time,
they would be his companions under those circumstances. The daughters
loved Brentham, and they loved to please their father; but the
sons-in-law, though they were what is called devoted to their wives,
and, unusual as it may seem, scarcely less attached to their legal
parents, did not fall very easily into this arrangement. The country
in August without sport was unquestionably to them a severe trial:
nevertheless, they rarely omitted making their appearance, and, if they
did occasionally vanish, sometimes to Cowes, sometimes to Switzerland,
sometimes to Norway, they always wrote to their wives, and always
alluded to their immediate or approaching return; and their letters
gracefully contributed to the fund of domestic amusement.

And yet it would be difficult to find a fairer scene than Brentham
offered, especially in the lustrous effulgence of a glorious English
summer. It was an Italian palace of freestone; vast, ornate, and in
scrupulous condition; its spacious and graceful chambers filled with
treasures of art, and rising itself from statued and stately terraces.
At their foot spread a gardened domain of considerable extent, bright
with flowers, dim with coverts of rare shrubs, and musical with
fountains. Its limit reached a park, with timber such as the midland
counties only can produce. The fallow deer trooped among its ferny
solitudes and gigantic oaks; but, beyond the waters of the broad and
winding lake, the scene became more savage, and the eye caught the dark
forms of the red deer on some jutting mount, shrinking with scorn from
communion with his gentler brethren.



CHAPTER 2


Lothair was the little boy whom the duchess remembered. He was a
posthumous child, and soon lost a devoted mother. His only relation was
one of his two guardians, a Scotch noble--a Presbyterian and a Whig.
This uncle was a widower with some children, but they were girls, and,
though Lothair was attached to them, too young to be his companions.
Their father was a keen, hard man, honorable and just but with no
softness of heart or manner. He guarded with precise knowledge and with
unceasing vigilance over Lothair's vast inheritance, which was in many
counties and in more than one kingdom; but he educated him in a Highland
home, and when he had reached boyhood thought fit to send him to the
High School of Edinburgh. Lothair passed a monotonous, if not a dull,
life; but he found occasional solace in the scenes of a wild and
beautiful nature, and delight in all the sports of the field and forest,
in which he was early initiated and completely indulged. Although an
Englishman, he was fifteen before he re-visited his country, and then
his glimpses of England were brief, and to him scarcely satisfactory. He
was hurried sometimes to vast domains, which he heard were his own; and
sometimes whisked to the huge metropolis, where he was shown St. Paul's
and the British-Museum. These visits left a vague impression of bustle
without kindness and exhaustion without excitement; and he was glad to
get back to his glens, to the moor and the mountain-streams.

His father, in the selection of his guardians, had not contemplated
this system of education. While he secured by the appointment of his
brother-in-law, the most competent and trustworthy steward of his son's
fortune, he had depended on another for that influence which should
mould the character, guide the opinions, and form the tastes of his
child. The other guardian was a clergyman, his father's private tutor
and heart-friend; scarcely his parent's senior, but exercising over
him irresistible influence, for he was a man of shining talents and
abounding knowledge, brilliant and profound. But unhappily, shortly
after Lothair became an orphan, this distinguished man seceded from the
Anglican communion, and entered the Church of Rome. From this moment
there was war between the guardians. The uncle endeavored to drive his
colleague from the trust: in this he failed, for the priest would not
renounce his office. The Scotch noble succeeded, however, in making it
a fruitless one: he thwarted every suggestion that emanated from the
obnoxious quarter; and, indeed, the secret reason of the almost constant
residence of Lothair in Scotland, and of his harsh education, was the
fear of his relative, that the moment he crossed the border he might, by
some mysterious process, fall under the influence that his guardian so
much dreaded and detested.

There was however, a limit to these severe precautions, even before
Lothair should reach his majority. His father had expressed in his will
that his son should be educated at the University of Oxford, and at the
same college of which he had been a member. His uncle was of opinion he
complied with the spirit of this instruction by sending Lothair to the
University of Edinburgh, which would give the last tonic to his moral
system; and then commenced a celebrated chancery-suit, instituted by the
Roman Catholic guardian, in order to enforce a literal compliance
with the educational condition of the will. The uncle looked upon
this movement as a popish plot, and had recourse to every available
allegation and argument to baffle it: but ultimately in vain. With every
precaution to secure his Protestant principles, and to guard against the
influence, or even personal interference of his Roman Catholic guardian,
the lord-chancellor decided that Lothair should be sent to Christchurch.

Here Lothair, who had never been favored with a companion of his own
age and station, soon found a congenial one in the heir of Brentham.
Inseparable in pastime, not dissociated even in study, sympathizing
companionship soon ripened into fervent friendship. They lived so
much together that the idea of separation became not only painful but
impossible; and, when vacation arrived, and Brentham was to be visited
by its future lord, what more natural than that it should be arranged
that Lothair should be a visitor to his domain?



CHAPTER 3


Although Lothair was the possessor of as many palaces and castles as the
duke himself, it is curious that his first dinner at Brentham was
almost his introduction into refined society. He had been a guest at the
occasional banquets of his uncle; but these were festivals of the
Picts and Scots; rude plenty and coarse splendor, with noise instead of
conversation, and a tumult of obstructive defendants, who impeded, by
their want of skill, the very convenience which they were purposed to
facilitate. How different the surrounding scene! A table covered with
flowers, bright with fanciful crystal, and porcelain that had belonged
to sovereigns, who had given a name to its color or its form. As
for those present, all seemed grace and gentleness, from the radiant
daughters of the house to the noiseless attendants that anticipated all
his wants, and sometimes seemed to suggest his wishes.

Lothair sat between two of the married daughters. They addressed him
with so much sympathy that he was quite enchanted. When they asked their
pretty questions and made their sparkling remarks, roses seemed to drop
from their lips, and sometimes diamonds. It was a rather large party,
for the Brentham family were so numerous that they themselves made
a festival. There were four married daughters, the duke and two
sons-in-law, a clergyman or two, and some ladies and gentlemen who were
seldom absent from this circle, and who, by their useful talents and
various accomplishments, alleviated the toil or cares of life from which
even princes are not exempt.

When the ladies had retired to the duchess's drawing-room, all the
married daughters clustered round their mother.

"Do you know, mamma, we all think him very, good-looking," said the
youngest married daughter, the wife of the listless and handsome St.
Aldegonde.

"And not at all shy," said Lady Montairy, "though reserved."

"I admire deep-blue eyes with dark lashes," said the duchess.

Notwithstanding the decision of Lady Montairy, Lothair was scarcely free
from embarrassment when he rejoined the ladies; and was so afraid of
standing alone, or talking only to men, that he was almost on the point
of finding refuge in his dinner-companions, had not he instinctively
felt that this would have been a social blunder. But the duchess
relieved him: her gracious glance caught his at the right moment, and
she rose and met him some way as he advanced. The friends had arrived
so late, that Lothair had had only time to make a reverence of ceremony
before dinner.

"It is not our first meeting," said her grace; "but that you cannot
remember."

"Indeed I do," said Lothair, "and your grace gave me a golden heart."

"How can you remember such things," exclaimed the duchess, "which I had
myself forgotten!"

"I have rather a good memory," replied Lothair; "and it is not wonderful
that I should remember this, for it is the only present that ever was
made me."

The evenings at Brentham were short, but they were sweet. It was a
musical family, without being fanatical on the subject. There was always
music, but it was not permitted that the guests should be deprived of
other amusements. But music was the basis of the evening's campaigns.
The duke himself sometimes took a second; the four married daughters
warbled sweetly; but the great performer was Lady Corisande. When her
impassioned tones sounded, there was a hushed silence in every chamber;
otherwise, many things were said and done amid accompanying melodies,
that animated without distracting even a whistplayer. The duke himself
rather preferred a game of piquet or cart with Captain Mildmay,
and sometimes retired with a troop to a distant, but still visible,
apartment, where they played with billiard-balls games which were not
billiards.

The ladies had retired, the duke had taken his glass of seltzer-water,
and had disappeared. The gentry lingered and looked at each other, as if
they were an assembly of poachers gathering for an expedition, and then
Lord St. Aldegonde, tall, fair, and languid, said to Lothair, "do you
smoke?"

"No!"

"I should have thought Bertram would have seduced you by this time. Then
let us try. Montairy will give you one of his cigarettes, so mild that
his wife never finds him out."



CHAPTER 4


The breakfast-room at Brentham was very bright. It opened on a garden
of its own, which, at this season, was so glowing, and cultured into
patterns so fanciful and finished, that it had the resemblance of a vast
mosaic. The walls of the chamber were covered with bright drawings and
sketches of our modern masters, and frames of interesting miniatures,
and the meal was served on half a dozen or more round tables, which vied
with each other in grace and merriment; brilliant as a cluster of Greek
or Italian republics, instead of a great metropolitan table, like
a central government absorbing all the genius and resources of the
society.

Every scene In this life at Brentham charmed Lothair, who, though not
conscious of being of a particularly gloomy temper, often felt that
he had, somehow or other, hitherto passed through life rarely with
pleasure, and never with joy.

After breakfast the ladies retired to their morning-room, and the
gentlemen strolled to the stables, Lord St. Aldegonde lighting a Manilla
cheroot of enormous length. As Lothair was very fond of horses, this
delighted him. The stables at Brentham were rather too far from the
house, but they were magnificent, and the stud worthy of them. It was
numerous and choice, and, above all it was useful. It could supply,
a readier number of capital riding-horses than any stable in England.
Brentham was a great riding family. In the summer season the duke
delighted to head a numerous troop, penetrate far into the country, and
scamper home to a nine-o'clock dinner. All the ladies of the house were
fond and fine horse-women. The mount of one of these riding-parties was
magical. The dames and damsels vaulted on their barbs, and genets,
and thorough-bred hacks, with such airy majesty; they were absolutely
overwhelming with their bewildering habits and their bewitching hats.

Every thing was so new in this life at Brentham to Lothair, as well
as so agreeable, that the first days passed by no means rapidly; for,
though it sounds strange, time moves with equal slowness whether we
experience many impressions or none. In a new circle every character is
a study, and every incident an adventure; and the multiplicity of the
images and emotions restrains the hours. But after a few days, though
Lothair was not less delighted, for he was more so, he was astonished
at the rapidity of time. The life was exactly the same, but equally
pleasant; the same charming companions, the same refined festivity, the
same fascinating amusements; but to his dismay Lothair recollected that
nearly a fortnight had elapsed since his arrival. Lord St. Aldegonde
also was on the wing; he was obliged to go to Cowes to see a sick
friend, though he considerately left Bertha behind him. The other
son-in-law remained, for he could not tear himself away from his wife.
He was so distractedly fond of Lady Montairy that he would only
smoke cigarettes. Lothair felt it was time to go, and he broke the
circumstance to his friend Bertram.

These two "old fellows," as they mutually described each other, could
not at all agree as to the course to be pursued. Bertram looked upon
Lothair's suggestion as an act of desertion from himself. At their time
of life, the claims of friendship are paramount. And where could Lothair
go to? And what was there to do? Nowhere, and nothing. Whereas, if he
would remain a little longer, as the duke expected and also the duchess,
Bertram would go with him anywhere he liked, and do any thing he chose.
So Lothair remained.

In the evening, seated by Lady Montairy, Lothair observed on her
sister's singing, and said, "I never heard any of our great singers, but
I cannot believe there is a finer voice in existence."

"Corisande's is a fine voice," said Lady Montairy, "but I admire her
expression more than her tone; for there are certainly many finer
voices, and some day you will hear them."

"But I prefer expression," said Lothair very decidedly.

"Ah, yes! doubtless," said Lady Montairy, who was working a purse, "and
that's what we all want, I believe; at least we married daughters,
they say. My brother, Granville St. Aldegonde, says we are all too much
alike, and that Bertha St. Aldegonde would be parallel if she had no
sisters."

"I don't at all agree with Lord St. Aldegonde," said Lothair, with
energy. "I do not think it is possible to have too many relatives like
you and your sisters."

Lady Montairy looked up with a smile, but she did not meet a smiling
countenance. He seemed, what is called an earnest young man, this friend
of her brother Bertram.

At this moment the duke sent swift messengers for all: to come, even
the duchess, to partake in a new game just arrived from Russia, some
miraculous combination of billiard-balls. Some rose directly, some
lingering a moment arranging their work, but all were in motion.
Corisande was at the piano, and disencumbering herself of some music.
Lothair went up to her rather abruptly:

"Your singing," he said, "is the finest thing I ever heard. I am so
happy that I am not going to leave Brentham to-morrow. There is no place
in the world that I think equal to Brentham."

"And I love it, too, and no other place," she replied; "and I should be
quite happy if I never left it."



CHAPTER 5


Lord Montairy was passionately devoted to croquet. He flattered himself
that he was the most accomplished male performer existing. He would have
thought absolutely the most accomplished, were it not for the unrivalled
feats of Lady Montairy. She was the queen of croquet. Her sisters
also used the mallet with admirable skill, but not like Georgina. Lord
Montairy always looked forward to his summer croquet at Brentham. It
was a great croquet family, the Brentham family; even listless Lord St.
Aldegonde would sometimes play, with a cigar never out of his mouth.
They did not object to his smoking in the air. On the contrary, "they
rather liked it." Captain Mildmay, too, was a brilliant hand, and had
written a treatise on croquet--the best going.

There was a great croquet-party one morning at Brentham. Some neighbors
had been invited who loved the sport. Mr. Blenkinsop a grave young
gentleman, whose countenance never relaxed while he played, and who was
understood, to give his mind entirely up to croquet. He was the owner
of the largest estate in the county, and it was thought would have very
much liked to have allied himself with one of the young ladies of the
house of Brentham; but these flowers were always plucked so quickly,
that his relations with the distinguished circle never grew more
intimate than croquet. He drove over with some fine horses, and several
cases and bags containing instruments and weapons for the fray. His
sister came with him, who had forty thousand pounds, but, they said, in
some mysterious manner dependent on his consent to her marriage; and
it was added that Mr. Blenkinsop would not allow his sister to marry
because he would miss her so much in his favorite pastime. There were
some other morning visitors, and one or two young curates in cassocks.

It seemed to Lothair a game of great deliberation and of more interest
than gayety, though sometimes a cordial cheer, and sometimes a ringing
laugh of amiable derision, notified a signal triumph or a disastrous
failure. But the scene was brilliant: a marvellous lawn, the duchess's
Turkish tent with its rich hangings, and the players themselves, the
prettiest of all the spectacle, with their coquettish hats, and their
half-veiled and half-revealed under-raiment scarlet and silver, or blue
and gold, made up a sparkling and modish scene.

Lothair, who had left the players for a while, and was regaining the
lawn, met the duchess.

"Your grace is not going to leave us, I hope?" he said, rather
anxiously.

"For a moment. I have long promised to visit the new dairy; and I think
this a good opportunity."

"I wish I might be your companion," said Lothair; and, invited, he was
by her grace's side.

They turned into a winding walk of thick and fragrant shrubs, and,
after a while, they approached a dell, surrounded with, high trees
that environed it with perpetual shade; in the centre of the dell was
apparently a Gothic shrine, fair in design and finished in execution,
and this was the duchess's new dairy. A pretty sight is a first-rate
dairy, with its flooring of fanciful tiles, and its cool and shrouded
chambers, its stained windows and its marble slabs, and porcelain pans
of cream, and plenteous platters of fantastically-formed butter.

"Mrs. Woods and her dairy-maids look like a Dutch picture," said the
duchess. "Were you ever in Holland?"

"I have never been anywhere," said Lothair.

"You should travel," said the duchess.

"I have no wish," said Lothair.

"The duke has given me some Coreean fowls," said the duchess to Mrs.
Woods, when they had concluded their visit. "Do you think you could take
care of them for me?"

"Well, Grace, I am sure I will do my best; but then they are very,
troublesome, and I was not fortunate with my Cochin. I had rather they
were sent to the aviary, Grace, if it were all the same."

"I should so like to see the aviary," said Lothair.

"Well, we will go."

And this rather extended their walk, and withdrew them more from the
great amusement of the day.

"I wish your grace would do me a great favor," said Lothair, abruptly
breaking a rather prolonged silence.

"And what is that?" said the duchess.

"It is a very great favor," repeated Lothair.

"If it be in my power to grant it, its magnitude would only be an
additional recommendation."

"Well," said Lothair, blushing deeply, and speaking with much agitation,
"I would ask your grace's permission to offer my hand to your daughter."

The duchess I looked amazed. "Corisande!" she exclaimed.

"Yes, to Lady Corisande."

"Corisande," replied the duchess, after a pause, "has absolutely not yet
entered the world. Corisande is a child; and you--you, my dear friend--I
am sure you will pardon me If I say, so--you are not very much older
than Corisande."

"I have no wish to enter the world," said Lothair, with much decision.

"I am not an enemy to youthful marriages," said the duchess. "I married
early myself, and my children married early; and I am very happy, and I
hope they are; but some experience of society before we settle is most
desirable, and is one of the conditions, I cannot but believe, of that
felicity which we all seek."

"I hate society," said Lothair. "I would never go out of my domestic
circle, if it were the circle I contemplate."

"My dear young friend," said the duchess, "you could hardly have seen
enough of society to speak with so much decision."

"I have seen quite enough of it," said Lothair. "I went to an evening
party last season--I came up from Christchurch on purpose for it--and
if ever they catch me at another, they shall inflict any penalty they
please."

"I fear it was a stupid party," said the duchess, smiling, and glad to
turn, if possible, the conversation into a lighter vein.

"No, it was a very grand party, I believe, and not exactly stupid--it
was not, that; but I was disgusted with all I saw and all I heard. It
seemed to me a mass of affectation, falsehood, and malignity."

"Oh! dear," said the duchess, "how very dreadful! But I did not mean
merely going to parties for society; I meant knowledge of the world, and
that experience which enables us to form sound opinions on the affairs
of life."

"Oh! as for that," said Lothair, "my, opinions are already formed on
every subject; that is to say, every subject of importance; and, what is
more, they will never change."

"I could not say that of Corisande," said the duchess.

"I think we agree on all the great things," said Lothair, musingly. "Her
church views may be a little higher than mine, but I do not anticipate
any permanent difficulty on that head. Although my uncle made me go to
kirk, I always hated it and always considered myself a churchman. Then,
as to churches themselves, she is in favor of building churches, and
so am I; and schools--there is no quantity of schools I would not
establish. My opinion is, you cannot have too much education, provided
it be founded on a religious basis. I would sooner renounce the whole of
my inheritance than consent to secular education."

"I should be sorry to see any education but a religious education,"
remarked the duchess.

"Well, then," said Lothair, "that is our life, or a great part of it. To
complete it, here is that to which I really wish to devote my existence,
and in which I instinctively feel Lady Corisande would sympathize with
me--the extinction of pauperism."

"That is a vast subject;" said the duchess.

"It is the terror of Europe and the disgrace of Britain," said Lothair;
"and I am resolved to grapple with it. It seems to me that pauperism is
not an affair so much of wages as of dwellings. If the working-classes
were properly lodged, at their present rate of wages, they would be
richer. They would be healthier and happier at the same cost. I am
so convinced of this, that the moment I am master, I shall build two
thousand cottages on any estates. I have the designs already."

"I am much in favor of improved dwellings for the poor," said the
duchess; "but then you must take care that your dwellings are cottages,
and not villas like my cousin's, the Duke of Luton."

"I do not think I shall make that mistake," replied Lothair. "It
constantly engages my thought. I am wearied of hearing of my wealth,
and I am conscious it has never brought me any happiness. I have lived a
great deal alone, dearest duchess, and thought much of these things, but
I feel now I should be hardly equal to the effort, unless I had a happy
home to, fall back upon."

"And you will have a happy home in due time," said the duchess; "and
with such good and great thoughts you deserve one. But take the advice
of one who loved your mother, and who would extend to you the same
affection as to her own children; before you take a step which cannot be
recalled, see a little more of the world."

Lothair shook his head. "No," he said, after a pause. "My idea of
perfect society is being married as I propose, and paying visits to
Brentham; and when the visits to Brentham ceased, then I should like you
and the duke to pay visits to us."

"But that would be a fairy-tale," said the duchess.

So they walked on in silence.

Suddenly and abruptly Lothair turned to the duchess and said, "Does your
grace see objection to my speaking to your daughter?"

"Dear friend, indeed, yes. What you would say would only agitate and
disturb Corisande. Her character is not yet formed, and its future
is perplexing, at least to me," murmured the mother. "She has not the
simple nature of her sisters. It is a deeper and more complicated mind,
and I watch its development with fond, but anxious interest." Then, in
a lighter tone, she added, "You do not know very much of us. Try to know
more. Everybody under this roof views you with regard, and you are the
brother friend of our eldest son. Wherever we are, you will always find
a home; but do not touch again upon this subject, at least at present,
for it distresses me." And then she took his arm, and pressed it, and by
this time they had gained the croquet-ground.



CHAPTER 6


One of the least known squares in London is Hexham Square, though it
is one of the oldest. Not that it is very remote from the throng of
existence, but it is isolated in a dingy district of silent and decaying
streets. Once it was a favored residence of opulence and power, and its
architecture still indicates its former and prouder destiny. But its
noble mansions are now divided and broken up into separate dwellings, or
have been converted into chambers and offices. Lawyers, and
architects, and agents, dwell in apartments where the richly-sculptured
chimney-pieces, the carved and gilded pediments over the doors, and
sometimes even the painted ceilings, tell a tale of vanished stateliness
and splendor.

A considerable portion of the north side of the square is occupied by
one house standing in a courtyard, with iron gates to the thoroughfare.
This is Hexham House, and where Lord Hexham lived in the days of the
first Georges. It is reduced in size since his time, two considerable
wings, having been pulled down about sixty years ago, and their
materials employed in building some residences of less pretension.
But the body of the dwelling-house remains, and the court-yard, though
reduced in size, has been retained.

Hexham House has an old oak entrance-hall panelled with delicacy, and
which has escaped the rifling of speculators in furniture; and out of
it rises a staircase of the same material, of a noble character,
adorned occasionally with figures; armorial animals holding shields, and
sometimes a grotesque form rising from fruits and flowers, all doubtless
the work of some famous carver. The staircase led to a corridor, on
which several doors open, and through one of these, at the moment of
our history, a man, dressed in a dark cassock, and holding a card in
his hand, was entering a spacious chamber, meagrely, but not shabbily,
furnished. There was a rich cabinet and a fine picture. In the next
room, not less spacious, but which had a more inhabited look, a cheerful
fire, tables covered with books and papers, and two individuals busily
at work with their pens; he gave the card to a gentleman who wore also
the cassock, and who stood before the fire with a book in his hand, and
apparently dictating to one of the writers.

"Impossible!" said the gentleman shaking his head; "I could not even go
in, as Monsignore Berwick is with his eminence."

"But what shall I do?" said the attendant; "his eminence said that when
Mr. Giles called he never was to be denied."

"The monsignore has been here a long time; you must beg Mr. Giles to
wait. Make him comfortable; give him a newspaper; not the Tablet, the
Times; men like Mr. Giles love reading the advertisements. Or stop, give
him this, his eminence's lecture on geology; it will show him the Church
has no fear of science. Ah! there's my bell; Mr. Giles will not have
to wait long." So saying, the gentleman put down his volume and
disappeared, through an antechamber, into a farther apartment.

It was a library, of moderate dimensions, and yet its well-filled
shelves contained all the weapons of learning and controversy which the
deepest and the most active of ecclesiastical champions could require.
It was unlike modern libraries, for it was one in which folios greatly
predominated; and they stood in solemn and sometimes magnificent array,
for they bore, many of them, on their ancient though costly bindings,
the proofs that they had belonged to many a prince and even sovereign of
the Church. Over the mantel-piece hung a portrait of his holiness
Pius IX., and on the table, in the midst of many papers, was an ivory
crucifix.

The master of the library had risen from his seat when the chief
secretary entered, and was receiving an obeisance. Above the middle
height, his stature seemed magnified by the attenuation of his form. It
seemed that the soul never had so frail and fragile a tenement. He was
dressed in a dark cassock with a red border, and wore scarlet stockings;
and over his cassock a purple tippet, and on his breast a small golden
cross. His countenance was naturally of an extreme pallor, though at
this moment slightly flushed with the animation of a deeply-interesting
conference. His cheeks were hollow, and his gray eyes seemed sunk
into his clear and noble brow, but they flashed with irresistible
penetration. Such was Cardinal Grandison.

"All that I can do is," said his eminence, when his visitor was, ushered
out, and slightly shrugging his shoulders, "is to get it postponed until
I go to Rome, and even then I must not delay my visit. This crossing
the Alps in winter is a trial--but we must never repine; and there is
nothing which we must not encounter to prevent incalculable mischief.
The publication of the Scotch hierarchy at this moment will destroy the
labors of years. And yet they will not see it! I cannot conceive who is
urging them, for I am sure they must have some authority from home.--You
have something for me, Chidioch," he added inquiringly, for his keen eye
caught the card.

"I regret to trouble your eminence when you need repose, but the bearer
of this card seems to have been importunate, and to have appealed to,
your name and personal orders;" and he gave the cardinal the card.

"Yes," said the cardinal, looking at the card with much interest; "this
is a person I must always see."

And so, in due course, they ushered into the library a gentleman with
a crimson and well-stuffed bag, of a composed yet cheerful aspect, who
addressed the cardinal with respect but without embarrassment,
saying, "I am ashamed to trouble your eminence with only matters
of form--absolutely mere matters of form; but I obey, Sir, your own
instructions."

"It is not for me to depreciate form," replied the cardinal; "and in
business there are no mere matters of form."

"Merely the wood accounts," continued the visitor; "they must be
approved by both the guardians or the money cannot be received by
the bankers. Your eminence, you see, has sanctioned the felling, and
authorized the sales, and these are the final accounts, which must be
signed before we pay in."

"Give them to me," said the cardinal, stretching out both his hands as
he received a mass of paper folios. His eminence resumed his chair, and
hastily examined the sheets. "Ah!" he said, "no ordinary felling--it
reaches, over seven counties. By-the-by, Bracewood Forest--what
about the enclosure? I have heard no more of it." Then, murmuring to
himself--"Grentham Wood--how well I remember Grentham Wood, with his
dear father!"

"If we could sign today," said the visitor in a tone of professional
cajolery; "time is important."

"And if shall not be wasted," replied the cardinal. "But I must look
over the accounts. I doubt not all is quite regular, but I wish to make
myself a little familiar with the scene of action; perhaps to recall the
past," he added. "You shall have them to-morrow, Mr. Giles."

"Your eminence will have very different accounts to settle in a short
time," said Mr. Giles, smiling. "We are hard at work; it takes three of
our clerks constantly occupied."

"But you have yet got time."

"I don't know that," said Mr. Giles. "The affairs are very large. And
the mines--they give us the greatest trouble. Our Mr. James Roundell was
two months in Wales last year about them. It took up the whole of his
vacation. And your eminence must remember that time flies. In less than
eight months he will be of age."

"Very true," said the cardinal; "time indeed flies, and so much to
be done! By-the-by, Mr. Giles, have you by any chance heard any thing
lately of my child?"

"I have heard of him a good deal of late, for a client of ours, Lord
Montairy, met him at Brentham this summer, and was a long time there
with him. After that, I hear, he went deer-stalking with some of his
young friends; but he is not very fond of Scotland; had rather too much
of it, I suspect; but the truth is, sir, I saw him this very day."

"Indeed!"

"Some affairs have brought him up to town, and I rather doubt whether he
will return to Oxford--at least, so he talks."

"Ah! I have never seen him since he was an infant, I might say," said
the cardinal. "I suppose I shall see him again, if only when I resign my
trust; but I know not. And yet few things would be more interesting to
me than to meet him!"

Mr. Giles seemed moved, for him almost a little embarrassed; he seemed
to blush, and then he cleared his throat. "It would be too great a
liberty," said Mr. Giles, "I feel that very much--and yet, if your
eminence would condescend, though I hardly suppose it possible, his
lordship is really going to do us the honor of dining with us to-day;
only a few friends, and if your eminence could make the sacrifice, and
it were not an act of too great presumption, to ask your eminence to
join our party."

"I never eat and I never drink," said the cardinal. "I am sorry, to say
I cannot. I like dinner society very much. You see the world, and you
hear things which you do not hear otherwise. For a time I presumed to
accept invitations, though I sat with an empty plate, but, though the
world was indulgent to me, I felt that my habits were an embarrassment
to the happier feasters: it was not fair, and so I gave it up. But
I tell you what, Mr. Giles: I shall be in your quarter this evening:
perhaps you would permit me to drop in and pay my respects to Mrs.
Giles--I have wished to do so before."



CHAPTER 7


Mr. Giles was a leading partner in the firm of Roundells, Giles, and
Roundell, among the most eminent solicitors of Lincoln's Inn. He, in
those days of prolonged maturity, might be described as still a young
man. He had inherited from his father not only a large share in a
first-rate business, but no inconsiderable fortune; and though he had,
in her circles, a celebrated wife, he had no children. He was opulent
and prosperous, with no cares and anxieties of his own, and loved
his profession, for which he was peculiarly qualified, being a man
of uncommon sagacity, very difficult to deceive, and yet one who
sympathized with his clients, who were all personally attached to him,
and many of whom were among the distinguished personages of the realm.

During an important professional visit to Ireland, Mr. Giles had made
the acquaintance of Miss Apollonia Smylie, the niece of an Irish peer;
and, though the lady was much admired and courted, had succeeded, after
a time, in inducing her to become the partner of his life.

Mrs. Giles, or, as she described herself, Mrs. Putney Giles, taking
advantage of a second and territorial Christian name of her husband,
was a showy woman; decidedly handsome, unquestionably accomplished, and
gifted with energy and enthusiasm which far exceeded even her physical
advantages. Her principal mission was to destroy the papacy and to
secure Italian unity. Her lesser impulses were to become acquainted with
the aristocracy, and to be herself surrounded by celebrities. Having a
fine house in Tyburnia, almost as showy as herself, and a husband who
was never so happy as when gratifying her wishes, she did not find it
difficult in a considerable degree to pursue and even accomplish her
objects. The Putney Giles gave a great many dinners, and Mrs. Putney
received her world frequently, if not periodically. As they entertained
with profusion, her well-lighted saloons were considerably attended.
These assemblies were never dull; the materials not being ordinary,
often startling, sometimes even brilliant, occasionally rather
heterogeneous. For, though being a violent Protestant, and of extreme
conservative opinions, her antipapal antipathies and her Italian
predilections frequently involved her with acquaintances not so
distinguished as she deemed herself for devotion to the cause of order
and orthodoxy. It was rumored that the brooding brow of Mazzini had been
observed in her rooms, and there was no sort of question that she had
thrown herself in ecstatic idolatry at the feet of the hero of Caprera.

On the morning of the day on which he intended to visit Cardinal
Grandison, Mr. Giles, in his chambers at Lincoln's Inn, was suddenly
apprised, by a clerk, that an interview with him was sought by a client
no less distinguished than Lothair.

Although Mr. Giles sat opposite two rows of tin boxes, each of which was
numbered, and duly inscribed with the name of Lothair and that of the
particular estate to which it referred, Mr. Giles, though he had had
occasional communications with his client, was personally unacquainted
with him. He viewed, therefore, with no ordinary curiosity the young man
who was ushered into his room; a shapely youth slightly above the middle
height; of simple, but distinguished mien, with a countenance naturally
pale, though somewhat bronzed by a life of air and exercise, and a
profusion of dark-auburn hair.

And for what could Lothair be calling on Mr. Giles?

It seems that one of Lothair's intimate companions had got into a
scrape, and under these circumstances had what is styled "made a friend"
of Lothair; that is to say, confided to him his trouble, and asked his
advice, with a view, when given, of its being followed by an offer of
assistance.

Lothair, though inexperienced, and very ingenuous, was not devoid of
a certain instinctive perception of men and, things, which rendered it
difficult for him to be an easy prey. His natural disposition, and his
comparatively solitary education, had made him a keen observer, and
he was one who meditated over his observations. But he was
naturally generous and sensible of kindness; and this was a favorite
companion--next to Bertram, his most intimate.

Lothair was quite happy in the opportunity of soothing a perturbed
spirit whose society had been to him a source of so much gratification.

It was not until Lothair had promised to extricate his friend from his
whelming difficulties, that, upon examination, he found the act on
his part was not so simple and so easy as he had assumed it to be. His
guardians had apportioned to him an allowance in every sense adequate to
his position; and there was no doubt, had he wished to exceed it for
any legitimate purpose, not the slightest difficulty on their part would
have been experienced.

Such a conjuncture had never occurred. Lothair was profuse, but he was
not prodigal. He gratified all his fancies, but they were not ignoble
ones; and he was not only sentimentally, but systematically, charitable.
He had a great number of fine horses, and he had just paid for an
expensive yacht. In a word, he spent a great deal of money, and until he
called at his bankers to learn what sums were at his disposition he was
not aware that he had overdrawn his account.

This was rather awkward. Lothair wanted a considerable sum, and he
wanted it at once. Irrespective of the consequent delay, he shrunk from
any communication with his guardians. From his uncle he had become,
almost insensibly, estranged, and with his other guardian he had never
had the slightest communication. Under these circumstances he recalled
the name of the solicitor of the trustees, between whom and himself
there had been occasional correspondence; and, being of a somewhat
impetuous disposition, he rode off at once from his hotel to Lincoln's
Inn.

Mr. Giles listened to the narrative with unbroken interest and
unswerving patience, with his eyes fixed on his client, and occasionally
giving a sympathetic nod.

"And so," concluded Lothair, "I thought I would come to you."

"We are honored," said Mr. Giles. "And, certainly, it is quite absurd
that your lordship should want money, and for a worthy purpose, and
not be able to command it. Why! the balance in the name of the trustees
never was so great as at this moment; and this very day, or to-morrow
at farthest, I shall pay no less than eight-and-thirty thousand pounds
timber-money to the account."

"Well, I don't want a fifth of that," said Lothair.

"Your lordship has an objection to apply to the trustees?" inquired Mr.
Giles.

"That is the point of the whole of my statement," said Lothair somewhat
impatiently.

"And yet it is the right and regular thing," said Mr. Giles.

"It may be right and it may be regular, but it is out of the question."

"Then we will say no more about it. What I want to prevent," said Mr.
Giles, musingly, "is any thing absurd happening. There is no doubt if
your lordship went into the street and said you wanted ten thousand
pounds, or a hundred thousand, fifty people would supply you
immediately--but you would have to pay for it. Some enormous usury! That
would be bad; but the absurdity of the thing would be greater than the
mischief. Roundells, Giles, and Roundell could not help you in that
manner. That is not our business. We are glad to find money for
our clients at a legal rate of interest, and the most moderate rate
feasible. But then there must be security, and the best security. But
here we must not conceal it from ourselves, my lord, we have no
security whatever. At this moment your lordship has no property. An
insurance-office might do it with a policy. They might consider that
they had a moral security; but still it would be absurd. There is
something absurd in your lordship having to raise money. Don't you think
I could see these people," said Mr. Giles, "and talk to them, and gain a
little time? We only want a little time."

"No," said Lothair, in a peremptory tone. "I said I would do it, and it
must be done, and at once. Sooner than there should be delay, I would
rather go into the street, as you suggest, and ask the first man I met
to lend me the money. My word has been given, and I do not care what I
pay to fulfil my word."

"We must not think of such things," said Mr. Giles, shaking his head.
"All I want your lordship to understand is the exact position. In this
case we have no security. Roundells, Giles, and Roundell cannot move
without security. It would be against our articles of partnership. But
Mr. Giles, as a private individual, may do what he likes. I will let
your lordship have the money, and I will take no security whatever--not
even a note of hand. All that I ask for is that your lordship should
write me a letter, saying you have urgent need for a sum of money
(mentioning amount) for an honorable purpose, in which your feelings
are deeply interested--and that will do. If any thing happens to your
lordship before this time next year, why, I think the trustees could
hardly refuse repaying the money; and if they did, why then," added Mr.
Giles, "I suppose it will be all the same a hundred years hence."

"You have conferred on me the greatest obligation," said Lothair, with
much earnestness. "Language cannot express what I feel. I am not too
much used to kindness, and I only hope that I may live to show my sense
of yours."

"It is really no great affair, my lord," said Mr. Giles. "I did not
wish to make difficulties, but it was my duty to put the matter clearly
before you. What I propose I could to do is really nothing. I could do
no less; I should have felt quite absurd if your lordship had gone into
the money-market."

"I only hope," repeated Lothair, rising and offering Mr. Giles his hand,
"that life may give me some occasion to prove my gratitude."

"Well, my lord," replied Mr. Giles, "if your lordship wish to repay me
for any little interest I have shown in your affairs, you can do that,
over and over again, and at once."

"How so?"

"By a very great favor, by which Mrs. Giles and myself would be deeply
gratified. We have a few friends who honor us by dining with us to-day
in Hyde Park Gardens. If your lordship would add the great distinction
your presence--"

"I should only be too much honored," exclaimed Lothair: "I suppose about
eight," and he left the room; and Mr. Giles telegraphed instantly the
impending event to Apollonia.



CHAPTER 8


It was a great day for Apollonia; not only to have Lothair at her right
hand at dinner, but the prospect of receiving a cardinal in the evening.
But she was equal to it; though so engrossed, indeed, in the immediate
gratification of her hopes and wishes, that she could scarcely dwell
sufficiently on the coming scene of triumph and social excitement.

The repast was sumptuous; Lothair thought the dinner would never end,
there were so many dishes, and apparently all of the highest pretension.
But if his simple tastes had permitted him to take an interest in these
details, which, they did not, he would have been assisted by a gorgeous
menu of gold and white typography, that was by the side of each guest.
The table seemed literally to groan under vases and gigantic flagons,
and, in its midst, rose a mountain of silver, on which apparently
all the cardinal virtues, several of the pagan deities, and Britannia
herself, illustrated with many lights a glowing inscription, which
described the fervent feelings of a grateful client.

There were many guests--the Dowager of Farringford, a lady of quality,
Apollonia's great lady, who exercised under this roof much social
tyranny; in short, was rather fine; but who, on this occasion, was
somewhat cowed by the undreamt-of presence of Lothair. She had not yet
met him, and probably never would have met him, had she not had the good
fortune of dining at his lawyer's. However, Lady Farringford was placed
a long way from Lothair, having been taken down to dinner by Mr. Giles;
and so, by the end of the first course, Lady Farringford had nearly
resumed her customary despotic vein, and was beginning to indulge in
several kind observations, cheapening to her host and hostess, and
indirectly exalting herself; upon which Mr. Giles took an early easy
opportunity of apprising Lady Farringford, that she had nearly met
Cardinal Grandison at dinner, and that his eminence would certainly pay
his respects to Mrs. Putney Giles in the evening. As Lady Farringford
was at present a high ritualist and had even been talked of as "going
to Rome," this intelligence was stunning, and it was observed that her
ladyship was unusually subdued during the whole of the second course.

On the right of Lothair sat the wife of a vice-chancellor, a quiet
and pleasing lady, to whom Lothair, with natural good breeding, paid
snatches of happy attention, when he could for a moment with propriety
withdraw himself from the blaze of Apollonia's coruscating conversation.
Then there was a rather fierce-looking Red Ribbon, medalled, as well
as be-starred, and the Red Ribbon's wife, with a blushing daughter, in
spite of, her parentage not yet accustomed to stand fire. A partner and
his unusually numerous family had the pleasure also of seeing Lothair
for the first time, and there were no less than four M.P.s, one of whom
was even in office.

Apollonia was stating to Lothair, with perspicuity, the reasons which
quite induced her to believe that the Gulf-Stream had changed its
course, and the political and social consequences that might accrue.

"The religious sentiment of the Southern races must be wonderfully
affected by a more rigorous climate," said Apollonia. "I cannot doubt,"
she continued, "that a series of severe winters at Rome might put an end
to Romanism."

"But is there any fear that a reciprocal influence might be exercised
on the Northern nations?" inquired Lothair. "Would there be any
apprehension of our Protestantism becoming proportionately relaxed?"

"Of course not," said Apollonia. "Truth cannot be affected by climate.
Truth is truth, alike in Palestine and Scandinavia."

"I wonder what the cardinal would think of this," said Lothair, "who,
you tell me, is coming to you this evening?"

"Yes, I am most interested to see him, though he is the most puissant of
our foes. Of course he would take refuge in sophistry; and science, you
know, they deny."

"Cardinal Grandison is giving some lectures on science," said the
vice-chancellor's lady, quietly.

"It is remorse," said Apollonia. "Their clever men can never forget that
unfortunate affair of Galileo, and think they can divert the indignation
of the ninteenth century by mock zeal about red sandstone or the origin
of species."

"And are you afraid of the Gulf-Stream?" inquired Lothair of his calmer
neighbor.

"I think we want more evidence of a change. The vice-chancellor and
myself went down to a place we have near town, on Saturday, where there
is a very nice piece of water; indeed, some people call it a lake; but
it was quite frozen, and my boys wanted to skate, but that I would not
permit."

"You believe in the Gulf-Stream to that extent," said Lothair--"no
skating."

The cardinal came, early; the ladies had not long left the dining-room.
They were agitated when his name was announced; even Apollonia's
heart beat; but then that might be accounted for by the inopportune
recollection of an occasional correspondence with Caprera.

Nothing could exceed the simple suavity with which the cardinal
appeared, approached, and greeted them. He thanked Apollonia for her
permission to pay his respects to her, which he had long wished to do;
and then they were all presented, and he said exactly the right thing
to every one. He must have heard of them all before, or read their
characters in their countenances. In a few minutes they were all
listening to his eminence with enchanted ease, as, sitting on the
sofa by his hostess, he described to them the ambassadors who had
just arrived from Japan, and with whom he had relations of interesting
affairs. The Japanese government had exhibited enlightened kindness to
some of his poor people who had barely escaped martyrdom. Much might be
expected from the Mikado, evidently a man of singular penetration and
elevated views; and his eminence looked as if the mission of Yokohama
would speedily end in an episcopal see; but he knew where he was and
studiously avoided all controversial matter.

After all, the Mikado himself was not more remarkable than this prince
of the Church in a Tyburnian drawing-room habited in his pink cassock
and cape, and waving, as he spoke, with careless grace, his pink
barrette.

The ladies thought the gentlemen rejoined them too soon, but Mr. Giles,
when he was apprised of the arrival of the cardinal, thought it right
to precipitate the symposium. With great tact, when the cardinal rose to
greet him, Mr. Giles withdrew his eminence from those surrounding,
and, after a brief interchange of whispered words, quitted him and then
brought forward and presented Lothair to the cardinal, and left them.

"This is not the first time that we should have met," said the cardinal,
"but my happiness is so great at this moment that, though I deplore, I
will not dwell on, the past."

"I am, nevertheless, grateful to you, sir, for many services, and have
more than once contemplated taking the liberty of personally assuring
your a eminence of my gratitude."

"I think we might sit down," said the cardinal, looking around; and then
he led Lothair into an open but interior saloon, where none were yet
present, and where they seated themselves on a sofa and were soon
engaged in apparently interesting converse.

In the mean time the world gradually filled the principal saloon of
Apollonia, and, when it approached overflowing, occasionally some
persons passed the line, and entered the room in which the cardinal and
his ward were seated, and then, as if conscious of violating some sacred
place, drew back. Others, on the contrary, with coarser curiosity, were
induced to invade the chamber from the mere fact that the cardinal was
to be seen there.

"My geographical instinct," said the cardinal to Lothair, "assures me
that I can regain the staircase through these rooms, without rejoining
the busy world; so I shall bid you good-night and even presume to give
you my blessing;" and his eminence glided away.

When Lothair returned to the saloon it was so crowded that he was not
observed; exactly what he liked; and he stood against the wall watching
all that passed, not without amusement. A lively, social parasite, who
had dined there, and had thanked his stars at dinner that Fortune had,
decreed he should meet Lothair, had been cruising for his prize all the
time that Lothair had been conversing with the cardinal and was soon at
his side.

"A strange scene this!" said the parasite.

"Is it unusual?" inquired Lothair.

"Such a medley! How can they can be got together, I marvel--priests and
philosophers, legitimists, and carbonari! Wonderful woman, Mrs. Putney
Giles!"

"She is very entertaining," said Lothair, "and seems to me clever."

"Remarkably so," said the parasite, who had been on the point of
satirizing his hostess, but, observing the quarter of the wind, with
rapidity went in for praise. "An extraordinary woman. Your lordship had
a long talk with the cardinal."

"I had the honor of some conversation with Cardinal Grandison," said
Lothair, drawing up.

"I wonder what the cardinal would have said if he had met Mazzini here?"

"Mazzini! Is he here?"

"Not now; but I have seen him here," said the parasite, "and our host
such a Tory! That makes the thing so amusing;" and then the parasite
went on making small personal observations on the surrounding scene, and
every now and then telling little tales of great people with whom, it
appeared, he was intimate--all concerted fire to gain the very great
social fortress he was now besieging. The parasite was so full of
himself, and so anxious to display himself to advantage, that with all
his practice it was some time before he perceived he did not make all
the way he could wish with Lothair; who was courteous, but somewhat
monosyllabic and absent.

"Your lordship is struck by that face?" said the parasite.

Was Lothair struck by that face? And what was it?

He had exchanged glances with that face during the last ten minutes, and
the mutual expression was not one of sympathy but curiosity blended, on
the part of the face, with an expression, if not of disdain, of extreme
reserve.

It was the face of a matron, apparently of not many summers, for her
shapely figure was still slender, though her mien was stately. But it
was the countenance that had commanded the attention of Lothair: pale,
but perfectly Attic in outline, with the short upper lip and the round
chin, and a profusion of dark-chestnut hair bound by a Grecian fillet,
and on her brow a star.

"Yes I am struck by that face. Who is it?"

"If your lordship could only get a five-franc piece of the last French
Republic, 1850, you would know. I dare say the money-changers could
get you one. All the artists of Paris, painters, and sculptors, and
medallists, were competing to produce a face worthy of representing 'La
R publique fran aise;' nobody was satisfied, when Oudine caught a girl
of not seventeen, and, with a literal reproduction of Nature, gained the
prize with unanimity."

"Ah!"

"And, though years have passed, the countenance has not changed; perhaps
improved."

"It is a countenance that will bear, perhaps even would require,
maturity," said Lothair; "but she is no longer 'La R publique fran
aise;' what is she now?"

"She is called Theodora, though married, I believe, to an Englishman,
a friend of Garibaldi. Her birth unknown; some say an Italian, some
a Pole; all sorts of stories. But she speaks every language, is
ultra-cosmopolitan, and has invented a new religion."

"A new religion!"

"Would your lordship care to be introduced to her? I know her enough for
that. Shall we go up to her?"

"I have made so many now acquaintances to-day," said, Lothair, as it
were starting from a reverie, "and indeed heard so many new things, that
I think I had better say good-night;" and he graciously retired.



CHAPTER 9


About the same time that Lothair had repaired to the residence of Mr.
Giles, Monsignore Berwick, whose audience of the cardinal in the morning
had preceded that of the legal adviser of the trustees, made his way
toward one of the noblest mansions in St. James's Square, where resided
Lord St. Jerome.

It was a mild winter evening; a little fog still hanging about, but
vanquished by the cheerful lamps, and the voice of the muffin-bell was
just heard at intervals; a genial sound that calls up visions of trim
and happy hearths. If we could only so contrive our lives as to go into
the country for the first note of the nightingale, and return to town
for the first note of the muffin-bell, existence, it is humbly presumed,
might be more enjoyable.

Monsignore Berwick was a young man, but looking younger from a
countenance almost of childhood; fair, with light-blue eyes, and flaxen
hair and delicate features. He was the last person you would have fixed
upon as a born Roman; but Nature, in one of the freaks of race, had
resolved that his old Scottish blood should be reasserted, though his:
ancestors had sedulously blended it, for, many generations, with that of
the princely houses of the eternal city. The monsignore was the greatest
statesman of Rome, formed and favored by Antonelli and probably his
successor.

The mansion of Lord St. Jerome was a real family mansion, built by his
ancestors a century and a half ago, when they believed that, from its
central position, its happy contiguity to the court, the senate, and the
seats of government, they at last, in St. James's Square, had discovered
a site which could defy the vicissitudes of fashion, and not share
the fate of the river palaces, which they had been obliged in turn
to relinquish. And in a considerable degree they were right in their
anticipation; for, although they have somewhat unwisely, permitted the
clubs to invade too successfully their territory, St. James's Square
may be looked upon as our Faubourg St. Germain, and a great patrician
residing there dwells in the heart of that free and noble life of which
he ought to be a part.

A marble hall and a marble staircase, lofty chambers with silk or
tapestried hangings, gilded cornices, and painted ceilings, gave a
glimpse of almost Venetian splendor, and rare in our metropolitan houses
of this age; but the first dwellers in St. James's Square had tender
and inspiring recollections of the Adrian bride, had frolicked in St.
Mark's, and glided in adventurous gondolas. The monsignore was ushered
into a chamber bright with lights and a blazing fire, and welcomed with
extreme cordiality by his hostess, who was then alone. Lady St. Jerome
was still the young wife of a nobleman not old. She was the daughter of
a Protestant house, but, during a residence at Rome after her marriage,
she had reverted to the ancient faith, which she professed with the
enthusiastic convictions of a convert. Her whole life was dedicated to
the triumph of the Catholic cause; and, being a woman of considerable
intelligence and of an ardent mind, she had become a recognized power in
the great confederacy which has so much influenced the human race,
and which has yet to play perhaps a mighty part in the fortunes of the
world.

"I was in great hopes that the cardinal would have met you at dinner,"
said Lady St. Jerome, "but he wrote only this afternoon to say
unexpected business would prevent him, but he would be here in the
evening, though late."

"It must be something sudden, for I was with his eminence this morning,
and he then contemplated our meeting here."

"Nothing from abroad?"

"I should think not, or it would be known to me. There is nothing new
from abroad this afternoon: my time has been spent in writing, not
receiving, dispatches."

"And all well, I hope?"

"This Scotch business plagues us. So far as Scotland is concerned, it is
quite ripe; but the cardinal counsels delay on account of this country,
and he has such a consummate knowledge of England, that--"

At this moment Lord St Jerome entered the room--a grave but gracious
personage, polished but looking silent, though he immediately turned
the conversation to the weather. The monsignore began denouncing English
fogs; but Lord St. Jerome maintained that, on the whole, there were not
more fogs in England than in any other country; "and as for the French,"
he added, "I like their audacity, for, when they revolutionized the
calendar, they called one of their months Brumaire."

Then came in one of his lordships chaplains, who saluted the monsignore
with reverence, and immediately afterward a beautiful young lady, his
niece, Clare Arundel.

The family were living in a convenient suite of small rooms on the
ground-floor, called the winter-rooms so dinner was announced by the
doors of an adjoining chamber being thrown open, and there they saw, in
the midst of a chamber hung with green silk and adorned with some fine
cabinet-pictures, a small round table, bright and glowing.

It was a lively dinner. Lord St. Jerome loved conversation, though he
never conversed. "There must be an audience," he would say, "and I am
the audience." The partner of his life, whom he never ceased admiring,
had originally fascinated him by her conversational talents; and, even
if Nature had not impelled her, Lady St. Jerome was too wise a woman
to relinquish the spell. The monsignore could always, when necessary,
sparkle with anecdote or blaze with repartee; and all the chaplains, who
abounded in this house, were men of bright abilities, not merely men of
reading, but of the world, learned in the world's ways, and trained to
govern mankind by versatility of their sympathies. It was a dinner where
there could not be two conversations going on, and where even the silent
take their share in the talk by their sympathy.

And among the silent, as silent even as Lord St. Jerome, was Miss
Arundel; and yet her large violet eyes, darker even than her dark-brown
hair, and gleaming with intelligence, and her rich face mantling with
emotion, proved she was not insensible to the witty passages and the
bright and interesting narratives that were sparkling and flowing about
her.

The gentlemen left the dining-room with the ladies, in the Continental
manner. Lady St. Jerome, who was leaning on the arm of the monsignore,
guided him into a saloon farther than the one they had reentered, and
then seating herself said, "You were telling me about Scotland, that you
yourself thought it ripe."

"Unquestionably. The original plan was to have established our hierarchy
when the Kirk split up; but that would have been a mistake, it was not
then ripe. There would have been a fanatical reaction. There is always
a tendency that way in Scotland: as it is, at this moment, the
Establishment and the Free Kirk are mutually sighing for some compromise
which may bring them together and, if the proprietors would give up
their petty patronage, some flatter themselves it might be arranged. But
we are thoroughly well informed, and have provided for all this. We sent
two of our best men into Scotland some time ago, and they have invented
a new church, called the United Presbyterians. John Knox himself was
never more violent, or more mischievous. The United Presbyterians will
do the business: they will render Scotland simply impossible to live
in; and then, when the crisis arrives, the distracted and despairing
millions will find refuge in the bosom of their only mother. That is
why, at home, we wanted no delay in the publication of the bull and the
establishment of the hierarchy."

"But the cardinal says no?"

"And must be followed. For these islands he has no equal. He wishes
great reserve at present. Affairs here are progressing, gradually but
surely. But it is Ireland where matters are critical, or will be soon."

"Ireland! I thought there was a sort of understanding there--at least
for the present."

The monsignore shook his head. "What do you think of an American
invasion of Ireland?"

"An American invasion!"

"Even so; nothing more probable, and nothing more to be deprecated by
us. Now that the civil war in America is over, the Irish soldiery are
resolved to employ their experience and their weapons in their own
land; but they have no thought for the interest of the Holy See, or the
welfare of our holy religion. Their secret organization is tampering
with the people and tampering with the priests. The difficulty of
Ireland is that the priests and the people will consider every thing
in a purely Irish point of view. To gain some local object, they will
encourage the principles of the most lawless liberalism, which naturally
land them in Fenianism and atheism. And the danger is not foreseen,
because the Irish political object of the moment is alone looked to."

"But surely they can be guided?"

"We want a statesman in Ireland. We have never been able to find one; we
want a man like the cardinal. But the Irish will have a native for their
chief. We caught Churchill young, and educated him in the Propaganda;
but he has disappointed us. At first all seemed well; he was reserved
and austere; and we heard with satisfaction that he was unpopular. But,
now that critical times are arriving, his peasant-blood cannot resist
the contagion. He proclaims the absolute equality of all religious, and
of the power of the state to confiscate ecclesiastical property, and not
restore it to us, but alienate it forever. For the chance of subverting
the Anglican Establishment, he is favoring a policy which will subvert
religion itself. In his eagerness he cannot see that the Anglicans have
only a lease of our property, a lease which is rapidly expiring."

"This is sad."

"It is perilous, and difficult to deal with. But it must be dealt
with. The problem is to suppress Fenianism, and not to strengthen the
Protestant confederacy."

"And you left Rome for this? We understood you were coming for something
else," said Lady St. Jerome, in a significant tone.

"Yes, yes, I have been there, and I have seen him."

"And have you succeeded?"

"No; and no one will--at least at present."

"Is all lost, then? Is the Malta scheme again on the carpet?"

"Our Holy Church in built upon a rock," said the monsignore, "but not
upon the rock of Malta. Nothing is lost; Antonelli is calm and sanguine,
though, rest assured, there is no doubt about what I tell you. France
has washed her hands of us."

"Where, then, are we to look for aid?" exclaimed Lady St. Jerome,
"against the assassins and atheists? Austria, the alternative ally,
is no longer near you; and if she were--that I should ever live to say
it--even Austria is our foe."

"Poor Austria!" said the monsignore with an unctuous sneer. "Two things
made her a nation; she was German and she was Catholic, and now she is
neither."

"But you alarm me, my dear lord, with your terrible news. We once
thought that Spain would be our protector, but we hear bad news from
Spain."

"Yes," said the monsignore, "I think it highly probable that, before a
few years have elapsed, every government in Europe will be atheistical
except France. Vanity will always keep France the eldest son of the
Church, even if she wear a bonnet rouge. But, if the Holy Father keep
Rome, these strange changes will only make the occupier of the chair of
St. Peter more powerful. His subjects will be In every clime and every
country, and then they will be only his subjects. We shall get rid of
the difficulty of the divided allegiance, Lady St. Jerome, which plagued
our poor forefathers so much."

"If we keep Rome," said Lady St. Jerome.

"And we shall. Let Christendom give us her prayers for the next few
years, and Pio Nono will become the most powerful monarch In Europe, and
perhaps the only one."

"I hear a sound," exclaimed Lady St. Jerome. "Yes! the cardinal has
come. Let us greet him."

But as they were approaching the saloon the cardinal met them, and waved
them back. "We will return," he said, "to our friends immediately, but I
want to say one word to you both."

He made them sit down. "I am a little restless," he said, and stood
before the fire. "Something interesting has happened; nothing to do with
public affairs. Do not pitch your expectations too high--but still of
importance, and certainly of great interest--at least to me. I have seen
my child--my ward."

"Indeed an event!" said Lady St. Jerome, evidently much interested.

"And what is he like?" inquired the monsignore.

"All that one could wish. Extremely good-looking, highly bred, and most
ingenuous; a considerable intelligence, and not untrained; but the most
absolutely unaffected person I ever encountered."

"Ah! if he had been trained by your eminence," sighed Lady St. Jerome.
"Is it too late?"

"'Tis an immense position," murmured Berwick.

"What good might he not do?" said Lady St. Jerome; "and if he be so
ingenuous, it seems impossible that he can resist the truth."

"Your ladyship is a sort of cousin of his," said the cardinal, musingly.

"Yes; but very remote. I dare say he would not acknowledge the tie. But
we are kin; we have the same blood in our veins."

"You should make his acquaintance," said the cardinal.

"I more than desire it. I hear he has been terribly neglected, brought
up among the most dreadful people, entirely infidels and fanatics."

"He has been nearly two years at Oxford," said the cardinal. "That may
have mitigated the evil."

"Ah! but you, my lord cardinal, you must interfere. Now that you at last
know him, you must undertake the great task; you must save him."

"We must all pray, as I pray every morn and every night," said the
cardinal, "for the conversion of England."

"Or the conquest," murmured Berwick.



CHAPTER 10


As the cardinal was regaining his carriage on leaving Mrs. Giles's
party, there was, about the entrance of the house, the usual gathering
under such circumstances; some zealous linkboys marvellously familiar
with London life, and some midnight loungers, who thus take their humble
share of the social excitement, and their happy chance of becoming
acquainted with some of the notables of the wondrous world of which
they form the base. This little gathering, ranged at the instant into
stricter order by the police to facilitate the passage of his eminence,
prevented the progress of a passenger, who exclaimed in an audible,
but not noisy voice, as if, he were ejaculating to himself, "A bas les
pretres!"

This exclamation, unintelligible to the populace, was noticed only
by the only person who understood it. The cardinal, astonished at the
unusual sound--for, hitherto, he had always found the outer world of
London civil; or at least indifferent--threw his penetrating glance
at the passenger, and caught clearly the visage on which the lamplight
fully shone. It was a square, sinewy face, closely shaven, with the
exception of a small but thick mustache, brown as the well-cropped hair,
and blending with the hazel eye; a calm, but determined countenance;
clearly not that of an Englishman, for he wore ear-rings.

The carriage drove off, and the passenger, somewhat forcing his way
through the clustering group, continued his course until he reached the
cab-stand near the Marble Arch, when he engaged a vehicle and ordered
to be driven to Leicester Square. That quarter of the town exhibits
an animated scene toward the witching hour; many lights and much
population, illuminated coffee-houses, the stir of a large theatre,
bands of music in the open air, and other sounds, most of them gay, and
some festive. The stranger, whose compact figure was shrouded by a long
fur cape, had not the appearance of being influenced by the temptation
of amusement. As he stopped in the square and looked around him, the
expression of his countenance was moody, perhaps even anxious. He seemed
to be making observations on the locality, and, after a few minutes,
crossed the open space and turned up into a small street which opened
into the square. In this street was a coffee-house of some pretension,
connected indeed with an hotel, which had been formed out of two houses,
and therefore possessed no inconsiderable accommodation.

The coffee-room was capacious, and adorned in a manner which intimated
it was not kept by an Englishman, or much used by Englishmen. The walls
were painted in frescoed arabesques. There were many guests, principally
seated at small tables of marble, and on benches and chairs covered with
a coarse crimson velvet. Some were sipping coffee, some were drinking
wine, others were smoking or playing dominoes, or doing both; while many
were engaged in reading the foreign journals which abounded.

An ever-vigilant waiter was at the side of the stranger the instant he
entered, and wished to know his pleasure. The stranger was examining
with his keen eye every individual in the room while this question was
asked and repeated.

"What would I wish?" said the stranger, having concluded his inspection,
and as it were summoning back his recollection. "I would wish to see,
and at once, one Mr. Perroni, who, I believe, lives here."

"Why, 'tis the master!" exclaimed the waiter.

"Well, then, go and tell the master that I want him."

"But the master is much engaged," said the waiter, "--particularly."

"I dare say; but you will go and tell him that I particularly want to
see him."

The waiter, though prepared to be impertinent to any one else, felt that
one was speaking to him who must be obeyed, and, with a subdued, but
hesitating manner, said, "There is a meeting to-night up-stairs, where
the master is secretary, and it is difficult to see him; but, if I could
see him, what name am I to give?"

"You will go to him instantly," said the stranger, "and you will tell
him that he is wanted by Captain Bruges."

The waiter was not long absent, and returning with an obsequious bow, he
invited the stranger to follow him to a private room, where he was
alone only for a few seconds, for the door opened and he was joined by
Perroni.

"Ah! my general," exclaimed the master of the coffee-house, and he
kissed the stranger's hand. "You received my telegram?"

"I am here. Now what is your business?"

"There is business, and great business, if you will do it; business for
you."

"Well, I am a soldier, and soldiering is my trade, and I do not much
care what I do in that way, provided it is not against the good cause.
But I must tell you at once, friend Perroni, I am not a man who will
take a leap in the dark. I must form my own staff, and I must have my
commissariat secure."

"My general, you will be master of your own terms. The Standing
Committee of the Holy Alliance of Peoples are sitting upstairs at this
moment. They were unanimous in sending for you. See them; judge for
yourself; and, rest assured, you will be satisfied."

"I do not much like having to do with committees," said the general.
"However, let it be as you like--I will see them."

"I had better just announce your arrival," said Perroni. "And will you
not take something, my general after your travel you must be wearied."

"A glass of sugar-and-water. You know, I am not easily tired. And, I
agree with you, it is better to come to business at once: so prepare
them."



CHAPTER 11


The Standing Committee of the Holy Alliance of Peoples all rose,
although they were extreme republicans, when the general entered. Such
is the magical influence of a man of action over men of the pen an the
tongue. Had it been, instead of a successful military leader, an orator
that had inspired Europe, or a journalist who had rights of the human
race, the Standing Committee would have only seen men of their own
kidney, who, having been favored with happier opportunities than
themselves, had reaped a harvest which, equally favored, they might here
have garnered.

"General," said Felix Drolin, the president, who was looked upon by the
brotherhood as a statesman, for he had been in his time, a member of a
provisional government, "this seat is for you," and he pointed to one
on his right hand. "You are ever welcome; and I hope you bring good
tidings, and good fortune."

"I am glad to be among my friends, and I may say," looking around, "my
comrades. I hope I may bring you better fortune than my tidings."

"But now they have left Rome," said the president, "every day we expect
good news."

"Ay, ay! he has left Rome, but he has not left Rome with the door open.
I hope it is not on such gossip you have sent for me. You have something
on hand. What is it?"

"You shall hear it from the fountain-head," said the president, "fresh
from New York," and he pointed to an individual seated in the centre of
the table.

"Ah! Colonel Finucane," said the general, "I have not forgotten James
River. You did that well. What is the trick now?"

Whereupon a tall, lean man, with a decided brogue, but speaking through
his nose, rose from his seat and informed the general that the Irish
people were organized and ready to rise; that they had sent their
deputies to New York; all they wanted were arms and officers; that the
American brethren had agreed to supply them with both, and amply; and
that considerable subscriptions were raising for other purposes. What
they now required was a commander-in-chief equal to the occasion, and in
whom all would have confidence; and therefore they had telegraphed for
the general.

"I doubt not our friends over the water would send us plenty of rifles,"
said the general, "if we could only manage to land them; and, I think, I
know men now in the States from whom I could form a good staff; but how
about the people of Ireland? What evidence have we that they will rise,
if we land?"

"The best," said the president. "We have a head-centre here, Citizen
Desmond, who will give you the most recent and the most authentic
intelligence on that head."

"The whole country is organized," said the head-centre; "we could put
three hundred thousand men in the field at any time in a fortnight. The
movement is not sectarian; it pervades all classes and all creeds. All
that we want are officers and arms."

"Hem!" said the general; "and as to your other supplies? Any scheme of
commissariat?"

"There will be no lack of means," replied the head-centre. "There is no
country where so much money is hoarded as in Ireland. But, depend
upon it, so far as the commissariat is concerned, the movement will be
self-supporting."

"Well, we shall see," said, the general; "I am sorry it is an Irish
affair, though, to be sure, what else could it be? I am not fond of
Irish affairs: whatever may be said, and however plausible things may
look, in an Irish business there is always a priest at the bottom of it.
I hate priests. By-the-by, I was stopped on my way here by a cardinal
getting into his carriage. I thought I had burnt all those vehicles when
I was at Rome with Garibaldi in '48. A cardinal in his carriage! I had
no idea you permitted that sort of cattle in London."

"London is a roost for every bird," said Felix Drolin.

"Very few of the priests favor this movement," said Desmond.

"Then you have a great power against you," said the general, in
"addition to England."

"They are not exactly against; the bulk of them are too national for
that; but Rome does not sanction--you understand?"

"I understand enough," said the general, "to see that we must not act
with precipitation. An Irish business is a thing to be turned over
several times."

"But yet," said a Pole, "what hope for humanity except from the rising
of an oppressed nationality? We have offered ourselves on the altar,
and in vain! Greece is too small, and Roumania--though both of them
are ready to do any thing; but they would be the mere tools of Russia.
Ireland alone remains, and she is at our feet."

"The peoples will never succeed until they have a fleet," said a German.
"Then you could land as many rifles as you like, or any thing else. To
have a fleet we rose against Denmark in my country, but we have been
betrayed. Nevertheless, Germany will yet be united, and she can only be
united as a republic. Then she will be the mistress of the seas."

"That is the mission of Italy," said Perroni. "Italy--with the
traditions of Genoa, Venice, Pisa--Italy is plainly indicated as the
future mistress of the seas."

"I beg your pardon," said the German; "the future mistress of the sees
is the land of the Viking. It is the forests of the Baltic that will
build the Best of the future. You have no timber in Italy."

"Timber is no longer wanted," said Perroni. "Nor do I know of what will
be formed the fleets of the future. But the sovereignty of the seas
depends upon seamen, and the nautical genius of the Italians--"

"Comrades," said the general, "we have discussed to-night a great
subject. For my part I have travelled rather briskly, as you wished it.
I should like to sleep on this affair."

"'Tis most reasonable," said the president. "Our refreshment at council
is very spare," he continued, and he pointed to a vase of water and some
glasses ranged round it in the middle of the table; "but we always drink
one toast, general, before we separate. It is to one whom you love,
and whom you have served well. Fill glasses, brethren and now 'TO
MARY-ANNE.'"

If they had been inspired by the grape, nothing could be more animated
and even excited than all their countenances suddenly became. The cheer
might have been heard in the coffee-room, as they expressed, in
the phrases of many languages, the never-failing and never-flagging
enthusiasm invoked by the toast of their mistress.



CHAPTER 12


"Did you read that paragraph, mamma?" inquired Lady Corisande of the
duchess, in a tone of some seriousness.

"I did."

"And what did you think of it?"

"It filled me with so much amazement that I have hardly begun to think."

"And Bertram never gave a hint of such things!"

"Let us believe they are quite untrue."

"I hope Bertram is in no danger," said his sister.

"Heaven forbid!" exclaimed the mother, with unaffected alarm.

"I know not how it is," said Lady Corisande, "but I frequently feel that
some great woe is hanging over our country."

"You must dismiss such thoughts, my child; they are fanciful."

"But they will come, and when least expected--frequently in church, but
also in the sunshine; and when I am riding too, when, once, every
thing seemed gay. But now I often think of strife, and struggle, and
war--civil war: the stir of our cavalcade seems like the tramp of
cavalry."

"You indulge your imagination too much, dear Corisande. When you return
to London, and enter the world, these anxious thoughts will fly."

"Is it imagination? I should rather have doubted my being of an
imaginative nature. It seems to me that I am rather literal. But I
cannot help hearing and reading things, and observing things, and they
fill me with disquietude. All seems doubt and change, when it would
appear that we require both faith and firmness."

"The duke is not alarmed about affairs," said his wife.

"And, if all did their duty like papa, there might be less, or no
cause," said Corisande. "But, when I hear of young nobles, the natural
leaders of the land, going over to the Roman Catholic Church, I confess
I lose heart and patience. It seems so unpatriotic, so effeminate."

"It may not be true," said the duchess.

"It may not be true of him, but it is true of others," said Lady
Corisande. "And why should he escape? He is very young, rather
friendless, and surrounded by wily persons. I am disappointed about
Bertram too. He ought to have prevented this, if it be true. Bertram
seemed to me to have such excellent principles, and so completely to
feel that he was born to maintain the great country which his ancestors
created, that I indulged in dreams. I suppose you are right, mamma; I
suppose I am imaginative without knowing it; but I have, always thought,
and hoped, that when the troubles came the country might, perhaps, rally
round Bertram."

"I wish to see Bertram in Parliament," said the duchess. "That will be
the best thing for him. The duke has some plans."

This conversation had been occasioned by a paragraph in the Morning
Post, circulating a rumor that a young noble, obviously Lothair, on
the impending completion of his minority, was about to enter the Roman
Church. The duchess and her daughter were sitting in a chamber of their
northern castle, and speculating on their return to London, which was to
take place after the Easter which had just arrived. It was an important
social season for Corisande, for she was to be formally introduced into
the great world, and to be presented at court.

In the mean while, was there any truth in the report about Lothair?

After their meeting at their lawyer's, a certain intimacy had occurred
between the cardinal and his ward. They met again immediately and
frequently, and their mutual feelings were cordial. The manners of his
eminence were refined and affectionate; his conversational powers were
distinguished; there was not a subject on which his mind did not teem
with interesting suggestions; his easy knowledge seemed always ready and
always full; and whether it were art, or letters, or manners, or even
political affairs, Lothair seemed to listen to one of the wisest, most
enlightened, and most agreeable of men. There was only one subject
on which his eminence seemed scrupulous never to touch, and that was
religion; or so indirectly, that it was only when alone that Lothair
frequently found himself musing over the happy influence on the arts,
and morals, and happiness of mankind--of the Church.

In due time, not too soon, but when he was attuned to the initiation,
the cardinal presented Lothair to Lady St. Jerome. The impassioned
eloquence of that lady germinated the seed which the cardinal had seemed
so carelessly to scatter. She was a woman to inspire crusaders. Not that
she ever: condescended to vindicate her own particular faith, or spoke
as if she were conscious that Lothair did not possess it. Assuming
that religion was true, for otherwise man would be in a more degraded
position than the beasts of the field, which are not aware of their own
wretchedness, then religion should be the principal occupation of man,
to which all other pursuits should be subservient. The doom of eternity,
and the fortunes of life, cannot be placed in competition. Our days
should be pure, and holy, and heroic--full of noble thoughts and solemn
sacrifice. Providence, in its wisdom, had decreed that the world should
be divided between the faithful and atheists; the latter even seemed
to predominate. There was no doubt that, if they prevailed, all that
elevated man would become extinct. It was a great trial; but happy
was the man who was privileged even to endure the awful test. It might
develop the highest qualities and the most sublime conduct. If he were
equal to the occasion, and could control and even subdue these sons of
Korah, he would rank with Michael the Archangel.

This was the text on which frequent discourses were delivered to
Lothair, and to which he listened at first with eager, and soon with
enraptured attention. The priestess was worthy of the shrine. Few
persons were ever gifted with more natural eloquence: a command of
language, choice without being pedantic; beautiful hands that fluttered
with irresistible grace; flashing eyes and a voice of melody.

Lothair began to examine himself, and to ascertain whether he possessed
the necessary qualities, and was capable of sublime conduct. His natural
modesty and his strong religious feeling struggled together. He feared
he was not an archangel, and yet he longed to struggle with the powers
of darkness.

One day he ventured to express to Miss Arundel a somewhat hopeful view
of the future, but Miss Arundel shook her head.

"I do not agree with my aunt, at least as regards this country," said
Miss Arundel; "I think our sins are too great. We left His Church, and
God is now leaving us."

Lothair looked grave, but was silent.

Weeks had passed since his introduction to the family of Lord St.
Jerome, and it was remarkable how large a portion of his subsequent time
had passed under that roof. At first there were few persons in town,
and really of these Lothair knew none; and then the house in St. James's
Square was not only an interesting but it was an agreeable house. All
Lady St. Jerome's family connections were persons of much fashion, so
there was more variety and entertainment than sometimes are to be found
under a Roman Catholic roof. Lady St. Jerome was at home every evening
before Easter. Few dames can venture successfully on so decided a step;
but her saloons were always attended, and by "nice people." Occasionally
the cardinal stepped in, and, to a certain degree, the saloon was the
rendezvous of the Catholic party; but it was also generally social and
distinguished. Many bright dames and damsels, and many influential men,
were there, who little deemed that deep and daring thoughts were there
masked by many a gracious countenance. The social atmosphere infinitely
pleased Lothair. The mixture of solemn duty and graceful diversion, high
purposes and charming manners, seemed to realize some youthful dreams of
elegant existence. All, too, was enhanced by the historic character of
the roof and by the recollection that their mutual ancestors, as Clare
Arundel more than once intimated to him, had created England. Having had
so many pleasant dinners in St. James's Square, and spent there so
many evening hours, it was not wonderful that Lothair had accepted an
invitation from Lord St. Jerome to pass Easter at his country-seat.



CHAPTER 13


Vauxe, the seat of the St. Jeromes, was the finest specimen of the old
English residence extant. It was the perfection of the style, which had
gradually arisen after the Wars of the Roses had alike destroyed all
the castles and the purpose of those stern erections. People said Vauxe
looked like a college: the truth is, colleges looked like Vauxe, for,
when those fair and civil buildings rose, the wise and liberal spirits
who endowed them intended that they should resemble, as much as
possible, the residence of a great noble.

There were two quadrangles at Vauxe of gray-stone; the outer one of
larger dimensions and much covered with ivy; the inner one not so
extensive, but more ornate, with a lofty tower, a hall, and a chapel.
The house was full of galleries, and they were full of portraits. Indeed
there was scarcely a chamber in this vast edifice of which the walls
were not breathing with English history in this interesting form.
Sometimes more ideal art asserted a triumphant claim--transcendental
Holy Families, seraphic saints, and gorgeous scenes by Tintoret and Paul
of Verona.

The furniture of the house seemed never to have been changed. It was
very old, somewhat scanty, but very rich--tapestry and velvet hangings,
marvellous cabinets, and crystal girandoles. Here and there a group of
ancient plate; ewers and flagons and tall salt-cellars, a foot high and
richly chiselled; sometimes a state bed shadowed with a huge pomp of
stiff brocade and borne by silver poles.

Vauxe stood in a large park, studded with stately trees; here and there
an avenue of Spanish chestnuts or a grove of oaks; sometimes a gorsy
dell, and sometimes a so great spread of antlered fern, taller than the
tallest man.

It was only twenty miles from town, and Lord St. Jerome drove Lothair
down; the last ten miles through a pretty land, which, at the
right season, would have been bright with orchards, oak-woods, and
hop-gardens. Lord St. Jerome loved horses, and was an eminent whip. He
had driven four-in-hand when a boy, and he went on driving four-in-hand;
not because it was the fashion, but because he loved it. Toward the
close of Lent, Lady St. Jerome and Clare Arundel had been at a convent
in retreat, but they always passed Holy Week at home, and they were to
welcome Lord St. Jerome again at Vauxe.

The day was bright, the mode of movement exhilarating, all the
anticipated incidents delightful, and Lothair felt the happiness of
health and youth.

"There is Vauxe," said Lord St. Jerome, in a tone of proud humility, as
a turn in the road first displayed the stately pile.

"How beautiful!" said Lothair. "Ah! our ancestors understood the
country."

"I used to think when I was a boy," said Lord St. Jerome, "that I lived
in the prettiest village in the world; but these railroads have
so changed every thing that Vauxe seems to me now only a second
town-house."

The ladies were in a garden, where they were consulting with the
gardener and Father Coleman about the shape of some new beds, for the
critical hour of filling them was approaching. The gardener, like all
head-gardeners, was opinionated. Living always at Vauxe, he had come to
believe that the gardens belonged to him, and that the family were only
occasional visitors; and he treated them accordingly. The lively and
impetuous Lady St. Jerome had a thousand bright fancies, but her morose
attendant never indulged them. She used to deplore his tyranny with
piteous playfulness. "I suppose," she would say, "it is useless to
resist, for I observe 'tis the same everywhere. Lady Roehampton says she
never has her way with her gardens. It is no use speaking to Lord St.
Jerome, for, though he is afraid of nothing else, I am sure he is afraid
of Hawkins."

The only way that Lady St. Jerome could manage Hawkins was through
Father Coleman. Father Coleman, who knew every thing, knew a great deal
about gardens; from the days of Le Notre to those of the fine gentlemen
who now travel about, and when disengaged deign to give us advice.

Father Coleman had only just entered middle-age, was imperturbable and
mild in his manner. He passed his life very much at Vauxe, and imparted
a great deal of knowledge to Mr. Hawkins without apparently being
conscious of so doing. At the bottom of his mind, Mr. Hawkins felt
assured that he had gained several distinguished prizes, mainly through
the hints and guidance of Father Coleman; and thus, though on the
surface, a little surly, he was ruled by Father Coleman, under the
combined influence of self-interest and superior knowledge.

"You find us in a garden without flowers," said Lady St. Jerome; "but
the sun, I think, alway loves these golden yews."

"These are for you, dear uncle," said Clare Arundel, as she gave him a
rich cluster of violets. "Just now the woods are more fragrant than the
gardens, and these are the produce of our morning walk. I could have
brought you some primroses, but I do not like to mix violets with any
thing."

"They say primroses make a capital salad," said Lord St. Jerome.

"Barbarian!" exclaimed Lady St. Jerome. "I see you want luncheon; it
must, be ready;" and she took Lothair's arm. "I will show you a portrait
of one of your ancestors," she said; "he married an Arundel."



CHAPTER 14


"Now, you know," said Lady St. Jerome to Lothair in a hushed voice, as
they sat together in the evening, "you are to be quite free here; to do
exactly what you like; and we shall follow our ways. If you like to have
a clergyman of your own Church visit you while you are with us, pray say
so without the slightest scruple. We have an excellent gentleman in this
parish; he often dines here; and I am sure he would be most happy to
attend you. I know that Holy Week is not wholly disregarded by some of
the Anglicans."

"It is the anniversary of the greatest event of time," said Lothair;
"and I should be sorry if any of my Church did not entirely regard it,
though they may show that regard in a way different from your own."

"Yes, yes," murmured Lady St. Jerome; "there should be no difference
between our Churches, if things were only properly understood. I would
accept all who really bow to the name of Christ; they will come to the
Church at last; they must. It is the atheists alone, I fear, who are now
carrying every thing before them, and against whom there is no comfort,
except the rock of St. Peter."

Miss Arundel crossed the room, whispered something to her aunt, and
touched her forehead with her lips, and then left the apartment.

"We must soon separate, I fear," said Lady St. Jerome; "we have an
office to-night of great moment; the Tenebrae commence to-night. You
have, I think, nothing like it; but you have services throughout this
week."

"I am sorry to say I have not attended them," said Lothair. "I did
at Oxford; but I don't know how it is, but in London there seems no
religion. And yet, as you sometimes say, religion is the great business
of life; I sometimes begin to think the only business."

"Yes, yes," said Lady St. Jerome, with much interest, "if you believe
that you are safe. I wish you had a clergyman near you while you are
here. See Mr. Claughton, if you like; I would; and, if you do not, there
is Father Coleman. I cannot convey to you how satisfactory conversation
is with him on religious matters. He is the holiest of men, and yet he
is a man of the world; he will not invite you into any controversies. He
will speak with you only on points on which we agree. You know there are
many points on which we agree?"

"Happily," said Lothair. "And now about the office to-night: tell me
about these Tenebrae. Is there any thing in the Tenebrae why I ought not
to be present?"

"No reason whatever; not a dogma which you do not believe; not a
ceremony of which you cannot approve. There are Psalms, at the end of
which a light on the altar is extinguished. There is the Song of Moses,
the Canticle of Zachary, the Miserere--which is the 50th Psalm you read
and chant regularly in your church--the Lord's Prayer in silence; and
then all is darkness and distress--what the Church was when our Lord
suffered, what the whole world is now except His Church."

"If you will permit me," said Lothair, "I will accompany you to the
Tenebrae."

Although the chapel at Vauxe was, of course, a private chapel, it was
open to the surrounding public, who eagerly availed themselves of a
permission alike politic and gracious.

Nor was that remarkable. Manifold art had combined to create this
exquisite temple, and to guide all its ministrations. But to-night
it was not the radiant altar and the splendor of stately priests,
the processions and the incense, the divine choir and the celestial
harmonies resounding lingering in arched roofs, that attracted many
a neighbor. The altar was desolate, the choir was dumb; and while the
services proceeded in hushed tones of subdued sorrow, and sometimes even
of suppressed anguish, gradually, with each psalm and canticle, a light
of the altar was extinguished, till at length the Miserere was muttered,
and all became darkness. A sound as of a distant and rising wind was
heard, and a crash, as it were the fall of trees in a storm. The earth
is covered with darkness, and the veil of the temple is rent. But just
at this moment of extreme woe, when all human voices are silent,
and when it is forbidden even to breathe "Amen"--when every thing is
symbolical of the confusion and despair of the Church at the loss of her
expiring Lord--a priest brings forth a concealed light of silvery
flame from a corner of the altar. This is the light of the world, and
announced the resurrection, and then all rise up and depart in silence.

As Lothair rose, Miss Arundel passed him with streaming eyes.

"There is nothing in this holy office," said Father Coleman to Lothair,
"to which every real Christian might not give his assent."

"Nothing," said Lothair, with great decision.



CHAPTER 15


There were Tenebrae on the following days, Maundy Thursday and Good
Friday, and Lothair was present on both occasions.

"There is also a great office on Friday," said Father Coleman to
Lothair, "which perhaps you would not like to attend--the mass of the
pre-sanctified. We bring back the blessed sacrament to the desolate
altar, and unveil the cross. It is one of our highest ceremonies,
the adoration of the cross, which the Protestants persist in calling
idolatry, though I presume they will give us leave to know the meaning
of our own words and actions, and hope they will believe us when we tell
them that our genuflexions and kissing of the cross are no more than
exterior expressions of that love which we bear in our hearts to Jesus
crucified; and that the words adoration and adore, as applied to
the cross, only signify that respect and veneration due to things
immediately relating to God and His service."

"I see no idolatry in it," said Lothair, musingly.

"No impartial person could," rejoined Father Coleman; "but unfortunately
all these prejudices were imbibed when the world was not so well
informed as at present. A good deal of mischief has been done, too, by
the Protestant versions of the Holy Scriptures; made in a hurry, and by
men imperfectly acquainted with the Eastern tongues, and quite ignorant
of Eastern manners. All the accumulated research and investigation of
modern times have only illustrated and justified the offices of the
Church."

"That is very interesting," said Lothair.

"Now, this question of idolatry," said Father Coleman, "that is a
fertile subject of misconception. The house of Israel was raised up
to destroy idolatry because idolatry thou meant dark images of Moloch
opening their arms by machinery, and flinging the beauteous first-born
of the land into their huge forms, which were furnaces of fire; or
Ashtaroth, throned in moonlit groves, and surrounded by orgies of
ineffable demoralization. It required the declared will of God to redeem
man from such fatal iniquity, which would have sapped the human race.
But to confound such deeds with the commemoration of God's saints, who
are only pictured because their lives are perpetual incentives to purity
and holiness, and to declare that the Queen of Heaven and the Mother of
God should be to human feeling only as a sister of charity or a gleaner
in the fields, is to abuse reason and to outrage the heart."

"We live in dark times," said Lothair, with an air of distress.

"Not darker than before the deluge," exclaimed Father Coleman; "not
darker than before the nativity; not darker even than when the saints
became martyrs. There is a Pharos in the world, and, its light will
never be extinguished, however black the clouds and wild the waves. Man
is on his trial now, not the Church; but in the service of the Church
his highest energies may be developed, and his noblest qualities
proved."

Lothair seemed plunged in thought, and Father Coleman glided away as
Lady St. Jerome entered the gallery, shawled and bonneted, accompanied
by another priest, Monsignore Catesby.

Catesby was a youthful member of an ancient English house, which for
many generations had without a murmur, rather in a spirit of triumph,
made every worldly sacrifice for the Church and court of Rome. For that
cause they had forfeited their lives, broad estates, and all the
honors of a lofty station in their own land. Reginald Catesby, with
considerable abilities, trained with consummate skill, inherited
their determined will, and the traditionary beauty of their form and
countenance. His manners were winning, and, he was as well informed in
the ways of the world as he was in the works of the great casuists.

"My lord has ordered the charbanc, and is going to drive us all to
Chart, where we will lunch," said Lady St. Jerome; "'tis a curious
place, and was planted, only seventy years ago, by my lord's
grandfather, entirely with spruce-firs, but with so much care and skill,
giving each plant and tree ample distance, that they have risen to the
noblest proportions, with all their green branches far-spreading on the
ground like huge fans."

It was only a drive of three or four miles entirely in the park. This
was a district that had been added to the ancient enclosure--a striking
scene. It was a forest of firs, but quite unlike such as might be met
with in the north of Europe or of America. Every tree was perfect--huge
and complete, and full of massy grace. Nothing else was permitted to
grow there except juniper, of which there were abounding and wondrous
groups, green and spiral; the whole contrasting with the tall brown
fern, of which there were quantities about, cut for the deer.

The turf was dry and mossy, and the air pleasant. It was a balmy
day. They sat down by the great trees, the servants opened the
luncheon-baskets, which were a present from Balmoral. Lady St. Jerome
was seldom seen to greater advantage than distributing her viands under
such circumstances. Never was such gay and graceful hospitality.
Lothair was quite fascinated as she playfully thrust a paper of
lobster-sandwiches into his hand, and enjoined Monsignore Catesby to
fill his tumbler with Chablis.

"I wish Father Coleman were here," said Lothair to Miss Arundel.

"Why?" said Miss Arundel.

"Because we were in the midst of a very interesting conversation on
idolatry and on worship in groves, when Lady St. Jerome summoned us to
our drive. This seems a grove where one might worship."

"Father Coleman ought to be at Rome," said Miss Arundel. "He was to have
passed Holy Week there. I know not why he changed his plans."

"Are you angry with him for it?"

"No, not angry, but surprised; surprised that any one might be at Rome,
and yet be absent from it."

"You like Rome?"

"I have never been there. It is the wish of my life."

"May I say to you what you said to me just now--why?"

"Naturally, because I would wish to witness the ceremonies of the Church
in their most perfect form."

"But they are fulfilled in this country, I have heard, with much
splendor and precision."

Miss Arundel shook her head.

"Oh! no," she said; "in this country we are only just emerging from the
catacombs. If the ceremonies of the Church were adequately fulfilled in
England, we should hear very little of English infidelity."

"That is saying a great deal," observed Lothair, inquiringly.

"Had I that command of wealth of which we hear so much in the present
day, and with which the possessors seem to know so little what to do, I
would purchase some of those squalid streets in Westminster, which are
the shame of the metropolis, and clear a great space and build a real
cathedral, where the worship of heaven should be perpetually conducted
in the full spirit of the ordinances of the Church. I believe, were this
done, even this country might be saved."



CHAPTER 16


Lothair began to meditate on two great ideas--the reconciliation of
Christendom, and the influence of architecture on religion. If the
differences between the Roman and Anglican Churches, and between the
papacy and Protestantism generally arose, as Father Coleman assured
him, and seemed to prove, in mere misconception, reconciliation, though
difficult, did not seem impossible, and appeared to be one of the most
efficient modes of defeating the atheists. It was a result which, of
course, mainly depended on the authority of Reason; but the power of
the imagination might also be enlisted in the good cause through the
influence of the fine arts, of which the great mission is to excite,
and at the same time elevate, the feelings of the human family. Lothair
found himself frequently in a reverie over Miss Arundel's ideal fane;
and, feeling that he had the power of buying up a district in forlorn
Westminster, and raising there a temple to the living God, which might
influence the future welfare of millions, and even effect the salvation
of his country, he began to ask himself whether he could incur the
responsibility of shrinking from the fulfilment of this great duty.

Lothair could not have a better adviser on the subject of the influence
of architecture on religion than Monsignore Catesby. Monsignore Catesby
had been a pupil of Pugin; his knowledge of ecclesiastical architecture
was only equalled by his exquisite taste. To hear him expound the
mysteries of symbolical art, and expatiate on the hidden revelations
of its beauteous forms, reached even to ecstasy. Lothair hung upon his
accents like a neophyte. Conferences with Father Coleman on those points
of faith on which they did not differ, followed up by desultory remarks
on those points of faith on which they ought not to differ--critical
discussions with Monsignore Catesby on cathedrals, their forms, their
purposes, and the instances in several countries in which those forms
were most perfect and those purposes best secured--occupied a good deal
of time; and yet these engaging pursuits were secondary in real emotion
to his frequent conversations with Miss Arundel in whose society every
day he took a strange and deeper interest.

She did not extend to him that ready sympathy which was supplied by
the two priests. On the contrary, when he was apt to indulge in those
speculations which they always encouraged, and rewarded by adroit
applause, she was often silent, throwing on him only the scrutiny
of those violet yes, whose glance was rather fascinating than apt to
captivate. And yet he was irresistibly drawn to her, and, once recalling
the portrait in the gallery, he ventured to murmur that they were
kinsfolk.

"Oh! I have no kin, no country," said Miss Arundel. "These are not times
for kin and country. I have given up all these things for my Master!"

"But are our times so trying as that?" inquired Lothair.

"They are times for new crusades," said Miss Arundel, with energy,
"though it may be of a different character from the old. If I were a
man, I would draw my sword for Christ. There are as great deeds to
be done as the siege of Ascalon, or even as the freeing of the Holy
Sepulchre."

In the midst of a profound discussion with Father Coleman on Mariolatry,
Lothair, rapt in reverie, suddenly introduced the subject of Miss
Arundel. "I wonder what will be her lot?" he exclaimed.

"It seems to, me to be settled," said Father Coleman. "She will be the
bride of the Church."

"Indeed?" and he started, and even changed color.

"She deems it her vocation," said Father Coleman.

"And yet, with such gifts, to be immured in a convent," said Lothair.

"That would not necessarily follow," replied Father Coleman. "Miss
Arundel may occupy a position in which she may exercise much influence
for the great cause which absorbs her being."

"There is a divine energy about her," said Lothair, almost speaking to
himself. "It could not have been given for little ends."

"If Miss Arundel could meet with a spirit as and as energetic as her
own," said Father. Coleman, "Her fate might be different. She has no
thoughts which are not great, and no purposes which are not sublime. But
for the companion of her life she would require no less than a Godfrey
de Bouillon."

Lothair began to find the time pass very rapidly at Vauxe. Easter week
had nearly vanished; Vauxe had been gay during the last few days. Every
day some visitors came down from London; sometimes they returned in the
evening; sometimes they passed the night at Vauxe, and returned to town
in the morning with large bouquets. Lothair felt it was time for him to
interfere, and he broke his intention to Lady St. Jerome; but Lady St.
Jerome would not hear of it. So he muttered something about business.

"Exactly," she said; "everybody has business, and I dare say you have
a great deal. But Vauxe is exactly the place for persons who have
business. You go up to town by an early train, and then you return
exactly in time for dinner, and bring us all the news from the clubs."

Lothair was beginning to say something, but Lady St. Jerome, who, when
necessary, had the rare art of not listening without offending the
speaker, told him that they did not intend themselves to return to town
for a week or so, and that she knew Lord St. Jerome would be greatly
annoyed if Lothair did not remain.

Lothair remained; and he went up to town one or two mornings to transact
business; that is to say, to see a celebrated architect and to order
plans for a cathedral, in which all the purposes of those sublime and
exquisite structures were to be realized. The drawings would take a
considerable time to prepare, and these must be deeply considered. So
Lothair became quite domiciliated at Vauxe: he went up to town in the
morning, and returned, as it were, to his home; everybody delighted to
welcome him, and yet he seemed not expected. His rooms were called after
his name; and the household treated him as one of the family.



CHAPTER 17


A few days before Lothair's visit was to terminate, the cardinal and
Monsignore Berwick arrived at Vauxe. His eminence was received with much
ceremony; the marshalled household, ranged in lines, fell on their
knees at his approach, and Lady St. Jerome, Miss Arundel, and some
other ladies, scarcely less choice and fair, with the lowest obeisance,
touched, with their honored lips, his princely hand.

The monsignore had made another visit to Paris on his intended return
to Rome, but, in consequence of some secret intelligence which he had
acquired in the French capital, had thought fit to return to England
to consult with the cardinal. There seemed to be no doubt that the
revolutionary party in Italy, assured by the withdrawal of the French
troops from Rome, were again stirring. There seemed also little doubt
that London was the centre of preparation, though the project and the
projectors were involved in much, mystery. "They want money," said
the monsignore; "that we know, and that is now our best chance. The
Aspromonte expedition drained their private resources; and as for
further aid, that is out of the question; the galantuomo is bankrupt.
But the atheists are desperate, and we must prepare for events."

On the morning after their arrival, the cardinal invited Lothair to a
stroll in the park. "There is the feeling of spring this morning," said
his eminence, "though scarcely yet its vision." It was truly a day of
balm, and sweetness, and quickening life; a delicate mist hung about the
huge trees and the masses of more distant woods, and seemed to clothe
them with that fulness of foliage which was not yet theirs. The cardinal
discoursed much on forest-trees, and, happily. He recommended Lothair to
read Evelyn's "Sylva." Mr. Evelyn had a most accomplished mind; indeed,
a character in every respect that approached perfection. He was also a
most religious man.

"I wonder," said Lothair, "how any man who is religious can think of any
thing but religion."

"True," said the cardinal, and looking at him earnestly, "most true. But
all things that are good and beautiful make us more religious. They tend
to the development of the religious principle in us, which is our divine
nature. And, my dear young friend," and here his eminence put his arm
easily and affectionately into that of Lothair, "it is a most happy
thing for you, that you live so much with a really religious family. It
is a great boon for a young man, and a rare one."

"I feel it so," said Lothair, his face kindling.

"Ah!" said the cardinal, "when we remember that this country once
consisted only of such families!" And then, with a sigh, and as if
speaking to himself, "And they made it so great and so beautiful!"

"It is still great and beautiful," said Lothair, but rather in a tone of
inquiry than decision.

"But the cause of its greatness and its beauty no longer exists. It
became great and beautiful because it believed in God."

"But faith is not extinct?" said Lothair.

"It exists in the Church," replied the cardinal, with decision. "All
without that pale is practical atheism."

"It seems to me that a sense of duty is natural to man," said Lothair,
"and that there can be no satisfaction in life without attempting to
fulfil it."

"Noble words, my dear young friend; noble and true. And the highest
duty of man, especially in this age, is to vindicate the principles of
religion, without which the world must soon become a scene of universal
desolation."

"I wonder if England will ever again be a religious country?" said
Lothair, musingly.

"I pray for that daily," said the cardinal; and he invited his companion
to seat himself on the trunk of an oak that had been lying there
since the autumn fall. A slight hectic flame played over the pale and
attenuated countenance of the cardinal; he seemed for a moment in deep
thought; and then, in a voice distinct yet somewhat hushed, and at first
rather faltering, he said: "I know not a grander, or a nobler career,
for a young man of talents and position in this age, than to be the
champion and asserter of Divine truth. It is not probable that there
could be another conqueror in out time. The world is wearied of
statesmen; whom democracy has degraded into politicians, and of orators
who have become what they call debaters. I do not believe there could
be another Dante, even another Milton. The world is devoted to physical
science, because it believes these discoveries will increase its
capacity of luxury and self-indulgence. But the pursuit of science leads
only to the insoluble. When we arrive at that barren term, the Divine
voice summons man, as it summoned Samuel; all the poetry and passion and
sentiment of human nature are taking refuge in religion; and he, whose
deeds and words most nobly represent Divine thoughts, will be the man of
this century."

"But who could be equal to such a task?" murmured Lothair.

"Yourself," exclaimed the cardinal, and he threw his glittering eye upon
his companion. "Any one with the necessary gifts, who had implicit faith
in the Divine purpose."

"But the Church is perplexed; it is ambiguous, contradictory."

"No, no," said the cardinal; "not the Church of Christ; it is never
perplexed, never ambiguous, never contradictory. Why should it be? How
could it be? The Divine persons are ever with it, strengthening and
guiding it with perpetual miracles. Perplexed churches are churches made
by Act of Parliament, not by God."

Lothair seemed to start, and looked at his guardian with a scrutinizing
glance. And then he said, but not without hesitation, "I experience at
times great despondency."

"Naturally," replied the cardinal. "Every man must be despondent who is
not a Christian."

"But I am a Christian," said Lothair.

"A Christian estranged," said the cardinal; "a Christian without the
consolations of Christianity."

"There is something in that," said Lothair. "I require the consolations
of Christianity, and yet I feel I have them not. Why is this?"

"Because what you call your religion is a thing apart from your life,
and it ought to be your life. Religion should be the rule of life, not
a casual incident of it. There is not a duty of existence, not a joy
or sorrow which the services of the Church do not assert, or with which
they do not sympathize. Tell me, now; you have, I was glad to hear,
attended the services of the Church of late, since you have been under
this admirable roof. Have you not then found some consolation?"

"Yes; without doubt I have been often solaced." And Lothair sighed.

"What the soul is to man, the Church is to the world," said the
cardinal. "It is the link between us and the Divine nature. It came
from heaven complete; it has never changed, and it can never alter. Its
ceremonies are types of celestial truths; its services are suited to all
the moods of man; they strengthen him in his wisdom and his purity, and
control and save him in the hour of passion and temptation. Taken as
a whole, with all its ministrations, its orders, its offices, and the
divine splendor of its ritual, it secures us on earth some adumbration
of that ineffable glory which awaits the faithful in heaven, where the
blessed Mother of God and ten thousand saints perpetually guard over no
with Divine intercession."

"I was not taught these things in my boyhood," said Lothair.

"And you might reproach me, and reasonably, as your guardian, for my
neglect," said the cardinal. "But my power was very limited, and, when
my duties commenced, you must remember that I was myself estranged from
the Church, I was myself a Parliamentary Christian, till despondency and
study and ceaseless thought and prayer, and the Divine will, brought
me to light and rest. But I at least saved you from a Presbyterian
university; I at least secured Oxford for you; and I can assure you, of
my many struggles, that was not the least."

"It gave the turn to my mind," said Lothair, "and I am grateful to you
for it. What it will all end in, God only knows."

"It will end in His glory and in yours," said the cardinal. "I have
spoken, perhaps, too much and too freely, but you greatly interest me,
not merely because you are my charge, and the son of my beloved friend,
but because I perceive in you great qualities--qualities so great,"
continued the cardinal with earnestness, "that properly guided, they may
considerably affect the history of this country, and perhaps even have a
wider range."

Lothair shook his head.

"Well, well," continued the cardinal in a lighter tone, "we will pursue
our ramble. At any rate, I am not wrong in this, that you have no
objection to join in my daily prayer for the conversion of this kingdom
to--religious truth," his eminence added after a pause.

"Yes religious truth," said Lothair, "we must all pray for that."



CHAPTER 18


Lothair returned to town excited and agitated. He felt that he was on
the eve of some great event in his existence, but its precise character
was not defined. One conclusion, however, was indubitable: life must
be religion; when we consider what is at stake, and that our eternal
welfare depends on our due preparation for the future, it was folly to
spare a single hour from the consideration of the best means to secure
our readiness. Such a subject does not admit of half measures or of
halting opinions. It seemed to Lothair that nothing could interest him
in life that was not symbolical of divine truths and an adumbration of
the celestial hereafter.

Could truth have descended from heaven ever to be distorted, to be
corrupted, misapprehended, misunderstood? Impossible! Such a belief
would confound and contradict all the attributes of the All-wise and the
All-mighty. There must be truth on earth now as fresh and complete is it
was at Bethlehem. And how could it be preserved but by the influence
of the Paraclete acting on an ordained class? On this head his tutor at
Oxford had fortified him; by a conviction of the Apostolical succession
of the English bishops, which no Act of Parliament could alter or
affect. But Lothair was haunted by a feeling that the relations of his
Communion with the Blessed Virgin were not satisfactory. They could
not content either his heart or his intellect. Was it becoming that a
Christian should live as regards the hallowed Mother of his God in a
condition of harsh estrangement? What mediatorial influence more awfully
appropriate than the consecrated agent of the mighty mystery? Nor could
he, even in his early days, accept without a scruple the frigid system
that would class the holy actors in the divine drama of the Redemption
as mere units in the categories of vanished generations. Human beings
who had been in personal relation with the Godhead must be different
from other human beings. There must be some transcendent quality in
their lives and careers, in their very organization, which marks them
out from all secular heroes. What was Alexander the Great, or even Caius
Julius, compared with that apostle whom Jesus loved?

Restless and disquieted, Lothair paced the long and lofty rooms which
had been secured for him in a London hotel which rivalled the colossal
convenience of Paris and the American cities. Their tawdry ornaments
and their terrible new furniture would not do after the galleries and
portraits of Vauxe. Lothair sighed.

Why did that visit ever end? Why did the world consist of any thing else
but Tudor palaces in ferny parks, or time be other than a perpetual Holy
Week? He never sighed at Vauxe. Why? He supposed it was because their
religion was his life, and here--and he looked around him with a
shudder. The cardinal was right: it was a most happy thing for him to be
living so much with so truly a religious family.

The door opened, and servants came in bearing a large and magnificent
portfolio. It was of morocco and of prelatial purple with broad bands of
gold and alternate ornaments of a cross and a coronet. A servant handed
to Lothair a letter, which enclosed the key that opened its lock. The
portfolio contained the plans and drawings of the cathedral.

Lothair was lost in admiration of these designs and their execution. But
after the first fever of investigation was over, he required sympathy
and also information. In a truly religious family there would always be
a Father Coleman or a Monsignore Catesby to guide and to instruct. But a
Protestant, if he wants aid or advice on any matter, can only go to his
solicitor. But as he proceeded in his researches he sensibly felt
that the business was one above even an oratorian or a monsignore. It
required a finer and a more intimate sympathy; a taste at the same
time more inspired and more inspiring; some one who blended with divine
convictions the graceful energy of human feeling, and who would not
only animate him to effort but fascinate him to its fulfilment. The
counsellor he required was Miss Arundel.

Lothair had quitted Vauxe one week, and it seemed to him a year. During
the first four-and-twenty hours he felt like a child who had returned to
school, and, the day after, like a man on a desert island. Various
other forms of misery and misfortune were suggested by his succeeding
experience. Town brought no distractions to him; he knew very few
people, and these be had not yet encountered; he had once ventured to
White's, but found only a group of gray-beaded men, who evidently did
not know him, and who seemed to scan him with cynical nonchalance. These
were not the golden youth whom he had been assured by Bertram would
greet him; so, after reading a newspaper for a moment upside downward,
he got away. But he had no harbor of refuge, and was obliged to ride
down to Richmond and dine alone, and meditate on symbols and celestial
adumbrations. Every day he felt how inferior was this existence to that
of a life in a truly religious family.

But, of all the members of the family to which his memory recurred with
such unflagging interest, none more frequently engaged his thoughts than
Miss Arundel. Her conversation, which stimulated his intelligence while
it rather piqued his self-love, exercised a great influence over him,
and he had omitted no opportunity of enjoying her society. That society
and its animating power he sadly missed; and now that he had before him
the very drawings about which they had frequently talked, and she was
not by his side to suggest and sympathize and criticism and praise, he
felt unusually depressed.

Lothair corresponded with Lady St. Jerome, and was aware of her intended
movements. But the return the family to London had been somewhat
delayed. When this disappointment was first made known to him, his
impulse was to ride down to Vauxe; but the tact in which he was not
deficient assured him that he ought not to reappear on a stage where he
had already figured for perhaps too considerable a time, and so another
week had to be passed, softened, however, by visits from the father of
the oratory and the chamberlain of his holiness, who came to look after
Lothair with much friendliness, and with whom it was consolatory and
even delightful for him to converse on sacred art, still holier things,
and also Miss Arundel.

At length, though it seemed impossible, this second week elapsed, and
to-morrow Lothair was to lunch with Lady St. Jerome in St. James's
Square, and to meet all his friends. He thought of it all day, and he
passed a restless night. He took an early canter to rally his energies,
and his fancy was active in the splendor of the spring. The chestnuts
were in silver bloom, and the pink May had flushed the thorns, and banks
of sloping turf were radiant with plots of gorgeous flowers. The waters
glittered in the sun, and the air was fragrant with that spell which
only can be found in metropolitan mignonette. It was the hour and the
season when heroic youth comes to great decisions, achieves exploits, or
perpetrates scrapes.

Nothing could be more cordial, nothing more winning, than the reception
of Lothair by Lady St. Jerome. She did not conceal her joy at their
being again together. Even Miss Arundel, though still calm, even a
little demure, seemed glad to see him: her eyes looked kind and pleased,
and she gave him her hand with graceful heartiness. It was the sacred
hour of two when Lothair arrived, and they were summoned to luncheon
almost immediately. Then they were not alone; Lord St. Jerome was not
there, but the priests were present and some others. Lothair, however,
sat next to Miss Arundel.

"I have been thinking of you very often since I left Vauxe," said
Lothair to his neighbor.

"Charitably, I am sure."

"I have been thinking of you every day," he continued, "for I wanted
your advice."

"Ah! but that is not a popular thing to give."

"But it is precious--at least, yours is to me--and I want it now very
much."

"Father Coleman told me you had got the plans for the cathedral," said
Miss Arundel.

"And I want to show them to you."

"I fear I am only a critic," said Miss Arundel, "and I do not admire
mere critics. I was very free in my comments to you on several subjects
at Vauxe; and I must now say I thought you bore it very kindly."

"I was enchanted," said Lothair, "and desire nothing but to be ever
subject to such remarks. But this affair of the cathedral, it is your
own thought--I would fain hope your own wish, for unless it were your
own wish I do not think I ever should be able to accomplish it."

"And when the cathedral is built," said Miss Arundel "what then?"

"Do you not remember telling me at Vauxe that all sacred buildings
should be respected, for that in the long-run they generally fell to the
professors of the true faith?"

"But when they built St. Peter's, they dedicated it to a saint in
heaven," said Miss Arundel. "To whom is yours to be inscribed?"

"To a saint in heaven and in earth," said Lothair, blushing; "to St.
Clare."

But Lady St. Jerome and her guests rose at this moment, and it is
impossible to say with precision whether this last remark of Lothair
absolutely reached the ear of Miss Arundel. She looked as if it had
not. The priests and the other guests dispersed. Lothair accompanied the
ladies to the drawing-room; he lingered, and he was meditating if the
occasion served to say more.

Lady St. Jerome was writing a note, Mss Arundel was arranging some work,
Lothair was affecting an interest in her employment in order that he
might be seated by her and ask her questions, when the groom of the
chambers entered and inquired whether her ladyship was at home, and
being answered in the affirmative, retired, and announced and ushered in
the duchess and Lady Corisande.



CHAPTER 19


It seemed that the duchess and Lady St. Jerome were intimate, for they
called each other by their Christian names, and kissed each other.
The young ladies also were cordial. Her grace greeted Lothair with
heartiness; Lady Corisande with some reserve. Lothair thought she looked
very radiant and very proud.

It was some time since they had all met--not since the end of the last
season--so there was a great deal to talk about. There had been deaths
and births and marriages which required a flying comment--all important
events; deaths which solved many difficulties, heirs to estates which
were not expected, and weddings which surprised everybody.

"And have you seen Selina?" inquired Lady St. Jerome.

"Not yet; except mamma, this is our first visit," replied the duchess.

"Ah! that is real friendship. She came down to Vauxe the other day, but
I did not think she was looking well. She frets herself too much about
her boys; she does not know what to do with them. They will not go into
the Church, and they have no fortune for the Guards."

"I understood that Lord Plantagenet was to be a civil engineer," said
Lady Corisande.

"And Lord Albert Victor to have a sheep-walk in Australia," continued
Lady St. Jerome.

"They say that a lord must not go to the bar," said Miss Arundel. "It
seems to me very unjust."

"Alfred Beaufort went the circuit," said Lady Corisande, "but I believe
they drove him into Parliament."

"You will miss your friend Bertram at Oxford," said the duchess,
addressing Lothair.

"Indeed," said Lothair, rather confused, for he was himself a defaulter
in collegiate attendance. "I was just going to write to him to see
whether one could not keep half a term."

"Oh! nothing will prevent his taking his degree," said the duchess, "but
I fear there must be some delay. There is a vacancy for our county--Mr.
Sandstone is dead, and they insist upon returning Bertram. I hope he
will be of age before the nomination. The duke is much opposed to it; he
wishes him to wait; but in these days it is not so easy for young men to
get into Parliament. It is not as it used to be; we cannot choose."

"This is an important event," said Lothair to Lady Corisande.

"I think it is; nor do I believe Bertram is too young for public life.
These are not times to be laggard."

"There is no doubt they are very serious times," said Lothair.

"I have every confidence in Bertram--in his ability and his principles."

The ladies began to talk about the approaching drawing-room and Lady
Corisande's presentation, and Lothair thought it right to make his
obeisance and withdraw. He met in the hall Father Coleman, who was in
fact looking after him, and would have induced him to repair to the
father's room and hold some interesting conversation, but Lothair was
not so congenial as usual. He was even abrupt, and the father, who
never pressed any thing, assuming that Lothair had some engagement,
relinquished with a serene brow, but not without chagrin, what he had
deemed might have proved a golden opportunity.

And yet Lothair had no engagement, and did not know where to go or what
to do with himself. But he wanted to be alone, and of all persons in the
world at that moment, he had a sort of instinct that the one he wished
least to converse with was Father Coleman.

"She has every confidence in his principles," said Lothair to himself as
he mounted his horse, "and his principles were mine six months ago, when
I was at Brentham. Delicious Brentham! It seems like a dream; but every
thing seems like a dream; I hardly know whether life is agony or bliss."



CHAPTER 20

The duke was one of the few gentlemen in, London who lived in a palace.
One of the half-dozen of those stately structures that our capital
boasts had fallen to his lot.

An heir-apparent to the throne, in the earlier days of the present
dynasty, had resolved to be lodged as became a prince, and had raised,
amid gardens which he had diverted from one of the royal parks, an
edifice not unworthy of Vicenza in its best days, though on a far more
extensive scale than any pile that favored city boasts. Before the
palace was finished, the prince died, and irretrievably in debt. His
executors were glad to sell to the trustees of the ancestors of the
chief of the house of Brentham the incomplete palace, which ought never
to have been commenced. The ancestor of the duke was by no means so
strong a man as the duke himself, and prudent people rather murmured at
the exploit. But it was what is called a lucky family--that is to say,
a family with a charm that always attracted and absorbed heiresses; and
perhaps the splendor of CRECY HOUSE--for it always retained its original
title--might have in some degree contributed to fascinate the taste or
imagination of the beautiful women who, generation after generation,
brought their bright castles and their broad manors to swell the state
and rent-rolls of the family who were so kind to Lothair.

The centre of Crecy House consisted of a hall of vast proportion, and
reaching to the roof. Its walls commemorated, in paintings by the most
celebrated artists of the age, the exploits of the Black Prince; and its
coved ceiling, in panels resplendent with Venetian gold, contained
the forms and portraits of English heroes. A corridor round this hall
contained the most celebrated private collection of pictures in England
and opened into a series of sumptuous saloons.

It was a rather early hour when Lothair, the morning after his meeting
the duchess at Lady St. Jerome's, called at Crecy House; but it was only
to leave his card. He would not delay for a moment paying his respects
there, and yet he shrank from thrusting himself immediately into the
circle. The duke's brougham was in the court-yard. Lothair was holding
his groom's horse, who had dismounted, when the hall-door opened, and
his grace and Bertram came forth.

"Halloa, old fellow!" exclaimed Bertram, "only think of your being here.
It seems an age since we met. The duchess was telling us about you at
breakfast."

"Go in and see them," said the duke, "there is a large party at
luncheon; Augusta Montairy is there. Bertram and I are obliged to go to
Lincoln's Inn, something about his election."

But Lothair murmured thanks and declined.

"What are you going to do with yourself to-day?" said the duke. And
Lothair hesitating, his grace continued: "Well, then, come and dine with
us."

"Of course you will come, old fellow. I have not seen you since you left
Oxford at the beginning of the year. And then we can settle about your
term." And Lothair assenting, they drove away.

It was nine o'clock before they dined. The days were getting very long,
and soft, and sweet; the riding-parties lingered amid the pink May and
the tender twilight breeze. The Montairys dined to-day at Crecy House,
and a charming married daughter without her husband, and Lord and
Lady Clanmorne, who were near kin to the duchess, and themselves so
good-looking and agreeable that they were as good at a dinner-party as
a couple of first-rate entr es. There was also Lord Carisbrooke, a young
man of distinguished air and appearance; his own master, with a large
estate, and three years or so older than Lothair.

They dined in the Chinese saloon, which was of moderate dimensions, but
bright with fantastic forms and colors, brilliantly lit up. It was the
privilege of Lothair to hand the duchess to her seat. He observed that
Lord Carisbrooke was placed next to Lady Corisande, though he had not
taken her out.

"This dinner reminds me of my visit to Brentham," said Lothair.

"Almost the same party," said the duchess.

"The visit to Brentham was the happiest time of my life," said Lothair,
moodily.

"But you have seen a great deal since," said the duchess.

"I am not a sure it is of any use seeing things," said Lothair.

When the ladies retired, there was some talk about horses. Lord
Carisbrooke was breeding; Lothair thought it was a duty to breed, but
not to go on the turf. Lord Carisbrooke thought there could be no good
breeding without racing; Lothair was of opinion that races might be
confined to one's own parks, with no legs admitted, and immense prizes,
which must cause emulation. Then they joined the ladies, and then, in a
short time, there was music. Lothair hovered about Lady Corisande, and
at last seized a happy opportunity of addressing her.

"I shall never forget your singing at Brentham," he said; "at first I
thought it might be as Lady Montairy said, because I was not used to
fine singing; but I heard the Venusina the other day, and I prefer your
voice and style."

"Have you heard the Venusina?" said Lady Corisande, with animation; "I
know nothing that I look forward to with more interest. But I was told
she was not to open her mouth until she appeared at the opera. Where did
you hear her?"

"Oh, I heard her," said Lothair, "at the Roman Catholic cathedral."

"I am sure I shall never hear her there," said Lady Corisande, looking
very grave.

"Do not you think music a powerful accessory to religion?" said Lothair,
but a little embarrassed.

"Within certain limits," said Lady Corisande--"the limits I am used to;
but I should prefer to hear opera-singers at the opera."

"Ah! if all amateurs could sing like you," said Lothair, "that would be
unnecessary. But a fine mass by Mozart--it requires great skill as well
as power to render it. I admire no one so much as Mozart, and especially
his masses. I have been hearing a great many of them lately."

"So we understood," said Lady Corisande, rather dryly, and looking
about her as if she were not much interested, or at any rate not much
gratified by the conversation.

Lothair felt he was not getting on, and he wished to get on, but he was
socially inexperienced, and his resources not much in hand. There was a
pause--it seemed to him an awkward pause; and then Lady Corisande walked
away and addressed Lady Clanmorne.

Some very fine singing began at this moment; the room was hushed, no
one moved, and Lothair, undisturbed, had the opportunity of watching his
late companion. There was something in Lady Corisande that to him was
irresistibly captivating; and as he was always thinking and analyzing,
he employed himself in discovering the cause. "She is not particularly
gracious," he said to himself, "at least not to me; she is beautiful,
but so are others; and others, like her, are clever--perhaps more
clever. But there is something in her brow, her glance, her carriage,
which intimate what they call character, which interests me. Six months
ago I was in love with her, because I thought she was like her sisters.
I love her sisters, but she is not the least like them."

The music ceased; Lothair moved away, and he approached the duke.

"I have a favor to ask your grace," he said. "I have made up my mind
that I shall not go back to Oxford this term; would your grace do me the
great favor of presenting me at the next lev e?"



CHAPTER 21


One's life changes in a moment. Half a month ago, Lothair, without an
acquaintance, was meditating his return to Oxford. Now he seemed to know
everybody who was anybody. His table was overflowing with invitations to
all the fine houses in town. First came the routs and the balls; then,
when he had been presented to the husbands, came the dinners. His kind
friends the Duchess and Lady St. Jerome were the fairies who had worked
this sudden scene of enchantment. A single word from them, and London
was at Lothair's feet.

He liked it amazingly. He quite forgot the conclusion at which he had
arrived respecting society a year ago, drawn from his vast experience of
the single party which he had then attended. Feelings are different when
you know a great many persons, and every person is trying to please you;
above all, when there are individuals whom you want to meet, and whom,
if you do not meet, you become restless.

Town was beginning to blaze. Broughams whirled and bright barouches
glanced, troops of social cavalry cantered and caracolled in morning
rides, and the bells of prancing ponies, lashed by delicate hands,
gingled in the laughing air. There were stoppages in Bond Street,
which seems to cap the climax of civilisation, after crowded clubs and
swarming parks.

But the great event of the season was the presentation of Lady
Corisande. Truly our bright maiden of Brenthani woke and found herself
famous. There are families whom everybody praises, and families who are
treated in a different way. Either will do; all the sons and daughters
of the first succeed, all the sons and daughters of the last are
encouraged in perverseness by the prophetic determination of society.
Half a dozen married sisters, who were the delight and ornament of
their circles, in the case of Lady Corisande were good precursors of
popularity; but the world would not be content with that: they credited
her with all their charms and winning qualities, but also with something
grander and beyond comparison; and from the moment her fair cheek was
sealed by the gracious approbation of Majesty, all the critics of the
Court at once recognised her as the cynosure of the Empyrean.

Monsignore Catesby, who looked after Lothair, and was always
breakfasting with him without the necessity of an invitation (a
fascinating man, and who talked upon all subjects except High Mass),
knew everything that took place at Court without being present there
himself. He led the conversation to the majestic theme, and while he
seemed to be busied in breaking an egg with delicate precision, and
hardly listening to the frank expression of opinions which he carelessly
encouraged, obtained a not insufficient share of Lothair's views and
impressions of human beings and affairs in general during the last few
days, which had witnessed a Levée and a Drawing-room.

'Ah! then you were so fortunate as to know the beauty before her début,'
said the Monsignore.

'Intimately; her brother is my friend. I was at Brentham last summer.
Delicious place! and the most agreeable visit I ever made in my life, at
least, one of the most agreeable.'

'Ah! ah!' said the Monsignore. 'Let me ring for some toast.'

On the night of the Drawing-room, a great ball was given at Crecy
House to celebrate the entrance of Corisande into the world. It was a
sumptuous festival. The palace, resonant with fantastic music, blazed
amid illumined gardens rich with summer warmth.

A prince of the blood was dancing with Lady Corisande. Lothair was
there, vis-à-vis with Miss Arundel.

'I delight in this hall,' she said to Lothair; 'but how superior the
pictured scene to the reality!'

'What! would you like, then, to be in a battle?'

'I should like to be with heroes, wherever they might be. What a fine
character was the Black Prince! And they call those days the days of
superstition!'

The silver horns sounded a brave flourish. Lothair had to advance and
meet Lady Corisande. Her approaching mien was full of grace and majesty,
but Lothair thought there was a kind expression in her glance, which
seemed to remember Brentham, and that he was her brother's Mend.

A little later in the evening he was her partner. He could not refrain
from congratulating her on the beauty and the success of the festival.

'I am glad you are pleased, and I am glad you think it successful; but,
you know, I am no judge, for this is my first ball!'

'Ah! to be sure; and yet it seems impossible,' he continued, in a tone
of murmuring admiration.

'Oh! I have been at little dances at my sisters;' half behind the door,'
she added, with a slight smile. 'But to-night I am present at a scene of
which I have only read.'

'And how do you like balls?' said Lothair.

'I think I shall like them very much,' said Lady Corisande; 'but
to-night, I will confess, I am a little nervous.'

'You do not look so.'

'I am glad of that.'

'Why?'

'Is it not a sign of weakness?'

'Can feeling be weakness?'

'Feeling without sufficient cause is, I should think.' And then, and in
a tone of some archness, she said, 'And how do you like balls?'

'Well, I like them amazingly,' said Lothair. 'They seem to me to have
every quality which can render an entertainment agreeable: music, light,
flowers, beautiful faces, graceful forms, and occasionally charming
conversation.'

'Yes; and that never lingers,' said Lady Corisande, 'for see, I am
wanted.'

When they were again undisturbed, Lothair regretted the absence of
Bertram, who was kept at the House.

'It is a great disappointment,' said Lady Corisande; 'but he will yet
arrive, though late. I should be most unhappy though, if he were absent
from his post on such an occasion I am sure if he were here I could not
dance.'

'You are a most ardent politician,' said Lothair.

'Oh! I do not care in the least about common politics, parties and
office and all that; I neither regard nor understand them,' replied Lady
Corisande. 'But when wicked men try to destroy the country, then I like
my family to be in the front.'

As the destruction of the country meditated this night by wicked men
was some change in the status of the Church of England, which Monsignore
Catesby in the morning had suggested to Lothair as both just and
expedient and highly conciliatory, Lothair did not pursue the theme,
for he had a greater degree of tact than usually falls to the lot of the
ingenuous.

The bright moments flew on. Suddenly there was a mysterious silence in
the hall, followed by a kind of suppressed stir. Everyone seemed to be
speaking with bated breath, or, if moving, walking on tiptoe. It was the
supper hour?

Soft hour which wakes the wish and melts the heart.

Royalty, followed, by the imperial presence of ambassadors, and escorted
by a group of dazzling duchesses and paladins of high degree, was
ushered with courteous pomp by the host and hostess into a choice
saloon, hung with rose-coloured tapestry and illumined by chandeliers of
crystal, where they were served from gold plate. But the thousand less
favoured were not badly off, when they found themselves in the more
capacious chambers, into which they rushed with an eagerness hardly in
keeping with the splendid nonchalance of the preceding hours.

'What a perfect family,' exclaimed Hugo Bohun, as he extracted a couple
of fat little birds from their bed of aspic jelly; 'everything they
do in such perfect taste. How safe you were here to have ortolans for
supper!'

All the little round tables, though their number was infinite, were
full. Male groups hung about; some in attendance on fair dames, some
foraging for themselves, some thoughtful and more patient and awaiting a
satisfactory future. Never was such an elegant clatter.

'I wonder where Carisbrooke is,' said Hugo Bohun. 'They say he is
wonderfully taken with the beauteous daughter of the house.'

'I will back the Duke of Brecon against him,' said one of his
companions. 'He raved about her at White's yesterday.'

'Hem!'

'The end is not so near as all that,' said a third wassailer.

'I do not know that,' said Hugo Bohun. 'It is a family that marries off
quickly. If a fellow is obliged to marry, he always likes to marry one
of them.'

'What of this new star?' said his friend, and he mentioned Lothair.

'Oh! he is too young; not launched. Besides he is going to turn
Catholic, and I doubt whether that would do in that quarter.'

'But he has a greater fortune than any of them.'

'Immense! A man I know, who knows another man----' and then he began a
long statistical story about Lothair's resources.

'Have you got any room here, Hugo?' drawled out Lord St. Aldegonde.

'Plenty, and here is my chair.'

'On no account; half of it and some soup will satisfy me.'

'I should have thought you would have been with the swells,' said Hugo
Bohun.

'That does not exactly suit me,' said St. Aldegonde. 'I was ticketed to
the Duchess of Salop, but I got a first-rate substitute with the charm
of novelty for her Grace, and sent her in with Lothair.'

St. Aldegonde was the heir apparent of the wealthiest, if not the most
ancient, dukedom in the United Kingdom. He was spoiled, but he knew
it. Had he been an ordinary being, he would have merely subsided
into selfishness and caprice, but having good abilities and a
good disposition, he was eccentric, adventurous, and sentimental.
Notwithstanding the apathy which had been engendered by premature
experience, St. Aldegonde held extreme opinions, especially on political
affairs, being a republican of the reddest dye. He was opposed to all
privilege, and indeed to all orders of men, except dukes, who were a
necessity. He was also strongly in favour of the equal division of all
property, except land. Liberty depended on land, and the greater the
landowners, the greater the liberty of a country. He would hold forth on
this topic even with energy, amazed at anyone differing from him; 'as
if a fellow could have too much land,' he would urge with a voice and
glance which defied contradiction. St. Aldegonde had married for love,
and he loved his wife, but he was strongly in favour of woman's rights
and their extremest consequences. It was thought that he had originally
adopted these latter views with the amiable intention of piquing Lady
St. Aldegonde; but if so, he had not succeeded. Beaming with brightness,
with the voice and airiness of a bird, and a cloudless temper, Albertha
St. Aldegonde had, from the first hour of her marriage, concentrated her
intelligence, which was not mean, on one object; and that was never
to cross her husband on any conceivable topic. They had been married
several years, and she treated him as a darling spoiled child. When he
cried for the moon, it was promised him immediately; however irrational
his proposition, she always assented to it, though generally by tact
and vigilance she guided him in the right direction. Nevertheless, St.
Aldegonde was sometimes in scrapes; but then he always went and told
his best friend, whose greatest delight was to extricate him from his
perplexities and embarrassments.



CHAPTER 22


Although Lothair was not in the slightest degree shaken in his
conviction that life should be entirely religious, he was perplexed by
the inevitable obstacles which seemed perpetually to oppose themselves
to the practice of his opinions. It was not merely pleasure in its
multiform appearances that he had to contend against, but business began
imperiously to solicit his attention. Every month brought him nearer to
his majority, and the frequent letters from Mr. Putney Giles now began
to assume the pressing shape of solicitations for personal interviews.
He had a long conversation one morning with Father Coleman on this
subject, who greatly relieved him by the assurance that a perfectly
religious life was one of which the sovereign purpose was to uphold the
interests of the Church of Christ, the father added after a momentary
pause. Business, and even amusement, were, not only compatible with such
a purpose, but might even be conducive to its fulfilment.

Mr. Putney Giles reminded Lothair that the attainment of his majority
must be celebrated, and in a becoming manner. Preparation, and even
considerable preparation, was necessary. There were several scenes
of action--some very distant. It was not too early to contemplate
arrangements. Lothair really must confer with his guardians. They were
both now in town, the Scotch uncle having come up to attend Parliament.
Could they be brought together? Was it indeed impossible? If so, who
was to give the necessary instructions?

It was much more than a year since Lothair had met his uncle, and he did
not anticipate much satisfaction from the renewal of their intimacy; but
every feeling of propriety demanded that it should be recognized, and to
a certain degree revived. Lord Culloden was a black Scotchman, tall and
lean, with good features, a hard red face and iron-gray hair. He was a
man who shrank from scenes, and he greeted Lothair as if they had only
parted yesterday. Looking at him with his keen, unsentimental, but
not unkind, eye, he said: "Well, sir, I thought you would have been at
Oxford."

"Yes, my dear uncle; but circumstances--"

"Well, well, I don't want to hear the cause. I am very glad you are not
there; I believe you might as well be at Rome."

And then in due course, and after some talk of the past and old times,
Lothair referred to the suggestions of Mr. Giles, and hinted at a
meeting of his guardians to confer and advise together.

"No, no," said the Scotch peer, shaking his head; "I will have nothing
to do with the Scarlet Lady. Mr. Giles is an able and worthy man; he may
well be trusted to draw up a programme for our consideration, and indeed
it is an affair in which yourself should be most consulted. Let all
be done liberally, for you have a great inheritance, and I would be no
curmudgeon in these matters."

"Well, my dear uncle, whatever is arranged, I hope you and my
cousins will honor and gratify me with your presence throughout the
proceedings."

"Well, well, it is not much in my way. You will be having balls and fine
ladies. There is no fool like an old fool, they say; but I think, from
what I hear, the young fools will beat us in the present day. Only think
of young persons going over to the Church of Rome. Why, they are just
naturals!"

The organizing genius of Mr. Putney Giles had rarely encountered a more
fitting theme than the celebration of the impending majority. There
was place for all his energy and talent and resources; a great central
inauguration; sympathetical festivals and gatherings in half a dozen
other counties; the troth, as it were, of a sister kingdom to be
pledged; a vista of balls and banquets, and illuminations and addresses,
of ceaseless sports and speeches, and processions alike endless.

"What I wish to effect," said Mr. Giles, as he was giving his
multifarious orders, "is to produce among all classes an impression
adequate to the occasion. I wish the lord and the tenantry alike to feel
they have a duty to perform."

In the mean time, Monsignore Catesby was pressing Lothair to become one
of the patrons of a Roman Catholic Bazaar, where Lady St. Jerome and
Miss Arundel were to preside over a stall. It was of importance to show
that charity was not the privilege of any particular creed.

Between his lawyers, and his monsignores, and his architects, Lothair
began to get a little harassed. He was disturbed in his own mind,
too, on greater matters, and seemed to feel every day that it was more
necessary to take a decided step, and more impossible to decide upon
what it should be. He frequently saw the cardinal, who was very kind
to him, but who had become more reserved on religious subjects. He had
dined more than once with his eminence, and had met some distinguished
prelates and some of his fellow-nobles who had been weaned from the
errors of their cradle. The cardinal, perhaps, thought that the presence
of these eminent converts would facilitate the progress, perhaps the
decision, of his ward; but something seemed always to happen to divert
Lothair in his course. It might-be sometimes apparently a very slight
cause, but yet for the time sufficient; a phrase of Lady Corisande for
example, who, though she never directly addressed him on the subject,
was nevertheless deeply interested in his spiritual condition.

"You ought to speak to him, Bertram," she said one day to her brother
very indignantly, as she read a fresh paragraph alluding to an impending
conversion. "You are his friend. What is the use of friendship if not in
such a crisis as this?"

"I see no use in speaking to a man about love or religion," said
Bertram; "they are both stronger than friendship. If there be any
foundation for the paragraph, my interference would be of no avail; if
there be none, I should only make myself ridiculous."

Nevertheless, Bertram looked a little more after his friend, and
disturbing the monsignore, who was at breakfast with Lothair one
morning, Bertram obstinately outstayed the priest, and then said: "I
tell you what, old fellow, you are rather hippish; I wish you were in
the House of Commons."

"So do I," said Lothair, with a sigh; "but I have come into every thing
ready-made. I begin to think it very unfortunate."

"What are you going to do with yourself to-day? If you be disengaged, I
vote we dine together at White's, and then we will go down to the House.
I will take you to the smoking-room and introduce you to Bright, and we
will trot him out on primogeniture."

At this moment the servant brought Lothair two letters: one was an
epistle from Father Coleman, meeting Lothair's objections to becoming a
patron of the Roman Catholic Bazaar, in a very unctuous and exhaustive
manner; and the other from his stud-groom at Oxford, detailing some of
those disagreeable things which will happen with absent masters who
will not answer letters. Lothair loved his stable, and felt particularly
anxious to avoid the threatened visit of Father Coleman on the morrow.
His decision was rapid. "I must go down, this afternoon to Oxford,
my dear fellow. My stable is in confusion. I shall positively return
to-morrow, and I will dine with you at White's, and we will go to the
House of Commons together, or go to the play."



CHAPTER 23


Lothair's stables were about three miles from Oxford. They were a rather
considerable establishment, in which he had taken much interest, and,
having always intended to return to Oxford in the early part of the
year, although he had occasionally sent for a hack or two to London, his
stud had been generally maintained.

The morning after his arrival, he rode over to the stables, where he
had ordered his drag to be ready. About a quarter of a mile before he
reached his place of destination, he observed at some little distance
a crowd in the road, and, hastening on, perceived as he drew nearer
a number of men clustered round a dismantled vehicle, and vainly
endeavoring to extricate and raise a fallen horse; its companion,
panting and foaming, with broken harness but apparently uninjured,
standing aside and held by a boy. Somewhat apart stood a lady alone.
Lothair immediately dismounted and approached her, saying, "I fear you
are in trouble, madam. Perhaps I may be of service?"

The lady was rather tall, and of a singularly distinguished presence.
Her air and her costume alike intimated high breeding and fashion. She
seemed quite serene amid the tumult and confusion, and apparently the
recent danger. As Lothair spoke, she turned her head to him, which had
been at first a little averted, and he beheld a striking countenance,
but one which he instantly felt he did not see for the first time.

She bowed with dignity to Lothair, and said in a low but distinct voice:
"You are most courteous, sir. We have had a sad: accident, but a great
escape. Our horses ran away with us, and, had it not been for that heap
of stones, I do not see how we could have been saved."

"Fortunately my stables are at hand," said Lothair, "and I have a
carriage waiting for me at this moment, not a quarter of a mile away. It
is at your service, and I will send for it," and his groom, to whom he
gave directions, galloped off.

There was a shout as the fallen horse was on his legs again, much cut,
and the carriage shattered and useless. A gentleman came from the crowd
and approached the lady. He was tall and fair, and not ill-favored, with
fine dark eyes and high cheekbones, and still young, though an enormous
beard at the first glance gave him an impression of years, the burden of
which he really did not bear. His dress, though not vulgar, was richer
and more showy than is usual in this country, and altogether there was
something in his manner which, though calm and full of self-respect,
was different from the conventional refinement of England. Yet he was
apparently an Englishman, as he said to the lady, "It is a bad business,
but we must be thankful it is no worse. What troubles me is how you are
to get back. It will be a terrible walk over these stony roads, and I
can hear of no conveyance."

"My husband," said the lady, as with dignity she presented the person
to Lothair. "This gentleman," she continued, "has most kindly offered us
the use of his carriage, which is almost at hand."

"Sir, you are a friend," said the gentleman. "I thought there were no
horses that I could not master, but it seems I am mistaken. I bought
these only yesterday; took a fancy to them as we were driving about, and
bought them of a dealer in the road."

"That seems a clever animal," said Lothair, pointing to the one
uninjured.

"Ah! you like horses?" said the gentleman.

"Well, I have some taste that way."

"We are visitors to Oxford," said the lady. "Colonel Campian, like all
Americans, is very interested in the ancient parts of England."

"To-day we were going to Blenheim," said the colonel, "but I thought I
would try these new tits a bit on a by-road first."

"All's well that ends well," said Lothair; "and there is no reason why
you should not fulfil your intention of going to Blenheim, for here is
my carriage, and it is entirely at your service for the whole day, and,
indeed, as long as you stay at Oxford."

"Sir, there requires no coronet on Your carriage to tell me you are
a nobleman," said the colonel. "I like frank manners, and I like your
team. I know few things that would please me more than to try them."

They were four roans, highly bred, with black manes and tails. They had
the Arab eye, with arched neck and seemed proud of themselves and their
master.

"I do not see why we should not go to Blenheim," said the colonel.

"Well, not to-day," said the lady, "I think. We have had an escape, but
one feels these things a little more afterward than at the time. I
would rather go back to Oxford and be quiet; and there is more than one
college which you have not yet seen."

"My team is entirely at your service wherever you go," said Lothair;
"but I cannot venture to drive you to Oxford, for I am there in statu
pupillari and a proctor might arrest us all. But perhaps," and he
approached the lady, "you will permit me to call on you to-morrow, when
I hope I may find you have not suffered by this misadventure."

"We have got a professor dining with us to-day at seven o'clock," said
the colonel, "at our hotel, and if you be disengaged and would join the
party you would add to the favors which you know so well how to confer."

Lothair handed the lady into the carriage, the colonel mounted the box
and took the ribbons like a master, and the four roans trotted away with
their precious charge and their two grooms behind with folded arms and
imperturbable countenances.

Lothair watched the equipage until it vanished in the distance.

"It is impossible to forget that countenance," he said; "and I fancy
I did hear at the time that she had married an American. Well, I shall
meet her at dinner--that is something." And he sprang into his saddle.



CHAPTER 24


The Oxford professor, who was the guest of the American colonel, was
quite a young man, of advanced opinions on all subjects, religious,
social, and political. He was clever, extremely well-informed, so far as
books can make a man knowing, but unable to profit even by his limited
experience of life from a restless vanity and overflowing conceit, which
prevented him from ever observing or thinking of any thing but himself.
He was gifted with a great command of words, which took the form of
endless exposition, varied by sarcasm and passages of ornate jargon. He
was the last person one would have expected to recognize in an Oxford
professor; but we live in times of transition.

A Parisian man of science, who had passed his life in alternately
fighting at barricades and discovering planets, had given Colonel
Campian, who had lived much in the French capital, a letter of
introduction to the professor, whose invectives against the principles
of English society were hailed by foreigners as representative of the
sentiments of venerable Oxford. The professor, who was not satisfied
with his home career, and, like many men of his order of mind, had
dreams of wild vanity which the New World, they think, can alone
realize, was very glad to make the colonel's acquaintance, which might
facilitate his future movements. So he had lionized the distinguished
visitors during the last few days over the university, and had availed
himself of plenteous opportunities for exhibiting to them his celebrated
powers of exposition, his talent for sarcasm, which he deemed peerless,
and several highly-finished, picturesque passages, which were introduced
with contemporary art.

The professor was very much surprised when he saw Lothair enter the
saloon at the hotel. He was the last person in Oxford whom he expected
to encounter. Like sedentary men of extreme opinions, he was a social
parasite, and instead of indulging in his usual invectives against peers
and princes, finding himself unexpectedly about to dine with one of that
class, he was content only to dazzle and amuse him.

Mrs. Campian only entered the room when dinner was announced. She
greeted Lothair with calmness but amenity, and took his offered arm.

"You have not suffered, I hope?" said Lothair.

"Very little, and through your kindness."

It was a peculiar voice, low and musical, too subdued to call thrilling,
but a penetrating voice, so that, however ordinary the observation, it
attracted and impressed attention. But it was in harmony with all her
appearance and manner. Lothair thought he had never seen any one or any
thing so serene; the serenity, however, not of humbleness, nor of merely
conscious innocence; it was not devoid of a degree of majesty; what one
pictures of Olympian repose. And the countenance was Olympian: a Phidian
face, with large gray eyes and dark lashes; wonderful hair, abounding
without art, and gathered together by Grecian fillets.

The talk was of Oxford, and was at first chiefly maintained by the
colonel and the professor.

"And do you share Colonel Campian's feeling about Old England?" inquired
Lothair of his hostess.

"The present interests me more than the past," said the lady, "and the
future more than the present."

"The present seems to me as unintelligible as the future," said Lothair.

"I think it is intelligible," said the lady, with a faint smile. "It has
many faults but, not, I think, the want of clearness."

"I am not a destructive," said the professor, addressing the colonel,
but speaking loudly; "I would maintain Oxford, under any circumstances,
with the necessary changes."

"And what are those might I ask?" inquired Lothair.

"In reality, not much. I would get rid of the religion."

"Get rid of the religion!" said Lothair.

"You have got rid of it once," said the professor.

"You have altered, you have what people call reformed it," said Lothair;
"but you have not abolished or banished it from the university."

"The shock would not be greater, nor so great, as the change from the
papal to the Reformed faith. Besides, universities have nothing to do
with religion."

"I thought universities were universal," said Lothair, "and had
something to do with every thing."

"I cannot conceive any society of any kind without religion," said the
lady.

Lothair glanced at her beautiful brow with devotion as she uttered these
words.

Colonel Campian began to talk about horses. After that the professor
proved to him that he was related to Edmund Campian, the Jesuit;
and then he got to the Gunpowder Plot, which, he was not sure, if
successful, might not have beneficially influenced the course of our
history. Probably the Irish difficulty would not then have existed.

"I dislike plots," said the lady; "they always fail."

"And, whatever their object, are they not essentially immoral?" said
Lothair.

"I have more faith in ideas than in persons," said the lady. "When a
truth is uttered, it will, sooner or later, be recognized. It is only
an affair of time. It is better that it should mature and naturally
germinate than be forced."

"You would reduce us to lotus-eaters," exclaimed the professor. "Action
is natural to man. And what, after all, are conspiracies and revolutions
but great principles in violent action?"

"I think you must be an admirer of repose," said Lothair to the lady, in
a low voice.

"Because I have seen something of action in my life;" said the lady,
"and it is an experience of wasted energies and baffled thoughts."

When they returned to the saloon, the colonel and the professor
became interested in the constitution and discipline of the American
universities. Lothair hung about the lady, who was examining some views
of Oxford, and who was ascertaining what she had seen and what she had
omitted to visit. They were thinking of returning home on the morrow.

"Without seeing Blenheim?" said Lothair.

"Without seeing Blenheim," said the lady; "I confess to a pang; but I
shall always associate with that name your great kindness to us."

"But cannot we for once enter into a conspiracy together," said Lothair,
"and join in a happy plot and contrive to go? Besides, I could take you
to the private gardens, for the duke has given me a perpetual order, and
they are really exquisite."

The lady seemed to smile.

"Theodora," said the colonel, speaking from the end of the room, "what
have you settled about your train to-morrow?"

"We want, to stay another day here," said Theodora, "and go to
Blenheim."



CHAPTER 25


They were in the private gardens at Blenheim. The sun was brilliant over
the ornate and yet picturesque scene.

"Beautiful, is it not?" exclaimed Lothair.

"Yes, certainly beautiful," said Theodora. "But, do you know, I do
not feel altogether content in these fine gardens? The principle of
exclusion on which they are all founded is to me depressing. I require
in all things sympathy. You would not agree with me in this. The manners
of your country are founded on exclusion."

"But, surely, there are times and places when one would like to be
alone."

"Without doubt," said the lady; "only I do not like artificial
loneliness. Even your parks, which all the world praises, do not quite
satisfy me. I prefer a forest where all may go--even the wild beasts."

"But forests are not at command," said Lothair.

"So you make a solitude and call it peace," said the lady, with a slight
smile. "For my part, my perfect life would be a large and beautiful
village. I admire Nature, but I require the presence of humanity. Life
in great cities is too exhausting; but in my village there should be
air, streams, and beautiful trees, a picturesque scene, but enough of my
fellow-creatures to insure constant duty."

"But the fulfilment of duty and society, founded on what you call the
principle of exclusion, are not incompatible," said Lothair.

"No, but difficult. What should be natural becomes an art; and in every
art it is only the few who can be first rate."

"I have an ambition to be a first-rate artist in that respect," said
Lothair, thoughtfully.

"That does you much honor," she replied, "for you necessarily embark
in a most painful enterprise. The toiling multitude have their sorrows,
which, I believe, will some day be softened, and obstacles hard to
overcome; but I have always thought that the feeling of satiety, almost
inseparable from large possessions, is a surer cause of misery than
ungratified desires."

"It seems to me that there is a great deal to do," said Lothair.

"I think so," said the lady.

"Theodora," said the colonel, who was a little in advance with the
professor, and turning round his head, "this reminds me of Mirabel,"
and he pointed to the undulating banks covered with rare shrubs, and
touching the waters of the lake.

"And where is Mirabel?" said Lothair.

"It was a green island in the Adriatic," said the lady, "which belonged
to Colonel Campian; we lost it in the troubles. Colonel Campian was very
fond of it. I try to persuade him that our home was of volcanic origin,
and has only vanished and subsided into its native bed."

"And were not you fond of it?"

"I never think of the past," said the lady.

"Oxford is not the first place where I had the pleasure of meeting you,"
Lothair ventured at length to observe.

"Yes, we have met before, in Hyde Park Gardens. Our hostess is a clever
woman, and has been very kind to some friends of mine."

"And have you seen her lately?"

"She comes to see us sometimes. We do not live in London, but in the
vicinity. We only go to London for the opera, of which we are devotees.
We do not at all enter general society; Colonel Campian only likes
people who interest or amuse him, and he is fortunate in having rather a
numerous acquaintance of that kind."

"Rare fortune!" said Lothair.

"Colonel Campian lived a great deal at Paris before we marred," said
the lady, "and in a circle of considerable culture and excitement. He is
social, but not conventional."

"And you--are you conventional?"

"Well, I live only for climate and the affections," said the lady "I am
fond of society that pleases me, that is, accomplished and natural and
ingenious; otherwise I prefer being alone. As for atmosphere, as I look
upon it as the main source of felicity, you may be surprised that I
should reside in your country. I should myself like to go to America,
but that would not suit Colonel Campian; and, if we are to live in
Europe, we must live in England. It is not pleasant to reside in a
country where, if you happen to shelter or succor a friend, you may be
subject to a domiciliary visit."

The professor stopped to deliver a lecture or address on the villa
of Hadrian. Nothing could be more minute or picturesque than his
description of that celebrated pleasaunce. It was varied by portraits of
the emperor and some of his companions, and, after a rapid glance at
the fortunes of the imperial patriciate, wound up with some conclusions
favorable to communism. It was really very clever, and would have made
the fortune of a literary society.

"I wonder if they had gravel-walks in the villa of Hadrian?" said
the colonel. "What I admire most in your country, my lord, are your
gravel-walks, though that lady would not agree with me that matter."

"You are against gravel-walks," said Lothair.

"Well, I cannot bring myself to believe that they had gravel-walks in
the garden of Eden," said the lady.

They had a repast at Woodstock, too late for luncheon, too early for
dinner, but which it was agreed should serve as the latter meal.

"That suits me exactly," said the lady; "I am a great foe to dinners,
and indeed to all meals. I think when the good time comes we shall give
up eating in public, except perhaps fruit on a green bank with music."

It was a rich twilight as they drove home, the lady leaning back in
the carriage silent. Lothair sat opposite to her, and gazed upon
a countenance on which the moon began to glisten, and which seemed
unconscious of all human observation.

He had read of such countenances in Grecian dreams; in Corinthian
temples, in fanes of Ephesus, in the radiant shadow of divine groves.



CHAPTER 26


When they had arrived at the hotel, Colonel Campian proposed that they
should come in and have some coffee; but Theodora did not enforce this
suggestion; and Lothair, feeling that she might be wearied, gracefully
though unwillingly waived the proposal. Remembering that on the noon
of the morrow they were to depart, with a happy inspiration, as he said
farewell, he asked permission to accompany them to the station.

Lothair walked away with the professor, who seemed in a conservative
vein, and graciously disposed to make several concessions to the customs
of an ancient country. Though opposed to the land laws, he would operate
gradually, and gave Lothair more than one receipt how to save the
aristocracy. Lothair would have preferred talking about the lady they
had just quitted, but, as he soon found the professor could really give
him no information about her, he let the subject drop.

But not out of his own mind. He was glad to be alone and brood over the
last two days. They were among the most interesting of his life. He had
encountered a character different from any he had yet met, had listened
to new views, and his intelligence had been stimulated by remarks made
casually, in easy conversation, and yet to him pregnant with novel
and sometimes serious meaning. The voice, too, lingered in his ear,
so hushed and deep, and yet so clear and sweet. He leaned over his
mantel-piece in teeming reverie.

"And she is profoundly religious," he said to himself; "she can conceive
no kind of society without religion. She has arrived at the same
conclusion as myself. What a privilege it would be to speak to her on
such subjects!"

After a restless night the morrow came. About eleven o'clock Lothair
ventured to call on his new friends. The lady was alone; she was
standing by the window, reading an Italian newspaper, which she folded
up and placed aside when Lothair was announced.

"We propose to walk to the station," said Theodora; "the servants have
gone on. Colonel Campian has a particular aversion to moving with any
luggage. He restricts me to this," she said, pointing to her satchel, in
which she had placed the foreign newspaper, "and for that he will not be
responsible."

"It was most kind of you to permit me to accompany you this morning,"
said Lothair; "I should have been grieved to have parted abruptly last
night."

"I could not refuse such a request," said the lady; "but do you know, I
never like to say farewell, even for four-and-twenty hours? One should
vanish like a spirit."

"Then I have erred," said Lothair, "against your rules and principles."

"Say my fancies," said the lady, "my humors, my whims. Besides, this is
not a farewell. You will come and see us. Colonel Campian tells me you
have promised to give us that pleasure."

"It will be the greatest pleasure to me," said Lothair; "I can conceive
nothing greater." And then hesitating a little, and a little blushing,
he added, "When do you think I might come?"

"Whenever you like," said the lady; "you will always find me at home. My
life is this: I ride every day very early, and far into the country, so
I return tamed some two or three hours after noon, and devote myself to
my friends. We are at home every evening, except opera nights; and
let me tell you, because it is not the custom generally among your
compatriots, we are always at home on Sundays."

Colonel Campian entered the room; the moment of departure was at hand.
Lothair felt the consolation of being their companion to the station. He
had once hoped it might be possible to be their companion in the train;
but he was not encouraged.

"Railways have elevated and softened the lot of man," said Theodora,
"and Colonel Campian views them with almost a religious sentiment. But I
cannot read in a railroad, and the human voice is distressing to me
amid the whirl and the whistling, and the wild panting of the loosened
megatheria who drag us. And then those terrible grottos--it is quite a
descent of Proserpine; so I have no resources but my thoughts."

"And surely that is sufficient," murmured Lothair.

"Not when the past is expelled," said the lady.

"But the future," said Lothair.

"Yes, that is ever interesting, but so vague that it sometimes induces
slumber."

The bell sounded; Lothair handed the lady to her compartment.

"Our Oxford visit," she said, "has been a great success, and mainly
through you."

The colonel was profuse in his cordial farewells, and it seemed they
would never have ended had not the train moved.

Lothair remained upon the platform until it was out of sight, and then
exclaimed, "Is it a dream, or shall I ever see her again?"



CHAPTER 27


Lothair reached London late in the afternoon. Among the notes and cards
and letters on his table was a long and pressing dispatch from Mr.
Putney Giles awaiting his judgment and decision on many points.

"The central inauguration, if I may use the term," said Mr. Putney
Giles, "is comparatively easy. It is an affair of expense and of
labor--great labor; I may say unremitting labor. But your lordship will
observe the other points are not mere points of expense and labor. We
have to consult the feelings of several counties where your lordship
cannot be present, at least certainly not on this occasion, and yet
where an adequate recognition of those sentiments which ought to exist
between the proprietor and all classes connected with him ought to be
secured. Then Scotland: Scotland is a very difficult business to manage.
It is astonishing how the sentiment lingers in that country connected
with its old independence. I really am quite surprised at it. One of
your lordship's most important tenants wrote to me only a few days back
that great dissatisfaction would prevail among your lordship's friends
and tenantry in Scotland, if that country on this occasion were placed
on the same level as a mere English county. It must be recognized as
a kingdom. I almost think it would be better if we could persuade Lord
Culloden, not to attend the English inauguration, but remain in the
kingdom of Scotland, and take the chair and the lead throughout the
festal ceremonies. A peer of the realm, and your lordship's guardian,
would impart something of national character to the proceedings, and
this, with a judicious emblazoning on some of the banners of the royal
arms of Scotland, might have a conciliatory effect. One should always
conciliate. But your lordship, upon all these points, and especially
with reference to Lord Culloden, must be a much better judge than I am."

Lothair nearly gave a groan. "I almost wish," he thought, "my minority
would never end. I am quite satisfied with things as they are. What is
the kingdom of Scotland to me and all these counties? I almost begin to
feel that satiety which she said was inseparable from vast possessions."

A letter from Bertram, reminding him that he had not dined at White's as
he had promised, and suggesting some new arrangement, and another from
Monsignore Catesby, earnestly urging him to attend a most peculiar and
solemn function of the Church next Sunday evening, where the cardinal
would officiate and preach, and in which Lady St. Jerome and Miss
Arundel were particularly interested, did not restore his equanimity.

A dinner at White's! He did not think he could stand a dinner at
White's. Indeed, he was not sure that he could stand any dinner
anywhere, especially in this hot weather. There was a good deal in what
she said: "One ought to eat alone."

The ecclesiastical function was a graver matter. It had been long
contemplated, often talked about, and on occasions looked forward to
by him even with a certain degree of eagerness. He wished he had had
an opportunity of speaking with her on these matters. She was eminently
religious; that she had voluntarily avowed. And he felt persuaded that
no light or thoughtless remark could fall from those lips. He wondered
to what Church she belonged? Protestant or papal? Her husband, being
an American, was probably a Protestant, but he was a gentleman of the
South, and with nothing puritanical about him. She was a European, and
probably of a Latin race. In all likelihood she was a Roman Catholic.

It was Wednesday evening, and his valet reminded him that he was engaged
to dine with Lord and Lady Montairy.

Lothair sighed. He was so absorbed by his new feelings that he shrunk
from society with a certain degree of aversion. He felt it quite out of
his power to fulfil his engagement. He sent an excuse. It was Lothair's
first excuse. In short, he "threw over" the Montairys, to whom he was
so much attached, whom he so much admired, and whose society he had
hitherto so highly prized.

To "throw over" a host is the most heinous of social crimes. It
ought never to be pardoned. It disjoints a party, often defeats the
combinations which might affect the results of a season, and generally
renders the society incoherent and unsatisfactory. If the outrage
could ever be condoned, it might be in the instance of a young man
very inexperienced, the victim of some unexpected condition of nervous
feelings over which the defaulter has really no control.

It was evening, and the restless Lothair walked forth without a purpose,
and in a direction which he rarely visited. "It is a wonderful place,"
said he, "this London; a nation, not a city; with a population greater
than some kingdoms, and districts as different as if they were under
different governments and spoke different languages. And what do I know
of it? I have been living here six months, and my life has been passed
in a park, two or three squares, and half a dozen streets!"

So he walked on and soon crossed Oxford Street, like the Rhine a natural
boundary, and then got into Portland Place, and then found himself
in the New Road, and then he hailed a cruising Hansom, which he had
previously observed was well horsed.

"'Tis the gondola of London," said Lothair as he sprang in.

"Drive on till I tell you to stop."

And the Hansom drove on, through, endless boulevards, some bustling,
some dingy, some tawdry and flaring, some melancholy and mean; rows of
garden gods, planted on the walls of yards full of vases and divinities
of concrete, huge railway halls, monster hotels, dissenting chapels in
the form of Gothic churches, quaint ancient almshouses that were once
built in the fields, and tea-gardens and stingo-houses and knackers'
yards. They were in a district far beyond the experience of Lothair,
which indeed had been exhausted when he had passed Eustonia, and from
that he had been long separated. The way was broad but ill-lit, with
houses of irregular size but generally of low elevation, and sometimes
detached in smoke-dried gardens. The road was becoming a bridge which
crossed a canal, with barges and wharves and timber-yards, when their
progress was arrested by a crowd. It seemed a sort of procession; there
was a banner, and the lamp-light fell upon a religious emblem. Lothair
was interested, and desired the driver not to endeavor to advance. The
procession was crossing the road and entering a building.

"It's a Roman Catholic chapel," said a bystander in answer to Lothair.
"I believe it is a meeting about one of their schools. They always have
banners."

"I think I will get out," said Lothair to his driver. "This, I suppose,
will pay your fare."

The man stared with delight at the sovereign in his astonished palm, and
in gratitude suggested that he should remain and wait for the gentleman,
but the restless Lothair declined the proposal.

"Sir, sir," said the man, leaning down his head as low as possible
from his elevated seat, and speaking in a hushed voice, "you are a real
gentleman. Do you know what all this is?"

"Yes, yes; some meeting about a Roman Catholic school."

The man shook his head. "You are a real gentleman, and I will tell you
the truth. They meet about the schools of the order of St. Joseph--over
the left--it is a Fenian meeting."

"A Fenian meeting?"

"Ay, ay, and you cannot enter that place without a ticket. Just you try!
However, if a gentleman like you wants to go, you shall have my ticket,"
said the cab-driver; "and here it is. And may I drive to-morrows as true
a gentleman as I have driven to-day!"

So saying, he took a packet from his breast-pocket, and opening it
offered to Lothair a green slip of paper, which was willingly accepted.
"I should like above all things to go," he said, and he blended with
the rear of those who were entering the building. The collector of
the tickets stared at Lothair and scrutinized his pass, but all was in
order, and Lothair was admitted.

He passed through a house and a yard, at the bottom of which was a
rather spacious building. When he entered it, he saw in an instant it
was not a chapel. It was what is called a temperance-hall, a room to be
hired for public assemblies, with a raised platform at the end, on which
were half a dozen men. The hall was tolerably full, and Lothair came
in among the last. There were some children sitting on a form placed
against the wall of the room, each with a bun which kept them quiet; the
banner belonged to this school, and was the banner of St. Joseph.

A man dressed like a pries and known as Father O'Molloy, came forward.
He was received with signs of much sympathy, succeeded by complete
silence. He addressed them in a popular and animated style on the
advantages of education. They knew what that was, and then they
cheered.. Education taught them to know their rights. But what was the
use of knowing their rights unless they enforced them? That was not
to be done by prayer-books, but by something else, and something else
wanted a subscription.

This was the object of the meeting and the burden of all the speeches
which followed, and which were progressively more outspoken than the
adroit introductory discourse. The Saxon was denounced, sometimes with
coarseness, but sometimes in terms of picturesque passion; the vast and
extending organization of the brotherhood was enlarged on, the great
results at hand intimated; the necessity of immediate exertion on the
part of every individual pressed with emphasis. All these views and
remarks received from the audience an encouraging response; and when
Lothair observed men going round with boxes, and heard the clink of
coin, he felt very embarrassed as to what he should do when asked to
contribute to a fund raised to stimulate and support rebellion against
his sovereign. He regretted the rash restlessness which had involved him
in such a position.

The collectors approached Lothair, who was standing at the end of the
room opposite to the platform, where the space was not crowded.

"I should like to speak to Father O'Molloy," said Lothair; "he is a
priest, and will understand my views."

"He is a priest here," said one of the collectors with a sardonic laugh,
"but I am glad to say you will not find his name in the directory.
Father O'Molloy is on the platform and engaged."

"If you want to speak to the father, speak from where you are," said
the other collector. "Here, silence! a gentleman wants to address the
meeting."

And there was silence, and Lothair felt extremely embarrassed, but he
was not wanting, though it was the first time in his life that he had
addressed a public meeting.

"Gentlemen," said Lothair, "I really had no wish to intrude upon you;
all I desired was to speak to Father O'Molloy. I wished to tell him that
it would have given me pleasure to subscribe to these schools. I am not
a Roman Catholic, but I respect the Roman Catholic religion. But I can
do nothing that will imply the slightest sanction of the opinions I
have heard expressed this evening. For your own sakes--" but here a yell
arose which forever drowned his voice.

"A spy, a spy!" was the general exclamation. "We are betrayed! Seize
him! Knock him over!" and the whole meeting seemed to have turned their
backs on the platform and to be advancing on the unfortunate Lothair.
Two of the leaders on the platform at the same time leaped down from it,
to direct as it were the enraged populace.

But at this moment a man who had been in the lower part of the hall, in
the vicinity of Lothair and standing alone, pushed forward, and by his
gestures and general mien arrested somewhat the crowd, so that the two
leaders who leaped from the platform and bustled through the crowd came
in contact with him.

The stranger was evidently not of the class or country of the rest
assembled. He had a military appearance, and spoke with a foreign accent
when he said, "This is no spy. Keep your people off."

"And who are you?" inquired the leader thus addressed.

"One accustomed to be obeyed," said the stranger.

"You may be a spy yourself," said the leader.

"I will not undertake to say that there are no spies in this room," said
the stranger, "but this person is not one, and anybody who touches this
person will touch this person at his peril. Stand off, men!" And they
stood off. The wave retreated backward, leaving the two leaders in
front. A couple of hundred men, a moment before apparently full of
furious passion and ready to take refuge in the violence of fear, were
cowed by a single human being.

"Why, you are not afraid of one man?" said the leaders, ashamed of their
following. "Whatever betides, no one unknown shall leave this room, or
it will be Bow Street to-morrow morning."

"Nevertheless," said the stranger, "two unknown men will leave this room
and with general assent. If any one touches this person or myself I will
shoot him dead," and he drew out his revolver, "and as for the rest,
look at that," he added, giving a paper to the leader of the Fenian
Lodge, "and then give it me back again."

The leader of the Fenian Lodge glanced at the paper; he grew pale, then
scarlet, folded the paper with great care and returned it reverentially
to the stranger, then looking round to the assembly and waving his hand
he said, "All right, the gentlemen are to go."

"Well, you have got out of a scrape, young air," said the stranger to
Lothair when they had escaped from the hall.

"And how can I express my gratitude to you?" Lothair replied.

"Poh!" said the stranger, "a mere affair of common duty. But what
surprises me is how you got your pass-ticket."

Lothair told him all.

"They manage their affairs in general wonderfully close," said the
stranger, "but I have no opinion of them. I have just returned from
Ireland, where I thought I would go and see what they really are after.
No real business in them. Their treason is a fairy tale, and their
sedition a child talking in its sleep."

They walked together about half a mile, and then the stranger said, "At
the end of this we shall get into the City Road, and the land again of
omnibus and public conveyances, and I shall wish you good night."

"But it is distressing to me to part thus," said Lothair. "Pray let me
call and pay my respects to my benefactor."

"No claim to any such title," said the stranger; "I am always glad to
be of use. I will not trouble you to call on me, for, frankly, I have no
wish to increase the circle of my acquaintance. So, good-night; and, as
you seem to be fond of a little life, take my advice, and never go about
unarmed."



CHAPTER 28


The Fenian adventure furnished the distraction which Lothair required
It broke that absorbing spell of sentiment which is the delicious but
enervating privilege of the youthful heart; yet, when Lothair woke in
the morning from his well-earned slumbers, the charm returned, and he
fell at once into a reverie of Belmont, and a speculation when he might
really pay his first visit there. Not to-day--that was clearly out of
the question. They had separated only yesterday, and yet it seemed an
age, and the adventure of another world. There are moods of feeling
which defy alike time and space.

But on the morrow, Friday, he might venture to go. But, then, would
to-morrow ever come? It seemed impossible. How were the intervening
hours to pass? The world, however, was not so devoid of resources
as himself, and had already appropriated his whole day. And, first,
Monsignore Catesby came to breakfast with him, talking of every thing
that was agreeable or interesting, but in reality bent on securing his
presence at the impending ecclesiastical ceremony of high import, where
his guardian was to officiate, and where the foundation was to be laid
of the reconciliation of all churches in the bosom of the true one.
Then, in the afternoon, Lothair had been long engaged to a match of
pigeon-shooting, in which pastime Bertram excelled. It seemed there was
to be a most exciting sweepstakes to-day, in which the flower of England
were to compete; Lothair among them, and for the first time.

This great exploit of arms was to be accomplished at the Castle in the
Air, a fantastic villa near the banks of the Thames, belonging to
the Duke of Brecon. His grace had been offended by the conduct or
the comments of the outer world, which in his pastime had thwarted or
displeased him in the free life of Battersea. The Duke of Brecon was a
gentleman easily offended, but not one of those who ever confined their
sense of injury to mere words. He prided himself on "putting down" any
individual or body of men who chose to come into collision with him. And
so in the present instance he formed a club of pigeon-shooters, and
lent them his villa for their rendezvous and enjoyment. The society was
exquisite, exclusive, and greatly sought after. And the fine ladies,
tempted, of course, by the beauty of the scene, honored and inspired the
competing confederates by their presence.

The Castle in the Air was a colossal thatched cottage, built by a
favorite of, King George IV. It was full of mandarins and pagodas and
green dragons, and papered with birds of many colors and with vast
tails. The gardens were pretty, and the grounds park-like, with some
noble cedars and some huge walnut-trees.

The Duke of Brecon was rather below the middle size, but he had a
singularly athletic frame not devoid of symmetry. His head was well
placed on his broad shoulders, and his mien was commanding. He was
narrow-minded and prejudiced, but acute, and endowed with an unbending
will. He was an eminent sportsman, and brave even to brutality. His
boast was that he had succeeded in every thing he had attempted, and he
would not admit the possibility of future failure. Though still a
very young man, he had won the Derby, training his own horse; and he
successfully managed a fine stud in defiance of the ring, whom it was
one of the secret objects of his life to extirpate. Though his manner
to men was peremptory, cold, and hard, he might be described as popular,
for there existed a superstitious belief in his judgment, and it was
known that in some instances, when he had been consulted, he had given
more than advice. It could not be said that he was beloved, but he was
feared and highly considered. Parasites were necessary to him, though he
despised them.

The Duke of Brecon was an avowed admirer, of Lady Corisande, and was
intimate with her family. The duchess liked him much, and was often seen
at ball or assembly on his arm. He had such excellent principles, she
said; was so straight-forward, so true and firm. It was whispered that
even Lady Corisande had remarked that the Duke of Brecon was the only
young man of the time who had "character." The truth is, the duke,
though absolute and hard to men, could be soft and deferential to women,
and such an exception to a general disposition has a charm. It was said,
also, that he had, when requisite, a bewitching smile.

If there were any thing or any person in the world that St. Aldegonde
hated more than another, it was the Duke of Brecon. Why St. Aldegonde
hated him was not very clear, for they had never crossed each other,
nor were the reasons for his detestation, which he occasionally gave,
entirely satisfactory: sometimes it was because the duke drove piebalds;
sometimes because he had a large sum in the funds, which St. Aldegonde
thought disgraceful for a duke; sometimes because he wore a particular
hat, though, with respect to this last allegation, it does not follow
that St. Aldegonde was justified in his criticism, for in all these
matters St. Aldegonde was himself very deficient, and had once strolled
up St. James's Street with his dishevelled looks crowned with a
wide-awake. Whatever might be the cause, St. Aldegonde generally wound
up--"I tell you what, Bertha, if Corisande marries that follow, I have
made up my mind to go to the Indian Ocean. It is a country I never have
seen, and Pinto tells me you cannot do it well under five years."

"I hope you will take me, Grenville, with you," said Lady St. Aldegonde,
"because it is highly probable Corisande will marry the duke; mamma, you
know, likes him so much."

"Why cannot Corisande marry Carisbrooke?" said St. Aldegonde, pouting;
"he is a really good fellow, much better-looking, and so far as land is
concerned, which after all is the only thing, has as large an estate as
the duke."

"Well, these things depend a little upon taste," said Lady St.
Aldegonde.

"No, no," said St. Aldegonde; "Corisande must marry Carisbrooke.
Your father would not like my going to the Indian Archipelago and not
returning for five years, perhaps never returning. Why should Corisande
break up our society?--why are people so selfish? I never could go to
Brentham again if the Duke of Brecon is always to be there, giving his
opinion, and being what your mother calls 'straightforward'--I hate a
straightforward fellow. As Pinto says, if every man were straightforward
in his opinions, there would be no conversation. The fun of talk is to
find out what a man really thinks, then contrast it with the enormous
lies he has been telling all dinner, and, perhaps, all his life."

It was a favorable day for the Castle in the Air; enough, but not
too much sun, and a gentle breeze. Some pretty feet, not alone, were
sauntering in the gardens, some pretty lips lingered in the rooms
sipping tea; but the mass of the fair visitors, marvellously attired,
were assembled at the scene of action, seated on chairs and in groups,
which assumed something of the form of an amphitheatre. There were many
gentlemen in attendance on them, or independent spectators of the sport.
The field was large, not less than forty competitors, and comprising
many of the best shots in England. The struggle therefore, was long and
ably maintained; but, as the end approached, it was evident that the
contest would be between Bertram, Lothair, and the Duke of Brecon.

Lady St. Aldegonde and Lady Montairy were there and their unmarried
sister. The married sisters were highly excited in favor of their
brother, but Lady Corisande said nothing. At last Bertram missed a
bird, or rather his bird, which he had hit, escaped, and fell beyond the
enclosure. Lothair was more successful, and it seemed that it might be
a tie between him and the duke. His grace, when called, advanced with
confident composure, and apparently killed both his birds, when, at
this moment, a dog rushed forward and chased one of the mortally-struck
pigeons. The blue-rock, which was content to die by the hand of a duke,
would not deign to be worried by a dog, and it frantically moved its
expiring wings, scaled the paling, and died. So Lothair won the prize.

"Well," said Lady Montairy to Lothair, "as Bertram was not to win, I am
glad it was you."

"And you will not congratulate me?" said Lothair to Lady Corisande.

She rather shook her head. "A tournament of doves," she said. "I would
rather see you all in the lists of Ashby."

Lothair had to dine this day with one of the vanquished. This was Mr.
Brancepeth, celebrated for his dinners, still more for his guests. Mr.
Brancepeth was a grave young man. It was supposed that he was always
meditating over the arrangement of his menus, or the skilful means by
which he could assemble together the right persons to partake of them.
Mr. Brancepeth had attained the highest celebrity in his peculiar
career. To dine with Mr. Brancepeth was a social incident that was
mentioned. Royalty had consecrated his banquets, and a youth of note was
scarcely a graduate of society who had not been his guest. There was one
person, however, who, in this respect, had not taken his degree, and, as
always happens under such circumstances, he was the individual on
whom Mr. Brancepeth was most desirous to confer it; and this was St.
Aldegonde. In vain Mr. Brancepeth had approached him with vast cards of
invitation to hecatombs, and with insinuating little notes to dinners
sans fa on; proposals which the presence of princes might almost
construe into a command, or the presence of some one even more
attractive than princes must invest with irresistible charm. It was all
in vain. "Not that I dislike Brancepeth," said St. Aldegonde; "I rather
like him: I like a man who can do only one thing, but does that well.
But then I hate dinners."

But the determined and the persevering need never despair of gaining
their object in this world. And this very day, riding home from the
Castle in the Air, Mr. Brancepeth overtook St. Aldegonde, who was
lounging about on a rough Scandinavian cob, as dishevelled as himself,
listless and groomless. After riding together for twenty minutes, St.
Aldegonde informed Mr. Brancepeth, as was his general custom with his
companions, that he was bored to very extinction, and that he did not
know what he should do with himself for the rest of the day. "If I could
only get Pinto to go with me, I think I would run down to the Star and
Garter, or perhaps to Hampton Court."

"You will not be able to get Pinto today," said Mr. Brancepeth, "for he
dines with me."

"What an unlucky fellow I am!" exclaimed St. Aldegonde, entirely to
himself. "I had made up my mind to dine with Pinto to-day."

"And why should you not? Why not meet Pinto at my house?"

"Well, that is not my way," said St. Aldegonde, but not in a decided
tone. "You know I do not like strangers, and crowds of wine-glasses, and
what is called all the delicacies of the season."

"You will meet no one that you do not know and like. It is a little
dinner I made for--" and he mentioned Lothair.

"I like Lothair," said St. Aldegonde, dreamily. "He is a nice boy."

"Well, you will have him and Pinto to yourself."

The large fish languidly rose and swallowed the bait, and the exulting
Mr. Brancepeth cantered off to Hill Street to give the necessary
instructions.

Mr. Pinto was one of the marvels of English society; the most sought
after of all its members, though no one could tell you exactly why. He
was a little oily Portuguese, middle-aged, corpulent, and somewhat bald,
with dark eyes of sympathy, not unmixed with humor. No one knew who he
was, and in a country the most scrutinizing as to personal details, no
one inquired or cared to know. A quarter of a century ago an English
noble had caught him in his travels, and brought him young to England,
where he had always remained. From the favorite of an individual, he had
become the oracle of a circle, and then the idol of society. All this
time his manner remained unchanged. He was never at any time either
humble or pretentious. Instead of being a parasite, everybody flattered
him; and instead of being a hanger-on of society, society hung on Pinto.

It must have been the combination of many pleasing qualities, rather
than the possession of any commanding one, that created his influence.
He certainly was not a wit yet he was always gay, and always said
things that made other people merry. His conversation was sparkling,
interesting, and fluent, yet it was observed he never gave an opinion
on any subject and never told an anecdote. Indeed, he would sometimes
remark, when a man fell into his anecdotage, it was a sign for him to
retire from the world. And yet Pinto rarely opened his mouth without
everybody being stricken with mirth. He had the art of viewing common
things in a fanciful light, and the rare gift of raillery which
flattered the self-love of those whom it seemed sportively not to spare.
Sometimes those who had passed a fascinating evening with Pinto would
try to remember on the morrow what he had said, and could recall
nothing. He was not an intellectual Croesus, but his pockets were full
of six-pences.

One of the ingredients of his social spell was no doubt his manner,
which was tranquil even when he was droll. He never laughed except with
his eyes, and delivered himself of his most eccentric fancies in an
unctuous style. He had a rare gift of mimicry, which he used with
extreme reserve, and therefore was proportionately effective when
displayed. Add to all this, a sweet voice, a soft hand, and a
disposition both soft and sweet, like his own Azores. It was understood
that Pinto was easy in his circumstances, though no one know where these
circumstances were. His equipage was worthy of his position, and in his
little house in May Fair he sometimes gave a dinner to a fine lady, who
was as proud of the event as the Queen of Sheba of her visit to Solomon
the Great.

When St. Aldegonde arrived in Hill Street, and slouched into the saloon
with as uncouth and graceless a general mien as a handsome and naturally
graceful man could contrive to present, his keen though listless glance
at once revealed to him that he was as he described it at dinner to Hugo
Bohun in a social jungle, in which there was a great herd of animals
that he particularly disliked, namely, what he entitled "swells." The
scowl on his distressed countenance at first intimated a retreat; but
after a survey, courteous to his host, and speaking kindly to Lothair as
he passed on, he made a rush to Mr. Pinto, and, cordially embracing him,
said, "Mind we sit together."

The dinner was not a failure, though an exception to the polished
ceremony of the normal Brancepeth banquet. The host headed his table,
with the Duke of Brecon on his right and Lothair on his left hand, and
"swells" of calibre in their vicinity; but St. Aldegonde sat far away,
next to Mr. Pinto, and Hugo Bohun on the other side of that gentleman.
Hugo Bohun loved swells, but he loved St. Aldegonde more. The general
conversation in the neighborhood of Mr. Brancepeth did not flag: they
talked of the sport of the morning, and then, by association of ideas,
of every other sport. And then from the sports of England they ranged
to the sports of every other country. There were several there who had
caught salmon in Norway and killed tigers in Bengal, and visited those
countries only for that purpose. And then they talked of horses, and
then they talked of women.

Lothair was rather silent; for in this society of ancients, the youngest
of whom was perhaps not less than five-and-twenty, and some with nearly
a lustre added to that mature period, he felt the awkward modesty of
a freshman. The Duke of Brecon talked much, but never at length. He
decided every thing, at least to his own satisfaction; and if his
opinion were challenged, remained unshaken, and did not conceal it.

All this time a different scene was enacting at the other end of the
table. St. Aldegonde, with his back turned to his other neighbor, hung
upon the accents of Mr. Pinto, and Hugo Bohun imitated St. Aldegonde.
What Mr. Pinto said or was saying was quite inaudible, for he always
spoke low, and in the present case he was invisible, like an ortolan
smothered in vine-leaves; but every now and then St. Aldegonde broke
into a frightful shout, and Hugo Bohun tittered immensely. Then St.
Aldegonde, throwing himself back in his chair, and talking to himself or
the ceiling, would exclaim, "Best thing I ever heard," while Hugo nodded
sympathy with a beaming smile.

The swells now and then paused in their conversation and glanced at the
scene of disturbance.

"They seem highly amused there," said Mr. Brancepeth. "I wish they would
pass it on."

"I think St. Aldegonde," said the Duke of Brecon, "is the least
conventional man of my acquaintance."

Notwithstanding this stern sneer, a practiced general like Mr.
Brancepeth felt he had won the day. All his guests would disperse and
tell the world that they had dined with him and met St. Aldegonde,
and to-morrow there would be a blazoned paragraph in the journals
commemorating the event, and written as if by a herald. What did a
little disturb his hospitable mind was that St. Aldegonde literally
tasted nothing. He did not care so much for his occasionally leaning on
the table with both his elbows, but that he should pass by every dish
was distressing. So Mr. Brancepeth whispered to his own valet--a fine
gentleman, who stood by his master's chair and attended on no one else,
except, when requisite, his master's immediate neighbor--and desired him
to suggest to St. Aldegonde whether the side-table might not provide,
under the difficulties, some sustenance. St. Aldegonde seemed quite
gratified by the attention, and said he should like to have some cold
meat. Now, that was the only thing the side-table, bounteous as was its
disposition, could not provide. All the joints of the season were named
in vain, and pies and preparations of many climes. But nothing would
satisfy St. Aldegonde but cold meat.

"Well, now I shall begin my dinner," he said to Pinto, when he was at
length served. "What surprises me most in you is your English. There is
not a man who speaks such good English as you do."

"English is an expressive language," said Mr. Pinto, "but not difficult
to master. Its range is limited. It consists, as far as I can observe,
of four words: 'nice,' 'jolly,' 'charming,' and 'bore;' and some
grammarians add 'fond.'"

When the guests rose and returned to the saloon, St. Aldegonde was in
high spirits, and talked to every one, even to the Duke of Brecon, whom
he considerately reminded of his defeat in the morning, adding that from
what he had seen of his grace's guns he had no opinion of them, and that
he did not believe that breech-loaders suited pigeon-shooting.

Finally, when he bade farewell to his host, St. Aldegonde assured him
that he "never in his life made so good a dinner, and that Pinto had
never been so rich."

When the party broke up, the majority of the guests went, sooner or
later, to a ball that was given this evening by Lady St. Jerome. Others,
who never went to balls, looked forward with refined satisfaction to a
night of unbroken tobacco. St. Aldegonde went to play whist at the house
of a lady who lived out of town. "I like the drive home," he said; "the
morning air is so refreshing when one has lost one's money."

A ball at St. Jerome House was a rare event, but one highly appreciated.
It was a grand mansion, with a real suite of state apartments, including
a genuine ballroom in the Venetian style, and lighted with chandeliers
of rock-crystal. Lady St. Jerome was a woman of taste and splendor and
romance, who could do justice to the scene and occasion. Even Lord St.
Jerome, quiet as he seemed, in these matters was popular with young men.
It was known that Lord St. Jerome gave, at his ball suppers, the same
champagne that he gave at his dinners, and that was of the highest
class. In short, a patriot. We talk with wondering execration of the
great poisoners of past ages, the Borgias, the inventor of aqua tofana,
and the amiable Marchioness de Brinvilliers; but Pinto was of opinion
that there were more social poisoners about in the present day than in
the darkest, and the most demoralized periods, and then none of them are
punished; which is so strange, he would add, as they are all found out.

Lady St. Jerome received Lothair, as Pinto said, with extreme unction.
She looked in his eyes, she retained his hand, she said that what she
had heard had made her so happy. And then, when he was retiring, she
beckoned him back and said she must have some tea, and, taking his arm,
they walked away together. "I have so much to tell you," she said,
"and every thing is so interesting. I think we are on the eve of great
events. The monsignore told me your heart was with us. It must be. They
are your own thoughts, your own wishes. We are realizing your own
ideal. I think next Sunday will be remembered as a great day in English
history; the commencement of a movement that may save every thing. The
monsignore, I know, has told you all."

Not exactly; the Oxford visit had deranged a little the plans of the
monsignore, but he had partially communicated the vast scheme. It
seems there was a new society to be instituted for the restoration of
Christendom. The change of name from Christendom to Europe had proved a
failure and a disastrous one. "And what wonder?" said Lady St. Jerome.
"Europe is not even a quarter of the globe, as the philosophers
pretended it was. There is already a fifth division, and probably there
will be many more, as the philosophers announce it impossible." The
cardinal was to inaugurate the institution on Sunday next at the
Jesuits' Church, by one of his celebrated sermons. It was to be a
function of the highest class. All the faithful of consideration were to
attend, but the attendance was not to be limited to the faithful. Every
sincere adherent of church principles who was in a state of prayer and
preparation, was solicited to be present and join in the holy and common
work of restoring to the Divine Master His kingdom upon earth with its
rightful name.

It was a brilliant ball. All the "nice" people in London were there. All
the young men who now will never go to balls were present. This was from
respect to the high character of Lord St. Jerome. Clare Arundel looked
divine, dressed in a wondrous white robe garlanded with violets, just
arrived from Paris, a present from her god-mother, the Duchess of
Lorrain-Sehulenbourg. On her head a violet-wreath, deep and radiant
as her eyes, and which admirably contrasted with her dark golden-brown
hair.

Lothair danced with her, and never admired her more. Her manner toward
him was changed. It was attractive, even alluring. She smiled on him,
she addressed him in tones of sympathy, even of tenderness. She seemed
interested in all he was doing; she flattered him by a mode which is
said to be irresistible to a man, by talking only of himself. When
the dance had finished, he offered to attend her to the tea-room. She
accepted the invitation even with cordiality.

"I think I must have some tea," she said, "and I like to go with my
kinsman."

Just before supper was announced, Lady St. Jerome told Lothair, to his
surprise, that he was to attend Miss Arundel to the great ceremony. "It
is Clare's ball," said Lady St. Jerome, "given in her honor, and you are
to take care of her."

"I am more than honored," said Lothair. "But does Miss Arundel wish it,
for, to tell you the truth, I thought I had rather abused her indulgence
this evening?"

"Of course she wishes it," said Lady St. Jerome. "Who should lead her
out on such an occasion--her own ball--than the nearest and dearest
relation she has in the world, except ourselves?"

Lothair made no reply to this unanswerable logic, but was as surprised
as he was gratified. He recalled the hour when the kinship was, at the
best, but coldly recognized, the inscrutable haughtiness, even distrust,
with which Miss Arundel listened to the exposition of his views and
feelings, and the contrast which her past mood presented to her present
brilliant sympathy and cordial greeting. But he yielded to the magic of
the flowing hour. Miss Arundel, seemed, indeed, quite a changed being
to-night, full of vivacity, fancy, feeling--almost fun. She was witty,
and humorous, and joyous, and fascinating. As he fed her with cates as
delicate as her lips, and manufactured for her dainty beverages which
would not outrage their purity, Lothair, at last, could not refrain from
intimating his sense of her unusual but charming joyousness.

"No," she said, turning round with animation, "my natural disposition,
always repressed, because I have felt overwhelmed by the desolation of
the world. But now I have hope; I have more than hope, I have joy. I
feel sure this idea of the restoration of Christendom comes from Heaven.
It has restored me to myself, and has given me a sense of happiness in
this life which I never could contemplate. But what is the climax of my
joy is, that you, after all my own blood, and one in whose career I have
ever felt the deepest interest, should be ordained to lay, as it were,
the first stone of this temple of divine love."

It was break of day when Lothair jumped into his brougham. "Thank
Heaves," he exclaimed, "it is at last Friday!"



CHAPTER 29


There is something very pleasant in a summer suburban ride in the valley
of the Thames. London transforms itself into bustling Knightsbridge, and
airy Brompton, brightly and gracefully, lingers cheerfully in the long,
miscellaneous, well-watered King's-road, and only says farewell when
you come to an abounding river and a picturesque bridge. The boats were
bright upon the waters when Lothair crossed it, and his dark chestnut
barb, proud of its resplendent form, curveted with joy when it reached
a green common, studded occasionally with a group of pines and well
bedecked with gorse. After this he pursued the public road for a couple
of miles until he observed on his left hand a gate on which was written
"private road," and here he stopped. The gate was locked, but, when
Lothair assured the keeper that he was about to visit Belmont, he was
permitted to enter.

He entered a green and winding lane, fringed with tall elms, and dim
with fragrant shade, and, after proceeding about half a mile, came to a
long, low-built lodge, with a thatched and shelving roof, and surrounded
by a rustic colonnade covered with honeysuckle. Passing through the gate
at hand, he found himself in a road winding through gently-undulating
banks of exquisite turf, studded with rare shrubs, and, occasionally,
rarer trees. Suddenly the confined scene expanded; wide lawns spread
out before him, shadowed with the dark forms of many huge cedars, and
blazing with flower-beds of every hue. The house was also apparent, a
stately mansion of hewn stone, with wings and a portico of Corinthian
columns, and backed by deep woods.

This was Belmont, built by a favorite minister of state, to whom a
grateful and gracious sovereign had granted a slice of a royal park
whereon to raise a palace and a garden, and find occasionally Tusculan
repose.

The lady of the mansion was at home, and, though Lothair was quite
prepared for this, his heart beat. The inner hall was of noble
proportion, and there were ranged in it many Roman busts, and some
ancient slabs and altars of marble. These had been collected some
century ago by the minister; but what immediately struck the eye of
Lothair were two statues by an American artist, and both of fame, the
Sybil and the Cleopatra. He had heard of these, but had never seen
them, and could not refrain from lingering a moment to gaze upon their
mystical and fascinating beauty.

He proceeded through two spacious and lofty chambers, of which it was
evident the furniture was new. It was luxurious and rich, and full of
taste; but there was no attempt to recall the past in the details; no
cabinets and clocks of French kings, or tables of French queens, no
chairs of Venetian senators, no candelabra, that had illumined Doges
of Genoa, no ancient porcelain of rare schools, and ivory carvings and
choice enamels. The walls were hung with master-pieces of modern art,
chiefly of the French school, Ingres and Delaroche and Scheffer.

The last saloon led into a room of smaller dimensions, opening on the
garden, and which Lothair at first thought must be a fernery, it
seemed so full of choice and expanding specimens of that beautiful and
multiform plant; but, when his eye had become a little accustomed to the
scene and to the order of the groups, he perceived they were only the
refreshing and profuse ornaments of a regularly furnished and inhabited
apartment. In its centre was a table covered with writing-materials and
books and some music. There was a chair before the table, so placed as
if some one had only recently quitted it; a book was open, but turned
upon its face, with an ivory cutter by its side. It would seem that the
dweller in the chamber might not be far distant. The servant invited
Lothair to be seated, and, saying that Mrs. Campian must be in the
garden, proceeded to inform his mistress of the arrival of a guest.

The room opened on a terrace adorned with statues and orange-trees, and
descending gently into a garden in the Italian style, in the centre
of which was a marble fountain of many figures. The grounds were not
extensive, but they were only separated from the royal park by a wire
fence, so that the scene seemed alike rich and illimitable. On the
boundary was a summer-house in the shape of a classic temple, one of
those pavilions of pleasure which nobles loved to raise in the last
century.

As Lothair beheld the scene with gratification, the servant reappeared
on the step of the terrace and invited him to descend. Guiding him
through the garden, the servant retired as Lothair recognized Mrs.
Campian approaching them.

She gave her hand to Lothair and welcomed him cordially but with
serenity. They mutually exchanged hopes that their return to town had
been agreeable. Lothair could not refrain from expressing how pleased he
was with Belmont.

"I am glad you approve of our hired home," said Theodora; "I think we
were fortunate in finding one that suits our tastes and habits. We love
pictures and statues and trees and flowers, and yet we love our friends,
and our friends are people who live in cities."

"I think I saw two statues to-day of which I have often heard," said
Lothair.

"The Sibyl and Cleopatra! Yes Colonel Campian is rather proud of
possessing them. He collects only modern art, for which I believe there
is a great future, though some of our friends think it is yet in its
cradle."

"I am very sorry to say," said Lothair, "that I know very little about
art, or indeed any thing else, but I admire what is beautiful. I know
something about architecture, at least church architecture."

"Well, religion has produced some of our finest buildings," said
Theodora; "there is no question of that; and as long as they are adapted
to what takes place in them they are admirable. The fault I find in
modern churches in this country is, that there is little relation
between the ceremonies and the structure. Nobody seems now conscious
that every true architectural form has a purpose. But I think the climax
of confused ideas is capped when dissenting chapels are built like
cathedrals."

"Ah! to build a cathedral!" exclaimed Lothair, "that is a great
enterprise. I wish I might show you some day some drawings I have of a
projected cathedral."

"A projected cathedral!" said Theodora. "Well, I must confess to you I
never could comprehend the idea of a Protestant cathedral."

"But I am not quite sure," said Lothair, blushing and agitated, "that it
will be a Protestant cathedral. I have not made up my mind about that."

Theodora glanced at him, unobserved, with her wonderful gray eyes; a
sort of supernatural light seemed to shoot from beneath their long dark
lashes and read his inmost nature. They were all this time returning, as
she had suggested, to the house. Rather suddenly she said, "By-the-by,
as you are so fond of art, I ought to have asked you whether you would
like to see a work by the sculptor of Cleopatra, which arrived when we
were at Oxford. We have placed it on a pedestal in the temple. It is the
Genius of Freedom. I may say I was assisting at its inauguration when
your name was announced to me."

Lothair caught at this proposal, and they turned and approached the
temple. Some workmen were leaving the building as they entered, and one
or two lingered.

Upon a pedestal of porphyry rose the statue of a female in marble.
Though veiled with drapery which might have become the Goddess of
Modesty, admirable art permitted the contour of the perfect form to be
traced. The feet were without sandals, and the undulating breadth of
one shoulder, where the drapery was festooned, remained uncovered. One
expected with such a shape some divine visage. That was not wanting;
but humanity was asserted in the transcendent brow, which beamed with
sublime thought and profound enthusiasm.

Some would have sighed that such beings could only be pictured in a
poet's or an artist's dream, but Lothair felt that what he beheld with
rapture was no ideal creation, and that he was in the presence of the
inspiring original.

"It is too like!" he murmured.

"It is the most successful recurrence to the true principles of art in
modern sculpture," said a gentleman on his right hand.

This person was a young man, though more than ten years older than
Lothair. His appearance was striking. Above the middle height, his form,
athletic though lithe and symmetrical, was crowned by a countenance
aquiline but delicate, and from many circumstances of a remarkable
radiancy. The lustre of his complexion, the fire of his eye, and his
chestnut hair in profuse curls, contributed much to this dazzling
effect. A thick but small mustache did not conceal his curved lip or the
scornful pride of his distended nostril, and his beard, close but not
long, did not veil the singular beauty of his mouth. It was an arrogant
face, daring and vivacious, yet weighted with an expression of deep and
haughty thought.

The costume of this gentleman was rich and picturesque. Such
extravagance of form and color is sometimes encountered in the
adventurous toilet of a country house, but rarely experienced in what
might still be looked upon as a morning visit in the metropolis.

"You know Mr. Phoebus?" asked a low, clear voice, and turning round
Lothair was presented to a person so famous that even Lothair had heard
of him.

Mr. Phoebus was the most successful, not to say the most eminent,
painter of the age. He was the descendant of a noble family of Gascony
that had emigrated to England from France in the reign of Louis XIV.
Unquestionably they had mixed their blood frequently during the interval
and the vicissitudes of their various life; but, in Gaston Phoebus,
Nature, as is sometimes her wont, had chosen to reproduce exactly the
original type. He was the Gascon noble of the sixteenth century, with
all his brilliancy, bravery, and boastfulness, equally vain, arrogant,
and eccentric, accomplished in all the daring or the graceful pursuits
of man, yet nursed in the philosophy of our times.

"It is presumption in my talking about such things," said Lothair; "but
might I venture to ask what you may consider the true principles of
art?"

"ARYAN principles," said Mr. Phoebus; "not merely the study of Nature,
but of beautiful Nature; the art of design in a country inhabited by
a first-rate race, and where the laws, the manners, the customs, are
calculated to maintain the health and beauty of a first-rate race. In
a greater or less degree, these conditions obtained from the age of
Pericles to the age of Hadrian in pure Aryan communities, but Semitism
began then to prevail, and ultimately triumphed. Semitism has destroyed
art; it taught man to despise his own body, and the essence of art is to
honor the human frame."

"I am afraid I ought not to talk about such things," said Lothair; "but,
if by Semitism you mean religion, surely the Italian painters inspired
by Semitism did something."

"Great things," said Mr. Phoebus--"some of the greatest. Semitism gave
them subjects, but the Renaissance gave them Aryan art, and it gave that
art to a purely Aryan race. But Semitism rallied in the shape of the
Reformation, and swept all away. When Leo the Tenth was pope, popery was
pagan; popery is now Christian, and art is extinct."

"I cannot enter into such controversies," said Lothair. "Every day I
feel more and more I am extremely ignorant."

"Do not regret it," said Mr. Phoebus. "What you call ignorance is your
strength. By ignorance you mean a want of knowledge of books. Books are
fatal; they are the curse of the human race. Nine-tenths of existing
books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that
nonsense. The greatest misfortune that ever befell man was the invention
of printing. Printing has destroyed education. Art is a great thing, and
Science is a great thing; but all that art and science can reveal can be
taught by man and by his attributes--his voice, his hand, his eye. The
essence of education is the education of the body. Beauty and health
are the chief sources of happiness. Men should live in the air; their
exercises should be regular, varied, scientific. To render his body
strong and supple is the first duty of man. He should develop and
completely master the whole muscular system. What I admire in the order
to which you belong is that they do live in the air; that they excel in
athletic sports; that they can only speak one language; and that they
never read. This is not a complete education, but it is the highest
education since the Greek."

"What you say I feel encouraging," said Lothair, repressing a smile,
"for I myself live very much in the air, and am fond of all sports;
but I confess I am often ashamed of being so poor a linguist, and was
seriously thinking that I ought to read."

"No doubt every man should combine an intellectual with a physical
training," replied Mr. Phoebus; "but the popular conception of the means
is radically wrong. Youth should attend lectures on art and science by
the most illustrious professors, and should converse together afterward
on what they have heard. They should learn to talk; it is a rare
accomplishment, and extremely healthy. They should have music always at
their meals. The theatre, entirely remodelled and reformed, and, under a
minister of state, should be an important element of education. I should
not object to the recitation of lyric poetry. That is enough. I would
not have a book in the house, or even see a newspaper."

"These are Aryan principles?" said Lothair.

"They are," said Mr. Phoebus; "and of such principles, I believe,
a great revival is at hand. We shall both live to see another
Renaissance."

"And our artist here," said Lothair, pointing to the statue, "you are of
opinion that he is asserting these principles?"

"Yes; because he has produced the Aryan form by studying the Aryan form.
Phidias never had a finer model, and he has not been unequal to it."

"I fancied," said Lothair, in a lower and inquiring tone, though Mrs.
Campian had some time before glided out of the pavilion, and was giving
directions to the workmen--"I fancied I had heard that Mrs. Campian was
a Roman."

"The Romans were Greeks," said Mr. Phoebus, "and in this instance the
Phidian type came out. It has not been thrown away. I believe Theodora
has inspired as many painters and sculptors as any Aryan goddess. I look
upon her as such, for I know nothing more divine."

"I fear the Phidian type is very rare," said Lothair.

"In nature and in art there must always be surpassing instances," said
Mr. Phoebus. "It is a law, and a wise one; but, depend upon it, so
strong and perfect a type as the original Aryan must be yet abundant
among the millions, and may be developed. But for this you want great
changes in your laws. It is the first duty of a state to attend to the
frame and health of the subject. The Spartans understood this. They
permitted no marriage the probable consequences of which might be a
feeble progeny; they even took measures to secure a vigorous one. The
Romans doomed the deformed to immediate destruction. The union of the
races concerns the welfare of the commonwealth much too nearly to
be intrusted to individual arrangement. The fate of a nation will
ultimately depend upon the strength and health of the population. Both
France and England should look to this; they have cause. As for our
mighty engines of war in the hands of a puny race, it will be the old
story of the lower empire and the Greek fire. Laws should be passed
to secure all this, and some day they will be. But nothing can be done
until the Aryan races are extricated from Semitism."



CHAPTER 30


Lothair returned to town in a not altogether satisfactory state of mind.
He was not serene or content. On the contrary, he was rather agitated
and perplexed. He could not say he regretted his visit. He had seen her,
and he had seen her to great advantage. He had seen much too that was
pleasing, and had heard also many things that, if not pleasing, were
certainly full of interest. And yet, when he cantered back over the
common, the world somehow did not seem to him so bright and exhilarating
as in the ambling morn. Was it because she was not alone? And yet why
should he expect she should be alone? She had many friends, and she was
as accessible to them as to himself. And yet a conversation with her,
as in the gardens of Blenheim, would have been delightful, and he had
rather counted on it. Nevertheless, it was a great thing to know men
like Mr. Phoebus, and hear their views on the nature of things. Lothair
was very young, and was more thoughtful than studious. His education
hitherto had been, according to Mr. Phoebus, on the right principle, and
chiefly in the open air; but he was intelligent and susceptible, and in
the atmosphere of Oxford, now stirred with many thoughts, he had imbibed
some particles of knowledge respecting the primeval races which had
permitted him to follow the conversation of Mr. Phoebus not absolutely
in a state of hopeless perplexity. He determined to confer with Father
Coleman on the Aryan race and the genius of Semitism. As he returned
through the park, he observed the duchess, and Lady Corisande in their
barouche, resting for a moment in the shade, with Lord Carisbrooke on
one side and the Duke of Brecon on the other.

As he was dressing for dinner, constantly brooding on one thought, the
cause of his feeling of disappointment occurred to him. He had hoped
in this visit to have established some basis of intimacy, and to have
ascertained his prospect and his means of occasionally seeing her. But
he had done nothing of the kind. He could not well call again at Belmont
under a week, but even then Mr. Phoebus or some one else might be there.
The world seemed dark. He wished he had never gone to Oxford. However
a man may plan his life, he is the creature of circumstances. The
unforeseen happens and upsets every thing. We are mere puppets.

He sat next to an agreeable woman at dinner, who gave him an interesting
account of a new singer she had heard the night before at the opera--a
fair Scandinavian, fresh as a lily and sweet as a nightingale.

"I was resolved to go and hear her," said the lady; "my sister Feodore,
at Paris, had written to me so much about her. Do you know, I have never
been to the opera for an age! That alone was quite a treat to me. I
never go to the opera, nor to the play, nor to any thing else. Society
has become so large and so exacting, that I have found out one never
gets any amusement."

"Do you know, I never was at the opera?" said Lothair.

"I am not at all surprised; and when you go--which I suppose you will
some day--what will most strike you is, that you will not see a single
person you ever saw in your life."

"Strange!"

"Yes; it shows what a mass of wealth and taste and refinement there is
in this wonderful metropolis of ours, quite irrespective of the circles
in which we move, and which we once thought entirely engrossed them."

After the ladies had retired, Bertram, who dined at the same house,
moved up to him; and Hugo Bohun came over and took the vacant seat on
his other side.

"What have you been doing with yourself?" said Hugo. "We have not seen
you for a week."

"I went down to Oxford about some horses," said Lothair.

"Fancy going down to Oxford about some horses in the heart of the
season," said Hugo. "I believe you are selling us, and that, as the
Scorpion announces, you are going to be married."

"To whom?" said Lothair.

"Ah! that is the point. It is a dark horse at present, and we want you
to tell us."

"Why do not you marry, Hugo?" said Bertram.

"I respect the institution," said Hugo, "which is admitting something in
these days; and I have always thought that every woman should marry, and
no man."

"It makes a woman and it mars a man, you think?" said Lothair.

"But I do not exactly see how your view would work practically," said
Bertram.

"Well my view is a social problem," said Hugo, "and social problems are
the fashion at present. It would be solved through the exceptions,
which prove the principle. In the first place, there are your swells
who cannot avoid the halter--you are booked when you are born; and then
there are moderate men like myself, who have their weak moments. I would
not answer for myself if I could find an affectionate family with good
shooting and first-rate claret."

"There must be many families with such conditions," said Lothair.

Hugo shook his head. "You try. Sometimes the wine is good and the
shooting bad; sometimes the reverse; sometimes both are excellent, but
then the tempers and the manners are equally bad."

"I vote we three do something to-morrow," said Bertram.

"What shall it be?" said Hugo.

"I vote we row down to Richmond at sunset and dine, and then drive our
teams up by moonlight. What say you, Lothair?"

"I cannot, I am engaged. I am engaged to go to the opera."

"Fancy going to the opera in this sweltering weather!" exclaimed
Bertram.

"He must be going to be married," said Hugo.

And yet on the following evening, though the weather was quite as sultry
and he was not going to be married, to the opera Lothair went. While the
agreeable lady the day before was dilating at dinner on this once famous
entertainment, Lothair remembered that a certain person went there
every Saturday evening, and he resolved that he should at least have the
satisfaction of seeing her.

It was altogether a new scene for Lothair, and, being much affected by
music, he found the general influence so fascinating that some little
time elapsed before he was sufficiently master of himself to recur to
the principal purpose of his presence. His box was on the first tier,
where he could observe very generally and yet himself be sufficiently
screened. As an astronomer surveys the starry heavens until his
searching sight reaches the desired planet, so Lothair's scrutinizing
vision wandered till his eye at length lighted on the wished-for orb.
In the circle above his own, opposite to him but nearer the stage, he
recognized the Campians. She had a star upon her forehead, as when he
first met her some six months ago; it seemed an age.

Now what should he do? He was quite unlearned in the social habits of
an opera-house. He was not aware that he had the privilege of paying the
lady a visit in her box, and, had he been so, he was really so shy in
little things that he never could have summoned resolution to open the
door of his own box and request an attendant to show him that of Mrs.
Campian. He had contrived to get to the opera for the first time in his
life, and the effort seemed to have exhausted his social enterprise. So
h remained still, with his glass fixed very constantly on Mrs. Campian,
and occasionally giving himself up to the scene. The performance did not
sustain the first impression. There were rival prima-donnas, and they
indulged in competitive screams; the choruses were coarse, and
the orchestra much too noisy. But the audience were absorbed or
enthusiastic. We may be a musical nation, but our taste would seem to
require some refinement.

There was a stir in Mrs. Campian's box: a gentleman entered and seated
himself. Lothair concluded he was an invited guest, and envied him. In
about a quarter of an hour the gentleman bowed and retired, and another
person came in, and one whom Lothair recognized as a young man who had
been sitting during the first act in a stall beneath him. The system of
paying visits at the opera then flashed upon his intelligence, as some
discovery in science upon a painful observer. Why should he not pay a
visit too? But how to do it? At last he was bold enough to open the door
of his own box and go forth, but he could find no attendant, and some
persons passing his open door, and nearly appropriating his lodge, in a
fit of that nervous embarrassment which attends inexperience in little
things, he secured his rights by returning baffled to his post.

There had been a change in Mrs. Campian's box in the interval. Colonel
Campian had quitted it, and Mr. Phoebus occupied his place. Whether it
were disappointment at his own failure or some other cause, Lothair
felt annoyed. He was hot and cold by turns; felt awkward and blundering;
fancied people were looking at him; that in some inexplicable sense he
was ridiculous; wished he had never gone to the opera.

As time, and considerable time, elapsed, he became even miserable. Mr.
Phoebus never moved, and Mrs. Campian frequently conversed with him.
More than one visitor had in the interval paid their respects to the
lady, but Mr. Phoebus never moved. They did not stay, perhaps because
Mr. Phoebus never moved.

Lothair never liked that fellow from the first. Sympathy and antipathy
share our being as day and darkness share our lives. Lothair had felt
an antipathy for Mr. Phoebus the moment he saw him. He had arrived at
Belmont yesterday before Lothair, and he had outstayed him. These might
be Arian principles, but they were not the principles of good-breeding.

Lothair determined to go home, and never to come to the opera again. He
opened the door of his box with firmness, and slammed it with courage;
he had quite lost his shyness, was indeed ready to run a muck with
any one who crossed him. The slamming of the door summoned a scudding
attendant from a distant post, who with breathless devotion inquired
whether Lothair wanted any thing.

"Yes, I want you to show me the way to Mrs. Campian's box."

"Tier above, No. 22," said the box-keeper.

"Ay, ay; but conduct me to it," said Lothair, and he presented the man
with an overpowering honorarium.

"Certainly, my lord," said the attendant.

"He knows me," thought Lothair; but it was not so. When the British
nation is at once grateful and enthusiastic, they always call you "my
lord."

But in his progress, to "No. 22, tier above," all his valor evaporated,
and when the box-door was opened he felt very much like a convict on the
verge of execution; he changed color, his legs tottered, his heart beat,
and he made his bow with a confused vision. The serenity of Theodora
somewhat reassured him, and he seated himself, and even saluted Mr.
Phoebus.

The conversation was vapid and conventional--remarks about the opera and
its performers--even the heat of the weather was mentioned. Lothair had
come, and he had nothing to say. Mrs. Campian seemed much interested
in the performance; so, if he had had any thing to say, there was no
opportunity of expressing it. She had not appeared to be so engrossed
with the music before his arrival. In the mean time that Phoebus would
not move; a quarter of an hour elapsed, and that Phoebus would not move.
Lothair could not stand it any longer; he rose and bowed.

"Are you going?" said Theodora. "Colonel Campian will be here in a
moment; he will be quite grieved not to see you."

But Lothair was inflexible. "Perhaps," she added, "we may see you
to-morrow night?"

"Never," said Lothair to himself, as he clinched his teeth; "my visit to
Belmont was my first and my last. The dream is over."

He hurried to a club in which he had been recently Initiated, and of
which the chief purpose is to prove to mankind that night to a wise man
has its resources as well as gaudy day. Here striplings mature their
minds in the mysteries of whist, and stimulate their intelligence by
playing at stakes which would make their seniors look pale; here matches
are made; and odds are settled, and the cares or enterprises of life
are soothed or stimulated by fragrant cheroots or beakers of Badminton.
Here, in the society of the listless and freakish St. Aldegonde, and
Hugo Bohun, and Bertram, and other congenial spirits, Lothair consigned
to oblivion the rival churches of Christendom, the Aryan race, and the
genius of Semitism.

It was an hour past dawn when he strolled home. London is often
beautiful in summer at that hour, the architectural lines clear and
defined in the smokeless atmosphere, and ever and anon a fragrant gale
from gardened balconies wafted in the blue air. Nothing is stirring
except wagons of strawberries and asparagus, and no one visible except
a policeman or a member of Parliament returning from a late division,
where they have settled some great question that need never have been
asked. Eve has its spell of calmness and consolation, but dawn brings
hope and joy.

But not to Lothair. Young, sanguine, and susceptible, he had, for a
moment, yielded to the excitement of the recent scene, but with his
senses stilled by the morning air, and free from the influence of
Bertram's ready sympathy, and Hugo Bohun's gay comments on human life,
and all the wild and amusing caprice, and daring wilfulness, and grand
affectation, that distinguish and inspire a circle of patrician youth,
there came over him the consciousness that to him something dark had
occurred, something bitter and disappointing and humiliating, and that
the breaking morn would not bring to him a day so bright and hopeful as
his former ones.

At first he fell into profound slumber: it was the inevitable result of
the Badminton and the late hour. There was a certain degree of physical
exhaustion which commanded repose. But the slumber was not long, and his
first feeling, for it could not be called thought, was that some great
misfortune had occurred to him; and then the thought following the
feeling brought up the form of the hated Phoebus. After that he had no
real sleep, but a sort of occasional and feverish doze with intervals
of infinite distress, waking always to a consciousness of inexpressible
mortification and despair.

About one o'clock, relinquishing all hope of real and refreshing
slumber, he rang his bell, and his valet appearing informed him that
Father Coleman had called, and the monsignore had called, and that now
the cardinal's secretary had just called, but the valet had announced
that his lord was indisposed. There was also a letter from Lady St.
Jerome. This news brought a new train of feeling. Lothair remembered
that this was the day of the great ecclesiastical function, under the
personal auspices of the cardinal, at which indeed Lothair hid never
positively promised to assist, his presence at which he had sometimes
thought they pressed unreasonably, not to say even indelicately, but
at which he had perhaps led them, not without cause, to believe that he
would be present. Of late the monsignore had assumed that Lothair had
promised to attend it.

Why should he not? The world was all vanity. Never did he feel more
convinced than at this moment of the truth of his conclusion, that if
religion were a real thing, man should live for it alone; but then came
the question of the Churches. He could not bring himself without a
pang to contemplate a secession from the Church of his fathers. He took
refuge in the wild but beautiful thought of a reconciliation between
Rome and England. If the consecration of the whole of his fortune to
that end could assist in effecting the purpose, he would cheerfully make
the sacrifice. He would then go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre,
and probably conclude his days in a hermitage on Mount Athos.

In the mean time he rose, and, invigorated by his bath, his thoughts
became in a slight degree more mundane. They recurred to the events of
the last few days of his life, but in a spirit of self-reproach and of
conscious vanity and weakness. Why, he had not known her a week! This
was Sunday morning, and last Sunday he had attended St. Mary's and
offered up his earnest supplications for the unity of Christendom.
That was then his sovereign hope and thought. Singular that a casual
acquaintance with a stranger, a look, a glance, a word, a nothing,
should have so disturbed his spirit and distracted his mind.

And yet--

And then he fell into an easy-chair, with a hair-brush in either hand,
and conjured up in reverie all that had passed since that wondrous morn
when he addressed her by the road-side, until the last dark hour when
they parted--and forever. There was not a word she had uttered to
him, or to any one else, that he did not recall; not a glance, not
a gesture--her dress, her countenance, her voice, her hair. And what
scenes had all this passed in! What refined and stately loveliness!
Blenheim, and Oxford, and Belmont! They became her. Ah! why could not
life consist of the perpetual society of such delightful people in such
delightful places?

His valet entered and informed him that the monsignore had returned, and
would not be denied. Lothair roused himself from his delicious reverie,
and his countenance became anxious and disquieted. He would have
struggled against the intrusion, and was murmuring resistance to his
hopeless attendant, who shook his head, when the monsignore glided into
the room without permission, as the valet disappeared.

It was a wonderful performance: the monsignore had at the same time
to make a reconnoissance and to take up a position--to find out what
Lothair intended to do, and yet to act and speak as if he was acquainted
with those intentions, and was not only aware of, but approved them. He
seemed hurried and yet tranquil, almost breathless with solicitude and
yet conscious of some satisfactory consummation. His tones were at all
times hushed, but to-day he spoke in a whisper, though a whisper of
emphasis, and the dark eyes of his delicate aristocratic visage peered
into Lothair, even when he was making a remark which seemed to require
no scrutiny.

"It is one of the most important days for England that have happened in
our time," said the monsignore. "Lady St. Jerome thinks of nothing else.
All our nobility will be there--the best blood in England--and some
others who sympathize with the unity of the Church, the real question.
Nothing has ever gratified the cardinal more than your intended
presence. He sent to you this morning. He would have called himself, bat
he has much to go through today. His eminence said to me: 'It is exactly
what I want. Whatever way be our differences, and they are really
slight, what I want is to show to the world that the sons of the Church
will unite for the cause of Divine truth. It is the only course that can
save society.' When Lady St. Jerome told him that you were coming this
evening, his eminence was so affected that--"

"But I never said I was coming this evening," said Lothair, rather
dryly, and resolved to struggle, "either to Lady St. Jerome or to any
one else. I said I would think of it."

"But for a Christian to think of duty is to perform it," said the
monsignore. "To be ignorant of a duty is a sin, but to be aware of duty,
and not to fulfil it, is heinous."

"But is it a duty?" said Lothair, rather doggedly.

"What! to serve God and save society? Do you doubt it? Have you read the
'Declaration of Geneva?' They have declared war against the Church,
the state, and the domestic principle. All the great truths and laws
on which the family reposes are denounced. Have you seen Garibaldi's
letter? When it was read, and spoke of the religion of God being
propagated throughout the world, there was a universal cry of 'No, no!
no religion!' But the religion of God was soon so explained as to allay
all their fears. It is the religion of science. Instead of Adam, our
ancestry is traced to the most grotesque of creatures, thought is
phosphorus, the soul complex nerves, and our moral sense a secretion of
sugar. Do you want these views in England? Rest assured they are coming.
And how are we to contend against them? Only by Divine truth. And where
is Divine truth? In the Church of Christ--in the gospel of order, peace,
and purity."

Lothair rose, and paced the room with his eyes on the ground.

"I wish I had been born in the middle ages," he exclaimed, "or on the
shores of the Sea of Galilee, or in some other planet: anywhere, or at
any time, but in this country and in this age!"

"That thought is not worthy of you, my lord," said Catesby. "It is a
great privilege to live in this country and in this age. It is a
great privilege, in the mighty contest between the good and the evil
principle, to combat for the righteous. They stand face to face now, as
they have stood before. There is Christianity, which, by revealing the
truth, has limited the license of human reason; there is that human
reason which resists revelation as a bondage--which insists upon being
atheistical, or polytheistical, or pantheistical--which looks upon the
requirements of obedience, justice, truth, and purity, as limitations
of human freedom. It is to the Church that God has committed the custody
and execution of His truth and law. The Church, as witness, teacher, and
judge, contradicts and offends the spirit of license to the quick. This
is why it is hated; this is why it is to be destroyed, and why they
are preparing a future of rebellion, tyranny, falsehood, and degrading
debauchery. The Church alone can save us, and you are asked to
supplicate the Almighty to-night, under circumstances of deep hope, to
favor the union of churchmen, and save the human race from the impending
deluge."

Lothair threw himself again into his seat and sighed. "I am rather
indisposed today, my dear monsignore, which is unusual with me, and
scarcely equal to such a theme, doubtless of the deepest interest to
me and to all. I myself wish, as you well know, that all mankind were
praying under the same roof. I shall continue in seclusion this morning.
Perhaps you will permit me to think over what you have said with so much
beauty and force."

"I had forgotten that I had a letter to deliver to you," said Catesby;
and he drew from his breast-pocket a note which he handed to Lothair,
who opened it quite unconscious of the piercing and even excited
observation of his companion.

Lothair read the letter with a changing countenance, and then he read
it again and blushed deeply. The letter was from Miss Arundel. After a
slight pause, without looking up, he said, "Nine o'clock is the hour, I
believe."

"Yes," said the monsignore rather eagerly, "but, were I you, I would be
earlier than that. I would order my carnage at eight. If you will permit
me, I will order it for you. You are not quite well. It will save you
some little trouble, people coming into the room and all that, and the
cardinal will be there by eight o'clock."

"Thank you," said Lothair; "have the kindness then, my dear monsignore,
to order my brougham for me at half-past eight and just say that I can
see no one. Adieu!"

And the priest glided away.

Lothair remained the whole morning in a most troubled state, pacing his
rooms, leaning sometimes with his arm upon the mantel-piece, and his
face buried in his arm, and often he sighed. About half-past five
he rang for his valet and, dressed, and in another hour he broke his
fast--a little soup, a cutlet, and a glass or two of claret. And then he
looked at his watch; and he looked at his watch every five minutes for
the next hour.

He was in deep reverie, when the servant announced that his carriage was
ready. He started as from a dream, then pressed his hand to his eyes,
and kept it there for some moments, and then, exclaiming, "Jacta est
alea," he descended the stairs.

"Where to, my lord?" inquired the servant when he had entered the
carriage.

Lothair seemed to hesitate, and then he said, "To Belmont."



CHAPTER 31


"Belmont is the only house I know that is properly lighted," said Mr.
Phoebus, and he looked with complacent criticism round the brilliant
saloons. "I would not visit any one who had gas in his house; but even
in palaces I find lamps--it is too dreadful. When they came here first,
there was an immense chandelier suspended in each of these rooms,
pulling down the ceilings, dwarfing the apartments, leaving the guests
all in darkness, and throwing all the light on the roof. The chandelier
is the great abomination of furniture; it makes a noble apartment look
small. And then they say you cannot light rooms without chandeliers!
Look at these--need any thing be more brilliant? And all the light in
the right place--on those who are in the chamber. All light should come
from the side of a room, and if you choose to have candelabra like these
you can always secure sufficient."

Theodora was seated on a sofa, in conversation with a lady of
distinguished mien and with the countenance of a Roman empress. There
were various groups in the room, standing or seated. Colonel Campian was
attending a lady to the piano where a celebrity presided, a gentleman
with cropped head and a long black beard. The lady was of extraordinary
beauty--one of those faces one encounters in Asia Minor, rich, glowing,
with dark fringed eyes of tremulous lustre; a figure scarcely less
striking, of voluptuous symmetry. Her toilet was exquisite--perhaps
a little too splendid for the occasion, but abstractedly of fine
taste--and she held, as she sang, a vast bouquet entirely of white
stove-flowers. The voice was as sweet as the stephanopolis, and the
execution faultless. It seemed the perfection of chamber-singing--no
shrieks and no screams, none of those agonizing experiments which result
from the fatal competition of rival prima-donnas.

She was singing when Lothair was ushered in. Theodora rose and greeted
him with friendliness. Her glance was that of gratification at his
arrival, but the performance prevented any conversation save a few
kind remarks interchanged in a hashed tone. Colonel Campian came up: he
seemed quite delighted at renewing his acquaintance with Lothair, and
began to talk rather too loudly, which made some of the gentlemen
near the piano turn round with glances of wondering reproach. This
embarrassed his newly-arrived guest, who in his distress caught the bow
of a lady who recognized him, and whom he instantly remembered as Mrs.
Putney Giles. There was a vacant chair by her side, and he was glad to
occupy it.

"Who is that lady?" inquired Lothair of his companion, when the singing
ceased.

"That is Madame Phoebus," said Mrs. Giles.

"Madame Phoebus!" exclaimed Lothair, with an unconscious feeling of some
relief. "She is a very beautiful woman. Who was she?"

"She is a Cantacuzene, a daughter of the famous Greek merchant. The
Cantcuzenes, you know, are great people, descendants of the Greek
emperors. Her uncle is prince of Samos. Mr. Cantacuzene was very much
opposed to the match, but I think quite wrong. Mr. Phoebus is a most
distinguished man, and the alliance is of the happiest. Never was such
mutual devotion."

"I am not surprised," said Lothair, wonderfully relieved.

"Her sister Euphrosyne is in the room," continued Mrs. Giles, "the most
extraordinary resemblance to her. There is just the difference between
the matron and the maiden; that is all. They are nearly of the same age,
and before the marriage might have been mistaken for each other.
The most charming thing in the world is to hear the two sisters sing
together. I hope they may to-night. I know the family very well. It was
Mrs. Cantacuzene who introduced me to Theodora. You know it is quite en
r gle to call her Theodora. All the men call her Theodora; 'the divine
Theodora' is, I believe, the right thing."

"And do you call her Theodora?" asked Lothair, rather dryly.

"Why, no," said Mrs. Giles, a little confused. "We are not intimate, at
least not very, Ms. Campian has been at my house, and I have been here
two et three times; not so often as I could wish, for Mr. Giles, you
see, does not like servants and horses to be used on Sundays--and no
more do I--and on weekdays he is too much engaged or too tired to come
out this distance; so you see--"

The singing had ceased, and Theodora approached them. Addressing
Lothair, she said: "The Princess of Tivoli wishes that you should be
presented to her."

The Princess of Tivoli was a Roman dame of one of the most illustrious
houses, but who now lived at Paris. She had in her time taken an active
part in Italian politics, and had sacrificed to the cause to which she
was devoted the larger part of a large fortune. What had been spared,
however, permitted her to live in the French capital with elegance, if
not with splendor; and her saloon was the gathering roof, in Paris,
of almost every one who was celebrated for genius or accomplishments.
Though reputed to be haughty and capricious, she entertained for
Theodora an even passionate friendship, and now visited England only to
see her.

"Madame Campian has been telling me of all the kind things you did for
her at Oxford," said the princess. "Some day you must show me Oxford,
but it must be next year. I very much admire the free university life.
Tell me now, at Oxford you still have the Protestant religion?"

Lothair ventured to bow assent.

"Ah! that is well," continued the princess. "I advise you to keep it. If
we had only had the Protestant religion in Italy, things would have
been very different. You are fortunate in this country in having
the Protestant religion and a real nobility. Tell me now, in your
constitution, if the father sits in the Upper Chamber, the son sits in
the Lower House--that I know; but is there any majorat at attached to
his seat?"

"Not at present."

"You sit in the Lower House, of course?"

"I am not old enough to sit in either House," said Lothair, "but when I
am of age, which I shall be when I have the honor of showing Oxford
to your highness, I must sit in the Upper House, for I have not the
blessing of a living father."

"Ah! that is a great thing in your country," exclaimed the princess, "a
man being his own master at so early an age."

"I thought it was a 'heritage of woe,'" said Lothair.

"No, no," said the princess; "the only tolerable thing in life is
action, and action is feeble without youth. What if you do not obtain
your immediate object?--you always think you will, and the detail of the
adventure is full of rapture. And thus it is the blunders of youth are
preferable to the triumphs of manhood, or the successes of old age."

"Well, it will be a consolation for me to remember this when I am in a
scrape," said Lothair.

"Oh! you have many, many scrapes awaiting you," said the princess.
"You may look forward to at least ten years of blunders--that is,
illusions--that is, happiness. Fortunate young man!"

Theodora had, without appearing to intend it, relinquished her seat
to Lothair, who continued his conversation with the princess, whom he
liked, but who, he was sorry to hear, was about to leave England, and
immediately--that very night. "Yes," she said, "it is my last act
of devotion. You know, in my country we have saints and shrines. All
Italians, they say, are fond, are superstitious; my pilgrimage is to
Theodora. I must come and worship her once a year."

A gentleman bowed lowly to the princess, who returned his salute with
pleased alacrity. "Do you know who that is?" said the princess to
Lothair. "That is Baron Gozelius, one of our great reputations. He must
have just arrived. II will present you to him; it is always agreeable to
know a great man," she added--"at least Goethe says so!"

The philosopher, at her invitation, took a chair opposite the sofa.
Though a profound man, he had all the vivacity and passion which are
generally supposed to be peculiar to the superficial. He had remarkable
conversational power, which he never spared. Lothair was captivated by
his eloquence, his striking observations, his warmth, and the flashing
of his southern eye.

"Baron Gozelius agrees with your celebrated pastor, Dr. Cumming," said
Theodora, with a tinge of demure sarcasm, "and believes that the end of
the world is at hand."

"And for the same reasons?" inquired Lothair.

"Not exactly," said Theodora, "but in this instance science and
revelation have arrived at the same result, and that is what all
desire."

"All that I said was," said Gozelius, "that the action of the sun had
become so irregular that I thought the chances were in favor of the
destruction of our planet. At least, if I were a public office, I would
not insure it."

"Yet the risk would not be very great under those circumstances," said
Theodora.

"The destruction of this worlds foretold," said Lothair; "the stars
are to fall from the sky; but while I credit, I cannot bring my mind to
comprehend, such a catastrophe."

"I have seen a world created and a world destroyed," said Gozelius. "The
last was flickering ten years, and it went out as I was watching it."

"And the first?" inquired Lothair, anxiously.

"Disturbed space for half a century--a great pregnancy. William Herschel
told me it would come when I was a boy, and I cruised for it through
two-thirds of my life. It came at last, and it repaid me."

There was a stir. Euphrosyne was going to sing with her sister. They
swept by Lothair in their progress to the instrument, like the passage
of sultanas to some kiosk on the Bosporus. It seemed to him that he had
never beheld any thing so resplendent. The air was perfumed by their
movement and the rustling of their wondrous robes. "They must be of the
Aryan race," thought Lothair, "though not of the Phidian type." They
sang a Greek air, and their sweet and touching voices blended with
exquisite harmony. Every one was silent in the room, because every one
was entranced. Then they gave their friends some patriotic lay which
required chorus, the sisters, in turn, singing a stanza. Mr. Phoebus
arranged the chorus in a moment, and there clustered round the piano
al number of gentlemen almost as good-looking and as picturesque as
himself. Then, while Madame Phoebus was singing, Euphrosyne suddenly,
and with quickness, moved away and approached Theodora, and whispered
something to her, but Theodora slightly shook her head, and seemed to
decline.

Euphrosyne regained the piano, whispered something to Colonel Campian,
who was one of the chorus, and then commenced her own part. Colonel
Campian crossed the room and spoke to Theodora, who instantly, without
the slightest demur, joined her friends. Lothair felt agitated, as
he could not doubt Theodora was going to sing. And so it was; when
Euphrosyne had finished, and the chorus she had inspired had died away,
there rose a deep contralto sound, which, though without effort, seemed
to Lothair the most thrilling tone he had ever listened to. Deeper and
richer, and richer and deeper, it seemed to become, as it wound with
exquisite facility through a symphony of delicious sound, until it ended
in a passionate burst, which made Lothair's heart beat so tumultuously
that for a moment he thought he should be overpowered.

"I never heard any thing so fine in my life," said Lothair to the French
philosopher.

"Ah! if you had heard that woman sing the Marseillaise, as I did once,
to three thousand people, then you would know what was fine. Not one of
us who would not have died on the spot for her!"

The concert was over. The Princess of Tivoli had risen to say farewell.
She stood apart with Theodora, holding both her hands, and speaking with
earnestness. Then she pressed her lips to Theodora's forehead, and said,
"Adieu, my best beloved; the spring will return."

The princess had disappeared, and Madame Phoebus came up to say
good-night to her hostess.

"It is such a delicious night," said Theodora, "that I have ordered our
strawberries-and-cream on the terrace. You must not go."

And so she invited them all to the terrace. There was not a breath
of air, the garden was flooded with moonlight, in which the fountain
glittered, and the atmosphere was as sweet as it was warm.

"I think the moon will melt the ice to-night," said Theodora, as she led
Madame Phoebus to a table covered with that innocent refreshment in many
forms, and pyramids of strawberries, and gentle drinks which the fancy
of America could alone devise.

"I wonder we did not pass the whole evening on the terrace," said
Lothair.

"One must sing in a room," said Euphrosyne, "or the nightingales would
eclipse us."

Lothair looked quickly at the speaker, and caught the glance of a
peculiar countenance--mockery blended with Ionian splendor.

"I think strawberries-and-cream the most popular of all food," said
Madame Phoebus, as some touched her beautiful lips.

"Yes; and one is not ashamed of eating it," said Theodora.

Soon there was that stir which precedes the breaking up of an assembly.
Mrs. Giles and some others had to return to town. Madame Phoebus and
Euphrosyne were near neighbors at Roehampton, but their carriage had
been for some time waiting. Mr. Phoebus did not accompany them. He chose
to walk home on such a night, and descended into the garden with his
remaining friends.

"They are going to smoke," said Theodora. "Is it your habit?"

"Not yet."

"I do not dislike it in the air and at a distance; but I banish them the
terrace. I think smoking must be a great consolation to a soldier;" and,
as she spoke, she moved, and, without formally inviting him, he found
himself walking by her side.

Rather abruptly he said, "You wore last night at the opera the same
ornament as on the first time I had the pleasure meeting you."

She looked at him with a smile, and a little surprised. "My solitary
trinket; I fear you will never see any other."

"But you do not despise trinkets?" said Lothair.

"Oh no; they are very well. Once I was decked with jewels and ropes of
pearls, like Titian's Queen of Cyprus. I sometimes regret my pearls.
There is a reserve about pearls which I like--something soft and dim.
But they are all gone, and I ought not to regret them, for they went in
a good cause. I kept the star, because it was given to me by a hero; and
once we flattered ourselves it was a symbol."

"I wish I were a hero!" said Lothair.

"You may yet prove one."

"And if I do, may I give you a star?"

"If it be symbolical."

"But of what?"

"Of an heroic purpose."

"But what is an heroic purpose?" exclaimed Lothair. "Instead of being
here to-night, I ought, perhaps, to have been present at a religious
function of the highest and deepest import, which might have influenced
my destiny, and led to something heroic. But my mind is uncertain and
unsettled. I speak to you without reserve, for my heart always entirely
opens to you, and I have a sort of unlimited confidence in your
judgment. Besides, I have never forgotten what you said at Oxford about
religion--that you could not conceive society without religion. It is
what I feel myself, and most strongly; and yet there never was a period
when religion was so assailed. There is no doubt the atheists are
bolder, are more completely organized, both as to intellectual and even
physical force, than ever was known. I have heard that from the highest
authority. For my own part, I think I am prepared to die for Divine
truth. I have examined myself severely, but I do not think I should
falter. Indeed, can there be for man a nobler duty than to be the
champion of God? But then the question of the churches interferes. If
there were only one church, I could see my way. Without a church, there
can be no true religion, because otherwise you have no security for the
truth. I am a member of the Church of England, and when I was at Oxford
I thought the Anglican view might be sustained. But, of late, I have
given ray mind deeply to these matters, for, after all, they are the
only matters a man should think of; and, I confess to you, the claim of
Rome to orthodoxy seems to me irresistible."

"You make no distinction, then, between religion and orthodoxy?" said
Theodora.

"Certainly I make no difference."

"And yet, what is orthodox at Dover is not orthodox at Calais or Ostend.
I should be sorry to think that, because there was no orthodoxy in
Belgium or France, there was no religion."

"Yes," said Lothair, "I think I see what you mean."

"Then again, if we go further," continued Theodora, "there is the whole
of the East; that certainly is not orthodox, according to your views.
You may not agree with all or any of their opinions, but you could
scarcely maintain that, as communities, they are irreligious."

"Well, you could not, certainly," said Lothair.

"So you see," said Theodora, "what is called orthodoxy has very little
to do with religion; and a person may be very religious without holding
the same dogmas as yourself, or, as some think, without holding any."

"According to you, then," said Lothair, "the Anglican view might be
maintained."

"I do not know what the Anglican view is," said Theodora. "I do not
belong to the Roman or to the Anglican Church."

"And yet, you are very religious," said Lothair.

"I hope so; I try to be so; and, when I fail in any duty, it is not the
fault of my religion. I never deceive myself into that; I know it is my
own fault."

There was a pause; but they walked on. The soft splendor of the scene
and all its accessories, the moonlight, and the fragrance, and the
falling waters, wonderfully bewitched the spirit of the young Lothair.

"There is nothing I would not tell you," he suddenly exclaimed, turning
to Theodora, "and sometimes I think there is nothing you would not tell
me. Tell me, then, I entreat you, what is your religion?"

"The true religion, I think," said Theodora. "I worship in a church
where I believe God dwells, and dwells for my guidance and my good--my
conscience."

"Your conscience may be divine," said Lothair, "and I believe it is; but
the consciences of other persons are not divine, and what is to
guide them, and what is to prevent or to mitigate the evil they would
perpetrate?"

"I have never heard from priests," said Theodora, "any truth which my
conscience had not revealed to me. They use different language from what
I use, but I find, after a time, that we mean the thing. What I call
time they call eternity; when they describe heaven, they give a picture
of earth; and beings whom they style divine, they invest with all the
attributes of humanity."

"And yet is it not true," said Lothair, "that--"

But, at this moment, there were the sounds of merriment and of
approaching footsteps; the form of Mr. Phoebus appeared ascending the
steps of the terrace, followed by others. The smokers had fulfilled
their task. There were farewells, and bows, and good-nights. Lothair had
to retire with the others, and, as he threw himself into his brougham,
he exclaimed: "I perceive that life is not so simple an affair as I once
supposed."



CHAPTER 32


When the stranger, who had proved so opportune an ally to Lothair at
the Fenian meeting, separated from his companion, he proceeded in the
direction of Pentonville, and, after pursuing his way through a number
of obscure streets, but quiet, decent, and monotonous, he stopped at
a small house in a row of many residences, yet all of them, in, form,
size, color, and general character, so identical, that the number on
the door could alone assure the visitor that he was not in error when he
sounded the knocker.

"Ah! is it you, Captain Bruges?" said the smiling and blushing maiden
who answered to his summons. "We have not seen you for a long time."

"Well, you look as kind and as pretty as ever, Jenny," said the captain,
"and how is my friend?"

"Well," said the damsel, and she shrugged her shoulders, "he mopes. I'm
very glad you have come back, captain, for he sees very few now, and is
always writing. I cannot bear that writing; if he would only go and take
a good walk, I am sure he would be better."

"There is something in that," said Captain Bruges. "And is he at home,
and will he see me?"

"Oh! he is always at home to you, captain; but I will just run up and
tell him you are here. You know it is long since we have seen you,
captain--coming on half a year, I think."

"Time flies, Jenny. Go, my good girl, and I will wait below."

"In the parlor, if you please, Captain Bruges. It is to let now. It is
more than a mouth since the doctor left us. That was a loss, for, as
long as the doctor was here, he always had some one to speak with."

So Captain Bruges entered the little dining-room with its mahogany
table, and half a dozen chairs, and cellaret, and over the fireplace a
portrait of Garibaldi, which had been left as a legacy to the landlady
by her late lodger, Dr. Tresorio.

The captain threw a quick glance at the print, and then, falling into
reverie, with his hands crossed behind him, paced the little chamber,
and was soon lost in thoughts which made him unconscious how long had
elapsed when the maiden summoned him.

Following her, and ascending the stair-case, he was ushered into the
front room of the first floor, and there came forward to meet him a man
rather below the middle height, but of a symmetrical and imposing mien.
His face was grave, not to say sad; thought, not time, had partially
silvered the clustering of his raven hair; but intellectual power
reigned in his wide brow, while determination was the character of the
rest of his countenance, under great control, yet apparently, from the
dark flashing of his eye, not incompatible with fanaticism.

"General," he exclaimed, "your presence always reanimates me. I shall
at least have some news on which I rely. Your visit is sudden--sudden
things are often happy ones. Is there any thing stirring in the promised
land? Speak, speak! You have a thousand things to say, and I have a
thousand ears."

"My dear Mirandola," replied the visitor, "I will take leave to call
into council a friend whose presence is always profitable."

So saying, he took out a cigar-case, and offered it to his companion.

"We have smoked together in palaces," said Mirandola, accepting the
proffer with a delicate white hand.

"But not these cigars," replied the general. "They are superb, my only
reward for all my transatlantic work, and sometimes I think a sufficient
one."

"And Jenny shall give us a capital cup of coffee," said Mirandola; "it
is the only hospitality that I can offer my friends. Give me a light, my
general; and now, how are things?"

"Well, at the first glance, very bad; the French have left Rome, and we
are not in it."

"Well, that is an infamy not of today or yesterday," replied Mirandola,
"though not less an infamy. We talked over this six months ago, when
you were over here about something else, and from that moment unto the
present I have with unceasing effort labored to erase this stigma from
the human consciousness, but with no success. Men are changed; public
spirit is extinct; the deeds of '48 are to the present generations as
incomprehensible as the Punic wars, or the feats of Marius against the
Cimbri. What we want are the most natural things in the world, and easy
of attainment because they are natural. We want our metropolis,
our native frontiers, and true liberty. Instead of these, we have
compromises, conventions, provincial jealousies, and French prefects.
It is disgusting, heart-rending; sometimes I fear my own energies are
waning. My health is wretched; writing and speaking are decidedly bad
for me, and I pass my life in writing and speaking. Toward evening I
feel utterly exhausted, and am sometimes, which I thought I never could
be, the victim of despondency. The loss of the doctor was a severe blow,
but they hurried him out of the place. The man of Paris would never rest
till he was gone. I was myself thinking of once more trying Switzerland,
but the obstacles are great; and, in truth, I was at the darkest moment
when Jenny brought me the light of your name."

The general, who had bivouacked on a group of small chairs, his leg on
one, his elbow on another, took his cigar from his mouth and delivered
himself of a volume of smoke, and then said dryly: "Things may not be so
bad as they seem, comrade. Your efforts have not been without fruit.
I have traced them in many quarters, and, indeed, it is about their
possible consequences that I have come over to consult with you."

"Idle words, I know, never escape those lips," said Mirandola; "speak
on."

"Well," said the general, "you see that people are a little exhausted
by the efforts of last year; and it must be confessed that no slight
results were accomplished. The freedom of Venice--"

"A French intrigue," exclaimed Mirandola. "The freedom of Venice is the
price of the slavery of Rome. I heard of it with disgust."

"Well, we do not differ much on that head," said the general. "I am not
a Roman as you are, but I view Rome, with reference to the object of
my life, with feelings not less ardent and absorbing than yourself, who
would wish to see it again the empress of the world. I am a soldier, and
love war, and, left to myself, would care little perhaps for what form
of government I combated, provided the army was constituted on the
principles of fraternity and equality; but the passion of my life, to
which I have sacrificed military position, and perhaps," he added in
a lower tone, "perhaps even military fame, has been to destroy
priestcraft, and, so long as the pope rules in Rome, it will be
supreme."

"We have struck him down once," said Mirandola.

"And I hope we shall again, and forever," said the general, "and it
is about that I would speak. You are in error in supposing that your
friends do not sympathize with you, or that their answers are dilatory
or evasive. There is much astir; the old spirit is not extinct, but
the difficulties are greater than in former days when we had only the
Austrians to encounter, and we cannot afford to make another failure."

"There could be no failure if we were clear and determined. There must
be a hundred thousand men who would die for our metropolis, our natural
frontiers, and true liberty. The mass of the pseudo-Italian army must
be with us. As for foreign interference, its repetition seems to me
impossible. The brotherhood in the different countries, if well guided,
could alone prevent it. There should be at once a manifesto addressed to
the peoples. They have become absorbed in money-grubbing and what they
call industry. The external life of a nation is its most important one.
A nation, as an individual, has duties to fulfil appointed by God and
His moral law; the individual toward his family, his town, his country;
the nation toward the country of countries, humanity--the outward world.
I firmly believe that we fail and renounce the religious and divine
element of our life whenever we betray or neglect those duties. The
internal activity of a nation is important and sacred because it
prepares the instrument for its appointed task. It is mere egotism if it
converges toward itself, degrading and doomed to expiation--as will be
the fate of this country in which we now dwell," added Mirandola in a
hushed voice. "England had a mission; it had belief, and it had power.
It announced itself the representative of religious, commercial, and
political freedom, and yet, when it came to action, it allowed Denmark
to be crushed by Austria and Prussia, and, in the most nefarious
transaction of modern times, uttered the approving shriek of 'Perish
Savoy!'"

"My dear Mirandola," said the general, trimming his cigar, "there is no
living man who appreciates your genius and your worth more than
myself; perhaps I might say there is no living man who has had equal
opportunities of estimating them. You formed the mind of our country;
you kindled and kept alive the sacred flame when all was gloom, and
all were without heart. Such prodigious devotion, so much resource
and pertinacity and patience, such unbroken spirit, were never before
exhibited by man; and, whatever may be said by your enemies, I know that
in the greatest hour of action you proved equal to it; and yet at this
moment, when your friends are again stirring, and there is a hope of
spring, I am bound to tell you that there are only two persons in the
world who can effect the revolution, and you are not one of them."

"I am ardent, my general, perhaps too sanguine, but I have no self-love,
at least none when the interests of the great cause are at stake. Tell
me, then, their names, and count, if required, on my cooperation."

"Garibaldi and Mary-Anne."

"A Polchinello and a Bayadere!" exclaimed Mirandola, and, springing from
his seat, he impatiently paced the room.

"And yet," continued the general calmly, "there is no manner of doubt
that Garibaldi is the only name that could collect ten thousand men
at any given point in Italy; while in France, though her influence
is mythical, the name of Mary-Anne is a name of magic. Though never
mentioned, it is never forgotten. And the slightest allusion to it among
the initiated will open every heart. There are more secret societies
in France at this moment than at any period since '85, though you hear
nothing of them; and they believe in Mary-Anne, and in nothing else."

"You have been at Caprera?" said Mirandola.

"I have been at Caprera."

"And what did he say?"

"He will do nothing without the sanction of the Savoyard."

"He wants to get wounded in his other foot," said Mirandola, with savage
sarcasm. "Will he never weary of being betrayed?"

"I found him calm and sanguine," said the general.

"What of the woman?"

"Garibaldi will not move without the Savoyard, and Mary-Anne will not
move without Garibaldi; that is the situation."

"Have you seen her?"

"Not yet; I have been to Caprera, and I have come over to see her and
you. Italy is ready for the move, and is only waiting for the great man.
He will not act without the Savoyard; he believes in him. I will not be
skeptical. There are difficulties enough without imagining any. We have
no money, and all our sources of supply are drained; but we have the
inspiration of a sacred cause, we have you--we may gain others--and, at
any rate, the French are no longer at Rome."



CHAPTER 33


"The Goodwood Cup, my lord--the Doncaster. This pair of flagons for his
highness the Khedive--something quite new--yes, parcel-gilt, the only
style now--it gives relief to design--yes, by Monti, a great man, hardly
inferior to Flaxman, if at all. Flaxman worked for. Rundell and Bridge
in the old days--one of the principal causes of their success. Your
lordship's gold service was supplied by Rundell and Bridge. Very fine
service indeed, much by Flaxman--nothing of that kind seen now."

"I never did see it," said Lothair. He was replying to Mr. Ruby, a
celebrated jeweller and goldsmith, in a celebrated street, who had
saluted him when he had entered the shop, and called the attention of
Lothair to a group of treasures of art.

"Strange," said Mr. Ruby smiling. "It is in the next room, if your
lordship would like to see it. I think your lordship should see your
gold service. Mr. Putney Giles ordered it here to be examined and put in
order."

"I should like to see it very much," said Lothair, "though I came to
speak to you about something else."

And so Lothair, following Mr. Ruby into an inner apartment, had the
gratification, for the first time, of seeing his own service of gold
plate laid out in completeness, and which had been for some time
exhibited to the daily admiration of that favored portion of the English
people who frequent the brilliant and glowing counters of Mr. Ruby.

Not that Lothair was embarrassed by their presence at this moment. The
hour of their arrival had not yet come. Business had not long commenced
when Lothair entered the shop, somewhat to the surprise of its master.
Those who know Bond Street only in the blaze of fashionable hours can
form but an imperfect conception of its matutinal charm when it is
still shady and fresh--when there are no carriages, rarely a cart,
and passers-by gliding about on real business. One feels as in some
Continental city. Then there are time and opportunity to look at the
shops; and there is no street in the world that can furnish such a
collection, filled with so many objects of beauty, curiosity, and
interest. The jewellers and goldsmiths and dealers in rare furniture,
porcelain, and cabinets, and French pictures, have long fixed upon Bond
Street as their favorite quarter, and are not chary of displaying their
treasures; though it may be a question whether some of the magazines
of fancy food--delicacies culled from all the climes and regions of the
globe--particularly at the matin hour, may not, in their picturesque
variety, be the most attractive. The palm, perhaps, would be given to
the fish-mongers, with their exuberant exhibitions, grouped with skill,
startling often with strange forms, dazzling with prismatic tints, and
breathing the invigorating redolence of the sea.

"Well, I like the service," said Lothair, "and am glad, as you tell
me, that its fashion has come round again, because there will now be no
necessity for ordering a new one. I do not myself much care for plate.
I like flowers and porcelain on a table, and I like to see the guests.
However, I suppose it is all right, and I must use it. It was not about
plate that I called; I wanted to speak to you about pearls."

"Ah!" said Mr. Ruby, and his face brightened; and, ushering Lothair to
some glass cases, he at the same time provided his customer with a seat.

"Something like that?" said Mr. Ruby, who by this time had slid into
his proper side of the counter, and was unlocking the glass cases;
"something like that?" and he placed before Lothair a string of pretty
pearls with a diamond clasp. "With the earrings, twenty-five hundred,"
he added; and then, observing that Lothair did not seem enchanted, he
said, "This is something quite new," and he carelessly pushed toward
Lothair a magnificent necklace of turquoises and brilliants.

It was impossible not to admire it--the arrangement was so novel and yet
of such good taste; but, though its price was double that of the pearl
necklace, Mr. Ruby did not seem to wish to force attention to it, for he
put in Lothair's hands almost immediately the finest emerald necklace in
the world, and set in a style that was perfectly ravishing.

"The setting is from the Campana collection," said Mr. Ruby. "They
certainly understood things in those days, but I can say that, so far as
mere workmanship is concerned, this quite equals them. I have made one
for the empress. Here is a black pearl, very rare, pear-shape, and set
in Golconda diamonds--two thousand guineas--it might be suspended to
a necklace, or worn as a locket. This is pretty," and he offered to
Lothair a gigantic sapphire in brilliants and in the form of a bracelet.

"The finest sapphire I know is in this ring," added Mr. Ruby, and he
introduced his visitor to a tray of precious rings. "I have a pearl
bracelet here that your lordship might like to see," and he placed
before Lothair a case of fifty bracelets, vying with each other in
splendor.

"But what I want," said Lothair, "are pearls."

"I understand," said Mr. Ruby. "This is a curious thing," and he took
out a paper packet. "There!" he said, opening it and throwing it
before Lothair so carelessly that some of the stones ran over the glass
covering of the counter. "There, that is a thing, not to be seen every
day--packet of diamonds, bought of an Indian prince, and sent by us to
be cut and polished at Amsterdam--nothing can be done in that way except
there--and just returned--nothing very remarkable as to size, but all
of high quality--some fine stones--that for example," and he touched one
with the long nail of his little finger; "that is worth seven hundred
guineas, the whole packet worth perhaps ten thousand pounds."

"Very interesting," said Lothair, "but what I want are pearls. That
necklace which you have shown me is like the necklace of a doll. I
want pearls, such as you see them in Italian pictures--Titians and
Giorgiones--such as a Queen of Cyprus would wear. I want ropes of
pearls."

"Ah!" said Mr. Ruby, "I know what your lordship means. Lady Bideford had
something of that kind. She very much deceived us--always told us her
necklace must be sold at her death, and she had very bad health. We
waited, but when she went, poor lady, it was claimed by the heir, and
is in chancery at this very moment. The Justinianis have ropes of
pearls--Madame Justiniani of Paris, I have been told, gives a rope to
every one of her children when they marry--but there is no expectation
of a Justiniani parting with any thing. Pearls are troublesome property,
my lord. They require great care; they want both air and exercise; they
must be worn frequently; you cannot lock them up. The Duchess of Havant
has the finest pearls in this country, and I told her grace, 'Wear them
whenever you can; wear them at breakfast,' and her grace follows my
advice--she does wear them at breakfast. I go down to Havant Castle
every year to see her grace's pearls, and I wipe every one of them
myself, and let them lie on a sunny bank in the garden, in a westerly
wind, for hours and days together. Their complexion would have been
ruined had it not been for this treatment. Pearls are like girls, my
lord--they require quite as much attention."

"Then you cannot give me what I want?" said Lothair.

"Well, I can, and I cannot," said Mr. Ruby. "I am in a difficulty.
I have in this house exactly what your lordship requires, but I have
offered them to Lord Topaz, and I have not received his answer. We have
instructions to inform his lordship of every very precious jewel that we
obtain, and give him the preference as a purchaser. Nevertheless,
there is no one I could more desire to oblige than your lordship--your
lordship has every claim upon us, and I should be truly glad to find
these pearls in your lordship's possession if I could only see my way.
Perhaps your lordship would like to look at them?"

"Certainly, but pray do not leave me here alone with all these
treasures," said Lothair, as Mr. Ruby was quitting the apartment.

"Oh! my lord, with you!"

"Yes, that is all very well; but, if any thing is missed hereafter, it
will always be remembered that these jewels were in my possession, and
I was alone. I highly object to it." But Mr. Ruby had vanished, and did
not immediately reappear. In the mean time it was impossible for Lothair
to move: he was alone, and surrounded with precious necklaces, and
glittering rings, and gorgeous bracelets, with loose diamonds running
over the counter. It was not a kind or an amount of property that
Lothair, relinquishing the trust, could satisfactorily deliver to a
shopman. The shopman, however honest, might be suddenly tempted by
Satan, and take the next train to Liverpool. He felt therefore relieved
when Mr. Ruby reentered the room, breathless, with a velvet casket. "I
beg pardon, my lord, a thousand pardons, but I thought I would just
run over to Lord Topaz, only in the square close by. His lordship is
at Madrid, the only city one cannot depend on communications with by
telegraph. Spaniards strange people, very prejudiced, take all sorts of
fancies in their head. Besides, Lord Topaz has more pearls than he can
know what to do with, and I should like your lordship to see these," and
he opened the casket.

"Exactly what I want," exclaimed Lothair; "these must be the very pearls
the Queen of Cyprus wore. What is their price?"

"They are from Genoa, and belonged to a doge," said Mr. Ruby; "your
lordship shall have them for the sum we gave for them. There shall be no
profit on the transaction, and we shall be proud of it. We gave for them
four thousand guineas."

"I will take them with me," said Lothair, who was afraid, if lie left
them behind, Lord Topaz might arrive in the interval.



CHAPTER 34


Lothair had returned home from his last visit to Belmont agitated by
many thoughts, but, generally speaking, deeply musing over its mistress.
Considerable speculation on religion, the churches, the solar system,
the cosmical order, the purpose of creation, and the destiny of man, was
maintained in his too rapid progress from Roehampton to his Belgravian
hotel; but the association of ideas always terminated the consideration
of every topic by a wondering and deeply interesting inquiry when he
should see her again. And here, in order to simplify this narrative,
we will at once chronicle the solution of this grave question. On the
afternoon of the next day, Lothair mounted his horse with the intention
of calling on Lady St. Jerome, and perhaps some other persons, but it is
curious to observe that he soon found himself on the road to Roehampton,
where he was in due time paying a visit to Theodora. But what is
more remarkable is that the same result occurred every day afterward.
Regularly every day he paid a visit to Belmont. Nor was this all; very
often he paid two visits, for he remembered that in the evening Theodora
was always at home. Lothair used to hurry to town from his morning
visit, dine at some great house, which satisfied the demands of society,
and then drive down to Roehampton. The guests of the evening saloon,
when they witnessed the high ceremony of Lothair's manner, which was
natural to him, when he entered, and the welcome of Theodora, could
hardly believe that a few hours only had elapsed since their separation.

And what was the manner of Theodora to him when they were alone?
Precisely as before. She never seemed in the least surprised that he
called on her every day, or even twice a day. Sometimes she was alone,
frequently she had companions, but she was always the same, always
appeared gratified at his arrival, and always extended to him the same
welcome, graceful and genial, but without a spark of coquetry. Yet
she did not affect to conceal that she took a certain interest in him,
because she was careful to introduce him to distinguished men, and would
say, "You should know him, he is master of such a subject. You will
hear things that you ought to know." But all this in a sincere and
straightforward manner. Theodora had not the slightest affectation; she
was always natural, though a little reserved. But this reserve appeared
to be the result of modesty, rather than of any desire of concealment.
When they were alone, though always calm, she would talk with freedom
and vivacity; but in the presence of others she rather led to their
display, and encouraged them, often with a certain degree of adroit
simplicity, to descant on topics which interested theme or of which they
were competent to treat. Alone with Lothair, and they were often alone,
though she herself never obtruded the serious subjects round which he
was always fluttering, she never avoided them, and without involving
herself in elaborate arguments, or degenerating into conversational
controversy, she had a habit of asking a question, or expressing
a sentiment, which greatly affected his feelings or perplexed his
opinions.

Had not the season been long waning, this change in the life of Lothair
must have been noticed, and its cause ultimately discovered. But the
social critics cease to be observant toward the end of July. All the
world then are thinking of themselves, and have no time to speculate on
the fate and fortunes of their neighbors. The campaign is too near its.
close; the balance of the season must soon be struck, the great book of
society made. In a few weeks, even in a few days, what long and subtle
plans shattered or triumphant!--what prizes gained or missed!--what
baffled hopes, and what broken hearts! The baffled hopes must go to
Cowes, and the broken hearts to Baden. There were some great ladies who
did remark that Lothair was seldom seen at balls; and Hugo Bohun, who
had been staying at his aunt Lady Gertrude's villa for change of air,
did say to Bertram that he had met Lothair twice on Barnes Common, and
asked Bertram if he knew the reason why. But the fact that Lothair was
cruising in waters which their craft never entered combined with the
lateness of the season to baffle all the ingenuity of Hugo Bohun, though
he generally found out every thing.

The great difficulty which Lothair had to apprehend was with his Roman
Catholic friends. The system of the monsignori was never to let him be
out of sight, and his absence from the critical function had not only
disappointed but alarmed them. But the Jesuits are wise men; they never
lose their temper. They know when to avoid scenes as well as when to
make them. Monsignore Catesby called on Lothair as frequently as before,
and never made the slightest allusion to the miscarriage of their
expectations. Strange to say, the innocent Lothair, naturally so
straightforward and so honorable, found himself instinctively, almost it
might be said unconsciously, defending himself against his invaders with
some of their own weapons. He still talked about building his cathedral,
of which, not contented with more plans, he even gave orders that a
model should be made, and he still received statements on points of
faith from Father Coleman, on which he made marginal notes and queries.
Monsignore Catesby was not altogether satisfied. He was suspicious
of some disturbing cause, but at present it baffled him. Their hopes,
however, were high; and they had cause to be sanguine. In a month's time
or so, Lothair would be in the country to celebrate his majority; his
guardian the cardinal was to be his guest; the St. Jeromes were invited,
Monsignore Catesby himself. Here would be opportunity and actors to
avail themselves of it.

It was a very few days after the first evening visit of Lothair to
Belmont that he found himself one morning alone with Theodora. She was
in her bowery boudoir, copying some music for Madame Phoebus, at
least in the intervals of conversation. That had not been of a grave
character, but the contrary when Lothair rather abruptly said, "Do you
agree, Mrs. Campian, with what Mr. Phoebus said the other night, that
the greatest pain must be the sense of death?"

"Then mankind is generally spared the greatest pain," she replied, "for
I apprehend few people are sensible of death--unless indeed," she
added, "it be on the field of battle; and there, I am sure, it cannot be
painful."

"Not on the field of battle?" asked Lothair, inducing her to proceed.

"Well, I should think for all, on the field of battle, there must be a
degree of excitement, and of sympathetic excitement, scarcely compatible
with overwhelming suffering; but, if death were encountered there for a
great cause, I should rather associate it with rapture than pain."

"But still a good number of persons must die in their beds and be
conscious," said Lothair.

"It may be, though I should doubt it. The witnesses of such a demise are
never impartial. All I have loved and lost have died upon the field of
battle; and those who have suffered pain have been those whom they have
left behind; and that pain," she added with some emotion, "may perhaps
deserve the description of Mr. Phoebus."

Lothair would not pursue the subject, and there was rather an awkward
pause. Theodora herself broke it, and in a lighter vein, though
recurring to the same theme, she said with a slight smile: "I am
scarcely a competent person to consult upon this subject, for, to be
candid with you, I do not myself believe in death. There is a change,
and doubtless a great one, painful it may be, certainly very perplexing,
but I have a profound conviction of my immortality, and I do not
believe that I shall rest in my grave in saecula saeculorum, only to be
convinced of it by the last trump."

"I hope you will not leave this world before I do," said Lothair, "but,
if that sorrow be reserved for me, promise that to me, if only once, you
will reappear."

"I doubt whether the departed have that power," said Theodora, "or
else I think my heroes would have revisited me. I lost a father more
magnificent than Jove, and two brothers brighter than Apollo, and all of
them passionately loved me--and yet they have not come; but I shall
see them--and perhaps soon. So you see, my dear lord," speaking more
briskly, and rising rather suddenly from her seat, "that for my part I
think it best to arrange all that concerns one in this world while one
inhabits it, and this reminds me that I have a little business to fulfil
in which you can help me," and she opened a cabinet and took out a flat
antique case, and then said, resuming her seat at her table: "Some one,
and anonymously, has made me a magnificent present; some strings of
costly pearls. I am greatly embarrassed with them, for I never wear
pearls or anything else, and I never wish to accept presents. To return
them to an unknown is out of my power, but it is not impossible that I
may some day become acquainted with the donor. I wish them to be kept in
safety, and therefore not by myself, for my life is subject to too great
vicissitudes. I have therefore placed them in this case, which I shall
now seal and intrust them to your care, as a friend in whom I have
entire confidence. See," she said, lighting a match, and opening the
case, "here are the pearls--are they not superb?--and here is a note
which will tell you what to do with them in case of my absence, when you
open the case, which will not be for a year from this day. There, it is
locked. I have directed it to you, and I will seal it with my father's
seal."

Lothair wag about to speak. "Do not say a word," she said "this seal is
a religious ceremony with me." She was some little time fulfilling
it, so that the impression might be deep and clear. She looked at it
earnestly while the wax was cooling, and then she said, "I deliver
the custody of this to a friend whom I entirely trust. Adieu!" and she
disappeared.

The amazed Lothair glanced at the seal. It was a single word, "ROMA,"
and then, utterly mystified, he returned to town with his own present.



CHAPTER 35


Mr. Phoebus had just finished a picture which he had painted for the
Emperor of Russia. It was to depart immediately from England for its
northern home, except that his imperial majesty had consented that it
should be exhibited for a brief space to the people of England. This was
a condition which Mr. Phoebus had made in the interests of art, and as a
due homage alike to his own patriotism and celebrity.

There was to be a private inspection of the picture at the studio of the
artist, and Mr. Phoebus had invited Lothair to attend it. Our friend
had accordingly, on the appointed day, driven down to Belmont and then
walked to the residence of Mr. Phoebus with Colonel Campian and his
wife. It was a short and pretty walk, entirely through the royal park,
which the occupiers of Belmont had the traditionary privilege thus to
use.

The residence of Mr. Phoebus was convenient and agreeable, and in
situation not unlike that of Belmont, being sylvan and sequestered.
He had himself erected a fine studio, and added it to the original
building. The flower-garden was bright and curious, and on the lawn was
a tent of many colors, designed by himself and which might have suited
some splendid field of chivalry. Upon gilt and painted perches, also,
there were paroquets and macaws.

Lothair on his arrival found many guests assembled, chiefly on the
lawn. Mr. Phoebus was highly esteemed, and had distinguished and eminent
friends, whose constant courtesies the present occasion allowed him
elegantly to acknowledge. There was a polished and gray-headed noble who
was the head of the patrons of art in England, whose nod of approbation
sometimes made the fortune of a young artist, and whose purchase of
pictures for the nation even the furious cognoscenti of the House of
Commons dared not question. Some of the finest works of Mr. Phoebus were
to be found in his gallery; but his lordship admired Madame Phoebus even
more than her husband's works, and Euphrosyne as much as her sister.
It was sometimes thought, among their friends, that this young lady had
only to decide in order to share the widowed coronet; but Euphrosyne
laughed at every thing, even her adorers; and, while her witching
mockery only rendered them more fascinated, it often prevented critical
declarations.

And Lady Beatrice was there, herself an artist, and full of aesthetical
enthusiasm. Her hands were beautiful, and she passed her life in
modelling them. And Cecrops was there, a rich old bachelor, with, it was
supposed, the finest collection of modern pictures extant. His theory
was, that a man could not do a wiser thing than invest the whole of his
fortune in such securities, and it led him to tell his numerous nephews
and nieces that he should, in all probability, leave his collection to
the nation.

Clorinda, whose palace was always open to genius, and who delighted
in the society of men who had discovered planets, excavated primeval
mounds, painted pictures on new principles, or composed immortal poems
which no human being could either scan or construe, but which she
delighted in as "subtle" and full of secret melody, came leaning on the
arms of a celebrated plenipotentiary, and beaming with sympathy on every
subject, and with the consciousness of her universal charms.

And the accomplished Sir Francis was there, and several R. A. s of
eminence, for Phoebus was a true artist, and loved the brotherhood, and
always placed them in the post of honor.

No language can describe the fascinating costume of Madame Phoebus and
her glittering sister. "They are habited as sylvans," the great artist
deigned to observe, if any of his guests could not refrain from admiring
the dresses; which he had himself devised. As for the venerable patron
of art in Britain, he smiled when he met the lady of the house, and
sighed when he glanced at Euphrosyne; but the first gave him a beautiful
flower, and the other fastened it in his button-hole. He looked like
a victim bedecked by the priestesses of some old fane of Hellenic
loveliness, and proud of his impending fate. What could the Psalmist
mean in the immortal passage? Three-score-and-ten, at the present day,
is the period of romantic passions. As for our enamoured sexagenarians,
they avenge the theories of our cold-hearted youth.

Mr. Phoebus was an eminent host. It delighted him to see people
pleased, and pleased under his influence. He had a belief, not without
foundation, that every thing was done better under his roof than under
that of any other person. The banquet in the air on the present occasion
could only be done justice to by the courtly painters of the reign
of Louis XV. Vanloo, and Watteau, and Lancres, would have caught the
graceful group and the well-arranged colors, and the faces, some pretty,
some a little affected; the ladies on fantastic chairs of wicker-work,
gilt and curiously painted; the gentlemen reclining on the turf, or
bending behind them with watchful care. The little tables all different,
the soups in delicate cups of Sevres, the wines in golden glass of
Venice, the ortolans, the Italian confectionery, the endless bouquets,
were worthy of the soft and invisible music that resounded from the
pavilion, only varied by the coquettish scream of some macaw, jealous,
amid all this novelty and excitement, of not being noticed.

"It is a scene of enchantment," whispered the chief patron of British
art to Madame Phoebus.

"I always think luncheon in the air rather jolly," said Madame Phoebus.

"It is perfect romance!" murmured the chief patron of British art to
Euphrosyne.

"With a due admixture of reality," she said, helping him to an enormous
truffle, which she extracted from its napkin. "You know you must eat it
with butter."

Lothair was glad to observe that, though in refined society, none
were present with whom he had any previous acquaintance, for he had an
instinctive feeling that if Hugo Bohun had been there, or Bertram,
or the Duke of Brecon, or any ladies with whom he was familiarly
acquainted, he would scarcely have been able to avail himself of the
society of Theodora with the perfect freedom which he now enjoyed. They
would all have been asking who she was, where she came from, how long
Lothair had known her, all those questions, kind and neighborly, which
under such circumstances occur. He was in a distinguished circle, but
one different from that in which he lived. He sat next to Theodora, and
Mr. Phoebus constantly hovered about them, ever doing something very
graceful, or saying something very bright. Then he would whisper a word
to the great Clorinda, who flashed intelligence from her celebrated
eyes, and then he made a suggestion to the aesthetical Lady Beatrice,
who immediately fell into enthusiasm and eloquence, and took the
opportunity of displaying her celebrated hands.

The time had now arrived when they were to repair to the studio and view
the picture. A curtain was over it, and then a silken rope across the
chamber, and then some chairs. The subject of the picture was Hero and
Leander, chosen by the heir of all the Russias himself, during a late
visit to England.

"A fascinating subject," said old Cecrops to Mr. Phoebus, "but not a
very original one."

"The originality of a subject is in its treatment," was the reply.

The theme, in the present instance, was certainly not conventionally
treated. When the curtain was withdrawn, they beheld a figure of
life-like size, exhibiting in undisguised completeness the perfection of
the female form, and yet the painter had so skilfully availed himself
of the shadowy and mystic hour, and of some gauze-like drapery, which
veiled without concealing his design, that the chastest eye might gaze
on his heroine with impunity. The splendor of her upstretched arms held
high the beacon-light, which thew a glare upon the sublime anxiety of
her countenance, while all the tumult of the Hellespont, the waves, the
scudding sky, the opposite shore revealed by a blood-red flash, were
touched by the hand of a master who had never failed.

The applause was a genuine verdict, and the company after a time began
to disperse about the house and gardens. A small circle remained,
and, passing the silken rope, approached and narrowly scrutinized the
picture. Among these were Theodora and Lothair, the chief patron of
British art, an R. A. or two, Clorinda, and Lady Beatrice.

Mr. Phoebus, who left the studio but had now returned, did not disturb
them. After a while he approached the group. His air was elate, and was
redeemed only from arrogance by the intellect of his brow. The circle
started a little as they heard his voice, for they had been unaware of
his presence.

"To-morrow," he said, "the critics will commence. You know who the
critics are? The men who have failed in literature and art."



CHAPTER 36


The lodge-gate of Belmont was opening as Lothair one morning approached
it; a Hansom cab came forth, and in it was a person whose countenance
was strongly marked on the memory of Lothair. It was that of his unknown
friend at the Fenian meeting. Lothair instantly recognized and cordially
saluted him, and his greeting, though hurriedly, was not ungraciously
returned; but the vehicle did not stop. Lothair called to the driver to
halt; but the driver, on the contrary, stimulated his steed, and in the
winding lane was soon out of sight.

Theodora was not immediately visible. She was neither in her usual
apartment nor in her garden; but it was only perhaps because Lothair was
so full of his own impressions from his recent encounter at the lodge,
that he did not observe that the demeanor of Mrs. Campian, when she
appeared, was hardly marked by her habitual serenity. She entered the
room hurriedly and spoke with quickness.

"Pray," exclaimed Lothair, rather eagerly, "do tell me the name of the
gentleman who has just called here."

Theodora changed color, looked distressed, and was silent; unobserved,
however, by Lothair, who, absorbed by his own highly-excited curiosity,
proceeded to explain why he presumed to press for the information. "I
am under great obligations to that person; I am not sure I may not say I
owe him my life, but certainly an extrication from great dander and very
embarrassing danger too. I never saw him but once, and he would not give
me his name, and scarcely would accept my thanks. I wanted to stop his
cab to-day, but it was impossible. He literally galloped off."

"He is a foreigner," said Mrs Campian, who had recovered herself; "he
was a particular friend of my dear father; and when he visits England,
which he does occasionally, he calls to see us."

"Ah!" said Lothair, "I hope I shall soon have an opportunity of
expressing to him my gratitude."

"It was so like him not to give his name and to shrink from
thanks," said Mrs. Campian. "He never enters society, and makes no
acquaintances."

"I am sorry for that," said Lothair, "for it is not only that he served
me, but I was much taken with him, and felt that he was a person I
should like to cultivate."

"Yes, Captain Bruges is a remarkable man," said Theodora; "he is not one
to be forgotten."

"Captain Bruges. That, then, is his name?"

"He is known by the name of Captain Bruges," said Theodora, and she
hesitated; and then speaking more quickly she added: "I cannot sanction,
I cannot bear, any deception between you and this roof. Bruges is not
his real name, nor is the title he assumes his real rank. He is not
to be known, and not to be spoken of. He is one, and one of the most
eminent, of the great family of sufferers in this world, but sufferers
for a divine cause. I myself have been direly stricken in this struggle.
When I remember the departed, it is not always easy to bear the thought.
I keep it at the bottom of my heart; but this visit to-day has too
terribly revived every thing. It is well that you only are here to
witness my suffering, but you will not have to witness it again, for we
will never again speak of these matters."

Lothair was much touched: his good heart and his good taste alike
dissuaded him from attempting commonplace consolation. He ventured to
take her hand and pressed it to his lips. "Dear lady!" he murmured, and
he led her to a seat. "I fear my foolish tattle has added to pain which
I would gladly bear for you."

They talked about nothings: about a new horse which Colonel Campian had
just purchased, and which he wanted to show to Lothair; an old opera
revived, but which sounded rather flat; something amusing that somebody
had said, and something absurd which somebody had done. And then, when
the ruffled feeling had been quite composed, and all had been brought
back to the tenor of their usual pleasant life, Lothair said suddenly
and rather gayly. "And now, dearest lady, I have a favor to ask. You
know my majority is, to be achieved and to be celebrated next month.
I hope that yourself and Colonel Campian will honor me by being my
guests."

Theodora did not at all look like a lady who had received a social
attention of the most distinguished class. She looked embarrassed, and
began to murmur something about Colonel Campian, and their never going
into society.

"Colonel Campian is going to Scotland, and you are going with him," said
Lothair. "I know it, for he told me so, and said he could manage the
visit to me, if you approved it, quite well. In fact, it will fit in
with this Scotch visit."

"There was some talk once about Scotland," said Theodora, "but that was
a long time ago. Many things have happened since then. I do not think
the Scotch visit is by any means so settled as you think."

"But, however that may be decided," said Lothair, "there can be no
reason why you should not come to me."

"It is presumptuous in me, a foreigner, to speak of such matters," said
Theodora; "but I fancy that, in such celebrations as you contemplate,
there is, or there should be, some qualification of blood or family
connection for becoming your guests. We should be there quite strangers,
and in everybody's way, checking the local and domestic abandon which I
should suppose is one of the charms of such meetings."

"I have few relations and scarcely a connection," said Lothair rather
moodily. "I can only ask friends to celebrate my majority, and there are
no friends whom I so much regard as those who live at Belmont."

"It is very kind of you to say that, and to feel it; and I know that you
would not say it if you did not feel it," replied Theodora. "But still,
I think it would be better that we should come to see you at a time when
you are less engaged; perhaps you will take Colonel Campian down some
day and give him some shooting."

"All I can say is that, if you do not come, it will be the darkest,
instead of the brightest, week in my life," said Lothair. "In short, I
feel I could not get through the business; I should be so mortified. I
cannot restrain my feelings or arrange my countenance. Unless you come,
the whole affair will be a complete failure, and worse than a failure."

"Well, I will speak to Colonel Campian about it," said Theodora, but
with little animation.

"We will both speak to him about it now," said Lothair, for the colonel
at that moment entered the room and greeted Lothair, as was his custom,
cordially.

"We are settling the visit to Muriel," said Lothair; "I want to induce
Mrs. Campian to come down a day or two before the rest, so that we may
have the benefit of her counsel."



CHAPTER 37


Muriel Tower crowned a wooded steep, part of a wild, and winding, and
sylvan valley, at the bottom of which rushed a foaming stream. On the
other side of the castle the scene, though extensive, was not less
striking, and was essentially romantic. A vast park spread in all
directions beyond the limit of the eye, and with much variety of
character--ornate near the mansion, and choicely timbered; in other
parts glens and spreading dolls, masses of black pines and savage woods;
everywhere, sometimes glittering, and sometimes sullen, glimpses of the
largest natural late that inland England boasts, Muriel Mere, and in the
extreme distance moors, and the first crest of mountains. The park, too,
was full of life, for there were not only herds of red and fallow
deer, but, in its more secret haunts, wandered a race of wild-cattle,
extremely savage, white and dove-colored, and said to be of the time of
the Romans.

It was not without emotion that Lothair beheld the chief seat of his
race. It was not the first time he had visited it. He had a clear and
painful recollection of a brief, hurried, unkind glimpse caught of it
in his very earliest boyhood. His uncle had taken him there by some
inconvenient cross-railroad, to avail themselves of which they had risen
in the dark on a March morning, and in an east wind. When they arrived
at their station they had hired an open fly drawn by a single horse,
and, when they had thus at last reached the uninhabited Towers, they
entered by the offices, where Lothair was placed in the steward's room,
by a smoky fire, given something to eat, and told that he might walk
about and amuse himself, provided he did not go out of sight of the
castle, while his uncle and the steward mounted their horses and rode
over the estate; leaving Lothair for hours without companions, and
returning just in time, in a shivering twilight, to clutch him up, as it
were, by the nape of the neck, twist him back again into the one-horse
fly, and regain the railroad; his uncle praising himself the whole time
for the satisfactory and business-like manner in which he had planned
and completed the edition.

What a contrast to present circumstances! Although Lothair had wished,
and thought he had secured, that his arrival at Muriel should be quite
private, and even unknown, and that all ceremonies and celebrations
should be postponed for a few days, during which he hoped to become a
little more familiar with his home, the secret could not be kept, and
the county would not tolerate this reserve. He was met at the station by
five hundred horsemen, all well mounted, and some of them gentlemen
of high degree, who insisted upon accompanying him to his gates. His
carriage passed under triumphal arches, and choirs of enthusiastic
children; waving parochial banners, hymned his auspicious approach.

At the park gates his cavalcade quitted him with that delicacy of
feeling which always distinguishes Englishmen, however rough their
habit. As their attendance was self-invited, they would not intrude upon
his home.

"Your lordship will have enough to do to-day, without being troubled
with us," said their leader, as he shook hands with Lothair.

But Lothair would not part with them thus. With the inspiring
recollection of his speech at the Fenian meeting, Lothair was not afraid
of rising in his barouche and addressing them. What he said was said
very well and it was addressed to a people who, though the shyest in
the world, have a passion for public speaking, than which no achievement
more tests reserve. It was something to be a great peer and a great
proprietor, and to be young and singularly well-favored; but to be able
to make a speech, and such a good one, such cordial words in so strong
and musical a voice--all felt at once they were in the presence of the
natural leader of the county. The enthusiasm of the hunting-field burst
forth. They gave him three ringing cheers, and jostled their horses
forward, that they might grasp his hand.

The park gates were open, and the postillions dashed along through
scenes of loveliness on which Lothair would fain have lingered, but be
consoled himself with the recollection that he should probably have an
opportunity of seeing them again. Sometimes his carriage seemed in
the heart of an ancient forest; sometimes the deer, startled at his
approach, were scudding over expanding lawns; then his course wound by
the margin of a sinuous lake with green islands and golden gondolas;
and then, after advancing through stately avenues, he arrived at
mighty gates of wondrous workmanship, that once had been the boast of a
celebrated convent on the Danube, but which, in the days of revolutions,
had reached England, and had been obtained by the grandfather of Lothair
to guard the choice demesne that was the vicinage of his castle.

When we remember that Lothair, notwithstanding his rank and vast
wealth, had never, from the nature of things, been the master of an
establishment, it must be admitted that the present occasion was a
little trying for his nerves. The whole household of the Towers were
arrayed and arranged in groups on the steps of the chief entrance. The
steward of the estate, who had been one of the cavalcade, had galloped
on before, and he was, of course, the leading spirit, and extended
his arm to his lord as Lothair descended from his carriage. The
house-steward, the chief butler, the head-gardener, the chief of the
kitchen, the head-keeper, the head-forester, and grooms of the stud and
of the chambers, formed one group behind the housekeeper, a grave and
distinguished-looking female, who courtesied like the old court; half
a dozen powdered gentlemen, glowing, in crimson liveries, indicated
the presence of my lord's footmen; while the rest of the household,
considerable in numbers, were arranged in two groups, according to their
sex, and at a respectful distance.

What struck Lothair--who was always thinking, and who had no
inconsiderable fund of humor in his sweet and innocent nature--was the
wonderful circumstance that, after so long an interval of neglect
and abeyance, he should find himself the master of so complete and
consummate a household.

"Castles and parks," he thought, "I had a right to count on, and,
perhaps, even pictures, but how I came to possess such a work of art
as my groom of the chambers, who seems as respectfully haughty, and as
calmly grateful, as if he were at Brentham itself, and whose coat must
have been made in Saville Row, quite bewilders me."

But Lothair, though he appreciated Putney Giles, had not yet formed a
full conception of the resource and all-accomplished providence of that
wondrous man, acting under the inspiration of the consummate Apollonia.

Passing through the entrance-hall, a lofty chamber, though otherwise of
moderate dimensions, Lothair was ushered into his armory, a gallery two
hundred feet long, with suits of complete mail ranged on each side,
and the walls otherwise covered with rare and curious weapons. It was
impossible, even for the master of this collection, to suppress the
delight and the surprise with which he beheld the scene. We must
remember, in his excuse, that he beheld it for the first time.

The armory led to a large and lofty octagonal chamber, highly decorated,
in the centre of which was the tomb of Lothair's grandfather. He had
raised it in his lifetime. The tomb was of alabaster surrounded by
a railing of pure gold, and crowned with a recumbent figure of the
deceased in his coronet--a fanciful man, who lived in solitude, building
castles and making gardens.

What charmed Lothair most as he proceeded were the number of courts and
quadrangles in the castle, all of bright and fantastic architecture, and
each of which was a garden, glowing with brilliant colors, and gay with
the voice of fountains or the forms of gorgeous birds. Our young friend
did not soon weary in his progress; even the suggestions of the steward,
that his lordship's luncheon was at command, did not restrain him.
Ballrooms, and baronial halls, and long libraries with curiously-stained
windows, and suites of dazzling saloons, where he beheld the original
portraits of his parents, of which he had miniatures--he saw them
all, and was pleased, and interested. But what most struck and even
astonished him was the habitable air which pervaded the whole of this
enormous structure; too rare even when families habitually reside in
such dwellings; but almost inconceivable, when it was to be remembered
that more than a generation had passed without a human being living in
these splendid chambers, scarcely a human word being spoken in them.
There was not a refinement of modern furniture that was wanting; even
the tables were covered with the choicest publications of the day.

"Mr. Putney Giles proposes to arrive here to-morrow," said the steward.
"He thought your lordship would like to be a day or two alone."

"He is the most sensible man I know," said Lothair; "he always does the
right thing. I think I will have my luncheon now, Mr. Harvey, and I will
go ever the cellars to-morrow."



CHAPTER 38


Yes; Lothair wished to be alone. He had naturally a love of solitude,
but the events of the last few hours lent an additional inducement
to meditation. He was impressed, in a manner and degree not before
experienced, with the greatness of his inheritance. His worldly
position, until to-day, had been an abstraction. After all, he had only
been one of a crowd, which he resembled. But the sight of this proud and
abounding territory, and the unexpected encounter with his neighbors,
brought to him a sense of power and of responsibility. He shrank from
neither. The world seemed opening to him with all its delights, and
with him duty was one. He was also sensible of the beautiful, and the
surrounding forms of nature and art charmed him. Let us not forget that
extreme youth and perfect health were ingredients not wanting in the
spell any more than power or wealth. Was it, then, complete? Not without
the influence of woman.

To that gentle yet mystical sway the spirit of Lothair had yielded. What
was the precise character of his feelings to Theodora--what were
his hopes, or views--he had hitherto had neither the time nor the
inclination to make certain. The present was so delightful, and the
enjoyment of her society had been so constant and complete, that he
had ever driven the future from his consideration. Had the conduct of
Theodora been different, had she deigned to practise on his affections,
appealed to his sensibility, stimulated or piqued his vanity, it might
have been otherwise. In the distraction of his heart, or the disturbance
of his temper, he might have arrived at conclusions, and even expressed
them, incompatible with the exquisite and even sublime friendship, which
had so strangely and beautifully arisen, like a palace in a dream, and
absorbed his being. Although their acquaintance could hardly be numbered
by months, there was no living person of whom he had seen so much, or to
whom he had opened his heart and mind with such profuse ingenuousness.
Nor on her part, though apparently shrinking from egotism, had there
ever been any intellectual reserve. On the contrary, although never
authoritative, and, even when touching on her convictions, suggesting
rather than dictating them, Lothair could not but feel that, during
the happy period he had passed in her society, not only his taste had
refined but his mind had considerably opened; his views had become
larger, his sympathies had expanded; he considered with charity things
and even persons from whom a year ago he would have recoiled with alarm
or aversion.

The time during which Theodora had been his companion was the happiest
period of his life. It was more than that; he could conceive no felicity
greater, and all that he desired was that it should endure. Since they
first met, scarcely four-and-twenty hours had passed without his being
in her presence; and now, notwithstanding the novelty and the variety of
the objects around him and the vast, and urgent, and personal interest
which they involve he felt a want which meeting her, or the daily
prospect of meeting her, could alone supply. Her voice lingered in his
ear; he gazed upon a countenance invisible to others; and he scarcely
saw or did any thing without almost unconsciously associating with it
her opinion or approbation.

Well, then, the spell was complete. The fitfulness or melancholy which
so often is the doom of youth, however otherwise favored, who do not
love, was not the condition, capricious or desponding, of Lothair. In
him combined all the accidents and feelings which enchant existence.

He had been rambling in the solitudes of his park, and had thrown
himself on the green shadow of a stately tree, his cheek resting on his
arm, and lost in reverie amid the deep and sultry silence. Wealthy and
young, noble and full of noble thoughts, with the inspiration of health,
surrounded by the beautiful, and his heart softened by feelings as
exquisite, Lothair, nevertheless, could not refrain from pondering over
the mystery of that life which seemed destined to bring to him only
delight.

"Life would be perfect," he at length exclaimed, "if it would only
last." But it will not last; and what then? He could not reconcile
interest in this life with the conviction of another, and an eternal
one. It seemed to him that, with such a conviction, man could have only
one thought and one occupation--the future, and preparation for it. With
such a conviction, what they called reality appeared to him more vain
and nebulous than the scones and sights of sleep. And he had that
conviction; at least he had it once. Had he it now? Yes; he had it now,
but modified, perhaps, in detail. He was not so confident as he was a
few months ago, that he could be ushered by a Jesuit from his deathbed
to the society of St. Michael and all the angels. There might be long
processes of initiation--intermediate states of higher probation and
refinement. There might be a horrible and apathetic pause. When millions
of ages appeared to be necessary to mature the crust of a rather
insignificant planet, it might be presumption in man to assume that his
soul, though immortal, was to reach its final destination regardless of
all the influences of space and time.

And the philosophers and distinguished men of science with whom of late
he had frequently enjoyed the opportunity of becoming acquainted, what
were their views? They differed among themselves: did any of them agree
with him? How they accounted for every thing except the only point
on which man requires revelation! Chance, necessity, atomic theories,
nebular hypotheses, development, evolution, the origin of worlds, human
ancestry--here were high topics, on none of which was there lack of
argument; and, in a certain sense, of evidence; and what then? There
must be design. The reasoning and the research of all philosophy could
not be valid against that conviction. If there were no design, why,
it would all be nonsense; and he could not believe in nonsense. And if
there were design, there must be intelligence; and if intelligence,
pure intelligence; and pure intelligence was inconsistent with
any disposition but perfect good. But between the all-wise and the
all-benevolent and man, according to the new philosophers, no relations
were to be any longer acknowledged. They renounce in despair the
possibility of bringing man into connection with that First Cause which
they can neither explain nor deny. But man requires that there shall be
direct relations between the created and the Creator; and that in those
relations he should find a solution of the perplexities of existence.
The brain that teems with illimitable thought, will never recognize
as his creator any power of Nature, however irresistible, that is not
gifted with consciousness. Atheism may be consistent with fine taste,
and fine taste under certain conditions may for a time regulate a
polished society; but ethics with atheism are impossible; and without
ethics no human order can be strong or permanent.

The Church comes forward, and, without equivocation, offers to establish
direct relations between God and man. Philosophy denies its title, and
disputes its power. Why? Because they are founded on the supernatural.
What is the supernatural? Can there be any thing more miraculous
than the existence of man and the world?--any thing more literally
supernatural than the origin of things? The Church explains what no one
else pretends to explain, and which, every one agrees, it is of first
moment should be made clear.

The clouds of a summer eve were glowing in the creative and flickering
blaze of the vanished sun, that had passed like a monarch from the
admiring sight, yet left his pomp behind. The golden and amber vapors
fell into forms that to the eye of the musing Lothair depicted the
objects of his frequent meditation. There seemed to rise in the horizon
the dome and campaniles and lofty aisles of some celestial fane, such as
he had often more than dreamed of raising to the revealed author of life
and death. Altars arose and sacred shrines, and delicate chantries and
fretted spires; now the flashing phantom of heavenly choirs, and then
the dim response of cowled and earthly cenobites:

"These are black Vesper's pageants!"



CHAPTER 39


Lothair was quite glad to see Mr. Putney Giles. That gentleman indeed
was a universal favorite. He was intelligent, acquainted with every
thing except theology and metaphysics, to oblige, a little to patronize,
never made difficulties, and always overcame them. His bright blue eyes,
open forehead, and sunny face, indicated a man fall of resources, and
with a temper of natural sweetness.

The lawyer and his noble client had a great deal of business to
transact. Lothair was to know his position in detail preparatory to
releasing his guardians from their responsibilities, and assuming the
management of his own affairs. Mr. Putney Giles was a first-rate man
of business. With all his pleasant, easy manner, he was precise and
methodical, and was not content that his client should be less master
of his own affairs than his lawyer. The mornings passed over a table
covered with dispatch boxes and piles of ticketed and banded papers, and
then they looked after the workmen who were preparing for the impending
festivals, or rode over the estate.

"That is our weak point," said Mr. Putney Giles, pointing to a distant
part of the valley. "We ought to have both sides of the valley. Your
lordship will have to consider whether you can devote the two hundred
thousand pounds of the second and extinct trust to a better purpose than
in obtaining that estate."

Lothair had always destined that particular sum for the cathedral, the
raising of which was to have been the first achievement of his majority;
but he did not reply.

In a few days the guests began to arrive, but gradually. The duke and
duchess and Lady Corisande came the first, and were one day alone with
Lothair, for Mr. Putney Giles had departed to fetch Apollonia.

Lothair was unaffectedly gratified at not only receiving his friends at
his own castle, but under these circumstances of intimacy. They had
been the first persons who had been kind to him, and he really loved the
whole family. They arrived rather late, but he would show them to their
rooms--and they were choice ones--himself, and then they dined together
in the small green dining-room. Nothing could be more graceful or
more cordial than the whole affair. The duchess seemed to beam with
affectionate pleasure as Lothair fulfilled his duties as their host;
the duke praised the claret, and he seldom praised any thing; while Lady
Corisande only regretted that the impending twilight had prevented her
from seeing the beautiful country, and expressed lively interest in the
morrow's inspection of the castle and domain. Sometimes her eyes met
those of Lothair, and she was so happy that she unconsciously smiled.

"And-to-morrow," said Lothair, "I am delighted to say, we shall have to
ourselves; at least all the morning. We will see the castle first, and
then, after luncheon, we will drive about everywhere."

"Everywhere," said Corisande.

"It was very nice your asking us first, and alone," said the duchess.

"It was very nice in your coming, dear duchess," said Lothair, "and most
kind--as you ever are to me."

"Duke of Brecon is coming to you on Thursday," said the duke; "he told
me so at White's."

"Perhaps you would like to know, duchess, whom you are going to meet,"
said Lothair.

"I should much like to hear. Pray tell us."

"It is a rather formidable array," said Lothair, and he took out a
paper. "First, there are all the notables of the county. I do not know
any of them personally, so I wrote to each of them a letter, as well as
sending them a formal invitation. I thought that was right."

"Quite right," said the duchess. "Nothing could be more proper."

"Well, the first person, of course, is the lord-lieutenant. He is
coming."

"By-the-by, let me see, who is your lord-lieutenant?" said the duke.

"Lord Agramont."

"To be sure. I was at college with him; a very good fellow; but I have
never met him since, except once at Boodle's; and I never saw a man so
red and gray, and I remember him such a good-looking fellow! He must
have lived immensely in the country, and never thought of his person,"
said the duke in a tone of pity, and playing with his mustache.

"Is there a Lady Agramont?" inquired the duchess.

"Oh, yes! and she also honors me with her presence," said Lothair.

"And who was Lady Agramont?"

"Oh! his cousin," said the duke. "The Agramonts always marry their
cousins. His father did the same thing. They are so shy. It is a family
that never was in society, and never will be. I was at Agramont Castle
once when I was at college, and I never shall forget it. We used to
sit down forty or fifty every day to dinner, entirely maiden aunts and
clergymen, and that sort of thing. However, I shall be truly glad to see
Agramont again, for, notwithstanding all these disadvantages, he is a
thoroughly good fellow."

"Then there is the high-sheriff," continued Lothair; "and both the
county members and their wives; and Mrs. High-Sheriff too. I believe
there is some tremendous question respecting the precedency of this
lady. There is no doubt that, in the county, the high-sheriff takes
precedence of every one, even of the lord-lieutenant; but how about his
wife? Perhaps your grace could aid me? Mr. Putney Giles said he would
write about it to the Heralds' College."

"I should give her the benefit of any doubt," said the duchess.

"And then our bishop is coming;" said Lothair.

"Oh! I am so glad you have asked the bishop," said Lady Corisande.

"There could be no doubt about it," said Lothair.

"I do not know how his lordship will get on with one of my guardians,
the cardinal; but his eminence is not here in a priestly character; and,
as for that, there is less chance of his differing with the cardinal
than with my other guardian Lord Culloden, who is a member of the Free
Kirk."

"Is Lord Culloden coming?" said the duchess.

"Yes, and with two daughters, Flora and Grizell. I remember my cousins,
good-natured little girls; but Mr. Putney Giles tells me that the
shortest is six feet high."

"I think we shall have a very amusing party," said the duchess.

"You know all the others," said Lothair. "No, by-the-by, there is the
dean of my college coming, and Monsignore Catesby, a great friend of the
St. Jeromes."

Lady Corisande looked grave.

"The St. Jeromes will be here to-morrow," continued Lothair, "and the
Montairys and the St. Aldegondes. I have half an idea that Bertram and
Carisbrooke and Hugo Bohun will be here to-night--Duke of Brecon
on Thursday; and that, I think, is all, except an American lady and
gentleman, whom, I think, you will like--great friends of mine; I knew
them this year at Oxford, and the were very kind to me. He is a man of
considerable fortune; they have lived at Paris a good deal."

"I have known Americans who lived at Paris," said the duke; "very good
sort of people, and no end of money some of them."

"I believe Colonel Campian has large estates in the South," said
Lothair; "but, though really I have no right to speak of his affairs, he
must have suffered very much."

"Well, he has the consolation of suffering in a good cause," said
the duke. "I shall be happy to make his acquaintance. I look upon an
American gentleman with large estates in the South as a real aristocrat;
and; whether he gets his rents, or whatever his returns may be, or not,
I should always treat him with respect."

"I have heard the American women are very pretty," said Lady Corisande.

"Mrs. Campian is very distinguished," said Lothair; "but I think she was
an Italian."

"They promise to be an interesting addition to our party," said the
duchess, and she rose.



CHAPTER 40


There never was any thing so successful as the arrangements of the
next day. After breakfast they inspected the castle, and in the easiest
manner, without form and without hurry, resting occasionally in a
gallery or a saloon, never examining a cabinet, and only looking at a
picture now and then. Generally speaking, nothing is more fatiguing than
the survey of a great house; but this enterprise was conducted with
so much tact and consideration, and much which they had to see was so
beautiful and novel, that every one was interested, and remained quite
fresh for their subsequent exertions. "And then the duke is so much
amused," said the duchess to her daughter, delighted at the unusual
excitement of the handsome, but somewhat too serene, partner of her
life.

After luncheon they visited the gardens, which had been formed in a
sylvan valley, enclosed with gilded gates. The creator of this, paradise
had been favored by Nature, and had availed himself of this opportunity.
The contrast between the parterres, blazing with color, and the sylvan
background, the undulating paths over romantic heights, the fanes and
the fountains, the glittering statues, and the Babylonian terraces,
formed a whole, much of which was beautiful, and all of which was
striking and singular.

"Perhaps too many temples," said Lothair; "but this ancestor of mine had
some imagination."

A carriage met them on the other side of the valley, and then they soon
entered the park.

"I am almost as much a stranger here as yourself, dear duchess," said
Lothair; "but I have seen some parts which, I think, will please you."
And they commenced a drive of varying, but unceasing, beauty.

"I hope I see the wild-cattle," said Lady Corisande.

Lady Corisande saw the wild-cattle, and many other things, which
gratified and charmed her. It was a long drive, even of hours, and yet
no one was, for a moment, wearied.

"What a delightful day!" Lady Corisande exclaimed in her mother's
dressing-room. "I have never seen any place so beautiful."

"I agree with you," said the duchess; "but what pleases me most are his
manners. They were always kind and natural; but they are so polished--so
exactly what they ought to be; and he always says the right thing. I
never knew any one who had so matured."

"Yes; it is very little more than a year since he came to us at
Brentham," said Lady Corisande, thoughtfully. "Certainly he has greatly
changed. I remember he could hardly open his lips; and now I think him
very agreeable."

"He is more than that," said the duchess; "he is interesting."

"Yes," said Lady Corisande; "he is interesting."

"What delights me," said the duchess, "is to see his enjoyment of his
position. He seems to take such an interest in every thing. It makes me
happy to see him so happy."

"Well, I hardly know," said Lady Corisande, "about that. There is
something occasionally about his expression which I should hardly
describe as indicative of happiness or content. It would be ungrateful
to describe one as distrait, who seems to watch all one wants, and hangs
on every word; and yet--especially as we returned, and when we were all
of us a little silent--there was a remarkable abstraction about him; I
caught it once or twice before, earlier in the day; his mind seemed in
another place, and anxiously."

"He has a great deal to think of," said the duchess.

"I fear it is that dreadful Monsignore Catesby," said Lady Corisande,
with a sigh.



CHAPTER 41


The arrival of the guests was arranged with judgment. The personal
friends came first; the formal visitors were invited only for the day
before the public ceremonies commenced. No more dinners in small green
dining-rooms. While the duchess was dressing, Bertha St. Aldegonde and
Victoria Montairy, who had just arrived, came in to give her a rapid
embrace while their own toilets were unpacking.

"Granville, has come, mamma; I did not think that he would till the last
moment. He said he was so afraid of being bored. There is a large party
by this train; the St. Jeromes, Bertram, Mr. Bohun, Lord Carisbrooke,
and some others we do not know."

The cardinal had been expected to-day, but he had telegraphed that his
arrival must be postponed in consequence: of business until the morrow,
which day had been previously fixed for the arrival of his fellow
guardian and trustee, the Earl of Culloden, and his daughters, the
Ladies Flora and Grizell Falkirk. Monsignore Catesby had, however,
arrived by this train, and the persons "whom they did not know," the
Campians.

Lothair waited on Colonel Campian immediately and welcomed him, but he
did not see Theodora. Still he had inquired after her, and left her
a message, and hoped that she would take some tea; and thus, as he
flattered himself, broken a little the strangeness of their meeting
under his roof; but, notwithstanding all this, when she really entered
the drawing-room he was seized with such a palpitation of the heart that
for a moment he thought he should be unequal to the situation. But the
serenity of Theodora reassured him. The Campians came in late, and all
eyes were upon them. Lothair presented Theodora to the duchess, who,
being prepared for the occasion, said exactly the right thing in the
best manner, and invited Mrs. Campian to sit by her, and then, Theodora
being launched, Lothair whispered something to the duke, who nodded,
and the colonel was introduced to his grace. The duke, always polite but
generally cold, was more than courteous--he was cordial; he seemed
to enjoy the opportunity of expressing his high consideration for a
gentleman of the Southern States.

So the first step was over; Lothair recovered himself; the palpitation
subsided; and the world still went on. The Campians had made a good
start, and the favorable impression hourly increased. At dinner
Theodora sat between Lord St. Jerome and Bertram, and talked more to the
middle-aged peer than to the distinguished youth, who would willingly
have engrossed her attention. All mothers admire such discretion,
especially in a young and beautiful married woman, so the verdict of the
evening among the great ladies was, that Theodora was distinguished, and
that all she said or did was in good taste. On the plea of her being
a foreigner, she was at once admitted into a certain degree of social
intimacy. Had she had the misfortune of being native-born and had
flirted with Bertram, she would probably, particularly with so much
beauty, have been looked upon as "a horrid woman," and have been
relegated for amusement, during her visit, to the attentions of the dark
sex. But, strange to say, the social success of Colonel Campian was not
less eminent than that of his distinguished wife. The character which
the duke gave of him commanded universal sympathy. "You know he is a
gentleman," said the duke; "he is not a Yankee. People make the greatest
mistakes about these things. He is a gentleman of the South; they have
no property, but land; and I am told his territory was immense. He
always lived at Paris, and in the highest style--disgusted, of course,
with his own country. It is not unlikely he may have lost his estates
now; but that makes no difference to me. I shall treat him, and all
Southern gentlemen, as our fathers treated the emigrant nobility of
France."

"Hugo," said St. Aldegonde to Mr. Bohun, "I wish you would tell Bertha
to come to me. I want her. She is talking to a lot of women at the other
end of the room, and, if I go to her, I am afraid they will get hold of
me."

The future duchess, who lived only to humor her lord, was at his side in
an instant. "You wanted me, Granville?"

"Yes; you know I was afraid, Bertha, I should be bored here. I am not
bored. I like this American fellow. He understands the only two subjects
which interest me; horses and tobacco."

"I am charmed, Granville, that you are not bored; I told mamma that you
were very much afraid you would be."

"Yes; but I tell you what, Bertha, I cannot stand any of the ceremonies.
I shall go before they begin. Why cannot Lothair be content with
receiving his friends in a quiet way? It is all humbug about the county.
If he wants to do something for the county, he can build a wing to the
infirmary, or something of that sort, and not bore us with speeches and
fireworks. It is a sort of thing I cannot stand."

"And you shall not, dear Granville. The moment you are bored, you shall
go. Only you are not bored at present."

"Not at present; but I expected to be."

"Yes; so I told mamma; but that makes the present more delightful."

The St. Jeromes were going to Italy and immediately. Their departure had
only been postponed in order that they might be present at the majority
of Lothair. Miss Arundel had at length succeeded in her great object.
They were to pass the winter at Rome. Lord St. Jerome was quite pleased
at having made the acquaintance at dinner of a Roman lady, who spoke
English so perfectly; and Lady St. Jerome, who in consequence fastened
upon Theodora, was getting into ecstasies, which would have been
embarrassing had not her new acquaintance skilfully checked her.

"We must be satisfied that we both admire Rome," said Mrs. Campian,
"though we admire it for different reasons. Although a Roman, I am not a
Roman Catholic; and Colonel Campian's views on Italian affairs generally
would, I fear, not entirely agree with Lord St. Jerome's."

"Naturally," said Lady St. Jerome, gracefully dropping the subject, and
remembering that Colonel Campian was a citizen of the United States,
which accounted in her apprehension for his peculiar opinions.

Lothair, who had been watching his opportunity the whole evening,
approached Theodora. He meant to have expressed his hope that she was
not wearied by her journey, but instead of that he said, "Your presence
here makes me inexpressibly happy."

"I think everybody seems happy to be your guest," she replied,
parrying, as was her custom, with a slight kind smile, and a low, sweet,
unembarrassed voice, any personal allusion from Lothair of unusual
energy or ardor.

"I wanted to meet you at the station to-day," he continued, "but there
were so many people coming, that--" and he hesitated.

"It would really have been more embarrassing to us than to yourself,"
she said. "Nothing could be better than all the arrangements."

"I sent my own brougham to you," said Lothair. "I hope there was no
mistake about it."

"None: your servant gave us your kind message; and as for the carriage,
it was too delightful. Colonel Campian was so; pleased with it, that he
has promised to give me one, with your permission, exactly the same."

"I wish you would accept the one you used to-day."

"You are too magnificent; you really must try to forget, with us,
that you are the lord of Muriel Towers. But I will willingly use your
carriages as much as you please, for I caught glimpses of beauty to-day
in our progress from the station that made me anxious to explore your
delightful domain."

There was a slight burst of merriment from a distant part of the room,
and everybody looked around. Colonel Campian had been telling a story to
a group formed of the duke, St. Aldegonde, and Mr. Bohun.

"Best story I ever heard In my life," exclaimed St. Aldegonde, who
prided himself, when he did laugh, which was rare, on laughing loud. But
even the duke tittered, and Hugo Bohun smiled.

"I am glad to see the colonel get on so well with every one," said
Lothair; "I was afraid he might have been bored."

"He does not know what that means," said Theodora; "and he is so natural
and so sweet-tempered, and so intelligent, that it seems to me he always
is popular."

"Do you think that will be a match?" said Monsignore Catesby to Miss
Arundel.

"Well, I rather believe in the Duke of Brecon," she replied. They were
referring to Lord Carisbrooke, who appeared to be devoted to Lady
Corisande. "Do you admire the American lady?"

"Who is an Italian, they tell me, though she does not look like one.
What do you think of her?" said the monsignore, evading, as was his
custom, a direct reply.

"Well, I think she is very distinguished: unusual. I wonder where our
host became acquainted with them? Do you know?"

"Not yet: but I dare say Mr. Bohun can tell us;" and he addressed that
gentleman accordingly as he was passing by.

"Not the most remote idea," said Mr. Bohun. "You know the colonel is not
a Yankee; he is a tremendous swell. The duke says, with more land than
he has."

"He seems an agreeable person," said Miss Arundel.

"Well, he tell anecdotes; he has just been telling one; Granville likes
anecdotes; they amuse him, and he likes to be amused: that is all he
cares about. I hate anecdotes, and I always get away when conversation
falls into, what Pinto calls, its anecdotage."

"You do not like to be amused?"

"Not too much; I like to be interested."

"Well," said Miss Arundel, "so long as a person can talk agreeably, I am
satisfied. I think to talk well a rare gift; quite as rare as singing;
and yet you expect every one to be able to talk, and very few to be able
to sing."

"There are amusing people who do not interest," said the monsignore,
"and interesting people who do not amuse. What I like is an agreeable
person."

"My idea of an agreeable person," said Hugo Bohun, "is a person who
agrees with me."

"Talking of singing, something is going to happen," said Miss Arundel.

A note was heard; a celebrated professor had entered the room and was
seated at the piano, which he had just touched. There was a general
and unconscious hush, and the countenance of Lord St. Aldegonde wore
a rueful expression. But affairs turned out better than could be
anticipated. A young and pretty girl, dressed in white, with a gigantic
sash of dazzling beauty, played upon the violin with a grace, and
sentimental and marvellous skill, and passionate expression, worthy of
St. Cecilia. She was a Hungarian lady, and this was her English debut.
Everybody praised her, and every body was pleased; and Lord St.
Aldegonde, instead of being bored, took a wondrous rose out of his
button-hole and presented it to her.

The performance only lasted half an hour, and then the ladies began to
think of their bowers. Lady St. Aldegonde, before she quit the room, was
in earnest conversation with her lord.

"I have arranged all that you wished, Granville," she said, speaking
rapidly and holding a candlestick. "We are to see the castle to-morrow,
and the gardens and the parks and every thing else, but you are not to
be bored at all, and not to lose your shooting. The moors are sixteen
miles off, but our host says, with an omnibus and a good team--and
he will give you a first-rate one--you can do it in an hour and ten
minutes, certainly an hour and a quarter; and you are to make your own
party in the smoking-room to-night, and take a capital luncheon with
you."

"All right: I shall ask the Yankee; and I should like to take that
Hungarian girl too, if she would only fiddle to us at luncheon."



CHAPTER 42


Next day the cardinal, with his secretary and his chaplain, arrived.
Monsignore Catesby received his eminence at the station and knelt and
kissed his hand as he stepped from the carriage. The monsignore had
wonderfully manoeuvred that the whole of the household should have
been marshalled to receive this prince of the Church, and perhaps have
performed the same ceremony: no religious recognition, he assured them,
in the least degree involved, only an act of not unusual respect to a
foreign prince; but considering that the bishop of the diocese and
his suite were that day expected, to say nothing of the Presbyterian
guardian, probably arriving by the same train, Lothair would not be
persuaded to sanction any ceremony whatever. Lady St. Jerome and Miss
Arundel, however, did their best to compensate for this omission with
reverences which a posture-master might have envied, and certainly would
not have surpassed. They seemed to sink into the earth, and then slowly
and supernaturally to emerge. The bishop had been at college with the
cardinal and intimate with him, though they now met for the first time
since his secession--a not uninteresting rencounter. The bishop was
high-church, and would not himself have made a bad cardinal, being
polished and plausible, well-lettered, yet quite a man of the world.
He was fond of society, and justified his taste in this respect by the
flattering belief that by his presence he was extending the power of the
Church; certainly favoring an ambition which could not be described as
being moderate. The bishop had no abstract prejudice against gentlemen
who wore red hats, and under ordinary circumstances would have welcomed
his brother churchman with unaffected cordiality, not to say sympathy;
but in the present instance, however gracious his mien and honeyed his
expressions, he only looked upon the cardinal as a dangerous rival,
intent upon clutching from his fold the most precious of his flock, and
he had long looked to this occasion as the one which might decide
the spiritual welfare and career of Lothair. The odds were not to be
despised. There were two monsignores in the room besides the cardinal,
but the bishop was a man of contrivance and resolution, not easily
disheartened or defeated. Nor was he without allies. He did not count
much on the university don, who was to arrive on the morrow in the shape
of the head of an Oxford house, though he was a don of magnitude. This
eminent personage had already let Lothair slip from his influence. But
the bishop had a subtle counsellor in his chaplain, who wore as good
a cassock as any monsignore, and he brought with him also a trusty
archdeacon in a purple coat, whose countenance was quite entitled to a
place in the Acta Sanctorum.

It was amusing to observe the elaborate courtesy and more than Christian
kindness which the rival prelates and their official followers extended
to each other. But under all this unction on both sides were unceasing
observation, and a vigilance that never flagged; and on both sides there
was an uneasy but irresistible conviction that they were on the eve of
one of the decisive battles of the social world. Lord Culloden also at
length appeared with his daughters, Ladies Flora and Grizell. They were
quite as tall as Mr. Putney Giles had reported, but very pretty, with
radiant complexions, sunny blue eyes, and flaxen looks. Their dimples
and white shoulders and small feet and hands were much admired. Mr.
Giles also returned with Apollonia, and, at length, also appeared the
rival of Lord Carisbrooke, his grace of Brecon.

Lothair had passed a happy morning, for he had contrived, without
difficulty, to be the companion of Theodora during the greater part of
it. As the duchess and Lady Corisande had already inspected the castle,
they disappeared after breakfast to write letters; and, when the
after-luncheon expedition took place, Lothair allotted them to the care
of Lord Carisbrooke, and himself became the companion of Lady St. Jerome
and Theodora.

Notwithstanding all his efforts in the smoking-room, St. Aldegonde had
only been able to induce Colonel Campian to be his companion in the
shooting expedition, and the colonel fell into the lure only through
his carelessness and good-nature. He much doubted the discretion of
his decision as he listened to Lord St. Aldegonde's reasons for the
expedition, in their rapid journey to the moors.

"I do not suppose," he said, "we shall have any good sport; but when
you are in Scotland, and come to me, as I hope you will, I will give you
something you will like. But it is a great thing to get off seeing the
Towers, and the gardens, and all that sort of thing. Nothing bores me so
much as going over a man's house. Besides, we get rid of the women."

The meeting between the two guardians did not promise to be as pleasant
as that between the bishop and the cardinal, but the crusty Lord
Culloden was scarcely a match for the social dexterity of his eminence.
The cardinal, crossing the room, with winning ceremony approached and
addressed his colleague.

"We can have no more controversies, my lord, for our reign is over;"
and he extended a delicate hand, which the surprised peer touched with a
huge finger.

"Yes; it all depends on himself now," replied Lord Culloden, with a grim
smile; "and I hope he will not make a fool of himself."

"What have you got for us to-night?" inquired Lothair of Mr. Giles, as
the gentlemen rose from the dining-table.

Mr. Giles said he would consult his wife, but Lothair observing he would
himself undertake that office, when he entered the saloon, addressed
Apollonia. Nothing could be more skilful than the manner in which Mrs.
Giles, in this party, assumed precisely the position which equally
became her and suited her own views; at the same time the somewhat
humble friend, but the trusted counsellor, of the Towers, she disarmed
envy and conciliated consideration. Never obtrusive, yet always prompt
and prepared with unfailing resource, and gifted apparently, with
universal talents, she soon became the recognized medium by which every
thing was suggested or arranged; and before eight-and-forty hours had
passed she was described by duchesses and their daughters as that "dear
Mrs. Giles."

"Monsieur Raphael and his sister came down in the train with us," said
Mrs. Giles to Lothair; "the rest of the troupe will not be here until
to-morrow; but they told me they could give you a perfect proverbe if
your lordship would like it; and the Spanish conjuror is here; but I
rather think, from what I gather, that the young ladies would like a
dance."

"I do not much fancy acting the moment these great churchmen have
arrived, and with cardinals and bishops I would rather not have dances
the first-night. I almost wish we had kept the Hungarian lady for this
evening."

"Shall I send for her? She is ready."

"The repetition would be too soon, and would show a great poverty of
resources," said Lothair, smiling; "what we want is some singing."

"Mardoni ought to have been here to-day," said Mrs. Giles; "but he never
keeps his engagements."

"I think our amateur materials are rather rich," said Lothair.

"There is Mrs. Campian," said Apollonia in a low voice; but Lothair
shook his head.

"But, perhaps, if others set her the example," he added, after a pause;
"Lady Corisande is first rate, and all her sisters sing; I will go and
consult the duchess."

There was soon a stir in the room. Lady St. Aldegonde and her sisters
approached the piano, at which was seated the eminent professor. A note
was heard, and there was silence. The execution was exquisite; and,
indeed, there are few things more dainty than the blended voices of
three women. No one seemed to appreciate the performance more than
Mrs. Campian, who, greatly attracted by what was taking place, turned a
careless ear, even to the honeyed sentences of no less a personage than
the lord-bishop.

After an interval Lady Corisande was handed to the piano by Lothair.
She was in fine voice, and sang with wonderful effect. Mrs. Campian, who
seemed much interested, softly rose, and stole to the outward circle of
the group which had gathered round the instrument. When the sounds had
ceased, amid the general applause her voice of admiration was heard.
The duchess approached her, evidently prompted by the general wish, and
expressed her hope that Mrs. Campian would now favor them. It was not
becoming to refuse when others had contributed so freely to the
general entertainment, but Theodora was anxious not to place herself in
competition with those who had preceded her. Looking over a volume
of music, she suggested to Lady Corisande a duet, in which the
peculiarities of their two voices, which in character were quite
different, one being a soprano and the other a contralto, might be
displayed. And very seldom, in a private chamber, had any thing of so
high a class been heard. Not a lip moved except those of the singers,
so complete was the fascination, till the conclusion elicited a burst of
irresistible applause.

"In imagination I am throwing endless bouquets," said Hugo Bohun.

"I wish we could induce her to give us a recitation from Alfieri," said
Mrs. Putney Giles in a whisper to Lady St. Aldegonde. "I heard it once:
it was the finest thing I ever listened to."

"But cannot we?" said Lady St. Aldegonde.

Apollonia shook her head. "She is extremely reserved. I am quite
surprised that she sang; but she could not well refuse after your
ladyship and your sisters had been so kind."

"But if the Lord of the Towers asks her," suggested Lady St. Aldegonde.

"No, no," said Mrs. Giles, "that would not do; nor would he. He knows
she dislikes it. A word from Colonel Campian, and the thing would be
settled; but it is rather absurd to invoke the authority of a husband
for so light a matter."

"I should like so much to hear her," said Lady St. Aldegonde. "I think I
will ask her myself. I will go and speak to mamma."

There was much whispering and consulting in the room, but unnoticed, as
general conversation had now been resumed. The duchess sent for Lothair,
and conferred with him; but Lothair seemed to shake his head. Then
her grace rose and approached Colonel Campian, who was talking to Lord
Culloden, and then the duchess and Lady St. Aldegonde went to Mrs.
Campian. Then, after a short time, Lady St. Aldegonde rose and fetched
Lothair.

"Her grace tells me," said Theodora, "that Colonel Campian wishes me to
give a recitation. I cannot believe that such a performance can ever be
generally interesting, especially in a foreign language, and I confess
that I would rather not exhibit. But I do not like to be churlish when
all are so amiable and compliant, and her grace tells me that it cannot
well be postponed, for this is the last quiet night we shall have. What
I want is a screen, and I must be a moment alone, before I venture on
these enterprises. I require it to create the ideal presence."

Lothair and Bertram arranged the screen, the duchess and Lady St.
Aldegonde glided about, and tranquilly intimated what was going to
occur, so that, without effort, there was in a moment complete silence
and general expectation. Almost unnoticed Mrs. Campian had disappeared,
whispering a word as she passed to the eminent conductor, who was
still seated at the piano. The company had almost unconsciously grouped
themselves in the form of a theatre, the gentlemen generally standing
behind the ladies who were seated. There were some bars of solemn music,
and then, to an audience not less nervous than herself, Theodora came
forward as Electra in that beautiful appeal to Clytemnestra, where she
veils her mother's guilt even while she intimates her more than terrible
suspicion of its existence, and makes one last desperate appeal of
pathetic duty in order to save her parent and her fated house:

     "O amata madre,
      Che fai?  Non credo io, no, che ardente fiamma
      Il cor ti avvampi."

The ineffable grace of her action, simple without redundancy, her
exquisite elocution, her deep yet controlled passion, and the magic of a
voice thrilling even in a whisper--this form of Phidias with the genius
of Sophocles--entirely enraptured a fastidious audience. When she
ceased, there was an outburst of profound and unaffected appreciation;
and Lord St. Aldegonde, who had listened in a sort of ecstasy, rushed
forward, with a countenance as serious as the theme, to offer his thanks
and express his admiration.

And then they gathered round her--all these charming women and some of
these admiring men--as she would have resumed her seat, and entreated
her once more--only once more--to favor them. She caught the adoring
glance of the lord of the Towers, and her eyes seemed to inquire what
she should do. "There will be many strangers here to-morrow," said
Lothair, "and next week all the world. This is a delight only for the
initiated," and he entreated her to gratify them.

"It shall be Alfieri's ode to America, then," said Theodora, "if you
please."

"She is a Roman, I believe," said Lady St. Jerome to his eminence, "but
not, alas! a child of the Church. Indeed, I fear her views generally are
advanced," and she shook her head.

"At present," said the cardinal, "this roof and this visit may influence
her. I should like to see such powers engaged in the cause of God."

The cardinal was an entire believer in female influence, and a
considerable believer in his influence over females; and he had good
cause for his convictions. The catalogue of his proselytes was numerous
and distinguished. He had not only converted a duchess and several
countesses, but he had gathered into his fold a real Mary Magdalen. In
the height of her beauty and her fame, the most distinguished member
of the demi-monde had suddenly thrown up her golden whip and jingling
reins, and cast herself at the feet of the cardinal. He had a right,
therefore, to be confident; and, while his exquisite taste and
consummate cultivation rendered it impossible that he should not have
been deeply gratified by the performance of Theodora, he was really the
whole time considering the best means by which such charms and powers
could be enlisted in the cause of the Church.

After the ladies had retired, the gentlemen talked for a few minutes
over the interesting occurrence of the evening.

"Do you know," said the bishop to the duke and some surrounding
auditors, "fine as was the Electra, I preferred the ode to the tragedy?
There was a tumult of her brow, especially in the address to Liberty,
that was sublime--quite a Moenad look."

"What do you think of it, Carry?" said St. Aldegonde to Lord
Carisbrooke.

"Brecon says she puts him in mind of Ristori."

"She is not in the least like Ristori, or any one else," said St.
Aldegonde. "I never heard, I never saw any one like her. I'll tell you
what--you must take care what you say about her in the smoking-room, for
her husband will be there, and an excellent fellow too. We went together
to the moors this morning, and he did not bore me in the least. Only, if
I had known as much about his wife as I do now, I would have stayed at
home, and passed my morning with the women."



CHAPTER 43


St. Aldegonde loved to preside over the mysteries of the smoking-room.
There, enveloped in his Egyptian robe, occasionally blurting out some
careless or headstrong paradox to provoke discussion among others, which
would amuse himself, rioting in a Rabelaisan anecdote, and listening
with critical delight to endless memoirs of horses and prima-donnas, St.
Aldegonde was never bored. Sometimes, too, when he could get hold of
an eminent traveller, or some individual distinguished for special
knowledge, St. Aldegonde would draw him out with skill; himself
displaying an acquaintance with the particular topic which often
surprised his habitual companions, for St. Aldegonde professed never to
read; but he had no ordinary abilities, and an original turn of mind
and habit of life, which threw him in the way of unusual persons of
all classes; from whom he imbibed or extracted a vast variety of queer,
always amusing, and not altogether useless information.

"Lothair has only one weakness," he said to Colonel Campian as the
ladies disappeared; "he does not smoke. Carry, you will come?"

"Well, I do not think I shall to-night," said Lord Carisbrooke. Lady
Corisande, it appears, particularly disapproved of smoking.

"Hum!" said St. Aldegonde; "Duke of Brecon, I know, will come, and Hugo
and Bertram. My brother Montairy would give his ears to come, but is
afraid of his wife; and then there is the monsignore, a most capital
fellow, who knows every thing."

There were other gatherings, before the midnight bell struck at the
Towers, which discussed important affairs, though they might not sit
so late as the smoking-party. Lady St. Aldegonde had a reception in her
room as well as her lord. There the silent observation of the evening
found avenging expression in sparkling criticism, and the summer
lightning, though it generally blazed with harmless brilliancy,
occasionally assumed a more arrowy character. The gentlemen of the
smoking-room have it not all their own way quite as much as they think.
If, indeed, a new school of Athens were to be pictured, the sages and
the students might be represented in exquisite dressing-gowns, with
slippers rarer than the lost one of Cinderella, and brandishing
beautiful brushes over tresses still more fair. Then is the time when
characters are never more finely drawn, or difficult social questions
more accurately solved; knowledge without reasoning and truth without
logic--the triumph of intuition! But we must not profane the mysteries
of Bona Dea.

The archdeacon and the chaplain had also been in council with the bishop
in his dressing-room, who, while he dismissed them with his benison,
repeated his apparently satisfactory assurance that something would
happen "the first thing after breakfast."

Lothair did not smoke, but he did not sleep. He was absorbed by the
thought of Theodora. He could not but be conscious, and so far he was
pleased by the consciousness, that she was as fascinating to others as
to himself. What then? Even with the splendid novelty of his majestic
home, and all the excitement of such an incident in his life, and
the immediate prospect of their again meeting, he had felt, and even
acutely, their separation. Whether it were the admiration of her by
others which proved his own just appreciation, or whether it were the
unobtrusive display of exquisite accomplishments, which, with all their
intimacy, she had never forced on his notice--whatever the cause,
her hold upon his heart and life, powerful as it was before, had
strengthened. Lothair could not conceive existence tolerable without
her constant presence; and with her constant presence existence would
be rapture. It had come to that. All his musings, all his profound
investigation and high resolve, all his sublime speculations on God and
man, and life, and immortality, and the origin of things, and religious
truth, ended in an engrossing state of feeling, which could be denoted
in that form and in no other.

What, then, was his future? It seemed dark and distressing. Her constant
presence his only happiness; her constant presence impossible. He seemed
on an abyss.

In eight-and-forty hours or so one of the chief provinces of England
would be blazing with the celebration of his legal accession to his high
estate. If any one in the queen's dominions had to be fixed upon as the
most fortunate and happiest of her subjects, it might well be Lothair.
If happiness depend on lofty station, his ancient and hereditary rank
was of the highest; if, as there seems no doubt, the chief source of
felicity in this country is wealth, his vast possessions and accumulated
treasure could not easily be rivalled, while he had a matchless
advantage over those who pass, or waste, their gray and withered lives
in acquiring millions, in his consummate and healthy youth. He had
bright abilities, and a brighter heart. And yet the unknown truth was,
that this favored being, on the eve of this critical event, was pacing
his chamber agitated and infinitely disquieted, and struggling with
circumstances and feelings over which alike he seemed to have no
control, and which seemed to have been evoked without the exercise of
his own will, or that of any other person.

"I do not think I can blame myself," he said; "and I am sure I cannot
blame her. And yet--"

He opened his window and looked upon the moonlit garden, which filled
the fanciful quadrangle. The light of the fountain seemed to fascinate
his eye, and the music of its fall soothed him into reverie. The
distressful images that had gathered round his heart gradually vanished,
and all that remained to him was the reality of his happiness. Her
beauty and her grace, the sweet stillness of her searching intellect,
and the refined pathos of her disposition, only occurred to him, and he
dwelt on them with spell-bound joy.

The great clock of the Towers sounded two.

"Ah!" said Lothair, "I must try to sleep. I have got to see the bishop
to-morrow morning. I wonder what he wants?"



CHAPTER 44


The bishop was particularly playful on the morrow at breakfast. Though
his face beamed with Christian kindness, there was a twinkle in his eye
which seemed not entirely superior to mundane self-complacency, even to
a sense of earthly merriment. His seraphic raillery elicited sympathetic
applause from the ladies, especially from the daughters of the house of
Brentham, who laughed occasionally, even before his angelic jokes
were well launched. His lambent flashes sometimes even played over the
cardinal, whose cerulean armor, nevertheless, remained always unscathed.
Monsignore Chidioch, however, who would once unnecessarily rush to the
aid of his chief, was tumbled over by the bishop with relentless gayety,
to the infinite delight of Lady Corisande, who only wished it had
been that dreadful Monsignore Catesby. But, though less demonstrative,
apparently not the least devout, of his lordship's votaries, were
the Lady Flora and the Lady Grizell. These young gentlewomen, though
apparently gifted with appetites becoming their ample, but far from
graceless, forms, contrived to satisfy all the wants of nature without
taking their charmed vision for a moment off the prelate, or losing a
word which escaped his consecrated lips. Sometimes even they ventured to
smile, and then they looked at their father and sighed. It was evident,
notwithstanding their appetites and their splendid complexions, which
would have become the Aurora of Guido, that these young ladies had some
secret sorrow which required a confidante. Their visit to Muriel Towers
was their introduction to society, for the eldest had only just attained
sweet seventeen. Young ladies under these circumstances always fall in
love, but with their own sex. Lady Flora and Lady Grizell both fell in
love with Lady Corisande, and before the morning had passed away she
had become their friend and counsellor, and the object of their devoted
adoration. It seems that their secret sorrow had its origin in that
mysterious religious sentiment which agitates or affects every class
and condition of man, and which creates or destroys states, though
philosophers are daily assuring us "that there is nothing in it." The
daughters of the Earl of Culloden could not stand any longer the Free
Kirk, of which their austere parent was a fiery votary. It seems that
they had been secretly converted to the Episcopal Church of Scotland by
a governess, who pretended to be a daughter of the Covenant, but who was
really a niece of the primus, and, as Lord Culloden accurately observed,
when he ignominiously dismissed her, "a Jesuit in disguise." From that
moment there had been no peace in his house. His handsome and gigantic
daughters, who had hitherto been all meekness, and who had obeyed him as
they would a tyrant father of the feudal ages, were resolute, and would
not compromise their souls. They humbly expressed their desire to enter
a convent, or to become at least sisters of mercy. Lord Culloden raged
and raved, and delivered himself of cynical taunts, but to no purpose.
The principle that forms Free Kirks is a strong principle, and takes
many forms, which the social Polyphemes, who have only one eye, cannot
perceive. In his desperate confusion, he thought that change of scene
might be a diversion when things were at the worst, and this was the
reason that he had, contrary to his original intention, accepted the
invitation of his ward.

Lady Corisande was exactly the guide the girls required. They sat on
each side of her, each holding her hand, which they frequently pressed
to their lips. As her form was slight, though of perfect grace and
symmetry, the contrast between herself and her worshippers was rather
startling; but her noble brow, full of thought and purpose, the firmness
of her chiselled lip, and the rich fire of her glance vindicated her
post as the leading spirit.

They breakfasted in a room which opened on a gallery, and at the other
end of the gallery was an apartment similar to the breakfast-room,
which was the male morning-room, and where the world could find
the newspapers, or join in half an hour's talk over the intended
arrangements of the day. When the breakfast-party broke up, the bishop
approached Lothair, and looked at him earnestly.

"I am at your lordship's service," said Lothair, and they quitted the
breakfast-room together. Half-way down the gallery they met Monsignore
Catesby, who had in his hand a number, just arrived, of a newspaper
which was esteemed an Ultramontane organ. He bowed as he passed them,
with an air of some exultation, and the bishop and himself exchanged
significant smiles, which, however, meant different things. Quitting the
gallery, Lothair led the way to his private apartments; and, opening the
door, ushered in the bishop.

Now, what was contained in the Ultramontane organ which apparently
occasioned so much satisfaction to Monsignore Catesby? A deftly drawn-up
announcement of some important arrangements which had been deeply
planned. The announcement would be repeated In all the daily papers,
which were hourly expected. The world was informed that his eminence,
Cardinal Grandison, now on a visit at Muriel Towers to his ward,
Lothair, would celebrate high mass on the ensuing Sunday in the city
which was the episcopal capital of the bishop's see, and afterward
preach on the present state of the Church of Christ. As the bishop must
be absent from his cathedral that day, and had promised to preach in
the chapel at Muriel, there was something dexterous in thus turning his
lordship's flank, and desolating his diocese when he was not present to
guard it from the fiery dragon. It was also remarked that there would be
an unusual gathering of the Catholic aristocracy for the occasion. The
rate of lodgings in the city had risen in consequence. At the end of the
paragraph it was distinctly contradicted that Lothair had entered the
Catholic Church. Such a statement was declared to be "premature," as
his guardian, the cardinal, would never sanction his taking such a step
until he was the master of his own actions; the general impression left
by the whole paragraph being, that the world was not to be astonished if
the first stop of Lothair, on accomplishing his majority, was to pursue
the very course which was now daintily described as premature.

At luncheon the whole party were again assembled. The newspapers had
arrived in the interval, and had been digested. Every one was aware of
the popish plot, as Hugo Bohun called it. The bishop, however, looked
serene, and, if not as elate as in the morning, calm and content. He sat
by the duchess, and spoke to her in a low voice, and with seriousness.
The monsignore watched every expression.

When the duchess rose, the bishop accompanied her into the recess of a
window, and she said: "You may depend upon me; I cannot answer for the
duke. It is not the early rising; he always rises early in the country,
but he likes to read his letters before he dresses, and that sort of
thing. I think you had better speak to Lady Corisande yourself."

What had taken place at the interview of the bishop with Lothair, and
what had elicited from the duchess an assurance that the prelate
might depend upon her, generally transpired, in consequence of some
confidential communications, in the course of the afternoon. It appeared
that the right reverend lord had impressed, and successfully, on
Lothair, the paramount duty of commencing the day of his majority by
assisting in an early celebration of the most sacred rite of the Church.
This, in the estimation of the bishop, though he had not directly
alluded to the subject in the interview, but had urged the act on higher
grounds, would be a triumphant answer to the insidious and calumnious
paragraphs which had circulated during the last six months, and an
authentic testimony that Lothair was not going to quit the Church of his
fathers.

This announcement, however, produced consternation in the opposite
camp. It seemed to more than neutralize the anticipated effect of the
programme, and the deftly-conceived paragraph. Monsignore Catesby went
about whispering that he feared Lothair was going to overdo it; and
considering what he had to go through on Monday, if it were only for
considerations of health, an early celebration was inexpedient. He tried
the duchess--about whom he was beginning to hover a good deal--as he
fancied she was of an impressible disposition, and gave some promise of
results; but here the ground had been too forcibly preoccupied: then he
flew to Lady St. Aldegonde, but he had the mortification of learning,
from her lips, that she herself contemplated being a communicant at the
same time. Lady Corisande had been before him. All the energies of that
young lady were put forth in order that Lothair should be countenanced
on this solemn occasion. She conveyed to the bishop before dinner the
results of her exertions.

"You may count on Alberta St. Aldegonde and Victoria Montairy, and, I
think, Lord Montairy also, if she presses him, which she has promised
to do. Bertram must kneel by his friend at such a time. I think Lord
Carisbrooke may: Duke of Brecon, I can say nothing about at present."

"Lord St. Aldegonde?" said the bishop.

Lady Corisande shook her head.

There had been a conclave in the bishop's room before dinner, in which
the interview of the morning was discussed.

"It was successful; scarcely satisfactory," said the bishop. "He is a
very clever fellow, and knows a great deal. They have got hold of him,
and he has all the arguments at his fingers' ends. When I came to the
point, he began to demur; I saw what was passing through his mind, and
I said at once: 'Your views are high: so are mine: so are those of the
Church. It is a sacrifice, undoubtedly, in a certain sense. No sound
theologian would maintain the simplicity of the elements; but that does
not involve the coarse interpretation of the dark ages.'"

"Good, good," said the archdeacon; "and what is it your lordship did not
exactly like?"

"He fenced too much; and he said more than once, and in a manner I did
not like, that, whatever were his views as to the Church, he thought he
could on the whole conscientiously partake of this rite as administered
by the Church of England."

"Every thing depends on this celebration," said the chaplain; "after
that his doubts and difficulties will dispel."

"We must do our best that he is well supported," said the archdeacon.

"No fear of that," said the bishop. "I have spoken to some of our
friends. We may depend on the duchess and her daughters--all admirable
women; and they will do what they can with others. It will be a busy
day, but I have expressed my hope that the heads of the household may be
able to attend. But the county notables arrive to-day, and I shall make
it a point with them, especially the lord-lieutenant."

"It should be known," said the chaplain. "I will send a memorandum to
the Guardian."

"And John Bull," said the bishop.

The lord-lieutenant and Lady Agramont, and their daughter, Lady Ida
Alice, arrived to-day; and the high-sheriff, a manufacturer, a great
liberal who delighted in peers, but whose otherwise perfect felicity
to-day was a little marred and lessened by the haunting and restless
fear that Lothair was not duly aware that he took precedence of the
lord-lieutenant. Then there were Sir Hamlet Clotworthy, the master
of the hounds, and a capital man of business; and the Honorable Lady
Clotworthy, a haughty dame who ruled her circle with tremendous airs and
graces, but who was a little subdued in the empyrean of Muriel Towers.
The other county member, Mr. Ardenne, was a refined gentleman, and loved
the arts. He had an ancient pedigree, and knew everybody else's, which
was not always pleasant. What he most prided himself on was being the
hereditary owner of a real deer--park the only one, he asserted, in the
county. Other persons had parks which had deer in them, but that was
quite a different thing. His wife was a pretty woman, and the inspiring
genius of archeological societies, who loved their annual luncheon
in her Tudor Halls, and illustrated by their researches the deeds and
dwellings of her husband's ancient race.

The clergy of the various parishes on the estate all dined at the Towers
to-day, in order to pay their respects to their bishop. "Lothair's
oecumenical council," said Hugo Bohun, as he entered the crowded room,
and looked around him with an air of not ungraceful impertinence. Among
the clergy was Mr. Smylie, the brother of Apollonia.

A few years ago, Mr. Putney Giles had not unreasonably availed himself
of the position which he so usefully and so honorably filled, to
recommend this gentleman to the guardians of Lothair to fill a vacant
benefice. The Reverend Dionysius Smylie had distinguished himself at
Trinity College, Dublin, and had gained a Hebrew scholarship there;
after that he had written a work on the Revelations, which clearly
settled the long-controverted point whether Rome in the great apocalypse
was signified by Babylon. The bishop shrugged his shoulders when he
received Mr. Smylie's papers, the examining chaplain sighed, and the
archdeacon groaned. But man is proverbially short-sighted. The doctrine
of evolution affords no instances so striking as those of sacerdotal
development. Placed under the favoring conditions of clime and soil,
the real character of the Reverend Dionysius Smylie gradually, but
powerfully, developed itself. Where he now ministered, he was attended
by acolytes, and incensed by thurifers. The shoulders of a fellow
countryman were alone equal to the burden of the enormous cross which
preceded him; while his ecclesiastical wardrobe furnished him with many
colored garments, suited to every season of the year, and every festival
of the Church.

At first there was indignation, and rumors or prophecies that we should
soon have another case of perversion, and that Mr. Smylie was going over
to Rome; but these superficial commentators misapprehended the vigorous
vanity of the man. "Rome may come to me," said Mr. Smylie, "and it is
perhaps the best thing it could do. This is the real Church without
Romish error."

The bishop and his reverend stuff, who were at first so much annoyed
at the preferment of Mr. Smylie, had now, with respect to him, only
one duty, and that was to restrain his exuberant priestliness; but they
fulfilled that duty in a kindly and charitable spirit; and, when the
Reverend Dionysius Smylie was appointed chaplain to Lothair, the
bishop did not shrug his shoulders, the chaplain did not sigh, nor the
archdeacon groan.

The party was so considerable to-day that they dined in the great hall.
When it was announced to Lothair that his lordship's dinner was served,
and he offered his arm to his destined companion, he looked around,
and, then in an audible voice, and with a stateliness becoming such an
incident, called upon the high-sheriff to lead the duchess to the table.
Although that eminent personage had been thinking of nothing else for
days, and during the last half-hour had felt as a man feels, and can
only feel, who knows that some public function is momentarily about to
fall to his perilous discharge, he was taken quite aback, changed color,
and lost his head. But the band of Lothair, who were waiting at the door
of the apartment to precede the procession to the hall, striking up at
this moment "The Roast Beef of Old England," reanimated his heart; and,
following Lothair, and preceding all the other guests down the gallery,
and through many chambers, he experienced the proudest moment of a life
of struggle, ingenuity, vicissitude, and success.



CHAPTER 45


Under all this flowing festivity there was already a current of struggle
and party passion. Serious thoughts and some anxiety occupied the minds
of several of the guests, amid the variety of proffered dishes and
sparkling wines, and the subdued strains of delicate music. This
disquietude did not touch Lothair. He was happy to find himself in his
ancestral hall, surrounded by many whom he respected, and by some whom
he loved. He was an excellent host, which no one can be who does not
combine a good heart with high breeding.

Theodora was rather far from him, but he could catch her grave, sweet
countenance at an angle of the table, as she bowed her head to Mr.
Ardenne, the county member, who was evidently initiating her in all the
mysteries of deer-parks. The cardinal sat near him, winning over, though
without apparent effort, the somewhat prejudiced Lady Agramont. His
eminence could converse with more facility than others, for he dined off
biscuits and drank only water.

Lord Culloden had taken out Lady St. Jerome, who expended on him all the
resources of her impassioned tittle-tattle, extracting only grim smiles;
and Lady Corisande had fallen to the happy lot of the Duke of Brecon;
according to the fine perception of Clare Arundel--and women are very
quick in these discoveries--the winning horse. St. Aldegonde had managed
to tumble in between Lady Flora and Lady Grizell, and seemed immensely
amused.

The duke inquired of Lothair how many he could dine in his hall.

"We must dine more than two hundred on Monday," he replied.

"And now, I should think, we have only a third of that number," said his
grace. "It will be a tight fit."

"Mr. Putney Giles has had a drawing made, and every seat apportioned. We
shall just do it."

"I fear you will have too busy a day on Monday," said the cardinal, who
had caught up the conversation.

"Well, you know, sir, I do not sit up smoking with Lord St. Aldegonde."

After dinner, Lady Corisande seated herself by Mrs. Campian. "You must
have thought me very rude," she said, "to have left you so suddenly at
tea, when the bishop looked into the room; but he wanted me on a matter
of the greatest importance. I must, therefore, ask your pardon. You
naturally would not feel on this matter as we all do, or most of us do,"
she added with some hesitation; "being--pardon me--a foreigner, and the
question involving national as well as religious feelings;" and then,
somewhat hurriedly, but with emotion, she detailed to Theodora all
that had occurred respecting the early celebration on Monday, and the
opposition it was receiving from the cardinal and his friends. It was a
relief to Lady Corisande thus to express all her feelings on a subject
on which she had been brooding the whole day.

"You mistake," said Theodora, quietly, when Lady Corisande had finished.
"I am much interested in what you tell me. I should deplore our friend
falling under the influence of the Romish priesthood."

"And yet there is danger of it," said Lady Corisande, "more than
danger," she added in a low but earnest voice. "You do not know what a
conspiracy is going on, and has been going on for months, to effect this
end. I tremble."

"That is the last thing I ever do," said Theodora, with a faint, sweet
smile. "I hope, but I never tremble."

"You have seen the announcement in the newspapers to-day!" said Lady
Corisande.

"I think, if they were certain of their prey, they would be more
reserved," said Theodora.

"There is something in that," said Lady Corisande, musingly. "You know
not what a relief it is to me to speak to you on this matter. Mamma
agrees with me, and so do my sisters; but still they may agree with me
because they are my mamma and my sisters; but I look upon our nobility
joining the Church of Rome as the greatest calamity that has ever
happened to England. Irrespective of all religious considerations, on
which I will not presume to touch, it is an abnegation of patriotism;
and in this age, when all things are questioned, a love of our country
seems to me the one sentiment to cling to."

"I know no higher sentiment," said Theodora in a low voice, and yet
which sounded like the breathing of some divine shrine, and her Athenian
eye met the fiery glance of Lady Corisande with an expression of noble
sympathy.

"I am so glad that I spoke to you on this matter," said Lady Corisande,
"for there is something in you which encourages me. As you say, if they
were certain, they would be silent; and yet, from what I hear, their
hopes are high. You know," she added in a whisper, "that he has
absolutely engaged to raise a popish cathedral. My brother, Bertram, has
seen the model in his rooms."

"I have known models that were never realized," said Theodora.

"Ah! you are hopeful; you said you were hopeful. It is a beautiful
disposition. It is not mine," she added, with a sigh.

"It should be," said Theodora; "you were not born to sigh. Sighs should
be for those who have no country, like myself; not for the daughters of
England--the beautiful daughters of proud England."

"But you have your husband's country, and that is proud and great."

"I have only one country, and it is not my husband's; and I have only
one thought, and it is to set it free."

"It is a noble one," said Lady Corisande, "as I am sure are all your
thoughts. There are the gentlemen; I am sorry they have come. There,"
she added, as Monsignore Catesby entered the room, "there is his evil
genius."

"But you have baffled him," said Theodora.

"Ah," said Lady Corisande, with a long-drawn sigh. "Their manoeuvres
never cease. However, I think Monday must be safe. Would you come?" she
said, with a serious, searching glance, and in a kind of coaxing murmur.

"I should be an intruder, my dear lady," said Theodora, declining the
suggestion; "but, so far as hoping that our friend will never join the
Church of Rome, you will have ever my ardent wishes."

Theodora might have added her belief, for Lothair had never concealed
from her a single thought or act of his life in this respect. She
knew all and had weighed every thing, and flattered herself that their
frequent and unreserved conversations had not confirmed his belief
in the infallibility of the Church of Rome, and perhaps of some other
things.

It had been settled that there should be dancing this evening--all the
young ladies had wished it. Lothair danced with Lady Flora Falkirk, and
her sister, Lady Grizell, was in the same quadrille. They moved about
like young giraffes in an African forest, but looked bright and happy.
Lothair liked his cousins; their inexperience and innocence, and the
simplicity with which they exhibited and expressed their feelings, had
in them something bewitching. Then the rough remembrance of his old life
at Falkirk and its contrast with the present scene had in it something
stimulating. They were his juniors by several years, but they were
always gentle and kind to him; and sometimes it seemed he was the only
person whom they, too, had found kind and gentle. He called his
cousin, too, by her Christian name, and he was amused, standing by this
beautiful giantess, and calling her Flora. There were other amusing
circumstances in the quadrille; not the least, Lord St. Aldegonde
dancing with Mrs. Campian. The wonder of Lady St. Aldegonde was only
equalled by her delight.

The lord-lieutenant was standing by the duke, in a comer of the saloon,
observing, not with dissatisfaction, his daughter, Lady Ida Alice,
dancing with Lothair.

"Do you know this is the first time I ever had the honor of meeting a
cardinal?" he said.

"And we never expected that it would happen to either of us in this
country when we were at Christchurch together," replied the duke.

"Well, I hope every thing is for the best," said Lord Agramont. "We
are to have all these gentlemen in our good city of Grandchester,
to-morrow."

"So I understand."

"You read that paragraph in the newspapers? Do you think there is any
thing in it?"

"About our friend? It would be a great misfortune."

"The bishop says there is nothing in it," said the lord-lieutenant.

"Well, he ought to know. I understand he has had some serious
conversation recently with our friend?"

"Yes; he has spoken to me about it. Are you going to attend the early
celebration tomorrow? It is not much to my taste; a little new-fangled,
I think; but I shall go, as they say it will do good."

"I am glad of that; it is well that he should be impressed at this
moment with the importance and opinion of his county."

"Do you know I never saw him before?" said the lord-lieutenant. "He is
winning."

"I know no youth," said the duke, "I would not except my own son, and
Bertram has never given me an uneasy moment, of whom I have a better
opinion, both as to heart and head. I should deeply deplore his being
smashed by a Jesuit."

The dancing had ceased for a moment; there was a stir; Lord Carisbrooke
was enlarging, with unusual animation, to an interested group, about
a new dance at Paris--the new dance. Could they not have it here?
Unfortunately, he did not know its name, and could not describe its
figure; but it was something new; quite new; they got it at Paris.
Princess Metternich dances it. He danced it with her, and she taught it
him; only he never could explain any thing, and indeed never did exactly
make it out. "But you danced it with a shawl, and then two ladies hold
the shawl, and the cavaliers pass under it. In fact, it is the only
thing; it is the new dance at Paris."

What a pity that any thing so delightful should be so indefinite
and perplexing, and indeed impossible, which rendered it still more
desirable! If Lord Carisbrooke only could have remembered its name, or a
single step in its figure--it was so tantalizing!

"Do not you think so?" said Hugo Bohun to Mrs. Campian, who was sitting
apart, listening to Lord St. Aldegonde's account of his travels in the
United States, which he was very sorry he ever quitted. And then they
inquired to what Mr. Bohun referred, and then he told them all that had
been said.

"I know what he means," said Mrs. Campian. "It is not a French dance; it
is a Moorish dance."

"That woman knows everything, Hugo," said Lord St. Aldegonde in a solemn
whisper. And then he called to his wife. "Bertha, Mrs. Campian will tell
you all about this dance that Carisbrooke is making such a mull of. Now,
look here, Bertha; you must get the Campians to come to us as soon as
possible. They are going to Scotland from this place, and there is no
reason, if you manage it well, why they should not come on to us at
once. Now, exert yourself."

"I will do all I can, Granville."

"It is not French, it is Moorish; it is called the Tangerine," said
Theodora to her surrounding votaries. "You begin with a circle."

"But how are we to dance without the music?" said Lady Montairy.

"Ah! I wish I had known this," said Theodora, "before dinner, and I
think I could have dotted down something that would have helped us. But
let me see," and she went up to the eminent professor, with whom she was
well acquainted, and said, "Signor Ricci, it begins so," and she
hummed divinely a fantastic air, which, after a few moments' musing,
he reproduced; "and then it goes off into what they call in Spain a
saraband. Is there a shawl in the room?"

"My mother has always a shawl in reserve," said Bertram, "particularly
when she pays visits to houses where there are galleries;" and he
brought back a mantle of Cashmere.

"Now, Signor Ricci," said Mrs. Campian, and she again hummed an air, and
moved forward at the same time with brilliant grace, waving at the end
the shawl.

The expression of her countenance, looking round to Signor Ricci, as she
was moving on to see whether he had caught her idea, fascinated Lothair.

"It is exactly what I told you," said Lord Carisbrooke, "and, I can
assure you, it is the only dance now. I am very glad I remembered it."

"I see it all," said Signor Ricci, as Theodora rapidly detailed to him
the rest of the figure. "And at any rate it will be the Tangerine with
variations."

"Let me have the honor of being your partner in this great enterprise,"
said Lothair; "you are the inspiration of Muriel."

"Oh! I am very glad I can do any thing, however slight, to please you
and your friends. I like them all; but particularly Lady Corisande."

A new dance in a country-house is a festival of frolic grace. The
incomplete knowledge, and the imperfect execution, are themselves causes
of merry excitement, in their contrast with the unimpassioned routine
and almost unconscious practice of traditionary performances. And gay
and frequent were the bursts of laughter from the bright and airy band
who were proud to be the scholars of Theodora. The least successful
among them was perhaps Lord Carisbrooke.

"Princess Metternich must have taught you wrong, Carisbrooke," said Hugo
Bohun.

They ended with a waltz, Lothair dancing with Miss Arundel. She accepted
his offer to take some tea on its conclusion. While they were standing
at the table, a little withdrawn from the others, and he holding a
sugar-basin, she said in a low voice, looking on her cup and not at him,
"the cardinal is vexed about the early celebration; he says it should
have been at midnight."

"I am sorry he is vexed," said Lothair.

"He was going to speak to you himself," continued Miss Arundel; "but
he felt a delicacy about it. He had thought that your common feelings
respecting the Church might have induced you if not to consult, at least
to converse, with him on the subject; I mean as your guardian."

"It might have been perhaps as well," said Lothair; "but I also feel a
delicacy on these matters."

"There ought to be none on such matters," continued Miss Arundel, "when
every thing is at stake."

"I do not see that I could have taken any other course than I have
done," said.Lothair. "It can hardly be wrong. The bishop's church views
are sound."

"Sound!" said Miss Arundel; "moonshine instead of sunshine."

"Moonshine would rather suit a midnight than a morning celebration,"
said Lothair; "would it not?"

"A fair repartee, but we are dealing with a question that cannot be
settled by jests. See," she said with great seriousness, putting down
her cup and taking again his offered arm, "you think you are only
complying with a form befitting your position and the occasion. You
deceive yourself. You are hampering your future freedom by this step,
and they know it. That is why it was planned. It was not necessary;
nothing can be necessary so pregnant with evil. You might have made, you
might yet make, a thousand excuses. It is a rite which hardly suits the
levity of the hour, even with their feelings; but, with your view of
its real character, it is sacrilege. What at is occurring tonight might
furnish you with scruples?" And she looked up in his face.

"I think you take an exaggerated view of what I contemplate," said
Lothair. "Even with your convictions, it may be an imperfect rite; but
it never can be an injurious one."

"There can be no compromise on such matters," said Miss Arundel. "The
Church knows nothing of imperfect rites. They are all perfect, because
they are all divine; any deviation from them is heresy, and fatal. My
convictions on this subject are your convictions; act up to them."

"I am sure, if thinking of these matters would guide a man right--" said
Lothair, with a sigh, and he stopped.

"Human thought will never guide you; and very justly, when you have for
a guide Divine truth. You are now your own master; go at once to its
fountain-head; go to Rome, and then all your perplexities will vanish,
and forever."

"I do not see much prospect of my going to Rome," said Lothair, "at
least at present."

"Well," said Miss Arundel, "in a few weeks I hope to be there; and if
so, I hope never to quit it."

"Do not say that; the future is always unknown."

"Not yours," said Miss Arundel. "Whatever you think, you will go to
Rome. Mark my words. I summon you to meet me at Rome."



CHAPTER 46


There can be little doubt, generally speaking, that it is more
satisfactory to pass Sunday in the country than in town. There is
something in the essential stillness of country-life, which blends
harmoniously with the ordinance of the most divine of our divine laws.
It is pleasant, too, when the congregation breaks up, to greet one's
neighbors; to say kind words to kind faces; to hear some rural news
profitable to learn, which sometimes enables you to do some good, and
sometimes prevents others from doing some harm. A quiet, domestic walk,
too, in the afternoon, has its pleasures; and so numerous and so various
are the sources of interest in the country, that, though it be Sunday,
there is no reason why your walk should not have an object.

But Sunday in the country, with your house full of visitors, is too
often an exception to this general truth. It is a trial. Your guests
cannot always be at church, and, if they could, would not like it. There
is nothing to interest or amuse them; no sport; no castles or factories
to visit; no adventurous expeditions; no gay music in the morn, and no
light dance in the evening. There is always danger of the day becoming
a course of heavy meals and stupid walks, for the external scene and all
teeming circumstances, natural and human, though full of concern to you,
are to your visitors an insipid blank.

How did Sunday go off at Muriel Towers?

In the first place, there was a special train, which, at an early
hour, took the cardinal and his suite and the St. Jerome family to
Grandchester, where they were awaited with profound expectation. But
the Anglican portion of the guests were not without their share of
ecclesiastical and spiritual excitement, for the bishop was to preach
this day in the chapel of the Towers, a fine and capacious sanctuary of
florid Gothic, and hit lordship was a sacerdotal orator of repute.

It had been announced that the breakfast-hour was to be somewhat
earlier. The ladies in general were punctual, and seemed conscious of
some great event impending. The Ladies Flora and Grizell entered with,
each in her hand, a prayer-book of purple velvet, adorned with a decided
cross, the gift of the primus. Lord Culloden, at the request of Lady
Corisande, had consented to their hearing the bishop, which he would not
do himself. He passed his morning in finally examining the guardians'
accounts, the investigation of which he conducted and concluded, during
the rest of the day, with Mr. Putney Giles. Mrs. Campian did not leave
her room. Lord St. Aldegonde came down late, and looked about him with
an uneasy, ill-humored air.

Whether it were the absence of Theodora, or some other cause, he was
brusk, ungracious, scowling, and silent, only nodding to the bishop, who
benignly saluted him, refusing every dish that was offered; then getting
up, and helping himself at the side-table, making a great noise with the
carving instruments, and flouncing down his plate when he resumed his
seat. Nor was his costume correct. All the other gentlemen, though their
usual morning-dresses were sufficiently fantastic--trunk-hose of every
form, stockings bright as paroquets, wondrous shirts, and velvet-coats
of every tint--habited themselves to-day, both as regards form and
color, in a style indicative of the subdued gravity of their feelings.
Lord St. Aldegonde had on his shooting-jacket of brown velvet and a
pink-shirt and no cravat, and his rich brown locks, always, to a certain
degree, neglected, were peculiarly dishevelled.

Hugo Bohun, who was not afraid of him, and was a high-churchman,
being, in religion, and in all other matters, always on the side of the
duchesses, said: "Well, St. Aldegonde, are you going to chapel in that
dress?" But St. Aldegonde would not answer; he gave a snort, and glanced
at Hugo, with the eye of a gladiator.

The meal was over. The bishop was standing near the mantel-piece talking
to the ladies, who were clustered round him; the archdeacon and the
chaplain and some other clergy a little in the background; Lord St.
Aldegonde, who, whether there were a fire or not, always stood with
his back to the fireplace with his hands in his pockets, moved
discourteously among them, assumed his usual position, and listened,
as it were, grimly, for a few moments to their talk; then he suddenly
exclaimed in a loud voice, and with the groan of a rebellious Titan,
"How I hate Sunday!"

"Granville!" exclaimed Lady St. Aldegonde, turning pale. There was a
general shudder.

"I mean in a country-house," said Lord St. Aldegonde. "Of course, I mean
in a country-house. I do not dislike it when alone, and I do not dislike
it in London. But Sunday in a country-house is infernal."

"I think it is now time for us to go," said the bishop, walking away
with dignified reserve, and they all dispersed.

The service was choral and intoned; for, although the Rev. Dionysius
Smylie had not yet had time or opportunity, as was his intention, to
form and train a choir from the household of the Towers, he had secured
from his neighboring parish and other sources external and effective aid
in that respect. The parts of the service were skillfully distributed,
and rarely were a greater number of priests enlisted in a more imposing
manner. A good organ was well played; the singing, as usual, a little
too noisy; there was an anthem and an introit--but no incense, which was
forbidden by the bishop; and, though there were candles on the altar,
they were not permitted to be lighted.

The sermon was most successful; the ladies returned with elate and
animated faces, quite enthusiastic and almost forgetting in their
satisfaction the terrible outrage of Lord St. Aldegonde. He himself had
by this time repented of what he had done, and recovered his temper, and
greeted his wife with a voice and look which indicated to her practised
senses the favorable change.

"Bertha," he said, "you know I did not mean any thing personal to the
bishop in what I said. I do not like bishops; I think there is no use
in them; but I have no objection to him personally; I think him an
agreeable man; not at all a bore. Just put it right, Bertha. But I tell
you what, Bertha, I cannot go to church here. Lord Culloden does not go,
and he is a very religious man. He is the man I most agree with on these
matters. I am a free-church man, and there is on end of it. I cannot go
this afternoon. I do not approve of the whole thing. It is altogether
against my conscience. What I mean to do, if I can manage it, is to take
a real long walk with the Campians."

Mrs. Campian appeared at luncheon. The bishop was attentive to her; even
cordial. He was resolved she should not feel he was annoyed by her not
having been a member of his congregation in the morning. Lady Corisande
too had said to him: "I wish so much you would talk to Mrs. Campian;
she is a sweet, noble creature, and so clever! I feel that she might be
brought to view things in the right light."

"I never know," said the bishop, "how to deal with these American
ladies. I never can make out what they believe, or what they disbelieve.
It is a sort of confusion between Mrs. Beecher Stowe and the Fifth
Avenue congregation and--Barnum," he added with a twinkling eye.

The second service was late; the dean preached. The lateness of the hour
permitted the lord-lieutenant and those guests who had arrived only the
previous day to look over the castle, or ramble about the gardens. St.
Aldegonde succeeded in his scheme of a real long walk with the Campians,
which Lothair, bound to listen to the head of his college, was not
permitted to share.

In the evening Signor Mardoni, who had arrived, and Madame Isola Bella,
favored them with what they called sacred music; principally prayers
from operas and a grand Stabat Mater.

Lord Culloden invited Lothair into a farther saloon, where they might
speak without disturbing the performers or the audience.

"I'll just take advantage, my dear boy," said Lord Culloden, in a tone
of unusual tenderness, and of Doric accent, "of the absence of these
gentlemen to have a little quiet conversation with you. Though I have
not seen so much of you of late as in old days, I take a great interest
in you, no doubt of that, and I was very pleased to see how good-natured
you were to the girls. You have romped with them when they were little
ones. Now, in a few hours, you will be master of a great inheritance,
and I hope it will profit ye. I have been over the accounts with Mr.
Giles, and I was pleased to hear that you had made yourself properly
acquainted with them in detail. Never you sign any paper without reading
It first, and knowing well what it means. You will have to sign a
release to us if you be satisfied, and that you may easily be. My poor
brother-in-law left you as large an income as may be found on this side
Trent, but I will be bound he would stare if he saw the total of
the whole of your rent-roll, Lothair. Your affairs have been well
administered, though I say it who ought not. But it is not my management
only, or principally, that has done it. It is the progress of the
country, and you owe the country a good deal, and you should never
forget you are born to be a protector of its liberties, civil and
religious. And if the country sticks to free trade, and would enlarge
its currency, and be firm to the Protestant faith, it will, under Divine
Providence, continue to progress.

"And here, my boy, I'll just say a word, in no disagreeable manner,
about your religious principles. There are a great many stories about,
and perhaps they are not true, and I am sure I hope they are not. If
popery were only just the sign of the cross, and music, and censer-pots,
though I think them all superstitious, I'd be free to leave them alone
if they would leave me. But popery is a much deeper thing than that,
Lothair, and our fathers found it out. They could not stand it, and we
should be a craven crew to stand it now. A man should be master in his
own house. You will be taking a wife, some day; at least it is to be
hoped so; and how will you like one of these monsignores to be walking
into her bedroom, eh; and talking to her alone when he pleases, and
where he pleases; and when you want to consult your wife, which a wise
man should often do, to find there is another mind between hers and
yours? There's my girls, they are just two young geese, and they have a
hankering after popery, having had a Jesuit in the house. I do not know
what has become of the women. They are for going into a convent, and
they are quite right in that, for if they be papists they will not find
a husband easily in Scotland, I ween.

"And as for you, my boy, they will be telling you that it is only just
this and just that, and there's no great difference, and what not; but
I tell you that, if once you embrace the scarlet lady, you are a tainted
corpse. You'll not be able to order your dinner without a priest, and
they will ride your best horses without saying with your leave or by
your leave."

The concert in time ceased; there was a stir in the room; the Rev.
Dionysius Smylie moved about mysteriously, and ultimately seemed to make
an obeisance before the bishop. It was time for prayers.

"Shall you go?" said Lord St. Aldegonde to Mrs. Campian, by whom he was
sitting.

"I like to pray alone," she answered.

"As for that," said Aldegonde, "I am not clear we ought to pray at all,
either in public or private. It seems very arrogant in us to dictate to
an all-wise Creator what we desire."

"I believe in the efficacy of prayer," said Theodora.

"And I believe in you," said St. Aldegonde, after a momentary pause.



CHAPTER 47


On the morrow, the early celebration in the chapel was numerously
attended. The duchess and her daughters, Lady Agramont, and Mrs.
Ardenne, were among the faithful; but what encouraged and gratified the
bishop was, that the laymen, on whom he less relied, were numerously
represented. The lord-lieutenant, Lord Carisbrooke, Lord Montairy,
Bertram, and Hugo Bohun accompanied Lothair to the altar.

After the celebration, Lothair retired to his private apartments. It
was arranged that he was to join his assembled friends at noon, when
he would receive their congratulations, and some deputations from the
county.

At noon, therefore, preparatively preceded by Mr. Putney Giles,
whose thought was never asleep, and whose eye was on every thing, the
guardians, the cardinal, and the Earl of Culloden, waited on Lothair to
accompany him to his assembled friends, and, as it were, launch him into
the world.

They were assembled at one end of the chief gallery, and in a circle.
Although the deputations would have to advance the whole length of the
chamber, Lothair and his guardians entered from a side apartment. Even
with this assistance he felt very nervous. There was no lack of feeling,
and, among many, of deep feeling, on this occasion, but there was an
equal and a genuine exhibition of ceremony.

The lord-lieutenant was the first person who congratulated Lothair,
though the high-sheriff had pushed forward for that purpose, but, in his
awkward precipitation, he got involved with the train of the Hon. Lady
Clotworthy, who bestowed on him such a withering glance, that he felt
a routed man, and gave up the attempt. There were many kind and some
earnest words. Even St. Aldegonde acknowledged the genius of the
occasion. He was grave, graceful, and dignified, and, addressing
Lothair by his title, he said, "that he hoped he would meet in life that
happiness which he felt confident he deserved." Theodora said nothing,
though her lips seemed once to move; but she retained for a moment
Lothair's hand, and the expression of her countenance touched his
innermost heart. Lady Corisande beamed with dazzling beauty. Her
countenance was joyous, radiant; her mien imperial and triumphant. She
gave her hand with graceful alacrity to Lothair, and said in a hushed
tone, but every word of which reached his ear, "One of the happiest
hours of my life was eight o'clock this morning."

The lord-lieutenant and the county members then retired to the other end
of the gallery, and ushered in the deputation of the magistracy of the
county, congratulating their new brother, for Lothair had just
been appointed to the bench, on his secession to his estates. The
lord-lieutenant himself read the address, to which Lothair replied with
a propriety all acknowledged. Then came the address of the mayor and
corporation of Grandchester, of which city Lothair was hereditary
high-steward; and then that of his tenantry, which was cordial and
characteristic. And here many were under the impression that this
portion of the proceedings would terminate; but it was not so. There had
been some whispering between the bishop and the archdeacon, and the Rev.
Dionysius Smylie had, after conference with his superiors, twice left
the chamber. It seems that the clergy had thought fit to take this
occasion of congratulating Lothair on his great accession and the
proportionate duties which it would fall on him to fulfil. The bishop
approached Lothair and addressed him in a whisper. Lothair seemed
surprised and a little agitated, but apparently bowed assent. Then the
bishop and his staff proceeded to the end of the gallery and introduced
a diocesan deputation, consisting of archdeacons and rural deans, who
presented to Lothair a most uncompromising address, and begged his
acceptance of a bible and prayer-book richly bound, and borne by the
Rev. Dionysius Smylie on a cushion of velvet.

The habitual pallor of the cardinal's countenance became unusually wan;
the cheek of Clare Arundel was a crimson flush; Monsignore Catesby
bit his lip; Theodora looked with curious seriousness, as if she were
observing the manners of a foreign country; St. Aldegonde snorted, and
pushed his hand through his hair, which had been arranged in unusual
order. The great body of those present, unaware that this deputation was
unexpected, were unmoved.

It was a trial for Lothair, and scarcely a fair one. He was not unequal
to it, and what he said was esteemed, at the moment, by all parties
as satisfactory; though the archdeacon, in secret conclave, afterward
observed that he dwelt more on religion than on the Church, and spoke of
the Church of Christ and not of the Church of England. He thanked them
for their present of volumes, which all must reverence or respect.

While all this was taking place within the Towers, vast bodies of people
were assembling without. Besides the notables of the county and his
tenantry and their families, which drained all the neighboring villages,
Lothair had forwarded several thousand tickets to the mayor
and corporation of Grandchester, for distribution among their
fellow-townsmen, who were invited to dine at Muriel and partake of the
festivities of the day, and trains were hourly arriving with their eager
and happy guests. The gardens were at once open for their unrestricted
pleasure, but at two o'clock, according to the custom of the county
under such circumstances, Lothair held what, in fact, was a lev e, or
rather a drawing-room, when every person who possessed a ticket was
permitted, and even invited and expected, to pass through the whole
range of the state apartments of Muriel Towers, and at the same time pay
their respects to, and make the acquaintance of, their lord.

Lothair stood with his chief friends near him, the ladies, however,
seated, and every one passed--farmers and townsmen and honest folk, down
to the stokers of the trains from Grandchester, with whose presence
St. Aldegonde was much pleased, and whom he carefully addressed as they
passed by.

After this great reception they all dined in pavilions in the park--one
thousand tenantry by themselves, and at a fixed hour; the miscellaneous
multitude in a huge crimson tent, very lofty, with many flags, and in
which was served a banquet that never stopped till sunset, so that in
time all might be satisfied; the notables and deputations, with the
guests in the house, lunched in the armory. It was a bright day, and
there was unceasing music.

In the course of the afternoon Lothair visited the pavilions, where his
health was proposed, and pledged--in the first by one of his tenants,
and in the other by a workman, both orators of repute; and he addressed
and thanked his friends. This immense multitude, orderly and joyous,
roamed about the parks and gardens, or danced on a platform which
the prescient experience of Mr. Giles had provided for them in a due
locality, and whiled away the pleasant hours, in expectation a little
feverish of the impending fireworks, which, there was a rumor, were
to be on a scale and in a style of which neither Grandchester nor the
county had any tradition.

"I remember your words at Blenheim," said Lothair to Theodora. "You
cannot say the present party is founded on the principle of exclusion."

In the mean time, about six o'clock, Lothair dined in his great hall
with his two hundred guests at a banquet where all the resources of
nature and art seemed called upon to contribute to its luxury and
splendor. The ladies, who had never before dined at a public dinner,
were particularly delighted. They were delighted by the speeches, though
they had very few; they were delighted by the national anthem, all
rising; particularly, they were delighted by "three-times-three, and one
cheer more," and "hip, hip." It seemed to their unpractised ears like
a great naval battle, or the end of the world, or any thing else of
unimaginable excitement, tumult, and confusion.

The lord-lieutenant proposed Lothair's health, and dexterously made
his comparative ignorance of the subject the cause of his attempting
a sketch of what he hoped might be the character of the person whose
health he proposed. Every one intuitively felt the resemblance was
just, and even complete, and Lothair confirmed their kind and sanguine
anticipations by his terse and well-considered reply. His proposition of
the ladies' healths was a signal that the carriages were ready to take
them, as arranged, to Muriel Mere.

The sun had set in glory over the broad expanse of waters still glowing
in the dying beam; the people were assembled in thousands on the borders
of the lake, in the centre of which was an island with a pavilion.
Fanciful barges and gondolas of various shapes and colors were waiting
for Lothair and his party, to carry them over to the pavilion, where
they found a repast which became the hour and the scene--coffee and
ices and whimsical drinks, which sultanas would sip in Arabian tales. No
sooner were they seated than the sound of music was heard--distant, but
now nearer, till there came floating on the lake, until it rested before
the pavilion, a gigantic shell, larger than the building itself,
but holding in its golden and opal seats Signor Mardoni and all his
orchestra.

Then came a concert rare in itself, but ravishing in the rosy twilight;
and in about half an hour, when the rosy twilight had subsided into
a violet eve, and when the white moon that had only gleamed began
to glitter, the colossal shell again moved on, and Lothair and his
companions, embarking once more in their gondolas, followed it in
procession about the lake. He carried in his own bark the duchess,
Theodora, and the lord-lieutenant, and was rowed by a crew in
Venetian dresses. As he handed Theodora to her seat, the impulse was
irresistible--he pressed her hand to his lips.

Suddenly a rocket rose with a hissing rush from the pavilion. It was
instantly responded to from every quarter of the lake. Then the island
seemed on fire, and the scene of their late festivity became a brilliant
palace, with pediments and columns and statues, bright in the blaze of
colored flame. For half an hour the sky seemed covered with blue lights
and the bursting forms of many-colored stars; golden fountains, like the
eruption of a marine volcano, rose from different parts of the water;
the statued palace on the island changed and became a forest glowing
with green light; and finally a temple of cerulean tint, on which
appeared in huge letters of prismatic color the name of Lothair.

The people cheered, but even the voice of the people was overcome by
troops of rockets rising from every quarter of the lake, and by the
thunder of artillery. When the noise and the smoke had both subsided,
the name of Lothair still legible on the temple but the letters quite
white, it was perceived that on every height for fifty miles round they
had fired a beacon.



CHAPTER 48


The ball at Muriel which followed the concert on the lake was one of
those balls which, it would seem, never would end. All the preliminary
festivities, instead of exhausting the guests of Lothair, appeared only
to have excited them, and rendered them more romantic and less tolerant
of the routine of existence. They danced in the great gallery, which was
brilliant and crowded, and they danced as they dance in a festive dream,
with joy and the enthusiasm of gayety. The fine ladies would sanction
no exclusiveness. They did not confine their inspiring society, as is
sometimes too often the case, to the Brecons and the Bertrams and the
Carisbrookes; they danced fully and freely with the youth of the county,
and felt that in so doing they were honoring and gratifying their host.

At one o'clock they supped in the armory, which was illuminated for
the first time, and a banquet in a scene so picturesque and resplendent
renovated not merely their physical energies. At four o'clock the
duchess and a few others quietly disappeared, but her daughters
remained, and St. Aldegonde danced endless reels, which was a form in
which he preferred to worship Terpsichore. Perceiving by an open window
that it was dawn, he came up to Lothair and said, "This is a case of
breakfast."

Happy and frolicsome suggestion! The invitations circulated, and it was
soon known that they were all to gather at the matin meal.

"I am so sorry that her grace has retired," said Hugo Bohun to Lady
St. Aldegonde, as he fed her with bread and butter, "because she always
likes early breakfasts in the country."

The sun was shining as the guests of the house retired, and sank into
couches from which it seemed they never could rise again; but, long
after this, the shouts of servants and the scuffle of carriages
intimated that the company in general were not so fortunate and
expeditious in their retirement from the scene; and the fields were all
busy, and even the towns awake, when the great body of the wearied but
delighted wassailers returned from celebrating the majority of Lothair.

In the vast and statesmanlike programme of the festivities of the week,
which had been prepared by Mr and Mrs. Putney Giles, something of
interest and importance had been appropriated to the morrow, but it was
necessary to erase all this; and for a simple reason--no human being on
the morrow morn even appeared--one might say, even stirred. After all
the gay tumult in which even thousands had joined, Muriel Towers on
the morrow presented a scene which only could have been equalled by the
castle in the fairy tale inhabited by the Sleeping Beauty.

At length, about two hours after noon, bells began to sound which were
not always answered. Then a languid household prepared a meal of which
no one for a time partook, till at last a monsignore appeared, and a
rival Anglican or two. Then St. Aldegonde came in with a troop of men
who had been bathing in the mere, and called loudly for kidneys, which
happened to be the only thing not at hand, as is always the case. St.
Aldegonde always required kidneys when he had sat up all night and
bathed. "But the odd thing is," he said, "you never can get any thing to
eat in these houses. Their infernal cooks spoil every thing. That's why
I hate staying with Bertha's people in the north at the end of the year.
What I want in November is a slice of cod and a beefsteak, and by Jove
I never could get them; I was obliged to come to town. If is no joke to
have to travel three hundred miles for a slice of cod and a beefsteak."

Notwithstanding all this, however, such is the magic of custom, that by
sunset civilization had resumed its reign at Muriel Towers. The party
were assembled before dinner in the saloon, and really looked as fresh
and bright as if the exhausting and tumultuous yesterday had never
happened. The dinner, too, notwithstanding the criticism of St.
Aldegonde, was first rate, and pleased palates not so simply fastidious
as his own. The bishop and his suite were to depart on the morrow, but
the cardinal was to remain. His eminence talked much to Mrs. Campian, by
whom, from the first, he was much struck. He was aware that she was born
a Roman, and was not surprised that, having married a citizen of the
United States, her sympathies were what are styled liberal; but this
only stimulated his anxious resolution to accomplish her conversion,
both religious and political. He recognized in her a being whose
intelligence, imagination, and grandeur of character, might be of
invaluable service to the Church.

In the evening Monsieur Raphael and his sister, and their colleagues,
gave a representation which was extremely well done. There was no
theatre at Muriel, but Apollonia had felicitously arranged a contiguous
saloon for the occasion, and, as everybody was at ease in an arm-chair,
they all agreed it was preferable to a regular theatre.

On the morrow they were to lunch with the mayor and corporation of
Grandchester, and view some of the principal factories; on the next day
the county gave a dinner to Lothair in their hall, the lord-lieutenant
in the chair; on Friday there was to be a ball at Grandchester given by
the county and city united to celebrate the great local event. It was
whispered that this was to be a considerable affair. There was not an
hour of the week that was not appropriated to some festive ceremony.

It happened on the morning of Friday, the cardinal being alone with
Lothair, transacting some lingering business connected with the
guardianship, and on his legs as he spoke, that he said: "We live
in such a happy tumult here, my dear child, that I have never had an
opportunity of speaking to you on one or two points which interest
me and should not be uninteresting to you. I remember a pleasant
morning-walk we had in the park at Vauxe, when we began a conversation
which we never finished. What say you to a repetition of our stroll?
'Tis a lovely day, and I dare say we might escape by this window, and
gain some green retreat without any one disturbing us."

"I am quite of your eminence's mind," said Lothair, taking up a
wide-awake, "and I will lead you where it is not likely we shall be
disturbed."

So, winding their way through the pleasure-grounds, they entered by a
wicket a part of the park where the sunny glades soon wandered among the
tall fern and wild groves of venerable oaks.

"I sometimes feel," said the cardinal, "that I may have been too
punctilious in avoiding conversation with you on a subject the most
interesting and important to man. But I felt a delicacy in exerting my
influence as a guardian on a subject my relations to which, when your
dear father appointed me to that office, were so different from those
which now exist. But you are now your own master; I can use no control
over you but that influence which the words of truth must always
exercise over an ingenuous mind."

His eminence paused for a moment and looked at his companion; but
Lothair remained silent, with his eyes fixed upon the ground.

"It has always been a source of satisfaction, I would even say
consolation, to me," resumed the cardinal, "to know you were a religious
man; that your disposition was reverential, which is the highest order
of temperament, and brings us nearest to the angels. But we live
in times of difficulty and danger--extreme difficulty and danger; a
religious disposition may suffice for youth in the tranquil hour, and he
may find, in due season, his appointed resting-place: but these are days
of imminent peril; the soul requires a sanctuary. Is yours at hand?"

The cardinal paused, and Lothair was obliged to meet a direct appeal.
He said then, after a momentary hesitation: "When you last spoke to
me, sir, on these grave matters, I said I was in a state of great
despondency. My situation now is not so much despondent as perplexed."

"And I wish you to tell me the nature of your perplexity," replied the
cardinal, "for there is no anxious embarrassment of mind which Divine
truth cannot disentangle and allay."

"Well," said Lothair, "I must say I am often perplexed at the
differences which obtrude themselves between Divine truth and human
knowledge."

"Those are inevitable," said the cardinal. "Divine truth being
unchangeable, and human knowledge changing every century; rather, I
should say, every generation."

"Perhaps, instead of human knowledge, I should have said human
progress," rejoined Lothair.

"Exactly," said the cardinal, "but what is progress? Movement. But what
if it be movement in the wrong direction? What if it be a departure from
Divine truth?"

"But I cannot understand why religion should be inconsistent with
civilization," said Lothair.

"Religion is civilization," said the cardinal; "the highest: it is a
reclamation of man from savageness by the Almighty. What the world calls
civilization, as distinguished from religion, is a retrograde movement,
and will ultimately lead us back to the barbarism from which we have
escaped. For instance, you talk of progress: what is the chief social
movement of all the countries that three centuries ago separated from
the unity of the Church of Christ? The rejection of the sacrament of
Christian matrimony. The introduction of the law of divorce, which is,
in fact, only a middle term to the abolition of marriage. What does
that mean? The extinction of the home and the household on which God
has rested civilization. If there be no home, the child belongs to the
state, not to the parent. The state educates the child, and without
religion, because the state in a country of progress acknowledges no
religion. For every man is not only to think as he likes, but to write
and to speak as he likes, and to sow with both hands broadcast, where he
will, errors, heresies, and blasphemies, without any authority on earth
to restrain the scattering of this seed of universal desolation. And
this system, which would substitute for domestic sentiment and Divine
belief the unlimited and licentious action of human intellect and human
will, is called progress. What is it but a revolt against God?"

"I am sure I wish there were only one Church and one religion," said
Lothair.

"There is only one Church and only one religion," said the cardinal;
"all other forms and phrases are mere phantasms, without root, or
substance, or coherency. Look at that unhappy Germany, once so proud
of its Reformation. What they call the leading journal tells us to-day,
that it is a question there whether four-fifths or three-fourths of the
population believe in Christianity. Some portion of it has already
gone back, I understand, to Number Nip. Look at this unfortunate land,
divided, subdivided, parcelled out in infinite schism, with new oracles
every day, and each more distinguished for the narrowness of his
intellect or the loudness of his lungs; once the land of saints and
scholars, and people in pious pilgrimages, and finding always solace and
support in the divine offices of an ever-present Church, which were a
true though a faint type of the beautiful future that awaited man.
Why, only three centuries of this rebellion against the Most High have
produced throughout the world, on the subject the most important that
man should possess a clear, firm faith, an anarchy of opinion, throwing
out every monstrous and fantastic form, from a caricature of the Greek
philosophy to a revival of fetichism."

"It is a chaos," said Lothair, with a sigh.

"From which I wish to save you," said the cardinal, with some eagerness.
"This is not a time to hesitate. You must be for God, or for Antichrist.
The Church calls upon her children."

"I am not unfaithful to the Church," said Lothair, "which was the Church
of my fathers."

"The Church of England," said the cardinal. "It was mine. I think of it
ever with tenderness and pity. Parliament made the Church of England,
and Parliament will unmake the Church of England. The Church of England
is not the Church of the English. Its fate is sealed. It will soon
become a sect, and all sects are fantastic. It will adopt new dogmas,
or it will abjure old ones; any thing to distinguish it from the
non-conforming herd in which, nevertheless, it will be its fate to
merge. The only consoling hope is that, when it falls, many of its
children, by the aid of the Blessed Virgin, may return to Christ."

"What I regret, sir," said Lothair, "is that the Church of Rome should
have placed itself in antagonism with political liberty. This adds to
the difficulties which the religious cause has to encounter; for it
seems impossible to deny that political freedom is now the sovereign
passion of communities."

"I cannot admit," replied the cardinal, "that the Church is in
antagonism with political freedom. On the contrary, in my opinion, there
can be no political freedom which is not founded on Divine authority;
otherwise it can be at the best but a specious phantom of license
inevitably terminating in anarchy. The rights and liberties of the
people of Ireland have no advocates except the Church; because, there,
political freedom is founded on Divine authority; but if you mean by
political freedom the schemes of the illuminati and the freemasons,
which perpetually torture the Continent, all the dark conspiracies of
the secret societies, there, I admit, the Church is in antagonism
with such aspirations after liberty; those aspirations, in fact, are
blasphemy and plunder; and, if the Church were to be destroyed, Europe
would be divided between the atheist and the communist."

There was a pause; the conversation had unexpectedly arrived at a point
where neither party cared to pursue it. Lothair felt he had said enough;
the cardinal was disappointed with what Lothair had said. His eminence
felt that his late ward was not in that ripe state of probation which he
had fondly anticipated; but, being a man not only of vivid perception,
but also of fertile resource, while he seemed to close the present
conversation, he almost immediately pursued his object by another
combination of means. Noticing an effect of scenery which pleased
him, reminded him of Styria, and so on, he suddenly said: "You should
travel."

"Well, Bertram wants me to go to Egypt with him," said Lothair.

"A most interesting country," said the cardinal, "and well worth
visiting. It is astonishing what a good guide old Herodotus still is in
that land! But you should know something of Europe before you go there.
Egypt is rather a land to end with. A young man should visit the chief
capitals of Europe, especially the seats of learning and the arts. If my
advice were asked by a young man who contemplated travelling on a proper
scale, I should say begin with Rome. Almost all that Europe contains
is derived from Rome. It is always best to go to the fountain-head, to
study the original. The society too, there, is delightful; I know none
equal to it. That, if you please, is civilization--pious and refined.
And the people--all so gifted and so good--so kind, so orderly, so
charitable, so truly virtuous. I believe the Roman people to be the best
people that ever lived, and this too while the secret societies have
their foreign agents in every quarter, trying to corrupt them, but
always in vain. If an act of political violence occurs, you may be sure
it is confined entirely to foreigners."

"Our friends the St. Jeromes are going to Rome," said Lothair.

"Well, and that would be pleasant for you. Think seriously of this, my
dear, young friend. I could be of some little service to you if you go
to Rome, which, after all, every man ought to do. I could put you, in
the way of easily becoming acquainted with all the right people, who
would take care that you saw Rome with profit and advantage."

Just at this moment, in a winding glade, they were met abruptly by a
third person. All seemed rather to start at the sudden rencounter; and
then Lothair eagerly advanced and welcomed the stranger with a proffered
hand.

"This is a most unexpected, but to me most agreeable, meeting," he said.
"You must now be my guest."

"That would be a great honor," said the stranger, "but one I cannot
enjoy. I had to wait at the station a couple of hours or so for my
train, and they told me if I strolled here I. should find some pretty
country. I have been so pleased with it, that I fear I have strolled too
long, and I literally have not an instant at my command," and he hurried
away.

"Who is that person?" asked the cardinal with some agitation.

"I have not the slightest idea," said Lothair. "All I know is, he once
saved my life."

"And all I know is," said the cardinal, "he once threatened mine."

"Strange!" said Lothair, and then he rapidly recounted to the cardinal
his adventure at the Fenian meeting.

"Strange!" echoed his eminence.



CHAPTER 49


Mrs. Campian did not appear at luncheon, which was observed but not
noticed. Afterward, while Lothair was making some arrangements for the
amusement of his guests, and contriving that they should fit in with
the chief incident of the day, which was the banquet given to him by
the county, and which it was settled the ladies were not to attend, the
colonel took him aside and said, "I do not think that Theodora will care
to go out to-day."

"She is not unwell, I hope?"

"Not exactly--but she has had some news, some news of some friends,
which has disturbed her. And, if you will excuse me, I will request your
permission not to attend the dinner to-day, which I had hoped to have
had the honor of doing. But I think our plans must be changed a little.
I almost think we shall not go to Scotland after all."

"There is not the slightest necessity for your going to the dinner. You
will have plenty to keep you in countenance at home. Lord St. Aldegonde
is not going, nor I fancy any of them. I shall take the duke with me and
Lord Culloden, and, if you do not go, I shall take Mr. Putney Giles.
The lord-lieutenant will meet us there. I am sorry about Mrs. Campian,
because I know she is not ever put out by little things. May I not see
her in the course of the day? I should be very sorry that the day should
pass over without seeing her."

"Oh! I dare say she will see you in the course of the day, before you
go."

"When she likes. I shall not go out to-day; I shall keep in my rooms,
always at her commands. Between ourselves, I shall not be sorry to have
a quiet morning and collect my ideas a little. Speech-making is a new
thing for me. I wish you would tell me what to say to the county."

Lothair had appropriated to the Campians one of the most convenient and
complete apartments in the castle. It consisted of four chambers, one of
them a saloon which had been fitted up for his mother when she married;
a pretty saloon, hung with pale-green silk, and portraits and scenes
inlaid by Vanloo and Boucher. It was rather late in the afternoon when
Lothair received a message from Theodora in reply to the wish that he
had expressed of seeing her.

When he entered the room, she was not seated; her countenance was
serious. She advanced, and thanked him for wishing to see her, and
regretted she could not receive him at an earlier hour. "I fear it
may have inconvenienced you," she added; "but my mind has been much
disturbed, and too agitated for conversation."

"Even now I may be an intruder?"

"No, it is past; on the contrary, I wish to speak to you; indeed, you
are the only person with whom I could speak," and she sat down.

Her countenance, which was unusually pale when he entered, became
flushed. "It is not a subject for the festive hour of your life," she
said, "but I cannot resist my fate."

"Your fate must always interest me," murmured Lothair.

"Yes; but my fate is the fate of ages and of nations," said Theodora,
throwing up her head with that tumult of the brow which he had once
before noticed. "Amid the tortures of my spirit at this moment, not the
least is that there is only one person I can appeal to, and he is one to
whom I have no right to make that appeal."

"If I be that person," said Lothair, "you have every right, for I am
devoted to you."

"Yes; but it is not personal devotion that is the qualification needed.
It is not sympathy with me that would authorize such an appeal. It
must be sympathy with a cause, and a cause for which, I fear, you do
not--perhaps I should say you cannot--feel."

"Why?" said Lothair.

"Why should you feel for my fallen country, who are the proudest
citizen of the proudest of lands? Why should you feel for its debasing
thraldom--you who, in the religious mystification of man, have, at
least, the noble privilege of being a Protestant?"

"You speak of Rome?"

"Yes, of the only thought I have, or ever had. I speak of that country
which first impressed upon the world a general and enduring form of
masculine virtue; the land of liberty, and law, and eloquence, and
military genius, now garrisoned by monks, and governed by a doting
priest."

"Everybody must be interested about Rome," said Lothair. "Rome is the
country of the world, and even the doting priest you talk of boasts of
two hundred millions of subjects."

"If he were at Avignon again, I should not care for his boasts," said
Theodora. "I do not grudge him his spiritual subjects; I am content to
leave his superstition to Time. Time is no longer slow; his scythe mows
quickly in this age. But when his debasing creeds are palmed off on man
by the authority of our glorious capitol, and the slavery of the human
mind is schemed and carried on in the forum, then, if there be real
Roman blood left--and I thank my Creator there is much--it is time for
it to mount and move," and she rose and walked up and down the room.

"You have had news from Rome?" said Lothair.

"I have had news from Rome," she replied, speaking slowly in a deep
voice; and there was a pause.

Then Lothair said: "When you have alluded to these matters before, you
never spoke of them in a sanguine spirit."

"I have seen the cause triumph," said Theodora; "the sacred cause of
truth, of justice, of national honor. I have sat at the feet of the
triumvirate of the Roman Republic; men who, for virtue, and genius, and
warlike skill and valor, and every quality that exalts man, were never
surpassed in the olden time--no, not by the Catos and the Scipios; and
I have seen the blood of my own race poured, like a rich vintage, on the
victorious Roman soil; my father fell, who, in stature and in mien, was
a god; and, since then, my beautiful brothers, with shapes to enshrine
in temples; and I have smiled amid the slaughter of my race, for I
believed that Rome was free; and yet all this vanished. How, then, when
we talked, could I be sanguine?"

"And yet you are sanguine now?" said Lothair, with a scrutinizing
glance; and he rose and joined her, leaning slightly on the
mantel-piece.

"There was only one event that could secure the success of our efforts,"
said Theodora, "and that event was so improbable, that I had long
rejected it from calculation. It has happened, and Rome calls upon me to
act."

"The Papalini are strong," continued Theodora, after a pause; "they have
been long preparing for the French evacuation; they have a considerable
and disciplined force of janizaries, a powerful artillery, the strong
places of the city. The result of a rising, under such circumstances,
might be more than doubtful; if unsuccessful, to us it would be
disastrous. It is necessary that the Roman States should be invaded, and
the papal army must then quit their capital. We have no fear of them in
the field. Yes," she added, with energy, "we could sweep them from the
face of the earth!"

"But the army of Italy," said Lothair, "will that be inert?"

"There it is," said Theodora. "That has been our stumbling-block. I have
always known that, if ever the French quitted Rome, it would be on the
understanding that the house of Savoy should inherit the noble office
of securing our servitude. He in whom I alone confide would never credit
this; but my information, in this respect, was authentic. However, it
is no longer necessary to discuss the question. News has come, and in no
uncertain shape, that whatever may have been the understanding, under
no circumstances will the Italian army enter the Roman state. We must
strike, therefore, and Rome will be free. But how am I to strike? We
have neither money nor arms. We have only men. I can give them no more,
because I have already given them every thing, except my life, which
is always theirs. As for my husband, who, I may say, wedded me on the
battle-field, so fax as wealth was concerned, he was then a prince among
princes, and would pour forth his treasure, and his life, with equal
eagerness. But things have changed since Aspromonte. The struggle in
his own country has entirely deprived him of revenues as great as any
forfeited by their Italian princelings. In fact, it is only by a chance
that he is independent. Had it not been for an excellent man, one of
your great English merchants, who was his agent here, and managed his
affairs, we should have been penniless. His judicious investments of
the superfluity of our income, which, at the time, my husband never even
noticed, have secured for Colonel Campian the means of that decorous
life which he appreciates--but no more. As for myself, these
considerations are nothing. I will not say I should be insensible to a
refined life with refined companions, if the spirit were content and the
heart serene; but I never could fully realize the abstract idea of what
they call wealth; I never could look upon it except as a means to
an end, and my end has generally been military material. Perhaps the
vicissitudes of my life have made me insensible to what are called
reverses of fortune, for, when a child, I remember sleeping on the
moonlit flags of Paris, with no pillow except my tambourine; and I
remember it not without delight. Let us sit down. I feel I am talking in
an excited, injudicious, egotistical, rhapsodical, manner. I thought I
was calm, and I meant to have been clear. But the fact is, I am ashamed
of myself. I am doing a wrong thing, and in a wrong manner. But I have
had a sleepless night, and a day of brooding thought. I meant once to
have asked you to help me, and now I feel that you are the last person
to whom I ought to appeal."

"In that you are in error," said Lothair, rising and taking her hand
with an expression of much gravity; "I am the right person for you to
appeal to--the only person."

"Nay," said Theodora, and she shook her head.

"For I owe to you a debt that I never can repay," continued Lothair.
"Had it not been for you, I should have remained what I was when we
first met, a prejudiced, narrow-minded being, with contracted sympathies
and false knowledge, wasting my life on obsolete trifles, and utterly
insensible to the privilege of living in this wondrous age of change and
progress. Why, had it not been for you I should have at this very moment
been lavishing my fortune on an ecclesiastical toy, which I think of
with a blush. There may be--doubtless there are--opinions in which
we may not agree; but in our love of truth and justice there is no
difference, dearest lady. No; though you must have felt that I am
not--that no one could be--insensible to your beauty and infinite
charms, still it is your consummate character that has justly fascinated
my thought and heart; and I have long resolved, were I permitted, to
devote to you my fortune and my life."



CHAPTER 50


The month of September was considerably advanced when a cab, evidently
from its luggage fresh from the railway, entered the court-yard of
Hexham House, of which the shuttered windows indicated the absence of
its master, the cardinal, then in Italy. But it was evident that the
person who had arrived was expected, for before his servant could ring
the hall-bell the door opened, and a grave-looking domestic advanced
with much deference, and awaited the presence of no less a personage
than Monsignore Berwick.

"We have had a rough passage, good Clifford," said the great man,
alighting, "but I see you duly received my telegram. You are always
ready."

"I hope my lord will find it not uncomfortable," said Clifford. "I have
prepared the little suite which you mentioned, and have been careful
that there should be no outward sign of any one having arrived."

"And now," said the monsignore, stopping for a moment in the ball, "here
is a letter which must be instantly delivered, and by a trusty hand,"
and he gave it to Mr. Clifford, who, looking at the direction, nodded
his head and said, "By no one but myself. I will show my lord to his
rooms and depart with this instantly."

"And bring back a reply," added the monsignore.

The well-lit room, the cheerful fire, the judicious refection on
a side-table, were all circumstances which usually would have been
agreeable to a wearied traveller, but Monsignore Berwick seemed little
to regard them. Though a man in general superior to care, and master of
thought, his countenance was troubled and pensive even to dejection.

"Even the winds and waves are against us," he exclaimed, too restless
to be seated, and walking up and down the room with his arms behind
his back. "That such a struggle should fall to my lot! Why was I not a
minister in the days of the Gregorys, the Innocents, even the Leos! But
this is craven. There should be inspiration in peril, and the greatest
where peril is extreme. I am a little upset--with travel and the voyage
and those telegrams not being answered. The good Clifford was wisely
provident," and he approached the table and took one glass of wine.
"Good! One must never despair in such a cause. And if the worse happens,
it has happened before--and what then? Suppose Avignon over again, or
even Gaeta, or even Paris? So long as we never relinquish our title to
the Eternal City we shall be eternal. But then, some say, our enemies
before were the sovereigns; now it is the people. Is it so? True we have
vanquished kings, and baffled emperors--but the French Republic and the
Roman Republic have alike reigned and ruled in the Vatican, and where
are they? We have lost provinces, but we have also gained them. We have
twelve millions of subjects in the United States of America, and they
will increase like the sands of the sea. Still it is a hideous thing to
have come back, as it were, to the days of the Constable of Bourbon, and
to be contemplating the siege of the Holy See, and massacre and pillage
and ineffable horrors! The papacy may survive such calamities, as it
undoubtedly will, but I shall scarcely figure in history if, under my
influence, such visitations should accrue. If I had only to deal with
men, I would not admit of failure; but when your antagonists are human
thoughts, represented by invisible powers, there is something that might
baffle a Machiavel and appall a Borgia."

While he was meditating in this vein the door opened, and Mr. Clifford,
with some hasty action and speaking rapidly, exclaimed: "He said he
would be here sooner than myself. His carriage was at the door. I drove
back as soon as possible--and indeed I hear something now in the court,"
and he disappeared.

It was only to usher in, almost immediately, a stately personage in an
evening dress, and wearing a decoration of a high class, who saluted the
monsignore with great cordiality.

"I am engaged to dine with the Prussian ambassador, who has been obliged
to come to town to receive a prince of the blood who is visiting the
dockyards here; but I thought you might be later than you expected, and
I ordered my carriage to be in waiting, so that we have a good little
hour--and I can come on to you again afterward, if that will not do."

"A little hour with us is a long hour with other people," said the
monsignore, "because we are friends and can speak without windings. You
are a true friend to the Holy See; you have proved it. We are in great
trouble and need of aid."

"I hear that things are not altogether as we could wish," said the
gentleman in an evening dress; "but I hope, and should think, only
annoyances."

"Dangers," said Berwick, "and great."

"How so?"

"Well, we have invasion threatening us without and insurrection within,"
said Berwick. "We might, though it is doubtful, successfully encounter
one of these perils, but their united action must be fatal."

"All this has come suddenly," said the gentleman. "In the summer you
had no fear, and our people wrote to us that we might be perfectly
tranquil."

"Just so," said Berwick. "If we had met a month ago, I should have
told you the same thing. A month ago the revolution seemed lifeless,
penniless; without a future, without a resource. They had no money, no
credit, no men. At present, quietly but regularly, they are assembling
by thousands on our frontiers; thy have to our knowledge received two
large consignments of small arms, and apparently have unlimited credit
with the trade, both in Birmingham and Li ge; they have even artillery;
every thing is paid for in coin or in good bills--and, worst of all,
they have a man, the most consummate soldier in Europe. I thought he
was at New York, and was in hopes he would never have recrossed the
Atlantic--but I know that he passed through Florence a fortnight ago,
and I have seen a man who says he spoke to him at Narni."

"The Italian government must stop all this," said the gentleman.

"They do not stop it," said Berwick. "The government of his holiness
has made every representation to them: we have placed in their hands
indubitable evidence of the illegal proceedings that are taking place
and of the internal dangers we experience in consequence of their
exterior movements. But they do nothing: it is even believed that the
royal troops are joining the insurgents, and Garibaldi is spouting with
impunity in every balcony of Florence."

"You may depend upon it that our government is making strong
representations to the government of Florence."

"I come from Paris and elsewhere," said Berwick, with animation and
perhaps a degree of impatience. "I have seen everybody there, and I have
heard every thing. It is not representations that are wanted from your
government; it is something of a different kind."

"But if you have seen everybody at Paris and heard every thing, how can
I help you?"

"By acting upon the government here. A word from you to the English
minister would have great weight at this juncture. Queen Victoria is
interested in the maintenance of the papal throne. Her Catholic subjects
are counted by millions. The influence of his holiness has been hitherto
exercised against the Fenians. France would interfere, if she was sure
the step would not be disapproved by England."

"Interfere!" said the gentleman. "Our return to Rome almost before
we have paid our laundresses' bills in the Eternal City would be a
diplomatic scandal."

"A diplomatic scandal would be preferable to a European revolution."

"Suppose we were to have both?" and the gentleman drew his chair near
the fire.

"I am convinced that a want of firmness now," said Berwick, "would lead
to inconceivable calamities for all of us."

"Let us understand each other, my very dear friend Berwick," said his
companion, and he threw his arm over the back of his chair and
looked the Roman full in his face. "You say you have been at Paris and
elsewhere, and have seen everybody and heard every thing?"

"Yes, yes."

"Something has happened to us also during the last month, and as
unexpectedly as to yourselves."

"The secret societies? Yes, he spoke to me on that very point, and
fully. 'Tis strange, but is only, in my opinion, an additional argument
in favor of crushing the evil influence."

"Well, that he must decide. But the facts are startling. A month ago the
secret societies in France were only a name; they existed only in the
memory of the police, and almost as a tradition. At present we know that
they are in complete organization, and what is most strange is that the
prefects write they have information that the Mary-Anne associations,
which are essentially republican and are scattered about the provinces,
are all revived, and are astir. Mary-Anne, as you know, was the red name
for the republic years ago, and there always was a sort of myth that
these societies had been founded by a woman. Of course that is all
nonsense, but they keep it up; it affects the public imagination, and
my government has undoubted evidence that the word of command has gone
round to all these societies that Mary-Anne has; returned and will issue
her orders, which must be obeyed."

"The Church is stronger, and especially in the provinces, than the
Mary-Anne societies," said Berwick.

"I hope so," said his friend; "but you see, my dear monsignore, the
question with us is not so simple as you put It. The secret societies
will not tolerate another Roman interference, to say nothing of the
diplomatic hubbub, which we might, if necessary, defy; but what if,
taking advantage of the general indignation, your new kingdom of Italy
may seize the golden opportunity of making a popular reputation, and
declare herself the champion of national independence against the
interference of the foreigner? My friend, we tread on delicate ground."

"If Rome falls, not an existing dynasty in Europe will survive five
years," said Berwick.

"It may be so," said his companion, but with no expression of
incredulity. "You know how consistently and anxiously I have always
labored to support the authority of the Holy See, and to maintain its
territorial position as the guarantee of its independence; but Fate has
decided against us. I cannot indulge in the belief that his holiness
will ever regain his lost provinces; a capital without a country is an
apparent anomaly, which I fear will always embarrass us. We can treat
the possession as the capital of Christendom, but, alas! all the world
are not as good Christians as ourselves, and Christendom is a country
no longer marked out in the map of the world. I wish," continued the
gentleman in a tone almost coaxing--"I wish we could devise some plan
which, humanly speaking, would secure to his holiness the possession
of his holy throne forever. I wish I could induce you to consider more
favorably that suggestion, that his holiness should content himself with
the ancient city, and, in possession of St. Peter's and the Vatican,
leave the rest of, Rome to the vulgar cares and the mundane anxieties
of the transient generation. Yes," he added with energy, "if, my dear
Berwick, you could see your way to this, or something like this, I think
even now and at once, I could venture to undertake that the emperor, my
master, would soon put an end to all these disturbances and dangers, and
that--"

"Non possumus," said Berwick, sternly stopping him; "sooner than that
Attila, the Constable of Bourbon, or the blasphemous orgies of the Red
Republic! After all, it is the Church against the secret societies.
They are the only two strong things in Europe, and will survive kings,
emperors, or parliaments."

At this moment there was a tap at the door, and, bidden to enter, Mr.
Clifford presented himself with a sealed paper, for the gentleman in
evening dress. "Your secretary, sir, brought this, which he said must be
given you before you went to the ambassador."

"'Tis well," said the gentleman, and he rose, and with a countenance of
some excitement read the paper, which contained a telegram; and then he
said: "This, I think, will help us out of our immediate difficulties,
my dear monsignore. Rattazzi has behaved like a man of sense, and has
arrested Garibaldi. But you do not seem, my friend, as pleased as I
should have anticipated."

"Garibaldi has been arrested before," said Berwick.

"Well, well, I am hopeful; but I must go to my dinner. I will see you
again tomorrow."



CHAPTER 51


The continuous gathering of what, in popular language, were styled the
Garibaldi Volunteers, on the southern border of the papal territory
in the autumn of 1867, was not the only or perhaps the greatest danger
which then threatened the Holy See, though the one which most attracted
its alarmed attention. The considerable numbers in which this assemblage
was suddenly occurring; the fact that the son of the Liberator had
already taken its command, and only as the precursor of his formidable
sire; the accredited rumor that Ghirelli at the head of a purely Roman
legion was daily expected to join the frontier force; that Nicotera was
stirring in the old Neapolitan kingdom, while the Liberator himself
at Florence and in other parts of Tuscany was even ostentatiously,
certainly with impunity, preaching the new crusade and using all his
irresistible influence with the populace to excite their sympathies and
to stimulate their energy, might well justify the extreme apprehension
of the court of Rome. And yet dangers at least equal, and almost as
close, were at the same time preparing unnoticed and unknown.

In the mountainous range between Fiascone and Viterbo, contiguous to
the sea, is a valley surrounded by chains of steep and barren hills, but
which is watered by a torrent scarcely dry, even in summer; so that
the valley itself, which is not inconsiderable in its breadth, is never
without verdure, while almost a forest of brushwood formed of shrubs,
which in England we should consider rare, bounds the natural turf and
ascends sometimes to no inconsiderable height the nearest hills.

Into this valley, toward the middle of September, there defiled one
afternoon through a narrow pass a band of about fifty men, all armed,
and conducting a cavalcade or rather a caravan of mules laden with
munitions of war and other stores. When they had gained the centre
of the valley and a general halt was accomplished, their commander,
accompanied by one who was apparently an officer, surveyed all the
points of the locality; and, when their companions had rested and
refreshed themselves, they gave the necessary orders for the preparation
of a camp. The turf already afforded a sufficient area for their present
wants, but it was announced that on the morrow they must commence
clearing the brushwood. In the mean time, one of the liveliest scenes
of military life soon rapidly developed itself: the canvas houses
were pitched, the sentries appointed, the videttes established. The
commissariat was limited to bread and olives, and generally the running
stream, varied sometimes by coffee, and always consoled by tobacco.

On the third day, amid their cheerful though by no means light labors, a
second caravan arrived, evidently expected and heartily welcomed. Then,
in another eight-and-forty hours, smaller bodies of men seemed to drop
down from the hills, generally without stores, but always armed. Then
men came from neighboring islands in open boats, and one morning a
considerable detachment crossed the water from Corsica. So that at the
end of a week or ten days there was an armed force of several hundred
men in this once silent valley, now a scene of constant stir and
continual animation, for some one or something was always arriving, and
from every quarter; men and arms and stores crept in from every wild
pass of the mountains and every little rocky harbor of the coast.

About this time, while the officer in command was reviewing a
considerable portion of the troops, the rest laboring in still clearing
the brushwood and establishing the many works incidental to a camp, half
a dozen horsemen were seen descending the mountain-pass by which the
original body had entered the valley. A scout had preceded them, and
the troops with enthusiasm awaited the arrival of that leader, a message
from whose magic name had summoned them to this secluded rendezvous from
many a distant state and city. Unruffled, but with an inspiring fire in
his pleased keen eye, that general answered their devoted salute, whom
hitherto we have known by his travelling name of Captain Bruges.

It was only toward the end of the preceding month that he had resolved
to take the field; but the organization of the secret societies is
so complete that he knew he could always almost instantly secure the
assembling of a picked force in a particular place. The telegraph
circulated its mystic messages to every part of France and Italy and
Belgium, and to some old friends not so conveniently at hand, but who he
doubted not would arrive in due time for action. He himself had employed
the interval in forwarding all necessary supplies, and he had passed
through Florence in order that he might confer with the great spirit of
Italian movement and plan with him the impending campaign.

After he had passed in review the troops, the general, with the officers
of his staff who had accompanied him, visited on foot every part of
the camp. Several of the men he recognized by name; to all of them he
addressed some inspiring word; a memory of combats in which they had
fought together, or happy allusions to adventures if romantic peril;
some question which indicated that local knowledge which is magical
for those who are away from home; mixed with all this, sharp, clear
inquiries as to the business of the hour, which proved the master of
detail, severe in discipline, but never deficient in sympathy for his
troops.

After sunset, enveloped in their cloaks, the general and his companions,
the party increased by the officers who had been in command previous to
his arrival, smoked their cigars round the camp-fire.

"Well, Sarano," said the general, "I will look over your muster-roll
to-morrow, but I should suppose I may count on a thousand rifles or so.
I want three, and we shall get them. The great man would have supplied
them me at once, but I will not have boys. He must send those on to
Menotti. I told him: 'I am not a man of genius; I do not pretend to
conquer kingdoms with boys. Give me old soldiers, men who have served
a couple of campaigns, and been seasoned with four-and-twenty months of
camp-life, and I will not disgrace you or myself.'"

"We have had no news from the other place for a long time," said Sarano.
"How is it?"

"Well enough. They are in the mountains about Nerola, in a position not
very unlike this; numerically strong, for Nicotera has joined them, and
Ghirelli with the Roman Legion is at hand. They must be quiet till the
great man joins them; I am told they are restless. There has been too
much noise about the whole business. Had they been as mum as you have
been, we should not have had all these representations from France and
these threatened difficulties from that quarter. The Papalini would have
complained and remonstrated, and Rattazzi could have conscientiously
assured the people at Paris that they were dealing with exaggerations
and bugbears; the very existence of the frontier force would have become
a controversy, and, while the newspapers were proving it was a myth, we
should have been in the Vatican."

"And when shall we be there, general?"

"I do not want to move for a month. By that time I shall have two
thousand five hundred or three thousand of my old comrades, and the
great man will have put his boys in trim. Both bodies must leave their
mountains at the same time, join in the open country, and march to
Rome."

As the night advanced, several of the party rose and left the
camp-fire--some to their tents, some to their duties. Two of the staff
remained with the general.

"I am disappointed and uneasy that we have not heard from Paris," said
one of them.

"I am disappointed," said the general, "but not uneasy; she never makes
a mistake."

"The risk was too great," rejoined the speaker in a depressed tone.

"I do not see that," said the general. "What is the risk? Who could
possibly suspect the lady's maid of the Princess of Tivoli! I am told
that the princess has become quite a favorite at the Tuileries."

"They say that the police is not so well informed as it used to be;
nevertheless, I confess I should be much happier were she sitting round
this camp-fire."

"Courage!" said the general. "I do not believe in many things, but I do
believe in the divine Theodora. What say you, Captain Muriel? I hope you
are not offended by my criticism of young soldiers. You are the youngest
in our band, but you have good military stuff in you, and will be soon
seasoned."

"I feel I serve under a master of the art," replied Lothair, "and will
not take the gloomy view of Colonel Campian about our best friend,
though I share all his disappointment. It seems to me that detection is
impossible. I am sure that I could not have recognized her when I handed
the princess into her carriage."

"The step was absolutely necessary," said the general; "no one could be
trusted but herself--no other person has the influence. All our danger
is from France. The Italian troops will never cross the frontier to
attack us, rest assured of that. I have proof of it. And it is most
difficult, almost impossible, for the French to return. There never
would have been an idea of such a step, if there had been a little more
discretion at Florence, less of those manifestoes and speeches from
balconies. But we must not criticise one who is above criticism. Without
him we could do nothing, and when he stamps his foot men rise from the
earth. I will go the rounds; come with me, Captain Muriel. Colonel, I
order you to your tent; you are a veteran--the only one among us, at
least on the staff, who was wounded at Aspromonte."



CHAPTER 52


The life of Lothair had been so strange and exciting since he quitted
Muriel Towers that he had found little time for that reflection in which
he was once so prone to indulge. Perhaps he shrank from it. If he wanted
an easy distraction from self--criticism it may be a convenient refuge
from the scruples, or even the pangs, of conscience--it was profusely
supplied by the startling affairs of which he formed a part, the
singular characters with whom he was placed in contact, the risk and
responsibility which seemed suddenly to have encompassed him with their
ever-stimulating influence, and, lastly, by the novelty of foreign
travel, which, even under ordinary circumstances, has a tendency to
rouse and stir up even ordinary men.

So long as Theodora was his companion in their counsels, and he was
listening to her deep plans and daring suggestions, enforced by that
calm enthusiasm which was not the least powerful of her commanding
spells, it is not perhaps surprising that he should have yielded without
an effort to her bewitching ascendancy. But when they had separated, and
she had embarked on that perilous enterprise of personally conferring
with the chiefs of those secret societies of France, which had been
fancifully baptized by her popular name, and had nurtured her tradition
as a religious faith, it might have been supposed that Lothair, left to
himself, might have recurred to the earlier sentiments of his youth. But
he was not left to himself. He was left with her injunctions, and
the spirit of the oracle, though the divinity was no longer visible,
pervaded his mind and life.

Lothair was to accompany the general as one of his aides-de-camp, and
he was to meet Theodora again on what was contemplated as the field
of memorable actions. Theodora had wisely calculated on the influence,
beneficial in her view, which the character of a man like the general
would exercise over Lothair. This consummate military leader, though he
had pursued a daring career, and was a man of strong convictions, was
distinguished by an almost unerring judgment, and a mastery of method
rarely surpassed. Though he was without imagination or sentiment, there
were occasions on which he had shown he was not deficient in a becoming
sympathy, and he had a rapid and correct perception of character. He was
a thoroughly honest man, and, in the course of a life of great trial and
vicissitude, even envenomed foes had never impeached his pure integrity.
For the rest, he was unselfish, but severe in discipline, inflexible,
and even ruthless in the fulfilment of his purpose. A certain simplicity
of speech and conduct, and a disinterestedness which, even in little
things, was constantly exhibiting itself, gave to his character even
charm, and rendered personal intercourse with him highly agreeable.

In the countless arrangements which had to be made, Lothair was never
wearied in recognizing and admiring the prescience and precision of his
chief; and when the day had died, and for a moment they had ceased from
their labors, or were travelling together, often through the night,
Lothair found in the conversation of his companion, artless and
unrestrained, a wonderful fund of knowledge both of men and things, and
that, too, in very different climes and countries.

The camp in the Apennines was not favorable to useless reverie. Lothair
found unceasing and deeply-interesting occupation in his numerous and
novel duties; and, if his thoughts for a moment wandered beyond the
barren peaks around him, they were attracted and engrossed by one
subject--and that was, naturally, Theodora. From her they had
heard nothing since her departure, except a mysterious, though not
discouraging, telegram which was given to them by Colonel Campian when
he had joined them at Florence. It was difficult not to feel anxious
about her, though the general would never admit the possibility of her
personal danger.

In this state of affairs, a week having elapsed since his arrival at
the camp, Lothair, who had been visiting the outposts, was summoned one
morning by an orderly to the tent of the general. That personage was
on his legs when Lothair entered it, and was dictating to an officer
writing at a table.

"You ought to know my military secretary," said the general, as Lothair
entered, "and therefore I will introduce you."

Lothair was commencing a suitable reverence of recognition as the
secretary raised his head to receive it, when he suddenly stopped,
changed color, and for a moment seemed to lose himself, and then
murmured, "Is it possible?"

It was indeed Theodora: clothed in male attire, she seemed a stripling.

"Quite possible," she said, "and all is well. But I found it a longer
business than I had counted on. You see, there are so many new persons
who knew me only by tradition, but with whom it was necessary I should
personally confer. And I had more difficulty, just now, in getting
through Florence than I had anticipated. The Papalini and the French
are both worrying our allies in that city about the gathering on the
southern frontier, and there is a sort of examination, true or false, I
will not aver, of all who depart. However, I managed to pass with some
soldiers' wives who were carrying fruit as far as Narni, and there I met
an old comrade of Aspromonte, who is a custom-officer now, but true
to the good cause, and he, and his daughter, who is with me, helped me
through every thing, and so I am with my dear friends again."

After some slight conversation in this vein, Theodora entered into a
detailed narrative of her proceedings, and gave to them her views of the
condition of affairs.

"By one thing, above all others," she said, "I am impressed, and that
is, the unprecedented efforts which Rome is making to obtain the return
of the French. There never was such influence exercised, such distinct
offers made, such prospects intimated. You may prepare yourself for any
thing; a papal coronation, a family pontiff--I could hardly say a King
of Rome, though he has been reminded of that royal fact. Our friends
have acted with equal energy and with perfect temper. The heads of the
societies have met in council, and resolved that, if France will refuse
to interfere, no domestic disturbance shall be attempted during this
reign, and they have communicated this resolution to headquarters. He
trusts them; he knows they are honest men. They did something like this
before the Italian War, when he hesitated about heading the army from
the fear of domestic revolution. Anxious to recover the freedom of
Italy, they apprized him that, if he personally entered the field,
they would undertake to insure tranquillity at home. The engagement was
scrupulously fulfilled. When I left Paris all looked well, but affairs
require the utmost vigilance and courage. It is a mighty struggle; it
is a struggle between the Church and the secret societies; and it is a
death-struggle."



CHAPTER 53


During the week that elapsed after the arrival of Theodora at the camp,
many recruits, and considerable supplies of military stores, reached
the valley. Theodora really acted as secretary to the general, and her
labors were not light. Though Lothair was frequently in her presence,
they were, never, or rarely, alone, and, when they conversed together,
her talk was of details. The scouts, too, had brought information, which
might have been expected, that their rendezvous was no longer a secret
at Rome. The garrison of the neighboring town of Viterbo had, therefore,
been increased, and there was even the commencement of an intrenched
camp in the vicinity of that place, to be garrisoned by a detachment
of the legion of Antibes and other good troops, so that any junction
between the general and Garibaldi, if contemplated, should not be easily
effected.

In the mean time, the life of the camp was busy. The daily drill and
exercise of two thousand men was not a slight affair, and the constant
changes in orders which the arrival of bodies of recruits occasioned,
rendered this primary duty more difficult; the office of quartermaster
required the utmost resource and temper; the commissariat, which, from
the nature of the country, could depend little upon forage, demanded
extreme husbandry and forbearance. But, perhaps, no labors were more
severe than those of the armorers, the clink of whose instruments
resounded unceasingly in the valley. And yet such is the magic of
method, when directed by a master-mind, that the whole went on with the
regularity and precision of machinery. More than two thousand armed
men, all of whom had been accustomed to an irregular, some to a lawless,
life, were as docile as children; animated, in general, by what they
deemed a sacred cause, and led by a chief whom they universally alike
adored and feared.

Among these wild warriors, Theodora, delicate and fragile, but with a
mien of majesty, moved, like the spirit of some other world, and was
viewed by them with admiration not unmixed with awe. Veterans round
the camp-fire, had told to the new recruits her deeds of prowess
and devotion; how triumphantly she had charged at Voltorno, and how
heroically she had borne their standard when they were betrayed at fatal
Aspromonte.

The sun had sunk behind the mountains, but was still high in the
western heaven, when a mounted lancer was observed descending a distant
pass into the valley. The general and his staff had not long commenced
their principal meal of the day, of which the disappearance of the sun
behind the peak was the accustomed signal. This permitted them, without
inconvenience, to take their simple repast in the open, but still warm,
air. Theodora was seated between the general and her husband, and her
eye was the first that caught the figure of the distant but descending
stranger.

"What is that?" she asked.

The general, immediately using his telescope, after a moment's
examination, said: "A lancer of the royal guard."

All eyes were now fixed upon the movements of the horseman. He had
descended the winding steep, and now was tracking the craggy path which
led into the plain. As he reached the precinct of the camp, he was
challenged, but not detained. Nearer and nearer he approached, and it
was evident, from his uniform, that the conjecture of his character by
the general was correct.

"A deserter from the guard," whispered Colonel Campian, to Lothair.

The horseman wag conducted by an officer to the presence of the
commander. When that presence was reached, the lancer, still silent,
slowly lowered his tall weapon, and offered the general the dispatch
which was fastened to the head of his spear.

Every eye was on the countenance of their chief as he perused the
missive, but that countenance was always inscrutable. It was observed,
however, that he read the paper twice. Looking up, the general said, to
the officer: "See that the bearer is well quartered.--This is for you,"
he added in a low voice to Theodora, and he gave her an enclosure; "read
it quietly, and then come into my tent."

Theodora read the letter, and quietly; though, without the preparatory
hint, it might have been difficult to have concealed her emotion.
Then, after a short pause, she rose, and the general, requesting his
companions not to disturb themselves, joined her, and they proceeded in
silence to his tent.

"He is arrested," said the general when they had entered it, "and taken
to Alessandria, where he is a close prisoner. 'Tis a blow, but I am more
grieved than surprised."

This was the arrest of Garibaldi at Sinigaglia by the Italian
government, which had been communicated at Hexham House to Monsignore
Berwick by his evening visitor.

"How will it affect operations in the field?" inquired Theodora.

"According to this dispatch, in no degree. Our original plan is to be
pursued, and acted upon the moment we are ready. That should be in a
fortnight, or perhaps three weeks. Menotti is to take the command on the
southern frontier. Well, it may prevent jealousies. I think I shall send
Sarano there to reconnoitre; he is well both with Nicotera and Ghirelli,
and may keep things straight."

"But there are other affairs besides operations in the field," said
Theodora, "and scarcely less critical. Read this," and she gave him the
enclosure, which ran in these words:

"The general will tell thee what has happened. Have no fear for that.
All will go right. It will not alter our plans a bunch of grapes. Be
perfectly easy about this country. No Italian soldier will ever cross
the frontier except to combat the French. Write that on thy heart. Are
other things as well? Other places? My advices are bad. All the prelates
are on their knees to him--with blessings on their lips and curses
in their pockets. Archbishop of Paris is as bad as any. Berwick is at
Biarritz--an inexhaustible intriguer; the only priest I fear. I hear
from one who never misled me that the Polhes brigade has orders to be
in readiness. The Mary-Anne societies are not strong enough for the
situation--too local; he listens to them, but he has given no pledge.
We must go deeper. 'Tis an affair of 'Madre Natura.' Thou must see
Colonna."

"Colonna is at Rome," said the general, "and cannot be spared. He is
acting president of the National Committee, and has enough upon his
hands."

"I must see him," said Theodora.

"I had hoped I had heard the last of the 'Madre Natura,'" said the
general with an air of discontent.

"And the Neapolitans hope they have heard the last of the eruptions
of their mountain," said Theodora; "but the necessities of things are
sterner stuff than the hopes of men."

"Its last effort appalled and outraged Europe," said the general.

"Its last effort forced the French into Italy, and has freed the country
from the Alps to the Adriatic," rejoined Theodora.

"If the great man had only been as quiet as we have been," said the
general, lighting a cigar, "we might have been in Rome by this time."

"If the great man had been quiet, we should not have had a volunteer in
our valley," said Theodora. "My faith in him is implicit; he has been
right in every thing, and has never failed except when he has been
betrayed. I see no hope for Rome except in his convictions and energy.
I do not wish to die, and feel I have devoted my life only to secure
the triumph of Savoyards who have sold their own country, and of priests
whose impostures have degraded mine."

"Ah! those priests!" exclaimed the general. "I really do not much care
for any thing else. They say the Savoyard is not a bad comrade, and at
any rate he can charge like a soldier. But those priests? I fluttered
them once! Why did I spare any? Why did I not burn down St. Peter's? I
proposed it, but Mirandola, with his history and his love of art and all
that old furniture, would reserve it for a temple of the true God and
for the glory of Europe! Fine results we have accomplished! And now
we are here, hardly knowing where we are, and, as it appears, hardly
knowing what to do."

"Not so, dear general," said Theodora. "Where we are is the threshold
of Rome, and if we are wise we shall soon cross it. This arrest of our
great friend is a misfortune, but not an irredeemable one. I thoroughly
credit what he says about the Italian troops. Rest assured he knows what
he is talking about; they will never cross the frontier against us. The
danger is from another land. But there will be no peril if we are prompt
and firm. Clear your mind of all these dark feelings about the 'Madre
Natura.' All that we require is that the most powerful and the most
secret association in Europe should ratify what the local societies of
France have already intimated. It will be enough. Send for Colonna, and
leave the rest to me."



CHAPTER 54


The "Madre Natura" is the oldest, the most powerful, and the most
occult, of the secret societies of Italy. Its mythic origin reaches the
era of paganism, and it is not impossible that it may have been founded
by some of the despoiled professors of the ancient faith. As time
advanced, the brotherhood assumed many outward forms, according to the
varying spirit of the age: sometimes they were freemasons, sometimes
they were soldiers, sometimes artists, sometimes men of letters. But
whether their external representation were a lodge, a commandery, a
studio, or an academy, their inward purpose was ever the same; and that
was to cherish the memory, and, if possible, to secure the restoration
of the Roman Republic, and to expel from the Aryan settlement of Romulus
the creeds and sovereignty of what they styled the Semitic invasion.

The "Madre Natura" have a tradition that one of the most celebrated of
the popes was admitted to their fraternity as Cardinal del Medici, and
that when he ascended the throne, mainly through their labors, he
was called upon to cooperate in the fulfilment of the great idea. An
individual who, in his youth, has been the member of a secret society,
and subsequently ascends a throne, may find himself in an embarrassing
position. This, however, according to the tradition, which there is
some documentary ground to accredit, was not the perplexing lot of his
holiness Pope Leo X. His tastes and convictions were in entire unison
with his early engagements, and it is believed that he took an early and
no unwilling opportunity of submitting to the conclave a proposition to
consider whether it were not both expedient and practicable to return to
the ancient faith, for which their temples had been originally erected.

The chief tenet of the society of "Madre Natura" is denoted by its name.
They could conceive nothing more benignant and more beautiful, more
provident and more powerful, more essentially divine, than that system
of creative order to which they owed their being, and in which it
was their privilege to exist. But they differed from other schools of
philosophy that have held this faith, in this singular particular:
they recognize the inability of the Latin race to pursue the worship of
Nature in an abstract spirit, and they desired to revive those exquisite
personifications of the abounding qualities of the mighty mother which
the Aryan genius had bequeathed to the admiration of man. Parthenope was
again to rule at Naples instead of Januarius, and starveling saints and
winking madonnas were to restore their usurped altars to the god of the
silver bow and the radiant daughter of the foaming wave.

Although the society of "Madre Natura" themselves accepted the
allegorical interpretation which the Neo-Platonists had placed upon
the pagan creeds during the first ages of Christianity, they could
not suppose that the populace could ever comprehend an exposition so
refined, not to say so fanciful. They guarded, therefore, against the
corruptions and abuses of the religion of Nature by the entire abolition
of the priestly order, and in the principle that every man should be his
own priest they believed they had found the necessary security.

As it was evident that the arrest of Garibaldi could not be kept secret,
the general thought it most prudent to be himself the herald of its
occurrence, which he announced to the troops in a manner as little
discouraging as he could devise. It was difficult to extenuate the
consequences of so great a blow, but they were assured that it was not a
catastrophe, and would not in the slightest degree affect the execution
of the plans previously resolved on. Two or three days later some
increase of confidence was occasioned by the authentic intelligence that
Garibaldi had been removed from his stern imprisonment at Alessandria,
and conveyed to his island-home, Caprera, though still a prisoner.

About this time, the general said to Lothair: "My secretary has occasion
to go on an expedition. I shall send a small detachment of cavalry with
her, and you will be at its head. She has requested that her husband
should have this office, but that is impossible; I cannot spare my best
officer. It is your first command, and, though I hope it will involve no
great difficulty, there is no command that does not require courage and
discretion. The distance is not very great, and so long as you are in
the mountains you will probably be safe; but in leaving this range and
gaining the southern Apennines, which is your point of arrival, you will
have to cross the open country. I do not hear the Papalini are in force
there; I believe they have concentrated themselves at Rome, and about
Viterbo. If you meet any scouts and reconnoitring parties, you will be
able to give a good account of them, and probably they will be as little
anxious to encounter you as you to meet them. But we must be prepared
for every thing, and you may be threatened by the enemy in force;
in that case you will cross the Italian frontier, in the immediate
neighborhood of which you will keep during the passage of the open
country, and surrender yourselves and your arms to the authorities. They
will not be very severe; but, at whatever cost and whatever may be the
odds, Theodora must never be a prisoner to the Papalini. You will depart
to-morrow at dawn."

There is nothing so animating, so invigorating alike to the body and
soul, so truly delicious, as travelling among mountains in the early
hours of day. The freshness of Nature falls upon a responsive frame,
and the nobility of the scene discards the petty thoughts that pester
ordinary life. So felt Captain Muriel, as with every military precaution
he conducted his little troop and his precious charge among the winding
passes of the Apennines; at first dim in the matin twilight, then soft
with incipient day, then coruscating with golden flashes. Sometimes
they descended from the austere heights into the sylvan intricacies
of chestnut-forests, amid the rush of waters and the fragrant stir of
ancient trees; and, then again ascending to lofty summits, ranges of
interminable hills, gray or green, expanded before them, with ever and
anon a glimpse of plains, and sometimes the splendor and the odor of the
sea.

Theodora rode a mule, which had been presented to the general by
some admirer. It was an animal of remarkable beauty and intelligence,
perfectly aware, apparently, of the importance of its present trust, and
proud of its rich accoutrements, its padded saddle of crimson velvet,
and its silver bells. A couple of troopers formed the advanced guard,
and the same number at a certain distance furnished the rear. The body
of the detachment, fifteen strong, with the sumpter-mules, generally
followed Theodora, by whose side, whenever the way permitted, rode their
commander. Since he left England Lothair had never been so much with
Theodora. What struck him most now, as indeed previously at the camp,
was that she never alluded to the past. For her there would seem to be
no Muriel Towers, no Belmont, no England. You would have supposed that
she had been born in the Apennines and had never quitted them. All her
conversation was details, political or military. Not that her manner
was changed to Lothair. It was not only as kind as before, but it was
sometimes unusually and even unnecessary tender, as if she reproached
herself for the too frequent and too evident self-engrossment of her
thoughts, and wished to intimate to him that, though her brain were
absorbed, her heart was still gentle and true.

Two hours after noon they halted in a green nook, near a beautiful
cascade that descended in a mist down a sylvan cleft, and poured its
pellucid stream, for their delightful use, into a natural basin of
marble. The men picketed their horses, and their corporal, who was a man
of the country and their guide, distributed their rations. All vied with
each other in administering to the comfort and convenience of Theodora,
and Lothair hovered about her as a bee about a flower, but she was
silent, which he wished to impute to fatigue. But she said she was not
at all fatigued, indeed quite fresh. Before they resumed their
journey he could not refrain from observing on the beauty of their
resting-place. She assented with a pleasing nod, and then resuming
her accustomed abstraction she said: "The more I think, the more I am
convinced that the battle is not to be fought in this country, but in
France."

After one more ascent, and that comparatively a gentle one, it was
evident that they were gradually emerging from the mountainous region.
Their course since their halting lay through a spur of the chief chain
they had hitherto pursued, and a little after sunset they arrived at
a farm-house, which the corporal informed his captain was the intended
quarter of Theodora for the night, as the horses could proceed no
farther without rest. At dawn they were to resume their way, and soon to
cross the open country, where danger, if any, was to be anticipated.

The farmer was frightened when he was summoned from his house by a party
of armed men; but having some good ducats given him in advance, and
being assured they were all Christians, he took heart and labored to do
what they desired. Theodora duly found herself in becoming quarters, and
a sentry was mounted at her residence. The troopers, who had been quite
content to wrap themselves in their cloaks and pass the night in
the air, were pleased to find no despicable accommodation in the
out-buildings of the farm, and still more with the proffered vintage of
their host. As for Lothair, he enveloped himself in his mantle and threw
himself on a bed of sacks, with a truss of Indian corn for his pillow,
and, though he began by musing over Theodora, in a few minutes he was
immersed in that profound and dreamless sleep which a life of action and
mountain-air combined can alone secure.



CHAPTER 55


The open country extending from the Apennines to the very gates of
Rome, and which they had now to cross, was in general a desert; a plain
clothed with a coarse vegetation, and undulating with an interminable
series of low and uncouth mounds, without any of the grace of form which
always attends the disposition of Nature. Nature had not created them.
They were the offspring of man and time, and of their rival powers of
destruction. Ages of civilization were engulfed in this drear expanse.
They were the tombs of empires and the sepulchres of contending races.
The Campagna proper has at least the grace of aqueducts to break its
monotony, and everywhere the cerulean spell of distance; but in this
grim solitude antiquity has left only the memory of its violence and
crimes, and nothing is beautiful except the sky.

The orders of the general to direct their course as much as possible
in the vicinity of the Italian frontier, though it lengthened their
journey, somewhat mitigated its dreariness, and an hour after noon,
after traversing some flinty fields, they observed in the distance an
olive-wood, beneath the pale shade of which, and among whose twisted
branches and contorted roots, they had contemplated finding a
halting-place. But here the advanced guard observed already an
encampment, and one of them rode back to report the discovery.

A needless alarm; for, after a due reconnoissance, they were ascertained
to be friends--a band of patriots about to join the general in his
encampment among the mountains. They reported that a division of the
Italian army was assembled in force upon the frontier, but that several
regiments had already signified to their commanders that they would not
fight against Garibaldi or his friends. They confirmed also the news
that the great leader himself was a prisoner at Caprera; that, although,
his son Menotti by his command had withdrawn from Nerola, his force
was really increased by the junction of Ghirelli and the Roman legion,
twelve hundred strong, and that five hundred riflemen would join the
general in the course of the week.

A little before sunset they had completed the passage of the open
country, and had entered the opposite branch of the Apennines, which
they had long observed in the distance. After wandering among some rocky
ground, they entered a defile amid hills covered with ilex, and thence
emerging found themselves in a valley of some expanse and considerable
cultivation; bright crops, vineyards in which the vine was married to
the elm, orchards full of fruit, and groves of olive; in the distance
blue hills that were becoming dark in the twilight, and in the centre of
the plain, upon a gentle and wooded elevation, a vast file of building,
the exact character of which at this hour it was difficult to recognize,
for, even as Theodora mentioned to Lothair that they now beheld the
object of their journey, the twilight seemed to vanish and the stars
glistened in the dark heavens.

Though the building seemed so near, it was yet a considerable time
before they reached the wooded hill, and, though its ascent was easy,
it was night before they halted in face of a huge gate flanked by high
stone walls. A single light in one of the windows of the vast pile which
it enclosed was the only evidence of human habitation.

The corporal sounded a bugle, and immediately the light moved and noises
were heard--the opening of the hall-doors, and then the sudden flame of
torches, and the advent of many feet. The great gate slowly opened,
and a steward and several serving-men appeared. The steward addressed
Theodora and Lothair, and invited them to dismount and enter what now
appeared to be a garden with statues and terraces and fountains and
rows of cypress, its infinite dilapidation not being recognizable in
the deceptive hour; and he informed the escort that their quarters were
prepared for them, to which they were at once attended. Guiding their
captain and his charge, they soon approached a double flight of steps,
and, ascending, reached the main terrace from which the building
immediately rose. It was, in truth, a castle of the middle ages, on
which a Roman prince, at the commencement of the last century, had
engrafted the character of one of those vast and ornate villas then
the mode, but its original character still asserted itself, and,
notwithstanding its Tuscan basement and its Ionic pilasters, its rich
pediments and delicate volutes, in the distant landscape it still seemed
a fortress in the commanding position which became the residence of a
feudal chief.

They entered, through a Palladian vestibule, a hall which they felt
must be of huge dimensions, though with the aid of a single torch it was
impossible to trace its limits, either of extent or of elevation. Then
bowing before them, and lighting as it were their immediate steps, the
steward guided them down a long and lofty corridor, which led to the
entrance of several chambers, all vast, with little furniture, but their
wells covered with pictures. At length he opened a door and ushered them
into a saloon, which was in itself bright and glowing, but of which the
lively air was heightened by its contrast with the preceding scene. It
was lofty, and hung with faded satin in gilded panels still bright. An
ancient chandelier of Venetian crystal hung illumined from the painted
ceiling, and on the silver dogs of the marble hearth a fresh block of
cedar had just been thrown and blazed with aromatic light.

A lady came forward and embraced Theodora, and then greeted Lothair with
cordiality. "We must dine to-day even later than you do in London,"
said the Princess of Tivoli, "but we have been expecting you these two
hours." Then she drew Theodora aside, and said, "He is here; but
you must be tired, my best beloved. As some wise man said: 'Business
to-morrow.'"

"No, no," said Theodora; "now, now,--I am never tired. The only thing
that exhausts me is suspense."

"It shall be so. At present I will take you away to shake the dust off
your armor, and, Serafino, attend to Captain Muriel."



CHAPTER 56


When they assembled again in the saloon there was an addition to their
party in the person of a gentleman of distinguished appearance. His age
could hardly have much exceeded that of thirty, but time had agitated
his truly Roman countenance, one which we now find only in consular
and imperial busts, or in the chance visage of a Roman shepherd or a
Neapolitan bandit. He was a shade above the middle height, with a
frame of well-knit symmetry. His proud head was proudly placed on broad
shoulders, and neither time nor indulgence had marred his slender
waist. His dark-brown hair was short and hyacinthine, close to his white
forehead, and naturally showing his small ears. He wore no whiskers, and
his mustache was limited to the centre of his upper lip.

When Theodora entered and offered him her hand he pressed it to his lips
with gravity and proud homage, and then their hostess said: "Captain
Muriel, let me present you to a prince who will not bear his titles, and
whom, therefore, I must call by his name--Romolo Colonna."

The large folding-doors, richly painted and gilt, though dim from
neglect and time, and sustained by columns of precious marbles, were
suddenly opened and revealed another saloon, in which was a round table
brightly lighted, and to which the princess invited her friends.

Their conversation at dinner was lively and sustained; the travels of
the last two days formed a natural part and were apposite to commence
with, but they were soon engrossed in the great subject of their lives;
and Colonna, who had left Rome only four-and-twenty hours, gave them
interesting details of the critical condition of that capital. When the
repast was concluded the princess rose, and, accompanied by Lothair,
reentered the saloon, but Theodora and Colonna lingered behind, and,
finally seating themselves at the farthest end of the apartment in which
they had dined, became engaged in earnest conversation.

"You have seen a great deal since we first met at Belmont," said the
princess to Lothair.

"It seems to me now," said Lothair, "that I knew as much of life then as
I did of the stars above us, about whose purposes and fortunes I used to
puzzle myself."

"And might have remained in that ignorance. The great majority of men
exist but do not live--like Italy in the last century. The power of
the passions, the force of the will, the creative energy of the
imagination--these make life, and reveal to us a world of which the
million are entirely ignorant You have been fortunate in your youth
to have become acquainted with a great woman. It develops all a man's
powers, and gives him a thousand talents."

"I often think," said Lothair, "that I have neither powers nor talents,
but am, drifting without an orbit."

"Into infinite space," said the priestess. "Well, one might do worse
than that. But it is not so. In the long-run your nature will prevail,
and you will fulfil your organic purpose; but you will accomplish your
ends with a completeness which can only be secured by the culture and
development you are now experiencing."

"And what is my nature?" said Lothair. "I wish you would tell me."

"Has not the divine Theodora told you?"

"She has told me many things, but not that."

"How, then, could I know," said the princess, "if she has not discovered
it?"

"But perhaps she has discovered it," said Lothair.

"Oh! then she would tell you," said the princess, "for she is the soul
of truth."

"But she is also the soul of kindness, and she might wish to spare my
feelings."

"Well, that is very modest, and I dare say not affected. For there is no
man, however gifted, even however conceited, who has any real confidence
in himself until he has acted."

"Well, we shall soon act," said Lothair, "and then I. suppose I shall
know my nature."

"In time," said the princess, "and with the continued inspiration of
friendship."

"But you too are a great friend of Theodora?"

"Although a woman. I see you are laughing at female friendships, and,
generally speaking, there is foundation for the general sneer. I will
own, for my part, I have every female weakness, and in excess. I
am vain, I am curious, I am jealous, and I am envious; but I adore
Theodora. I reconcile my feelings toward her and my disposition in this
way. It is not friendship--it is worship. And indeed there are moments
when I sometimes think she is one of those beautiful divinities that
we once worshipped in this land, and who, when they listened to our
prayers, at least vouchsafed that our country should not be the terrible
wilderness that you crossed this day."

In the mean time Colonna, with folded arms and eyes fixed on the ground,
was listening to Theodora.

"Thus you see," she continued, "it comes to this--Rome can only be freed
by the Romans. He looks upon the secret societies of his own country as
he does upon universal suffrage--a wild beast, and dangerous, but which
may be watched and tamed and managed by the police. He listens, but he
plays with them. He temporizes. At the bottom of his heart, his Italian
blood despises the Gauls. It must be something deeper and more touching
than this. Rome must appeal to him, and in the ineffable name."

"It has been uttered before," said Colonna, looking up at his companion,
"and--" And he hesitated.

"And in vain you would say," said Theodora. "Not so. There was a
martyrdom, but the blood of Felice baptized the new birth of Italian
life. But I am not thinking of bloodshed. Had it not been for the double
intrigues of the Savoyards it need not then have been shed. We bear him
no ill-will--at least not now--and we can make great offers. Make them.
The revolution in Gaul is ever a mimicry of Italian thought and life.
Their great affair of the last century, which they have so marred and
muddied, would never have occurred had it not been for Tuscan reform;
1848 was the echo of our societies; and the Seine will never be
disturbed if the Tiber flows unruffled. Let him consent to Roman
freedom, and 'Madre Natura' will guarantee him against Lutetian
barricades."

"It is only the offer of Mary-Anne in another form," said Colonna.

"Guarantee the dynasty," said Theodora. "There is the point. He can
trust us. Emperors and kings break treaties without remorse, but he
knows that what is registered by the most ancient power in the world is
sacred."

"'Can republicans guarantee dynasties?" said Colonna, shaking his head.

"Why, what is a dynasty, when we are dealing with eternal things?
The casualties of life compared with infinite space? Rome is eternal.
Centuries of the most degrading and foreign priestcraft--enervating
rites brought in by Hellogabalus and the Syrian emperors--have failed
to destroy her. Dynasties! Why, even in our dark servitude we have
seen Merovingian and Carlovingian kings, and Capets, and Valois, and
Bourbons, and now Bonapartes. They have disappeared, and will disappear
like Orgetorix and the dynasties of the time of Caesar. What we want is
Rome free. Do not you see that everything has been preparing for that
event? This monstrous masquerade of United Italy--what is it but an
initiatory ceremony, to prove that Italy without Rome is a series of
provinces? Establish the Roman republic, and the Roman race will, as
before, conquer them in detail. And, when the Italians are thus really
united, what will become of the Gauls? Why, the first Bonaparte said
that if Italy were really united the Gauls would have no chance. And he
was a good judge of such things."

"What would you have me do, then?" said Colonna.

"See him--see him at once. Say every thing that I have said, and say
it better. His disposition is with us. Convenience, all political
propriety, counsel and would justify his abstinence. A return to Rome
would seem weak, fitful, capricious, and would prove that his previous
retirement was ill-considered and ill-informed. It would disturb and
alarm Europe. But you have, nevertheless, to fight against great odds.
It is 'Madre Natura' against St. Peter's. Never was the abomination of
the world so active as at present. It is in the very throes of its fell
despair. To save itself it would poison in the Eucharist."

"And if I fail?" said Colonna.

"You will not fail. On the whole, his interest lies on our side."

"The sacerdotal influences are very strong there. When the calculation
of interest is fine, a word, a glance, sometimes a sigh, a tear, may
have a fatal effect."

"All depends upon him," said Theodora. "If he were to disappear from the
stage, interference would be impossible."

"But he is on the stage, and apparently will remain."

"A single life should not stand between Rome and freedom."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that Romolo Colonna should go to Paris and free his country."



CHAPTER 57


When Captain Muriel and his detachment returned to the camp, they found
that the force had been not inconsiderably increased in their absence,
while the tidings of the disposition of the Italian army brought by the
recruits and the deserters from the royal standard, cherished the hopes
of the troops, and stimulated their desire for action. Theodora had been
far more communicative during their journey back than in that of her
departure. She was less absorbed, and had resumed that serene yet even
sympathizing character which was one of her charms. Without going into
detail, she mentioned more than once to Lothair how relieved she felt
by Colonna accepting the mission to Paris. He was a person of so much
influence, she said, and of such great judgment and resource. She
augured the most satisfactory results from his presence on the main
scene of action.

Time passed rapidly at the camp. When a life of constant activity
is combined with routine, the hours fly. Neither letter nor telegram
arrived from Colonna, and neither was expected; and yet. Theodora heard
from him, and even favorably. One day, as she was going the rounds
with her husband, a young soldier, a new recruit, approached her, and,
pressing to his lips a branch of the olive-tree, presented it to her.
On another occasion when she returned to her tent, she found a bunch of
fruit from the same tree, though not quite ripe, which showed that the
cause of peace had not only progressed but had almost matured. All these
communications sustained her sanguine disposition, and, full of happy
confidence, she labored with unceasing and inspiring energy, so that
when the looked-for signal came they might be prepared to obey it; and
rapidly gather the rich fruition of their glorious hopes.

While she was in this mood of mind, a scout arrived from Nerola,
bringing news that a brigade of the French army had positively embarked
at Marseilles, and might be hourly expected at Civita Vecchia. The news
was absolute. The Italian consul at Marseilles had telegraphed to his
government both when the first regiment was on board and when the last
had embarked. Copies of these telegrams had been forwarded instantly by
a secret friend to the volunteers on the southern frontier.

When Theodora heard this news she said nothing, but, turning pale, she
quitted the group round the general and hastened to her own tent. She
told her attendant, the daughter of the custom-house officer at Narni,
and a true child of the mountains, that no one must approach her, not
even Colonel Campian, and the girl sat without the tent at its entrance,
dressed in her many-colored garments, with fiery eyes and square white
teeth, and her dark hair braided with gold coins and covered with a long
white kerchief of perfect cleanliness; and she had a poniard at her side
and a revolver in her hand, and she would have used both weapons sooner
than that her mistress should be disobeyed.

Alone in her tent, Theodora fell upon her knees, and, lifting up her
hands to heaven and bowing her head to the earth, she said: "O God! whom
I have ever worshipped, God of justice and of truth, receive the agony
of my soul!"

And on the earth she remained for hours in despair.

Night came, and it brought no solace, and the day returned, but to her
it brought no light. Theodora was no longer seen. The soul of the camp
seemed extinct. The mien of majesty that ennobled all; the winning smile
that rewarded the rifleman at his practice and the sapper at his toil;
the inciting word that reanimated the recruit and recalled to the
veteran the glories of Sicilian struggles--all vanished--all seemed
spiritless and dull, and the armorer clinked his forge as if he were the
heartless hireling of a king.

In this state of moral discomfiture there was one person who did not
lose his head, and this was the general. Calm, collected, and critical,
he surveyed the situation and indicated the possible contingencies.
"Our best, if not our only, chance," he said to Colonel Campian, "is
this--that the Italian army now gathered in force upon the frontier
should march to Rome and arrive there before the French. Whatever then
happens, we shall at least get rid of the great imposture, but in all
probability the French and Italians will fight. In that case I shall
join the Savoyards, and in the confusion we may do some business yet."

"This embarkation," said the colonel, "explains the gathering of
the Italians on the frontier. They must have foreseen this event at
Florence. They never can submit to another French occupation. It would
upset their throne. The question is, who will be at Rome first."

"Just so," said the general; "and as it is an affair upon which all
depends, and is entirely beyond my control, I think I shall now take
a nap." So saying, he turned into his tent, and, in five minutes, this
brave and exact man, but in whom the muscular development far exceeded
the nervous, was slumbering without a dream.

Civita Vecchia was so near at hand, and the scouts of the general
were so numerous and able, that he soon learned the French had not yet
arrived, and another day elapsed and still no news of the French. But,
on the afternoon of the following day, the startling but authentic
information arrived, that, after the French army having embarked and
remained two days in port, the original orders had been countermanded,
and the troops had absolutely disembarked.

There was a cheer in the camp when the news was known, and Theodora
started from her desolation, surprised that there could be in such a
scene a sound of triumph. Then there was another cheer, and though she
did not move, but remained listening and leaning on her arm, the light
returned to her eyes. The cheer was repeated, and there were steps about
her tent. She caught the voice of Lothair speaking to her attendant, and
adjuring her to tell her mistress immediately that there was good news,
and that the French troops had disembarked. Then he heard her husband
calling Theodora.

The camp became a scene of excitement and festivity which, in general,
only succeeds some signal triumph. The troops lived always in the air,
except in the hours of night, when the atmosphere of the mountains in
the late autumn is dangerous. At present they formed groups and parties
in the vicinity of the tents; there was their gay canteen and there
their humorous kitchen. The man of the Gulf with his rich Venetian
banter and the Sicilian with his scaramouch tricks got on very well with
the gentle and polished Tuscan, and could amuse without offending the
high Roman soul; but there were some quips and cranks and sometimes
some antics which were not always relished by the simpler men from the
islands, and the offended eye of a Corsican sometimes seemed to threaten
"vendetta."

About sunset, Colonel Campian led forth Theodora. She was in female
attire, and her long hair, restrained only by a fillet, reached nearly
to the ground. Her Olympian brow seemed distended; a phosphoric light
glittered in her Hellenic eyes; a deep pink spot burnt upon each of
those cheeks usually so immaculately fair.

The general and the chief officers gathered round her with their
congratulations, but she would visit all the quarters. She spoke to the
men in all the dialects of that land of many languages. The men of
the Gulf, in general of gigantic stature, dropped their merry Venetian
stories and fell down on their knees and kissed the hem of her garment;
the Scaramouch forgot his tricks, and wept as he would to the Madonna;
Tuscany and Rome made speeches worthy of the Arno and the Forum; and
the Corsicans and the islanders unsheathed their poniards and brandished
them in the air, which is their mode of denoting affectionate devotion.
As the night advanced, the crescent moon glittering above the Apennine,
Theodora, attended by the whole staff, having visited all the troops,
stopped at the chief fire of the camp, and in a voice which might have
maddened nations sang the hymn of Roman liberty, the whole army ranged
in ranks along the valley joining in the solemn and triumphant chorus.



CHAPTER 58


This exaltation of feeling in the camp did not evaporate. All felt that
they were on the eve of some great event, and that the hour was at hand.
And it was in this state of enthusiasm that couriers arrived with
the intelligence that Garibaldi had escaped from Caprera, that he had
reached Nerola in safety, and was in command of the assembled forces;
and that the general was, without loss of time, to strike his camp, join
the main body at a given place, and then march to Rome.

The breaking-up of the camp was as the breaking-up of a long frost and
the first scent of spring. There was a brightness in every man's face
and a gay elasticity in all their movements. But when the order of the
day informed them that they must prepare for instant combat, and that in
eight-and-forty hours they would probably be in face of the enemy, the
hearts of the young recruits fluttered with strange excitement, and the
veterans nodded to each other with grim delight.

It was nearly midnight when the troops quitted the valley, through a
defile, in an opposite direction to the pass by which they had entered
it. It was a bright night. Colonel Campian had the command of the
division in advance, which was five hundred strong. After the defile,
the country, though hilly, was comparatively open, and here the advanced
guard was to halt until the artillery and cavalry had effected the
passage, and this was the most laborious and difficult portion of the
march, but all was well considered, and all went right. The artillery
and cavalry, by sunrise, had joined the advanced guard, who were
bivouacking in the rocky plain, and about noon the main columns of the
infantry began to deploy from the heights, and, in a short time, the
whole force was in the field. Soon after this some of the skirmishers,
who had been sent forward, returned, and reported the enemy in force,
and in a strong position, commanding the intended route of the invading
force. On this the general resolved to halt for a few hours, and rest
and refresh the troops, and to recommence their march after sunset,
so that, without effort, they might be in the presence of the enemy by
dawn.

Lothair had been separated from Theodora during this, to him, novel and
exciting scene. She had accompanied her husband, but, when the whole
force advanced in battle array, the general had desired that she should
accompany the staff. They advanced through the night, and by dawn they
were fairly in the open country. In the distance, and in the middle of
the rough and undulating plain, was a round hill with an ancient city,
for it was a bishop's see, built all about and over it. It would have
looked like a gigantic beehive, had it not been for a long convent on
the summit, flanked by some stone-pines, as we see in the pictures of
Gaspar and Claude.

Between this city and the invading force, though not in a direct line,
was posted the enemy in a strong position; their right wing protected
by one of the mounds common in the plain, and their left backed by an
olive-wood of considerable extent, and which grew on the last rocky
spur of the mountains. They were, therefore, as regards the plain, on
commanding ground. The strength of the two forces was not unequal, and
the papal troops were not to be despised, consisting, among others, of a
detachment of the legion of Antibes and the Zouaves. They had artillery,
which was well posted.

The general surveyed the scene, for which he was not unprepared.
Disposing his troops in positions in which they were as much protected
as possible from the enemy's fire, he opened upon them a fierce and
continuous cannonade, while he ordered Colonel Campian and eight hundred
men to fall back among the hills, and, following a circuitous path which
had been revealed by a shepherd, gain the spur of the mountains, and
attack the enemy in their rear through the olive-wood. It was calculated
that this movement, if successful, would require about three hours, and
the general, for that period of the time, had to occupy the enemy and
his own troops with what were, in realty, feint attacks.

When the calculated time had elapsed, the general became anxious, and
his glass was never from his eye. He was posted on a convenient ridge,
and the wind, which was high this day from the sea, frequently cleared
the field from the volumes of smoke; so his opportunities of observation
were good. But the three hours passed, and there was no sign of the
approach of Campian, and he ordered Sarano, with his division, to
advance toward the mound and occupy the attention of the right wing of
the enemy; but, very shortly after Lothair had carried this order, and
four hours having elapsed, the general observed some confusion in
the left wing of the enemy, and, instantly countermanding the order,
commanded a general attack in line. The troops charged with enthusiasm,
but they were encountered with a resolution as determined. At first
they carried the mound, broke the enemy's centre, and were mixed up with
their great guns; but the enemy fiercely rallied, and the invaders were
repulsed. The papal troops retained their position, and their opponents
were in disorder on the plain, and a little dismayed. It was at this
moment that Theodora rushed forward, and, waving a sword in one hand,
and in the other the standard of the republic, exclaimed, "Brothers, to
Rome!"

This sight inflamed their faltering hearts, which, after all, were
rather confounded than dismayed. They formed and rallied round her, and
charged with renewed energy at the very moment that Campian had brought
the force of his division on the enemy's rear. A panic came over the
papal troops, thus doubly assailed, and their rout was complete. They
retreated in the utmost disorder to Viterbo, which they abandoned that
night, and hurried to Rome.

At the last moment, when the victory was no longer doubtful, and all
were in full retreat or in full pursuit, a Zouave, in wantonness, firing
his weapon before he throw it away, sent a random-shot which struck
Theodora, and she fell. Lothair, who had never left her during the
battle, was at her side in a moment, and a soldier, who had also marked
the fatal shot; and, strange to say, so hot and keen was the pursuit,
that, though a moment before they seemed to be in the very thick of the
strife, they almost instantaneously found themselves alone, or rather
with no companions than the wounded near them. She looked at Lothair,
but, at first, could not speak. She seemed stunned, but soon murmured:
"Go! go! you are wanted!"

At this moment the general rode up with some of his staff. His
countenance was elate, and his eye sparkled with fire. But, catching the
figure of Lothair kneeling on the field, he reined in his charger
and said, "What is this?" Then looking more closely, he instantly
dismounted, and muttering to himself, "This mars the victory," he was at
Theodora's side.

A slight smile came over her when she recognized the general, and she
faintly pressed his hand, and then said again: "Go, go; you are all
wanted."

"None of up are wanted. The day is won; we must think of you."

"Is it won?" she murmured.

"Complete."

"I die content."

"Who talks of death?" said the general. "This is a wound, but I have
had some worse. What we must think of now are remedies. I passed an
ambulance this moment. Run for, it," he said to his aide-de-camp. "We
must stanch the wound at once; but it is only a mile to the city, and
then we shall find every thing, for we were expected. I will ride on,
and there shall be proper attendance ready before you arrive. You will
conduct our friend to the city," he said to Lothair, "and be of good
courage, as I am."



CHAPTER 59


The troops were rushing through the gates of the city when the general
rode up. There was a struggling and stifling crowd; cheers and shrieks.
It was that moment of wild fruition, when the master is neither
recognized nor obeyed. It is not easy to take a bone out of a dog's
mouth; nevertheless, the presence of the general in time prevailed,
something like order was established, and, before the ambulance could
arrive, a guard had been appointed to receive it, and the ascent to the
monastery, where a quarter was prepared, kept clear.

During the progress to the city Theodora never spoke, but she seemed
stunned rather than suffering; and once, when Lothair, who was walking
by her side, caught her glance with his sorrowful and anxious face, she
put forth her head, and pressed his.

The ascent to the convent was easy, and the advantages of air and
comparative tranquillity which the place offered counterbalanced the
risk of postponing, for a very brief space, the examination of the
wound.

They laid her on their arrival on a large bed, without poles or canopy,
in a lofty whitewashed room of considerable dimensions, clean and airy,
with high, open windows. There was no furniture in the room except a
chair, a table, and a crucifix. Lothair took her in his arms and laid
her on the bed; and the common soldier who had hitherto assisted him, a
giant in stature, with a beard a foot long, stood by the bedside crying
like a child. The chief surgeon almost at the same moment arrived with
an aide-de-camp of the general, and her faithful female attendant, and
in a few minutes her husband, himself wounded and covered with dust.

The surgeon at once requested that all should withdraw except her
devoted maid, and they waited his report without, in that deep sad
silence which will not despair, and yet dares not hope.

When the wound had been examined and probed and dressed, Theodora in a
faint voice said, "Is it desperate?"

"Not desperate," said the surgeon, "but serious. All depends upon your
perfect tranquility--of mind as well as body."

"Well I am here and cannot move; and as for my mind, I am not only
serene, but happy."

"Then we shall get through this," said the surgeon, encouragingly.

"I do not like you to stay with me," said Theodora. "There are other
sufferers besides myself."

"My orders are not to quit you," said the surgeon, "but I can be of
great use within these walls. I shall return when the restorative has
had its effect. But remember, if I be wanted, I am always here."

Soon after this Theodora fell into a gentle slumber, and after two hours
woke refreshed. The countenance of the surgeon when he again visited her
was less troubled; it was hopeful.

The day was now beginning to decline; notwithstanding the scenes of
tumult and violence near at hand, all was here silent; and the breeze,
which had been strong during the whole day, but which blew from the sea,
and was very soft, played gratefully upon the pale countenance of the
sufferer. Suddenly she said, "What is that?"

And they answered and said, "We heard nothing."

"I hear the sound of great guns," said Theodora.

And they listened, and in a moment both the surgeon and the maid heard
the sound of distant ordnance.

"The liberator is at hand," said the maid.

"I dare say," said the surgeon.

"No," said Theodora, looking distressed. "The sounds do not come from
his direction. Go and see, Dolores; ask, and tell me what are these
sounds."

The surgeon was sitting by her side, and occasionally touching her
pulse, or wiping the slight foam from her brow, when Dolores returned
and said, "Lady, the sounds are the great guns of Civita Vecchia."

A deadly change come over the countenance of Theodora, and the surgeon
looked alarmed. He would have given her some restorative, but she
refused it. "No, kind friend," she said; "it is finished. I have just
received a wound more fatal than the shot in the field this morning. The
French are at Rome. Tell me, kind friend, how long do you think I may
live?"

The surgeon felt her pulse; his look was gloomy. "In such a case as
yours," he said, "the patient is the best judge."

"I understand," she said. "Send, then, at once for my husband."

He was at hand, for his wound had been dressed in the convent, and he
came to Theodora with his arm in a sling, but with the attempt of a
cheerful visage.

In the mean time, Lothair, after having heard the first, and by no means
hopeless, bulletin of the surgeon, had been obliged to leave the convent
to look after his men, and having seen theme in quarters and made his
report to the general, he obtained permission to return to the convent
and ascertain the condition of Theodora. Arrived there, he heard that
she had had refreshing slumber, and that her husband was now with her,
and a ray of hope lighted up the darkness of his soul. He was walking up
and down the refectory of the convent with that sickening restlessness
which attends impending and yet uncertain sorrow, when Colonel Campian
entered the apartment and beckoned to him.

There was an expression in his face which appalled Lothair, and he was
about to inquire after Theodora, when his tongue cleaved to the roof of
his mouth, and he could not speak. The Colonel shook his head, and said
in a low, hollow voice, "She wishes to see you, and alone. Come."

Theodora was sitting in the bed, propped up by cushions, when Lothair
entered, and, as her wound was internal, there was no evidence of her
sufferings. The distressful expression of her face, when she heard the
great guns of Civita Vecchia, had passed away. It was serious, but it
was serene. She bade her maid leave the chamber, and then she said to
Lothair, "It is the last time I shall speak to you, and I wish that we
should be alone. There is something much on my mind at this moment, and
you can relieve it."

"Adored being," murmured Lothair with streaming eyes, "there is no wish
of yours that I will not fulfil."

"I know your life, for you have told it me, and you are true. I know
your nature; it is gentle and brave, but perhaps too susceptible. I
wished it to be susceptible only of the great and good. Mark me--I have
a vague but strong conviction that there will be another and a more
powerful attempt to gain you to the Church of Rome. If I have ever been
to you, as you have sometimes said, an object of kind thoughts--if not
a fortunate, at least a faithful friend--promise me now, at this hour
of trial, with all the solemnity that becomes the moment, that you will
never enter that communion."

Lothair would have spoken, but his voice was choked, and he could only
press her hand and bow his head.

"But promise me," said Theodora.

"I promise," said Lothair.

"And now," she said, "embrace me, for I wish that your spirit should be
upon me as mine departs."



CHAPTER 60


It was a November day in Rome, and the sky was as gloomy as the heaven
of London. The wind moaned through the silent streets, deserted except
by soldiers. The shops were shut, not a civilian or a priest could
be seen. The Corso was occupied by the Swiss Guard and Zouaves, with
artillery ready to sweep it at a moment's notice. Six of the city
gates were shut and barricaded with barrels full of earth. Troops and
artillery were also posted in several of the principal piazzas, and on
some commanding heights, and St. Peter's itself was garrisoned.

And yet these were the arrangements rather of panic than precaution.
The utmost dismay pervaded the council-chamber of the Vatican. Since
the news had arrived of the disembarkation of the French troops at
Marseilles, all hope of interference had expired. It was clear that
Berwick had been ultimately foiled, and his daring spirit and teeming
device were the last hope, as they were the ablest representation,
of Roman audacity and stratagem. The Revolutionary Committee, whose
abiding-place or agents never could be traced or discovered, had
posted every part of the city, during the night, with their manifesto,
announcing that the hour had arrived; an attempt, partially successful,
had been made to blow up the barracks of the Zouaves; and the cardinal
secretary was in possession of information that an insurrection was
immediate, and that the city won fired in four different quarters.

The pope had escaped from the Vatican to the Castle of St. Angelo, where
he was secure, and where his courage could be sustained by the presence
of the Noble Guard, with their swords always drawn. The six-score of
monsignori, who in their different offices form what is styled the court
of Rome, had either accompanied his holiness, or prudently secreted
themselves in the strongest palaces and convents at their command. Later
in the day news arrived of the escape of Garibaldi from Caprera; he was
said to be marching on the city, and only five-and-twenty miles distant.
There appeared another proclamation from the Revolutionary Committee,
mysteriously posted under the very noses of the guards and police,
postponing the insurrection till the arrival of the liberator.

The papal cause seemed hopeless. There was a general feeling throughout
the city and all classes, that this time it was to be an affair of
Alaric or Genseric, or the Constable of Bourbon; no negotiations, no
compromises, no conventions, but slaughter, havoc, a great judicial
devastation, that was to extirpate all signs and memories of Mediaeval
and Semitic Rome, and restore and renovate the inheritance of the true
offspring of the she-wolf. The very aspect of the place itself was
sinister. Whether it were the dulness of the dark sky, or the frown of
Madre Natura herself, but the old Seven Hills seemed to look askance.
The haughty capitol, impatient of its chapels, sighed once more for
triumphs; and the proud Palatine, remembering the Caesars, glanced with
imperial contempt on the palaces of the papal princelings that, in the
course of ignominious ages, had been constructed out of the exhaustless
womb of its still sovereign ruin. The Jews in their quarter spoke
nothing, but exchanged a curious glance, as if to say, "Has it come at
last? And will they indeed serve her as they served Sion?"

This dreadful day at last passed, followed by as dreadful a night, and
then another day equally gloomy, equally silent, equally panic-stricken.
Even insurrection would have been a relief amid the horrible and wearing
suspense. On the third day the government made some wild arrests of
the wrong persons, and then came out a fresh proclamation from the
Revolutionary Committee, directing the Romans to make no move until the
advanced guard of Garibaldi had appeared upon Monte Mario. About this
time the routed troops of the pope arrived in confusion from Viterbo,
and of course extenuated their discomfiture by exaggerating the strength
of their opponents. According to them, they had encountered not less
than ten thousand men, who now; having joined the still greater force of
Garibaldi, were in full march on the city.

The members of the papal party who showed the greatest spirit and the
highest courage at this trying conjuncture were the Roman ladies and
their foreign friends. They scraped lint for the troops as incessantly
as they offered prayers to the Virgin. Some of them were trained
nurses, and they were training others to tend the sick and wounded. They
organized a hospital service, and when the wounded arrived from Viterbo,
notwithstanding the rumors of incendiarism and massacre, they came forth
from their homes, and proceeded in companies, with no male attendants
but armed men, to the discharge of their self-appointed public duties.
There: were many foreigners in the papal ranks, and the sympathies
and services of the female visitors to Rome were engaged for their
countrymen. Princesses of France and Flanders might be seen by the
tressel-beds of many a suffering soldier of Dauphin and Brabant; but
there were numerous subjects of Queen Victoria in the papal ranks--some
Englishmen, several Scotchmen, and many Irish. For them the English
ladies had organized a special service. Lady St. Jerome, with unflagging
zeal, presided over this department; and the superior of the sisterhood
of mercy, that shrank from no toil and feared no danger in the
fulfilment of those sacred duties of pious patriots, was Miss Arundel.

She was leaning over the bed of one who had been cut down in the
olive-wood by a sabre of Campian's force, when a peal of artillery
was heard. She thought that her hour had arrived, and the assault had
commenced.

"Most holy Mary!" she exclaimed, "sustain me."

There was another peal, and it was repeated, and again and again at
regular intervals.

"That is not a battle, it is a salute," murmured the wounded soldier.

And he was right; it was the voice of the great guns telling that the
French had arrived.

The consternation of the Revolutionary Committee, no longer sustained
by Colonna, absent in France, was complete. Had the advanced guard of
Garibaldi been in sight, it might still have been the wisest course to
rise; but Monte Mario was not yet peopled by them, and an insurrection
against the papal troops, reanimated by the reported arrival of the
French, and increased in numbers by the fugitives from Viterbo, would
have been certainly a rash and probably a hopeless effort. And so, in
the midst of confused and hesitating councils, the first division of the
French force arrived at the gates of Rome, and marched into the gloomy
and silent city.

Since the interference of St. Peter and St. Paul against Alaric, the
papacy had never experienced a more miraculous interposition in its
favor. Shortly after this the wind changed, and the sky became serene;
a sunbeam played on the flashing cross of St. Peter's; the Pope left the
Castle of Angelo, and returned to the Quirinal; the Noble Guard sheathed
their puissant blades; the six-score of monsignori reappeared in all
their busy haunts and stately offices; and the court of Rome, no longer
despairing of the republic, and with a spirit worthy of the Senate after
Cannae, ordered the whole of its forces into the field to combat its
invaders, with the prudent addition, in order to insure a triumph, of a
brigade of French infantry armed with chassepots.

Garibaldi, who was really at hand, hearing of these events, fell back on
Monte Rotondo, about fifteen miles from the city, and took up a strong
position. He was soon attacked by his opponents, and defeated with
considerable slaughter, and forced to fly. The papal troops returned
to Rome in triumph, but with many wounded. The Roman ladies and their
friends resumed their noble duties with enthusiasm. The ambulances were
apportioned to the different hospitals, and the services of all were
required. Our own countrymen had suffered severely, but the skill
and energy and gentle care of Clare Arundel and her companions only
increased with the greater calls upon their beautiful and sublime
virtue.

A woman came to Miss Arundel and told her that, in one of the
ambulances, was a young man whom they could not make out. He was
severely wounded, and had now swooned; but they had reason to believe he
was an Englishman. Would she see him and speak to him? And she went.

The person who had summoned her was a woman of much beauty, not an
uncommon quality in Rome, and of some majesty of mien, as little rare,
in that city. She was said, at the time when some inquiry was made, to
be Maria Serafina de Angelis, the wife of a tailor in the Ripetta.

The ambulance was in the court-yard of the hospital of the Santissima
Trinita di Pellegrini. The woman pointed to it, and then went away.
There was only one person in the ambulance; the rest had been taken to
the hospital, but he had been left because he was in a swoon, and they
were trying to restore him. Those around the ambulance made room for
Miss Arundel as she approached, and she beheld a young man, covered
with the stains of battle, and severely wounded; but his countenance was
uninjured though insensible. His eyes were closed, and his auburn hair
fell in clusters on his white forehead. The sister of mercy touched the
pulse to ascertain whether there yet was life, but, in the very act,
her own frame became agitated, and the color left her cheek as she
recognized--Lothair.'



CHAPTER 61


When Lothair in some degree regained consciousness, he found himself
in bed. The chamber was lofty and dim, and had once been splendid.
Thoughtfulness had invested it with an air of comfort rare under Italian
roofs. The fagots sparkled on the hearth, the light from the windows
was veiled with hangings, and the draughts from the tall doors guarded
against by screens. And by his bedside there were beautiful flowers, and
a crucifix, and a silver bell.

Where was he? He looked up at the velvet canopy above, and then at the
pictures that covered the walls, but there was no familiar aspect. He
remembered nothing since he was shot down in the field of Mentana, and
even that incoherently.

And there had been another battle before that, followed by a catastrophe
still more dreadful. When had all this happened, and where? He tried
to move his bandaged form, but he had no strength, and his mind seemed
weaker than his frame. But he was soon sensible that he was not alone. A
veiled figure gently lifted him, and another one refreshed his pillows.
He spoke, or tried to speak, but one of them pressed her finger to her
shrouded lips, and he willingly relapsed into the silence which he had
hardly strength enough to break.

And sometimes these veiled and gliding ministers brought him sustenance
and sometimes remedies, and he complied with all their suggestions, but
with absolute listlessness; and sometimes a coarser hand interposed, and
sometimes he caught a countenance that was not concealed, but was ever
strange. He had a vague impression that they examined and dressed his
wounds, and arranged his bandages; but whether he really had wounds, and
whether he were or were not bandaged, he hardly knew, and did not care
to know. He was not capable of thought, and memory was an effort under
which he always broke down. Day after day he remained silent and almost
motionless alike in mind and body. He had a vague feeling that, after
some great sorrows, and some great trials, he was in stillness and in
safety; and he had an indefinite mysterious sentiment of gratitude to
some unknown power, that had cherished him in his dark calamities, and
poured balm and oil into his wounds.

It was in this mood of apathy that, one evening, there broke upon his
ear low but beautiful voices performing the evening service of the
Church. His eye glistened, his heart was touched by the vesper spell. He
listened with rapt attention to the sweet and sacred strains, and when
they died away he felt depressed. Would they ever sound again?

Sooner than he could have hoped, for, when he woke in the morning from
his slumbers, which, strange to say, were always disturbed, for the mind
and the memory seemed to work at night though in fearful and exhausting
chaos, the same divine melodies that had soothed him in the eve, now
sounded in the glad and grateful worship of matin praise.

"I have heard the voice of angels," he murmured to his veiled attendant.

The vesper and the matin hours became at once the epochs of his day. He
was ever thinking of them, and soon was thinking of the feelings which
their beautiful services celebrate and express. His mind seemed no
longer altogether a blank, and the religious sentiment was the first
that returned to his exhausted heart.

"There will be a requiem to-day," whispered one of his veiled
attendants.

A requiem! a service for the dead; a prayer for their peace and
rest! And who was dead? The bright, the matchless one, the spell and
fascination of his life! Was it possible? Could she be dead, who
seemed vitality in its consummate form? Was there ever such a being as
Theodora? And if there were no Theodora on earth, why should one think
of any thing but heaven?

The sounds came floating down the chamber till they seemed to cluster
round his brain; sometimes solemn, sometimes thrilling, sometimes
the divine pathos melting the human heart with celestial sympathy and
heavenly solace. The tears fell fast from his agitated vision, and he
sank back exhausted, almost insensible, on his pillow.

"The Church has a heart for all our joys and all our sorrows, and for
all our hopes, and all our fears," whispered a veiled attendant, as she
bathed his temples with fragrant waters.

Though the condition of Lothair had at first seemed desperate, his
youthful and vigorous frame had enabled him to rally, and, with time
and the infinite solicitude which he received, his case was not
without hope. But, though his physical cure was somewhat advanced, the
prostration of his mind seemed susceptible of no relief. The services
of the Church accorded with his depressed condition; they were the only
events of his life, and he cherished them. His attendants now permitted
and even encouraged him to speak; but he seemed entirely incurious and
indifferent. Sometimes they read to him, and he listened, but he
never made remarks. The works which they selected had a religious or
ecclesiastical bias, even while they were imaginative; and it seemed
difficult not to be interested by the ingenious fancy by which it was
worked out, that every thing that was true and sacred in heaven had its
symbol and significance in the qualities and accidents of earth.

After a month passed in this manner, the surgeons having announced that
Lothair might now prepare to rise from his bed, a veiled attendant said
to him one day, "There is a gentleman here who is a friend of yours, and
who would like to see you. And perhaps you would like to see him also
for other reasons, for you must have much to say to God after all that
you have suffered. And he is a most holy man."

"I have no wish to see any one. Are you sure he is not a stranger?"
asked Lothair.

"He is in the next room," said the attendant. "He has been here
throughout your illness, conducting our services; often by your bedside
when you were asleep, and always praying for you."

The veiled attendant drew back and waved her hand, and some one glided
forward, and said in a low, soft voice, "You have not forgotten me?"

And Lothair beheld Monsignore Catesby.

"It is a long time since we met," said Lothair, looking at him with some
scrutiny, and then all interest died away, and he turned away his vague
and wandering eyes.

"But you know me?"

"I know not where I am, and I but faintly comprehend what has happened,"
murmured Lothair.

"You are among friends," said the monsignore, in tones of sympathy.
"What has happened," he added, with an air of mystery, not unmixed with
a certain expression of ecstasy in his glance, "must be reserved for
other times, when you are stronger, and can grapple with such high
themes."

"How long have I been here?" inquired Lothair, dreamily.

"It is a month since the Annunciation."

"What Annunciation?"

"Hush!" said the monsignore, and he raised his finger to his lip. "We
must not talk of these things--at least at present. No doubt, the game
blessed person that saved you from the jaws of death is at this moment
guarding over your recovery and guiding it; but we do not deserve, nor
does the Church expect, perpetual miracles. We must avail ourselves,
under Divine sanction, of the beneficent tendencies of Nature; and in
your case her operations must not be disturbed at this moment by any
excitement, except, indeed, the glow of gratitude for celestial aid, and
the inward joy which must permeate the being of any one who feels that
he is among the most favored of men."

From this time Monsignore Catesby scarcely ever quitted Lothair.
He hailed Lothair in the morn, and parted from him at night with a
blessing; and in the interval Catesby devoted his whole life, and
the inexhaustible resources of his fine and skilled intelligence,
to alleviate or amuse the existence of his companion. Sometimes he
conversed with Lothair, adroitly taking the chief burden of the talk;
and yet, whether it were bright narrative or lively dissertation, never
seeming to lecture or hold forth, but relieving the monologue, when
expedient, by an interesting inquiry, which he was always ready in due
time to answer himself, or softening the instruction by the playfulness
of his mind and manner. Sometimes he read to Lothair, and attuned the
mind of his charge to the true spiritual note by melting passages from
Kempis or Chrysostom.  Then he would bring a portfolio of wondrous
drawings by the mediaeval masters, of saints and seraphs, and accustom
the eye and thought of Lothair to the forms and fancies of the court of
heaven.

One day, Lothair, having risen from his bed for the first time, and
lying on a sofa in an adjoining chamber to that in which he had been
so long confined, the monsignore seated himself by the side of Lothair,
and, opening a portfolio, took out a drawing and held it before Lothair,
observing his countenance with a glance of peculiar scrutiny.

"Well!" said Catesby, after some little pause, as if awaiting a remark
from his companion.

"'Tis beautiful!" said Lothair. "Is it by Raffaelle?"

"No; by Fra Bartolomeo. But the countenance, do you remember ever having
met such a one?"

Lothair shook his head. Catesby took out another drawing, the same
subject, the Blessed Virgin. "By Giulio," said the monsignore, and he
watched the face of Lothair, but it was listless.

Then he showed Lothair another, and another, and another. At last he
held before him one which was really by Raffaelle, and by which Lothair
was evidently much moved. His eye lit up, a blush suffused his pale
cheek, he took the drawing himself, and held it before his gaze with a
trembling hand.

"Yes I remember this," he murmured, for it was one of those faces of
Greek beauty which the great painter not infrequently caught up at Rome.
The monsignore looked gently round and waved his hand, and immediately
arose the hymn to the Virgin in subdued strains of exquisite melody.

On the next morning, when Lothair woke, he found on the table, by his
side, the drawing of the Virgin in a sliding frame.

About this time the monsignore began to accustom Lothair to leave his
apartment, and, as he was not yet permitted to walk, Catesby introduced
what he called an English chair, in which Lothair was enabled to survey
a little the place which had been to him a refuge and a home. It seemed
a building of vast size, raised round an inner court with arcades
and windows, and, in the higher story where he resided, an apparently
endless number of chambers and galleries. One morning, in their
perambulations, the monsignore unlocked the door of a covered way which
had no light but from a lamp which guided their passage. The opposite
door at the end of this covered way opened into a church, but one of a
character different from any which Lothair had yet entered.

It had been raised during the latter of the sixteenth century by
Vignola, when, under the influence of the great Pagan revival, the
Christian church began to assume the character of an Olympian temple. A
central painted cupola of large but exquisite proportions, supported
by pilasters with gilded capitals, and angels of white marble springing
from golden brackets; walls incrusted with rare materials of every tint,
and altars supported by serpentine columns of agate and alabaster;
a blaze of pictures, and statues, and precious stones, and precious
metals, denoted one of the chief temples of the sacred brotherhood of
Jesus, raised when the great order had recognized that the views of
primitive and mediaeval Christianity, founded on the humility of man,
were not in accordance with the age of confidence in human energy, in
which they were destined to rise, and which they were determined to
direct.

Guided by Catesby, and leaning on a staff, Lothair gained a gorgeous
side chapel in which mass was celebrating; the air was rich with
incense, and all heaven seemed to open in the ministrations of a
seraphic choir. Crushed by his great calamities, both physical and
moral, Lothair sometimes felt that he could now be content if the rest
of his life could flow away amid this celestial fragrance and these
gushing sounds of heavenly melody. And absorbed in these feelings it was
not immediately observed by him that on the altar, behind the dazzling
blaze of tapers, was a picture of the Virgin, and identically the same
countenance as that he had recognized with emotion in the drawing of
Raffaelle.

It revived perplexing memories which agitated him, thoughts on which
it seemed his brain had not now strength enough to dwell, and yet with
which it now seemed inevitable for him to grapple. The congregation
was not very numerous, and, when it broke up, several of them lingered
behind and whispered to the monsignore, and then, after a little time,
Catesby approached Lothair and said: "There are some here who would
wish to kiss your hand, or even touch the hem of your garments. It is
troublesome, but natural, considering all that has occurred and that
this is the first time, perhaps, that they have met any one who has been
so favored."

"Favored!" said Lothair; "Am I favored? It seems to me I am the most
forlorn of men--if even I am that."

"Hush!" said the monsignore, "we must not talk of these things at
present;" and he motioned to some, who approached and contemplated
Lothair with blended curiosity and reverence.

These visits of Lothair to the beautiful church of the Jesuits became
of daily occurrence, and often happened several times on the same
day; indeed they formed the only incident which seemed to break his
listlessness. He became interested in the change and variety of the
services, in the persons and characters of the officiating priests. The
soft manners of these fathers, their intelligence in the performance of
their offices, their obliging carriage, and the unaffected concern
with which all he said or did seemed to inspire the won upon him
unconsciously. The church had become his world; and his sympathies, if
he still had sympathies, seemed confined to those within its walls.

In the mean time his physical advancement though slow was gradual and
had hitherto never been arrested. He could even walk a little alone,
though artificially supported, and ramble about the halls and galleries
full of a prodigious quantity of pictures, from the days of Raffael
Sanzio to those of Raffael Mengs.

"The doctors think now we might try a little drive," said the monsignore
one morning. "The rains have ceased and refreshed every thing. To-day
is like the burst of spring;" and, when Lothair seemed to shudder at
the idea of facing any thing like the external world, the monsignore
suggested immediately that they should go out in a close carriage, which
they finally entered in the huge quadrangle of the building. Lothair
was so nervous that he pulled down even the blind of his window; and the
monsignore, who always humored him, half pulled down his own.

Their progress seemed through a silent land, and they could hardly be
traversing streets. Then the ascent became a little precipitous, and
then the carriage stopped, and the monsignore said: "Here is a solitary
spot. We shall meet no one. The view is charming, and the air is soft."
And he placed his hand gently on the arm of Lothair, and, as it were,
drew him out of the carriage.

The sun was bright, and the sky was bland. There was something in the
breath of Nature that was delightful. The scent of violets was worth
all the incense in the world; all the splendid marbles and priestly
vestments seemed hard and cold when compared with the glorious colors
of the cactus and the wild forms of the golden and gigantic aloes.
The Favonian breeze played on the brow of this beautiful hill, and the
exquisite palm-trees, while they bowed their rustling heads, answered in
responsive chorus to the antiphon of Nature.

The dreary look that had been so long imprinted on the face of Lothair
melted away.

"'Tis well that we came, is it not?" said Catesby; "and now we will
seat ourselves." Below and before them, on an undulating site, a city
of palaces and churches spread out its august form, enclosing within its
ample walls sometimes a wilderness of classic ruins--column, and arch,
and theatre--sometimes the umbrageous spread of princely gardens. A
winding and turbid river divided the city in unequal parts, in one of
which there rose a vast and glorious temple, crowned with a dome of
almost superhuman size and skill, on which the favorite sign of heaven
flashed with triumphant truth.

The expression of relief which, for a moment, had reposed on the face of
Lothair, left it when he said, in an agitated voice, "I at length behold
Rome!"



CHAPTER 62


This recognition of Rome by Lothair evinced not only a consciousness of
locality, but an interest in it not before exhibited; and the monsignore
soon after seized the opportunity of drawing the mind of his companion
to the past, and feeling how far he now realized the occurrences that
immediately preceded his arrival in the city. But Lothair would not
dwell on them. "I wish to think of nothing," he said, "that happened
before I entered this city: all I desire now is to know those to whom I
am indebted for my preservation in a condition that seemed hopeless."

"There is nothing hopeless with Divine aid," said the monsignore; "but,
humanly speaking, you are indebted for your preservation to English
friends, long and intimately cherished. It is under their roof that you
dwell, the Agostini palace, tenanted by Lord St. Jerome."

"Lord St. Jerome!" murmured Lothair to himself.

"And the ladies of his house are those who, only with some slight
assistance from my poor self, tended you throughout your most desperate
state, and when we sometimes almost feared that mind and body were alike
wrecked."

"I have a dream of angels," said Lothair; "and sometimes I listened to
heavenly voices that I seemed to have heard before."

"I am sure you have not forgotten the ladies of that house?" said
Catesby, watching his countenance.

"No; one of them summoned me to meet her at Rome," murmured Lothair,
"and I am here."

"That summons was divine," said Catesby, "and only the herald of the
great event that was ordained and has since occurred. In this holy city,
Miss Arundel must ever count as the most sanctified of her sex."

Lothair lapsed into silence, which subsequently appeared to be
meditation, for, when the carriage stopped, and the monsignore assisted
him to alight, he said, "I must see Lord St. Jerome."

And, in the afternoon, with due and preparatory announcement, Lord St.
Jerome waited on Lothair. The monsignore ushered him into the chamber,
and, though he left them as it were alone, never quitted it. He watched
them conversing, while he seemed to be arranging books and flowers; he
hovered over the conference, dropping down on them at a critical moment,
when the words became either languid or embarrassing. Lord St. Jerome
was a hearty man, simple and high-bred. He addressed Lothair with all
his former kindness, but with some degree of reserve, and even a dash
of ceremony. Lothair was not insensible to the alteration in his manner,
but could ascribe it to many causes. He was himself resolved to make
an effort, when Lord St. Jerome arose to depart, and expressed the
intention of Lady St. Jerome to wait on him on the morrow. "No, my dear
lord," said Lothair; "to-morrow I make my first visit, and it shall be
to my best friends. I would try to come this evening, but they will not
be alone; and I must see them alone if it be only once."

This visit of the morrow rather pressed on the nervous system of
Lothair. It was no slight enterprise, and called up many recollections.
He brooded over his engagement during the whole evening, and his night
was disturbed. His memory, long in a state of apathy, or curbed and
controlled into indifference, seemed endowed with unnatural vitality,
reproducing the history of his past life in rapid and exhausting tumult.
All its scenes rose before him--Brentham, and Vauxe, and, Muriel--and
closing with one absorbing spot, which, for a long time, it avoided, and
in which all merged and ended--Belmont. Then came that anguish of the
heart, which none can feel but those who in the youth of life have lost
some one infinitely fascinating and dear, and the wild query why he,
too, had not fallen on the fatal plain which had entombed all the hope
and inspiration of his existence.

The interview was not so trying an incident as Lothair anticipated, as
often under such circumstances occurs. Miss Arundel was not present;
and, in the second place, although Lothair could not at first be
insensible to a change in the manner of Lady St. Jerome, as well as
in that of her lord, exhibiting as it did a degree of deference and
ceremony which with her toward him were quite unusual, still the genial,
gushing nature of this lively and enthusiastic woman, full of sympathy,
soon asserted itself, and her heart was overflowing with sorrow for all
his sufferings and gratitude for his escape.

"And, after all," she said, "every thing must have been ordained; and,
without these trials, and even calamities, that great event could not
have been brought about which must make all hail you as the most favored
of men."

Lothair stared with a look of perplexity, and then said: "If I be the
most favored of men, it is only because two angelic beings have deigned
to minister to me in my sorrow, with a sweet devotion I can never
forget, and, alas! can never repay."



CHAPTER 63


Lothair was not destined to meet Clare Arundel alone or only in the
presence of her family. He had acceded, after a short time, to the wish
of Lady St. Jerome, and the advice of Monsignore Catesby, to wait on her
in the evening, when Lady St. Jerome was always at home and never alone.
Her rooms were the privileged resort of the very cream of Roman society
and of those English who, like herself, had returned to the Roman
Church. An Italian palace supplied an excellent occasion for the display
of the peculiar genius of our countrywomen to make a place habitable.
Beautiful carpets, baskets of flowers and cases of ferns, and
chairs which you could sit upon, tables covered with an infinity of
toys--sparkling, useful, and fantastic--huge silken screens of rich
color, and a profusion of light, produced a scene of combined comfort
and brilliancy which made every one social who entered it, and seemed to
give a bright and graceful turn even to the careless remarks of ordinary
gossip.

Lady St. Jerome rose the moment her eye caught the entry of Lothair,
and, advancing, received him with an air of ceremony, mixed, however,
with an expression of personal devotion which was distressing to him,
and singularly contrasted with the easy and genial receptions that he
remembered at Vauxe. Then Lady St. Jerome led Lothair to her
companion whom she had just quitted, and presented him to the Princess
Tarpeia-Cinque Cento, a dame in whose veins, it was said, flowed both
consular and pontifical blood of the rarest tint.

The Princess Tarpeia-Cinque Cento was the greatest lady in Rome; had
still vast possessions--palaces and villas and vineyards and broad
farms. Notwithstanding all that had occurred, she still looked upon the
kings and emperors of the world as the mere servants of the pope, and on
the old Roman nobility as still the conscript fathers of the world. Her
other characteristic was superstition. So she was most distinguished
by an irrepressible haughtiness and an illimitable credulity. The only
softening circumstance was that, being in the hands of the Jesuits, her
religion did not assume an ascetic or gloomy character. She was fond
of society, and liked to show her wondrous jewels, which were still
unrivalled, although she had presented his holiness in his troubles with
a tiara of diamonds.

There were rumors that the Princess Tarpeia-Cinque Cento had on
occasions treated even the highest nobility of England with a certain
indifference; and all agreed that to laymen, however distinguished,
her highness was not prone too easily to relax. But, in the present
instance, it is difficult to convey a due conception of the graciousness
of her demeanor when Lothair bent before her. She appeared even
agitated, almost rose from her seat, and blushed through her rouge. Lady
St. Jerome, guiding Lothair into her vacant seat, walked away.

"We shall never forget what you have done for us," said the princess to
Lothair.

"I have done nothing," said Lothair, with a surprised air.

"Ali, that is so like gifted beings like you," said the princess. "They
never will think they have done any thing, even were they to save the
world."

"You are too gracious, princess," said Lothair; "I have no claims to
esteem which all must so value."

"Who has, if you have not?" rejoined the princess. "Yes, it is to you,
and to you alone, that we must look. I am very impartial in what I say,
for, to be frank, I have not been of those who believed that the great
champion would rise without the patrimony of St. Peter. I am ashamed to
say that I have even looked with jealousy on the energy that has been
shown by individuals in other countries; but I now confess that I was
in error. I cannot resist this manifestation. It was a privilege to
have lived when it happened. All that we can do now is to cherish your
favored life."

"You are too kind, madam," murmured the perplexed Lothair.

"I have done nothing," rejoined the princess, "and am ashamed that I
have done nothing. But it is well for you, at this season, to be at
Rome; and you cannot be better, I am sure, than under this roof. But,
when the spring breaks, I hope you will honor me, by accepting for your
use a villa which I have at Albano, and which, at that season, has many
charms."

There were other Roman ladies in the room only inferior in rank and
importance to the Princess Tarpeia-Cinque Cento; and in the course of
the evening, at their earnest request, they were made acquainted with
Lothair, for it cannot be said he was presented to them. These ladies,
generally so calm, would not wait for the ordinary ceremony of life,
but, as he approached to be introduced, sank to the ground with the
obeisance offered only to royalty.

There were some cardinals in the apartment and several monsignori.
Catesby was there in close attendance on a pretty English countess, who
had just "gone over." Her husband had been at first very much distressed
at the event, and tore himself from the severe duties of the House of
Lords, in the hope that he might yet arrive in time at Rome to save
her soul. But he was too late; and, strange to say, being of a domestic
turn, and disliking family dissensions, he remained at Rome during the
rest of the session, and finally "went over" himself.

Later in the evening arrived his eminence, Cardinal Berwick, for our
friend had gained, and bravely gained, the great object of a churchman's
ambition, and which even our Laud was thinking at one time of accepting,
although he was to remain a firm Anglican. In the death-struggle between
the Church and the secret societies, Berwick had been the victor, and no
one in the Sacred College more truly deserved the scarlet hat.

His eminence had a reverence of radiant devotion for the Princess
Tarpeia-Cinque Cento, a glance of friendship for Lady St. Jerome--for
all, a courtly and benignant smile; but, when he recognized Lothair,
he started forward, seized and retained his hand, and then seemed
speechless with emotion. "Ah! my comrade in the great struggle!" he at
length exclaimed; "this is, indeed, a pleasure--and to see you here!"

Early in the evening, while Lothair was sitting by the side of the
princess, his eye had wandered round the room, not unsuccessfully, in
search of Miss Arundel; and, when he was free, he would immediately have
approached her, but she was in conversation with a Roman prince. Then,
when she was for a moment free, he was himself engaged; and, at last,
he had to quit abruptly a cardinal of taste, who was describing to him a
statue just discovered in the baths of Diocletian, in order to seize the
occasion that again offered itself.

Her manner was constrained when he addressed her, but she gave him her
hand, which he pressed to his lips. Looking deeply into her violet eyes,
he said: "You summoned me to meet you at Rome; I am here."

"And I summoned you to other things," she answered, at first with
hesitation and a blush; but then, as if rallying herself to the
performance of a duty too high to allow of personal embarrassment,
she added: "all of which you will perform, as becomes one favored by
Heaven."

"I have been favored by you," said Lothair, speaking low and hurriedly;
"to whom I owe my life, and more than my life. Yes," he continued, "this
is not the scene I would have chosen to express my gratitude to you
for all that you have done for me, and my admiration of your sublime
virtues; but I can no longer repress the feelings of my heart, though
their utterance be as inadequate as your deeds have been transcendent."

"I was but the instrument of a higher power."

"We are all instruments of a higher power, but the instruments chosen
are always choice."

"Ay, there it is!" said Miss Arundel; "and that is what I rejoice you
feel. For it is impossible that such a selection could have been made,
as in your case, without your being reserved for great results."

"I am but a shattered actor for great results," said Lothair, shaking
his head.

"You have had trials," said Miss Arundel, "so had St. Ignatius, so
had St. Francis, and great temptations; but these are the tests of
character, of will, of spiritual power--the fine gold is searched. All
things that have happened have tended and have been ordained to one end,
and that was to make you the champion of the Church of which you are now
more than the child."

"More than the child?"

"Indeed I think so. However, this is hardly the place and occasion to
dwell on such matters; and, indeed, I know your friends--my
friends equally--are desirous that your convalescence should not be
unnecessarily disturbed by what must be, however delightful, still
agitating thoughts; but you touched yourself unexpectedly on the theme,
and, at any rate, you will pardon one who has the inconvenient quality
of having only one thought."

"Whatever you say or think must always interest me."

"You are kind to say so. I suppose you know that our cardinal, Cardinal
Grandison, will be here in a few days?"



CHAPTER 64


Although the reception of Lothair by his old friends and by the leaders
of the Roman world was in the highest degree flattering, there was
something in its tone which was perplexing to him and ambiguous. Could
they be ignorant of his Italian antecedents? Impossible. Miss Arundel
had admitted, or rather declared, that he had experienced great trials,
and, even temptations. She could only allude to what had occurred
since their parting in England. But all this was now looked upon as
satisfactory, because it was ordained, and tended to one end; and what
was that end? His devotion to the Church of Rome, of which they admitted
he was not formally a child.

It was true that his chief companion was a priest, and that he passed a
great portion of his life within the walls of a church. But the priest
was his familiar friend in England, who in a foreign land had nursed
him with devotion in a desperate illness; and, although in the great
calamities, physical and moral, that had overwhelmed him, he had found
solace in the beautiful services of a religion which he respected, no
one for a moment had taken advantage of this mood of his suffering and
enfeebled mind to entrap him into controversy, or to betray him into
admissions that he might afterward consider precipitate and immature.
Indeed, nothing could be more delicate than the conduct of the Jesuit
fathers throughout his communications with them. They seemed sincerely
gratified that a suffering fellow creature should find even temporary
consolation within their fair and consecrated structure; their voices
modulated with sympathy; their glances gushed with fraternal affection;
their affectionate politeness contrived, in a thousand slight instances,
the selection of a mass, the arrangement of a picture, the loan of a
book, to contribute to the interesting or elegant distraction of his
forlorn and brooding being.

And yet Lothair began to feel uneasy, and his uneasiness increased
proportionately as his health improved. He sometimes thought that he
should like to make an effort and get about a little in the world, but
he was very weak, and without any of the resources to which he had been
accustomed throughout life. He had no servants of his own, no carriages,
no man of business, no banker; and when at last he tried to bring
himself to write to Mr. Putney Giles--a painful task--Monsignore Catesby
offered to undertake his whole correspondence for him, and announced
that his medical attendants had declared that he must under no
circumstances whatever attempt at present to write a letter. Hitherto he
had been without money, which was lavishly supplied for his physicians
and other wants; and he would have been without clothes if the
most fashionable tailor in Rome, a German, had not been in frequent
attendance on him under the direction of Monsignore Catesby, who, in
fact, had organized his wardrobe as he did every thing else.

Somehow or other Lothair never seemed alone. When he woke in the morning
the monsignore was frequently kneeling before an oratory in his room,
and if by any chance Lothair was wanting at Lady St. Jerome's reception,
Father Coleman, who was now on a visit to the family, would look in
and pass the evening with him, as men who keep a gaming-table find
it discreet occasionally to change the dealer. It is a huge and even
stupendous pile--that Palazzo Agostini, and yet Lothair never tried
to thread his way through its vestibules and galleries, or attempt a
reconnaissance of its endless chambers, without some monsignore or other
gliding up quite propos and relieving him from the dulness of solitary
existence during the rest of his promenade.

Lothair was relieved by hearing that big former guardian, Cardinal
Grandison, was daily expected at Rome; and he revolved in his mind
whether he should not speak to his eminence generally on the system of
his life, which he felt now required some modification. In the interval,
however, no change did occur. Lothair attended every day the services
of the church, and every evening the receptions of Lady St. Jerome;
and between the discharge of these two duties he took a drive with
a priest--sometimes with more than one, but always most agreeable
men--generally in the environs of the city, or visited a convent, or a
villa, some beautiful gardens, or a gallery of works of art.

It was at Lady St. Jerome's that Lothair met his former guardian. The
cardinal had only arrived in the morning. His manner to Lothair was
affectionate. He retained Lothair's hand and pressed it with his pale,
thin fingers; his attenuated countenance blazed for a moment with a
divine light.

"I have long wished to see you, sir," said Lothair, "and much wish to
talk with you."

"I can hear nothing from you nor of you but what must be most pleasing
to me," said the cardinal.

"I wish I could believe that," said Lothair.

The cardinal caressed him; put his arm round Lothair's neck and said,
"There is no time like the present. Let us walk together in this
gallery," and they withdrew naturally from the immediate scene.

"You know all that has happened, I dare say," said Lothair with
embarrassment and with a sigh, "since we parted in England, sir."

"All," said the cardinal. "It has been a most striking and merciful
dispensation."

"Then I need not dwell upon it," said Lothair, "and naturally it would
be most painful. What I wish particularly to speak to you about is my
position under this roof. What I owe to those who dwell under it no
language can describe, and no efforts on my part, and they shall be
unceasing, can repay. But I think the time has come when I ought no
longer to trespass on their affectionate devotion, though, when I allude
to the topic, they seem to misinterpret the motives which influence me,
and to be pained rather than relieved by my suggestions. I cannot bear
being looked upon as ungrateful, when in fact I am devoted to them. I
think, sir, you might help me in putting all this right."

"If it be necessary," said the cardinal; "but I apprehend you
misconceive them. When I last left Rome you were very ill, but Lady St.
Jerome and others have written to me almost daily about you, during my
absence, so that I am familiar with all that has occurred, and quite
cognizant of their feelings. Rest assured that, toward yourself, they
are exactly what they ought to be and what you would desire."

"Well, I am glad," said Lothair, "that you are acquainted with every
thing that has happened, for you can put them right if it be necessary;
but I sometimes cannot help fancying that they are under some false
impression both as to my conduct and my convictions."

"Not in the slightest," said the cardinal, "trust me, my dear friend,
for that. They know everything and appreciate everything; and, great
as, no doubt, have been your sufferings, feel that every thing has been
ordained for the best; that the hand of the Almighty has been visible
throughout all these strange events; that His Church was never
more clearly built upon a rock than at this moment; that this great
manifestation will revive, and even restore, the faith of Christendom;
and that you yourself must be looked upon as one of the most favored of
men."

"Everybody says that," said Lothair, rather peevishly.

"And everybody feels it," said the cardinal.

"Well, to revert to lesser points," said Lothair, "I do not say I want
to return to England, for I dread returning to England, and do not
know whether I shall ever go back there; and at any rate I doubt not
my health at present is unequal to the effort; but I should like some
change in my mode of life. I will not say it is too much controlled,
for nothing seems ever done without first consulting me; but, somehow
or other, we are always in the same groove. I wish to see more of the
world; I wish to see Rome, and the people of Rome. I wish to see and do
many things which, if I mention, it would seem to hurt the feelings of
others, and my own are misconceived, but, if mentioned by you, all would
probably be different."

"I understand you, my dear young friend, my child, I will still say,"
said the cardinal. "Nothing can be more reasonable than what you
suggest. No doubt our friends may be a little too anxious about you, but
they are the best people in the world. You appear to me to be quite well
enough now to make more exertion than hitherto they have thought you
capable of. They see you every day, and cannot judge so well of you as
I who have been absent. I will charge myself to effect all your wishes.
And we will begin by my taking you out to-morrow and your driving with
me about the city. I will show you Rome and the Roman people."

Accordingly, on the morrow, Cardinal Grandison and his late pupil
visited together Rome and the Romans. And first of all Lothair was
presented to the cardinal-prefect of the Propaganda, who presides over
the ecclesiastical affairs of every country in which the Roman Church
has a mission, and that includes every land between the Arctic and the
Southern Pole. This glimpse of the organized correspondence with both
the Americas, all Asia, all Africa, all Australia, and many European
countries, carried on by a countless staff of clerks in one of the most
capacious buildings in the world, was calculated to impress the visitor
with a due idea of the extensive authority of the Roman Pontiff. This
institution, greater, according to the cardinal, than any which existed
in ancient Rome, was to propagate the faith, the purity of which the
next establishment they visited was to maintain. According to Cardinal
Grandison, there never was a body the character of which had been
so wilfully and so malignantly misrepresented as that of the Roman
Inquisition. Its true object is reformation not punishment and therefore
pardon was sure to follow the admission of error. True it was there
were revolting stories afloat, for which there was undoubtedly some
foundation, though their exaggeration and malice were evident, of the
ruthless conduct of the Inquisition; but these details were entirely
confined to Spain, and were the consequences not of the principles of
the Holy Office, but of the Spanish race, poisoned by Moorish and Jewish
blood, or by long contact with those inhuman infidels. Had it not been
for the Inquisition organizing and directing the mitigating influences
of the Church, Spain would have been a land of wild beasts; and even in
quite modern times it was the Holy Office at Rome which always stepped
forward to protect the persecuted, and, by the power of appeal
from Madrid to Rome, saved the lives of those who were unjustly or
extravagantly accused.

"The real business, however, of the Holy Office now," continued the
cardinal, "is in reality only doctrinal; and there is something truly
sublime--essentially divine, I would say--in this idea of an old man,
like the Holy Father, himself the object of ceaseless persecution by all
the children of Satan, never for a moment relaxing his heaven-inspired
efforts to maintain the purity of the faith once delivered to the
saints, and at the same time to propagate it throughout the whole world,
so that there should be no land on which the sun shines that should not
afford means of salvation to suffering man. Yes, the Propaganda and the
Inquisition alone are sufficient to vindicate the sacred claims of
Rome. Compared with them, mere secular and human institutions, however
exalted, sink into insignificance."

These excursions with the cardinal were not only repeated, but became
almost of daily occurrence. The cardinal took Lothair with him in his
visits of business, and introduced him to the eminent characters of the
city. Some of these priests were illustrious scholars or votaries of
science, whose names were quoted with respect and as authority in the
circles of cosmopolitan philosophy. Then there were other institutions
at Rome, which the cardinal snatched occasions to visit, and which,
if not so awfully venerable as the Propaganda and the Inquisition,
nevertheless testified to the advanced civilization of Rome and the
Romans, and the enlightened administration of the Holy Father. According
to Cardinal Grandison, all the great modern improvements in the
administration of hospitals and prisons originated in the eternal city;
scientific ventilation, popular lavatories, the cellular or silent
system, the reformatory. And yet these were nothing compared with
the achievements of the Pontifical Government in education. In short,
complete popular education only existed at Rome. Its schools were more
numerous even than its fountains. Gratuitous instruction originated
with the ecclesiastics; and from the night-school to the university here
might be found the perfect type.

"I really believe," said the cardinal, "that a more virtuous, a more
religious, a more happy and contented people than the Romans never
existed. They could all be kept in order with the police of one of your
counties. True it is, the Holy Father is obliged to garrison the city
with twelve thousand men of arms, but not against the Romans, not
against his own subjects. It is the secret societies of atheism who
have established their lodges in this city, entirely consisting of
foreigners, that render these lamentable precautions necessary. They
will not rest until they have extirpated the religious principle from
the soul of man, and until they have reduced him to the condition
of wild beasts. But they will fail, as they failed the other day, as
Sennacherib failed. These men may conquer zouaves and cuirassiers, but
they cannot fight against Saint Michael and all the angels. They may do
mischief, they may aggravate and prolong the misery of man, but they are
doomed to entire and eternal failure."



CHAPTER 65


Lady St. Jerome was much interested in the accounts which the cardinal
and Lothair gave her of their excursions in the city and their visits.

"It is very true," she said, "I never knew such good people; and they
ought to be; so favored by Heaven, and leading a life which, if any
thing earthly can, must give them, however faint, some foretaste of our
joys hereafter. Did your eminence visit the Pellegrini?" This was the
hospital, where Miss Arundel had found Lothair.

The cardinal looked grave. "No," he replied. "My object was to secure
for our young friend some interesting but not agitating distraction from
certain ideas which, however admirable and transcendently important,
are nevertheless too high and profound to permit their constant
contemplation with impunity to our infirm natures. Besides," he added,
in a lower, but still distinct tone, "I was myself unwilling to visit
in a mere casual manner the scene of what I must consider the greatest
event of this century."

"But you have been there?" inquired Lady St. Jerome.

His eminence crossed himself.

In the course of the evening Monsignore Catesby told Lothair that a
grand service was about to be celebrated in the church of St. George:
thanks were to be offered to the Blessed Virgin by Miss Arundel for the
miraculous mercy vouchsafed to her in saving the life of a countryman,
Lothair. "All her friends will make a point of being there," added the
monsignore, "even the Protestants and some Russians. Miss Arundel was
very unwilling at first to fulfil this office, but the Holy Father has
commanded it. I know that nothing will induce her to ask you to attend;
and yet, if I were you, I would turn it over in your mind. I know she
said that she would sooner that you were present than all her English
friends together. However, you can think about it. One likes to do what
is proper."

One does; and yet it is difficult. Sometimes, in doing what we think
proper, we get into irremediable scrapes; and often, what we hold to be
proper, society in its caprice resolves to be highly improper.

Lady St. Jerome had wished Lothair to see Tivoli, and they were all
consulting together when they might go there. Lord St. Jerome who,
besides his hunters, had his drag at Rome, wanted to drive them to the
place. Lothair sat opposite Miss Arundel, gazing on her beauty. It was
like being at Vauxe again. And yet a great deal had happened since they
were at Vauxe; and what? So far as they two were concerned, nothing but
what should create or confirm relations of confidence and affection.
Whatever may have been the influence of others on his existence, hers
at least had been one of infinite benignity. She had saved his life; she
had cherished it. She had raised him from the lowest depth of physical
and moral prostration to health and comparative serenity. If at Vauxe he
had beheld her with admiration, had listened with fascinated interest to
the fervid expression of her saintly thoughts, and the large purposes of
her heroic mind, all these feelings were naturally heightened now when
he had witnessed her lofty and consecrated spirit in action, and when
that action in his own case had only been exercised for his ineffable
advantage.

"Your uncle cannot go to-morrow," continued Lady St. Jerome, "and on
Thursday I am engaged."

"And on Friday--," said Miss Arundel, hesitating.

"We are all engaged," said Lady St. Jerome.

"I should hardly wish to go out before Friday anywhere," said Miss
Arundel, speaking to her aunt, and in a lower tone.

Friday was the day on which the thanksgiving service was to be
celebrated in the Jesuit church of St. George of Cappadocia. Lothair
knew this well enough and was embarrassed: a thanksgiving for the mercy
vouchsafed to Miss Arundel in saving the life of a fellow-countryman, an
that fellow-countryman not present! All her Protestant friends would be
there, and some Russians. And he not there! It seemed, on his part,
the most ungracious and intolerable conduct. And he knew that she would
prefer his presence to that of all her acquaintances together. It was
more than ungracious on his part; it was ungrateful, almost inhuman.

Lothair sat silent, and stupid, and stiff, and dissatisfied with
himself. Once or twice he tried to speak, but his tongue would not move,
or his throat was not clear. And, if he had spoken, he would only have
made some trifling and awkward remark. In his mind's eye he saw, gliding
about him, the veiled figure of his sick-room, and he recalled with
clearness the unceasing and angelic tenderness of which at the time he
seemed hardly conscious.

Miss Arundel had risen and had proceeded some way down the room to a
cabinet where she was accustomed to place her work. Suddenly Lothair
rose and followed her. "Miss Arundel!" he said, and she looked round,
hardly stopping when he had reached her. "Miss Arundel, I hope you will
permit me to be present at the celebration on Friday?"

She turned round quickly, extending, even eagerly, her hand with
mantling cheek. Her eyes glittered with celestial fire. The words
hurried from her palpitating lips: "And support me," she said, "for I
need support."

In the evening reception, Monsignore Catesby approached Father Coleman.
"It is done," he said, with a look of saintly triumph. "It is done at
last. He will not only be present, but he will support her. There are
yet eight-and-forty hours to elapse. Can any thing happen to defeat us?
It would seem not; yet, when so much is at stake, one is fearful. He
must never be out of our sight; not a human being must approach him."

"I think we can manage that," said Father Coleman.



CHAPTER 66


The Jesuit church of St. George of Cappadocia was situate in one of
the finest piazzas of Rome. It was surrounded with arcades, and in its
centre the most beautiful fountain of the city spouted forth its streams
to an amazing height, and in forms of graceful fancy. On Friday morning
the arcades were festooned with tapestry and hangings of crimson velvet
and gold. Every part was crowded, and all the rank and fashion and
power of Rome seemed to be there assembling. There had been once some
intention on the part of the Holy Father to be present, but a slight
indisposition had rendered that not desirable. His holiness, however,
had ordered a company of his halberdiers to attend, and the ground was
kept by those wonderful guards in the dress of the middle ages--halberds
and ruffs, and white plumes, and party-colored coats, a match for our
beef-eaters. Carriages with scarlet umbrellas on the box, and each
with three serving-men behind, denoted the presence of the cardinals in
force. They were usually brilliant equipages, being sufficiently new, or
sufficiently new purchases, Garibaldi and the late commanding officer
of Lothair having burnt most of the ancient coaches in the time of the
Roman republics twenty years before. From each carriage an eminence
descended with his scarlet cap and his purple train borne by two
attendants. The Princess Tarpeia-Cinque Cento was there, and most of the
Roman princes and princesses, and dukes, and duchesses. It seemed that
the whole court of Rome was there--monsignori and prelates without
end. Some of their dresses, and those of the generals of the orders,
appropriately varied the general effect, for the ladies were all in
black, their heads covered only with black veils.

Monsignore Catesby had arranged with Lothair that they should enter the
church by their usual private way, and Lothair therefore was not in any
degree prepared for the sight which awaited him on his entrance into it.
The church was crowded; not a chair nor a tribune vacant. There was a
suppressed gossip going on as in a public place before a performance
begins, much fluttering of fans, some snuff taken, and many sugar-plums.

"Where shall we find a place?" said Lothair.

"They expect us in the sacristy," said the monsignore.

The sacristy of the Jesuit church of St. George of Cappadocia might have
served for the ballroom of a palace. It was lofty, and proportionately
spacious, with a grooved ceiling painted with all the court of heaven.
Above the broad and richly-gilt cornice floated a company of seraphim
that might have figured as the Cupids of Albano. The apartment was
crowded, for there and in some adjoining chambers were assembled
the cardinals and prelates, and all the distinguished or official
characters, who, in a few minutes, were about to form a procession of
almost unequal splendor and sanctity, and which was to parade the whole
body of the church.

Lothair felt nervous; an indefinable depression came over him, as on the
morning of a contest when a candidate enters his crowded committee-room.
Considerable personages, bowing, approached to address him--the Cardinal
Prefect of the Propaganda, the Cardinal Assessor of the Holy Office,
the Cardinal Pro-Datario, and the Cardinal Vicar of Rome. Monsignori the
Secretary of Briefs to Princes and the Master of the Apostolic Palace
were presented to him. Had this been a conclave, and Lothair the future
pope, it would have been impossible to have treated him with more
consideration than he experienced. They assured him that they looked
upon this day as one of the most interesting in their lives, and the
importance of which to the Church could not be overrated. All this
somewhat encouraged him, and he was more himself when a certain general
stir, and the entrance of individuals from adjoining apartments,
intimated that the proceedings were about to commence. It seemed
difficult to marshal so considerable and so stately an assemblage,
but those who had the management of affairs were experienced in such
matters. The acolytes and the thurifers fell into their places; there
seemed no end of banners and large golden crosses; great was the company
of the prelates--a long purple line, some only in cassocks, some in
robes, and mitred; then came a new banner of the Blessed Virgin, which
excited intense interest, and every eye was strained to catch the
pictured scene. After this banner, amid frequent incense, walked two
of the most beautiful children in Rome, dressed as angels with golden
wings; the boy bearing a rose of Jericho, the girl a lily. After these,
as was understood, dressed in black and veiled, walked six ladies, who
were said to be daughters of the noblest houses of England, and then a
single form with a veil touching the ground.

"Here we must go," said Monsignore Catesby to Lothair, and he gently
but irresistibly pushed him into his place. "You know you promised to
support her. You had better take this," he said, thrusting a lighted
taper into his hand; "it is usual, and one should never be singular."

So they walked on, followed by the Roman princes, bearing a splendid
baldachin. And then came the pomp of the cardinals, each with his
train-bearers, exhibiting with the skill of artists the splendor of
their violet robes.

As the head of the procession emerged from the sacristy into the church,
three organs and a choir, to which all the Roman churches had lent their
choicest voices, burst into the Te Deum. Round the church and to all the
chapels, and then up the noble nave, the majestic procession moved, and
then, the gates of the holy place opening, the cardinals entered and
seated themselves, their train-bearers crouching at their knees, the
prelates grouped themselves, and the banners and crosses were ranged in
the distance, except the new banner of the Virgin, which seemed to hang
over the altar. The Holy One seemed to be in what was recently a field
of battle, and was addressing a beautiful maiden in the dress of a
Sister of Mercy.

"This is your place," said Monsignore Catesby, and he pushed Lothair
into a prominent position.

The service was long, but, sustained by exquisite music, celestial
perfumes, and the graceful movements of priests in resplendent dresses
continually changing, it could not be said to be wearisome. When all was
over, Monsignore Catesby said to Lothair, "I think we had better return
by the public way; it seems expected."

It was not easy to leave the church. Lothair was detained, and received
the congratulations of the Princess Tarpeia-Cinque Cento and many
others. The crowd, much excited by the carriages of the cardinals, had
not diminished when they came forth, and they were obliged to linger
some little time upon the steps, the monsignore making difficulties when
Lothair more than once proposed to advance.

"I think we may go now," said Catesby, and they descended into the
piazza. Immediately many persons in this immediate neighborhood fell
upon their knees, many asked a blessing from Lothair, and some rushed
forward to kiss the hem of his garment.



CHAPTER 67


The Princess Tarpeia-Cinque Cento gave an entertainment in the evening
in honor of "the great event." Italian palaces are so vast, are so
ill-adapted to the moderate establishments of modern tones, that their
grand style in general only impresses those who visit them with a
feeling of disappointment and even mortification. The meagre retinue are
almost invisible as they creep about the corridors and galleries, and
linger in the sequence of lofty chambers. These should be filled with
crowds of serving-men and groups of splendid retainers. They were built
for the days when a great man was obliged to have a great following;
and when the safety of his person, as well as the success of his career,
depended on the number and the lustre of his train.

The palace of the Princess Tarpeia was the most celebrated in Rome, one
of the most ancient, and certainly the most beautiful. She dwelt in it
in a manner not unworthy of her consular blood and her modern income.
To-night her guests were received by a long line of foot-servants in
showy liveries, and bearing the badge of her house, while in every
convenient spot pages and gentlemen-ushers, in courtly dress, guided the
guests to their place of destination. The palace blazed with light, and
showed to advantage the thousand pictures which, it is said, were there
enshrined, and the long galleries full of the pale statues of Grecian
gods and goddesses, and the busts of the former rulers of Rome and
the Romans. The atmosphere was fragrant with rare odors, and music was
heard, amid the fall of fountains, in the dim but fancifully-illumined
gardens.

The princess herself wore all those famous jewels which had been spared
by all the Goths from the days of Brennus to those of Garibaldi, and on
her bosom reposed the celebrated transparent cameo of Augustus, which
Caesar himself is said to have presented to Livia, and which Benvenuto
Cellini had set in a framework of Cupids and rubies. If the weight of
her magnificence were sometimes distressing, she had the consolation of
being supported by the arm of Lothair.

Two young Roman princes, members of the Guarda Nobile, discussed the
situation.

"The English here say," said one, "that he is their richest man."

"And very noble, too," said the other.

"Certainly, truly noble--a kind of cousin of the queen."

"This great event must have an effect upon all their nobility. I cannot
doubt they will all return to the Holy Father."

"They would if they were not afraid of having to restore their church
lands. But they would be much more happy if Rome were again the capital
of the world."

"No shadow of doubt. I wonder if this young prince will hunt in the
Campagna?"

"All Englishmen hunt."

"I make no doubt he rides well, and has famous horses, and will
sometimes lend us one. I am glad his soul is saved."

"Yes; it is well, when the Blessed Virgin interferes, it should be in
favor of princes. When princes become good Christians, it is an example.
It does good. And this man will give an impulse to our opera, which
wants it, and, as you say, he will have many horses."

In the course of the evening, Miss Arundel, with a beaming face, but of
deep expression, said to Lothair: "I could tell you some good news,
had I not promised the cardinal that he should communicate it to you
himself. He will see you to-morrow. Although it does not affect me
personally, it will be to me the happiest event that ever occurred,
except, of course, one."

"What can she mean?" thought Lothair. But at that moment Cardinal
Berwick approached him, and Miss Arundel glided away.

Father Coleman attended Lothair home to the Agostini Palace, and when
they parted said, with much emphasis, "I must congratulate you once more
on the great event."

On the following morning, Lothair found on his table a number of the
Roman journal published that day. It was customary to place it there,
but in general he only glanced at it, and scarcely that. On the present
occasion his own name caught immediately his eye. It figured in a
long account of the celebration of the preceding day. It was with a
continually changing countenance, now scarlet, now pallid as death;
with a palpitating heart, a trembling hand, a cold perspiration, and, at
length, a disordered vision, that Lothair read the whole of an article,
of which we now give a summary:

"Rome was congratulated on the service of yesterday, which celebrated
the greatest event of this century. And it came to pass in this wise.
It seems that a young English noble of the highest rank, family, and for
tune" (and here the name and titles of Lothair were accurately given),
"like many of the scions of the illustrious and influential families of
Britain, was impelled by an irresistible motive to enlist as a volunteer
in the service of the pope, when the Holy Father was recently-attacked
by the secret societies of atheism. This gallant and gifted youth, after
prodigies of valor and devotion, had fallen at Mentana in the sacred
cause, and was given up for lost. The day after the battle, when the
ambulances laden with the wounded were hourly arriving at Rome from the
field, an English lady, daughter of an illustrious house, celebrated
throughout centuries for its devotion to the Holy See, and who during
the present awful trial had never ceased in her efforts to support the
cause of Christianity, was employed, as was her wont, in offices of
charity, and was tending, with her companion sisters, her wounded
countrymen at the Hospital La Consolazione, in the new ward which has
been recently added to that establishment by the Holy Father.

"While she was leaning over one of the beds, she felt a gentle and
peculiar pressure on her shoulder, and, looking round, beheld a most
beautiful woman, with a countenance of singular sweetness and yet
majesty. And the visitor said: 'You are attending to those English who
believe in the Virgin Mary. Now at the Hospital Santissima Trinita di
Pellegrini there is in an ambulance a young Englishman apparently dead,
but who will not die if you go to him immediately and say you came in
the name of the Virgin.'

"The influence of the stranger was so irresistible that the young
English lady, attended by a nurse and one of the porters of La
Consolazione, repaired instantly to the Di Pellegrini, and there they
found in the court-yard, as they had been told, an ambulance, in form
and color and equipment unlike any ambulance used by the papal troops,
and in the ambulance the senseless body of a youth, who was recognized
by the English lady as her young and gallant countryman. She claimed
him in the name of the Blessed Virgin, and, after due remedies, was
permitted to take him at once to his noble relatives, who lived in the
Palazzo Agostini.

"After a short time much conversation began to circulate about this
incident. The family wished to testify their gratitude to the individual
whose information had led to the recovery of the body, and subsequently
of the life of their relation; but all that they could at first learn
at La Consolazione was, that the porter believed the woman was Maria
Serafina di Angelis, the handsome wife of a tailor in the Strada di
Ripetta. But it was soon shown that this could not be true, for it was
proved that, on the day in question, Maria Serafina di Angelis was on a
visit to a friend at La Riccia; and, in the second place, that she did
not bear the slightest resemblance to the stranger who had given the
news. Moreover, the porter of the gate being required to state why he
had admitted any stranger without the accustomed order, denied that he
had so done; that he was in his lodge and the gates were locked, and the
stranger had passed through without his knowledge.

"Two priests were descending the stairs when the stranger came upon
them, and they were so struck by the peculiarity of her carriage, that
they turned round and looked at her, and clearly observed at the back of
her head a sort of halo. She was out of their sight when they made this
observation, but in consequence of it they made inquiries of the porter
of the gate, and remained in the court-yard till she returned.

"This she did a few minutes before the English lady and her attendants
came down, as they had been detained by the preparation of some bandages
and other remedies, without which they never moved. The porter of the
gate having his attention called to the circumstance by the priests,
was most careful in his observations as to the halo, and described it
as most distinct. The priests then followed the stranger, who proceeded
down a long and solitary street, made up in a great degree of garden and
convent walls, and without a turning. They observed her stop and speak
to two or three children, and then, though there was no house to enter
and no street to turn into, she vanished.

"When they had reached the children they found each of them holding in
its hand a beautiful flower. It seems the lady had given the boy a rose
of Jericho, and to his sister a white and golden lily. Inquiring whether
she had spoken to them, they answered that she had said, 'Let these
flowers be kept in remembrance of me; they will never fade.' And truly,
though months had elapsed, these flowers had never failed, and, after
the procession of yesterday, they were placed under crystal in the
chapel of the Blessed Virgin in the Jesuit Church of St. George of
Cappadocia, and may be seen every day, and will be seen forever in
primeval freshness.

"This is the truthful account of what really occurred with respect to
this memorable event, and as it was ascertained by a consulta of the
Holy Office, presided over by the cardinal prefect himself. The Holy
Office is most severe in its inquisition of the truth, and, though it
well knows that the Divine presence never leaves His Church, it is most
scrupulous in its investigations whenever any miraculous interposition
is alleged. It was entirely by its exertions that the somewhat
inconsistent and unsatisfactory evidence of the porter of the gate, in
the first instance, was explained, cleared, and established; the whole
chain of evidence worked out; all idle gossip and mere rumors rejected;
and the evidence obtained of above twenty witnesses of all ranks
of life, some of them members of the learned profession, and others
military officers of undoubted honor and veracity, who witnessed the
first appearance of the stranger at the Pellegrini and the undoubted
fact of the halo playing round her temples.

"The consulta of the Holy Office could only draw one inference,
sanctioned by the Holy Father himself, as to the character of the
personage who thus deigned to appear; and interpose; and no wonder that,
in the great function of yesterday, the eyes of all Rome were fixed upon
Lothair as the most favored of living men."

He himself now felt as one sinking into an unfathomable abyss. The
despair came over him that involves a man engaged in a hopeless contest
with a remorseless power. All his life during the last year passed
rushingly across his mind. He recalled the wiles that had been employed
to induce him to attend a function in a Jesuits' chapel, in an obscure
nook of London; the same agencies had been employed there; then, as now,
the influence of Clare Arundel had been introduced to sway him when all
others had failed. Belmont had saved him then. There was no Belmont now.
The last words of Theodora murmured in his ear like the awful voice of
a distant sea. They were the diapason of all the thought and feeling of
that profound and passionate spirit.

That seemed only a petty plot in London, and he had since sometimes
smiled when he remembered how it had been baffled. Shallow apprehension!
The petty plot was only part of a great and unceasing and triumphant
conspiracy, and the obscure and inferior agencies which he had been rash
enough to deride had consummated their commanded purpose in the eyes of
all Europe, and with the aid of the great powers of the world.

He felt all the indignation natural to a sincere and high-spirited man,
who finds that he has been befooled by those whom he has trustee; but,
summoning all his powers to extricate himself from his desolate dilemma,
he found himself without resource. What public declaration on his part
could alter the undeniable fact, now circulating throughout the world,
that in the supernatural scene of yesterday he was the willing and the
principal actor? Unquestionably he had been very imprudent, not only
in that instance, but in his habitual visits to the church; he felt all
that now. But he was tom and shattered, infinitely distressed, both in
body and in mind; weak and miserable; and he thought he was leaning
on angelic hearts, when he found himself in the embrace of spirits of
another sphere.

In what a position of unexampled pain did he not now find himself! To
feel it your duty to quit the faith in which you have been bred must
involve an awful pang; but to be a renegade without the consolation
of conscience, against your sense, against your will, alike for
no celestial hope and no earthly object--this was agony mixed with
self-contempt.

He remembered what Lady Corisande had once said to him about those who
quitted their native church for the Roman communion. What would she say
now? He marked in imagination the cloud of sorrow on her imperial brow
and the scorn of her curled lip.

Whatever happened, he could never return to England--at least for
many years, when all the things and persons he cared for would have
disappeared or changed, which is worse; and then what would be the use
of returning? He would go to America, or Australia, or the Indian Ocean,
or the interior of Africa; but even in all these places, according to
the correspondence of the Propaganda, he would find Roman priests, and
active priests. He felt himself a lost man; not free from faults in this
matter, but punished beyond his errors. But this is the fate of men who
think they can struggle successfully with a supernatural power.

A servant opened a door and said, in a loud voice, that, with his
permission, his eminence, the English cardinal, would wait on him.



CHAPTER 68


It is proverbial to what drowning men will cling. Lothair, in his
utter hopelessness, made a distinction between the cardinal and the
conspirators. The cardinal had been absent from Rome during the greater
portion of the residence of Lothair in that city. The cardinal was his
father's friend, an English gentleman, with an English education, once
an Anglican, a man of the world, a man of honor, a good, kind-hearted
man. Lothair explained the apparent and occasional cooperation of his
eminence with the others, by their making use of him without a due
consciousness of their purpose on his part. Lothair remembered how
delicately his former guardian had always treated the subject of
religion in their conversations. The announcement of his visit,
instead of aggravating the distresses of Lothair, seemed, as all these
considerations rapidly occurred to him, almost to impart a ray of hope.

"I see," said the cardinal, as he entered serene and graceful as usual,
and glancing at the table, "that you have been reading the account of
our great act of yesterday."

"Yes; and I have been reading it," said Lothair, reddening, "with
indignation; with alarm; I should add, with disgust."

"How is this?" said the cardinal, feeling or affecting surprise.

"It is a tissue of falsehood and imposture," continued Lothair; "and I
will take care that my opinion is known of it."

"Do nothing rashly," said the cardinal. "This is an official journal,
and I have reason to believe that nothing appears in it which is not
drawn up, or well considered, by truly pious men."

"You yourself, sir, must know," continued Lothair, "that the whole of
this statement is founded on falsehood."

"Indeed, I should be sorry to believe," said the cardinal, "that there
was a particle of misstatement, or even exaggeration, either in the base
or the superstructure of the narrative."

"Good God!" exclaimed Lothair. "Why, take the very first allegation,
that I fell at Mentana, fighting in the ranks of the Holy Father.
Everyone knows that I fell fighting against him, and that I was almost
slain by one of his chassepots. It is notorious; and though, as a matter
of taste, I have not obtruded the fact in the society in which I have
been recently living, I have never attempted to conceal it, and have not
the slightest doubt that it must be as familiar to every member of that
society as to your eminence."

"I know there are two narratives of your relations with the battle of
Mentana," observed the cardinal, quietly. "The one accepted as authentic
is that which appears in this journal; the other account, which can only
be traced to yourself, bears no doubt a somewhat different character;
but considering that it is in the highest degree improbable, and
that there is not a tittle of confirmatory or collateral evidence to
extenuate its absolute unlikelihood, I hardly think you are justified
in using, with reference to the statement in this article, the harsh
expression, which I am persuaded, on reflection, you will feel you have
hastily used."

"I think," said Lothair, with a kindling eye and a burning cheek, "that
I am the best judge of what I did at Mentana."

"Well, well," said the cardinal, with dulcet calmness, "you naturally
think so; but you must remember you have been very ill, my dear young
friend, and laboring under much excitement. If I were you--and I speak
as your friend, I hope your best one--I would not dwell too much on this
fancy of yours about the battle of Mentana. I would myself always deal
tenderly with a fixed idea: harsh attempts to terminate hallucination
are seldom successful. Nevertheless, in the case of a public event, a
matter of fact, if a man finds that he is of one opinion, and all
orders of society of another, he should not be encouraged to dwell on a
perverted view; he should be gradually weaned from it."

"You amaze me!" said Lothair.

"Not at all," said the cardinal. "I am sure you will benefit by my
advice. And you must already perceive that, assuming the interpretation
which the world without exception places on your conduct in the field to
be the just one, there really is not a single circumstance in the whole
of this interesting and important statement, the accuracy of which you
yourself would for a moment dispute."

"What is there said about me at Mentana makes me doubt of all the rest,"
said Lothair.

"Well, we will not dwell on Mentana," said the cardinal, with a sweet
smile; "I have treated of that point. Your case is by no means an
uncommon one. It will wear off with returning health. King George IV
believed that he was at the battle of Waterloo, and indeed commanded
there; and his friends were at one time a little alarmed; but Knighton,
who was a sensible man, said, 'His majesty has only to leave off
Curacao, and rest assured he will gain no more victories.' The rest of
this statement, which is to-day officially communicated to the whole
world, and which in its results will probably be not less important even
than the celebration of the centenary of St. Peter, is established by
evidence so incontestable--by witnesses so numerous, so various--in all
the circumstances and accidents of testimony so satisfactory--I may
say so irresistible, that controversy on this head would be a mere
impertinence and waste of time."

"I am not convinced," said Lothair.

"Hush!" said the cardinal; "the freaks of your own mind about personal
incidents, however lamentable, may be viewed with indulgence--at least
for a time. But you cannot be permitted to doubt of the rest. You must
be convinced, and on reflection you will be convinced. Remember, sir,
where you are. You are in the centre of Christendom, where truth, and
where alone truth resides. Divine authority has perused this paper and
approved it. It is published for the joy and satisfaction of two
hundred millions of Christians, and for the salvation of all those who,
unhappily for themselves, are not yet converted to the faith. It
records the most memorable event of this century. Our Blessed Lady has
personally appeared to her votaries before during that period, but
never at Rome. Wisely and well she has worked in villages and among the
illiterate as at the beginning did her Divine Son. But the time is now
ripe for terminating the infidelity of the world. In the eternal city,
amid all its matchless learning and profound theology, in the sight of
thousands, this great act has been accomplished, in a manner which can
admit of no doubt, and which can lead to no controversy. Some of the
most notorious atheists of Rome have already solicited to be admitted
to the offices of the Church; the secret societies have received their
deathblow; I look to the alienation of England as virtually over. I am
panting to see you return to the home of your fathers, and re-conquer it
for the Church in the name of the Lord God of Sabaoth. Never was a
man in a greater position since Godfrey or Ignatius. The eyes of all
Christendom are upon you as the most favored of men, and you stand there
like Saint Thomas."

"Perhaps he was as bewildered as I am," said Lothair.

"Well, his bewilderment ended in his becoming an apostle, as yours will.
I am glad we have had this conversation, and that we agree; I knew we
should. But now I wish to speak to you on business, and very grave. The
world assumes that, being the favored of Heaven, you are naturally and
necessarily a member of the Church. I, your late guardian, know that is
not the case, and sometimes I blame myself that it is not so. But I have
ever scrupulously refrained from attempting to control your convictions;
and the result has justified me. Heaven has directed your life, and I
have now to impart to you the most gratifying intelligence that can be
communicated by man, and that the Holy Father will to-morrow himself
receive you into the bosom of that Church of which he is the divine
head. Christendom will then hail you as its champion and regenerator,
and thus will be realized the divine dream with which you were inspired
in our morning walk in the park at Vauxe."



CHAPTER 69


It was the darkest hour in Lothair's life. He had become acquainted with
sorrow; he had experienced calamities physical and moral. The death of
Theodora had shaken him to the centre. It was that first great grief
which makes a man acquainted with his deepest feelings, which detracts
something from the buoyancy of the youngest life, and dims, to a certain
degree, the lustre of existence. But even that bereavement was mitigated
by distractions alike inevitable and ennobling. The sternest and highest
of all obligations, military duty, claimed him with an unfaltering
grasp, and the clarion sounded almost as he closed her eyes. Then he
went forth to struggle for a cause which at least she believed to be
just and sublime; and if his own convictions on that head might be less
assured or precise, still there was doubtless much that was inspiring
in the contest, and much dependent on the success of himself and his
comrades that tended to the elevation of man.

But, now, there was not a single circumstance to sustain his involved
and sinking life. A renegade--a renegade without conviction, without
necessity, in absolute violation of the pledge he had given to the
person he most honored and most loved, as he received her parting
spirit. And why was all this? and bow was all this? What system of
sorcery had encompassed his existence? For he was spell-bound--as much
as any knight in fairy-tale whom malignant influences had robbed of his
valor and will and virtue. No sane person could credit, even comprehend,
his position. Had he the opportunity of stating it in a court of justice
to-morrow, he could only enter into a narrative which would decide
his lot as an insane being. The magical rites had been so gradual, so
subtle, so multifarious, all in appearance independent of each other,
though in reality scientifically combined, that, while the conspirators
had probably effected his ruin both in body and in soul, the only
charges he could make against them would be acts of exquisite charity,
tenderness, self-sacrifice, personal devotion, refined piety, and
religious sentiment of the most exalted character.

What was to be done? And could any thing be done? Could he escape? Where
from and where to? He was certain, and had been for some time, from many
circumstances, that he was watched. Could he hope that the vigilance
which observed all his movements would scruple to prevent any which
might be inconvenient? He felt assured that, to quit that palace alone,
was not in his power. And were it, whither could he go? To whom was he
to appeal? And about what was he to appeal? Should he appeal to the Holy
Father? There would be an opportunity for that to-morrow. To the College
of Cardinals, who had solemnized yesterday with gracious unction his
spiritual triumph? To those congenial spirits, the mild Assessor of the
Inquisition, or the president of the Propaganda, who was busied at
that moment in circulating throughout both the Americas, all Asia,
all Africa, all Australia, and parts of Europe, for the edification of
distant millions, the particulars of the miraculous scene in which he
was the principal actor? Should he throw himself on the protection of
the ambiguous minister of the British crown, and invoke his aid against
a conspiracy touching the rights, reason, and freedom of one of her
majesty's subjects? He would probably find that functionary inditing a
private letter to the English Secretary of State, giving the minister
a graphic account of the rare doings of yesterday, and assuring the
minister, from his own personal and ocular experience, that a member
of one of the highest orders of the British peerage carried in the
procession a lighted taper after two angels with amaranthine flowers and
golden wings.

Lothair remained in his apartments; no one approached him. It was the
only day that the monsignore had not waited on him. Father Coleman was
equally reserved. Strange to say, not one of those agreeable and polite
gentlemen, fathers of the oratory, who talked about gems, torsos, and
excavations, and who always more or less attended his levee, troubled
him this morning. With that exquisite tact which pervades the
hierarchical circles of Rome, every one felt that Lothair, on the eve of
that event of his life which Providence had so long and so mysteriously
prepared, would wish to be undisturbed.

Restless, disquieted, revolving all the incidents of his last year,
trying, by terrible analysis, to ascertain how he ever could have got
into such a false position, and how he could yet possibly extricate
himself from it, not shrinking in many things from self-blame, and yet
not recognizing on his part such a degree of deviation from the standard
of right feeling, or even of commonsense, as would authorize such
an overthrow as that awaiting him--high rank and boundless wealth, a
station of duty and of honor, some gifts of Nature, and golden youth,
and a disposition that at least aspired, in the employment of these,
accidents of life and fortune, at something better than selfish
gratification, all smashed--the day drew on.

Drew on the day, and every hour it seemed his spirit was more lone
and dark. For the first time the thought of death occurred to him as a
relief from the perplexities of existence. How much better had he died
at Mentana! To this pass had arrived the cordial and brilliant Lord of
Muriel, who enjoyed and adorned life, and wished others to adorn and
to enjoy it; the individual whom, probably, were the majority of the
English people polled, they would have fixed upon as filling the most
enviable of all positions, and holding out a hope that he was not
unworthy of it. Born with every advantage that could command the
sympathies of his fellow-men, with a quick intelligence and a noble
disposition, here he was at one-and-twenty ready to welcome death,
perhaps even to devise it, as the only rescue from a doom of confusion,
degradation, and remorse.

He had thrown himself on a sofa, and had buried his face in his hands to
assist the abstraction which he demanded. There was not an incident of
his life that escaped the painful inquisition of his memory. He passed
his childhood once more in that stern Scotch home, that, after all, had
been so kind, and, as it would seem, so wise. The last words of counsel
and of warning from his uncle, expressed at Muriel, came back to him.
And yet there seemed a destiny throughout these transactions which was;
irresistible! The last words of Theodora, her look, even more solemn
than her tone, might have been breathed over a tripod, for they were a
prophecy, not a warning.

How long he had been absorbed in this passionate reverie he knew not
but when he looked up again it was night, and the moon had touched his
window. He rose and walked up and down the room, and then went into
the corridor. All was silent; not an attendant was visible; the sky was
clear and starry, and the moonlight fell on the tall, still cypresses in
the vast quadrangle.

Lothair leaned over the balustrade and gazed upon the moonlit fountains.
The change of scene, silent and yet not voiceless, and the softening
spell of the tranquillizing hour, were a relief to him. And after a time
he wandered about the corridors, and after a time he descended into the
court. The tall Swiss, in his grand uniform, was closing the gates which
had just released a visitor. Lothair motioned that he too wished to go
forth, and the Swiss obeyed him. The threshold was passed, and Lothair
found himself for the first time alone in Rome.

Utterly reckless, he cared not where he went or what might happen.
The streets were quite deserted, and he wandered about with a strange
curiosity, gratified as he sometimes encountered famous objects he had
read of, and yet the true character of which no reading ever realizes.

The moonlight becomes the proud palaces of Rome, their corniced and
balconied fronts rich with deep shadows in the blaze. Sometimes he
encountered an imperial column; sometimes he came to an arcadian square
flooded with light and resonant with the fall of statued fountains.
Emerging from a long, straggling street of convents and gardens, he
found himself in an open space full of antique ruins, and among them the
form of a colossal amphitheatre that he at once recognized.

It rose with its three tiers of arches and the huge wall that crowns
them, black and complete in the air; and not until Lothair had entered
it could he perceive the portion of the outer wall that was in ruins,
and now bathed with the silver light. Lothair was alone. In that
huge creation, once echoing with the shouts, and even the agonies, of
thousands, Lothair was alone.

He sat him down on a block of stone in that sublime and desolate arena,
and asked himself the secret spell of this Rome that had already so
agitated his young life, and probably was about critically to affect it.
Theodora lived for Rome and died for Rome. And the cardinal, born and
bred an English gentleman, with many hopes and honors, had renounced his
religion, and, it might be said, his country, for Rome. And for Rome,
to-morrow, Catesby would die without a pang, and sacrifice himself for
Rome, as his race for three hundred years had given, for the same cause,
honor and broad estates and unhesitating lives. And these very people
were influenced by different motives, and thought they were devoting
themselves to opposite ends. But still it was Rome--republican or
Caesarian, papal or pagan, it still was Rome.

Was it a breeze in a breezeless night that was sighing amid these ruins?
A pine-tree moved its head on a broken arch, and there was a stir
among the plants that hung on the ancient walls. It was a breeze in a
breezeless night that was sighing amid the ruins.

There was a tall crag of ancient building contiguous to the block
on which Lothair was seated, and which on his arrival he had noted,
although, long lost in reverie, he had not recently turned his glance in
that direction. He was roused from that reverie by the indefinite sense
of some change having occurred which often disturbs and terminates one's
brooding thoughts. And looking round, he felt, he saw, he was no longer
alone. The moonbeams fell upon a figure that was observing him from the
crag of ruin that was near, and, as the light clustered and gathered
round the form, it became every moment more definite and distinct.

Lothair would have sprung forward, but he could only extend his arms: he
would have spoken, but his tongue was paralyzed.

"Lothair," said a deep, sweet voice that never could be forgotten.

"I am here," he at last replied.

"Remember!" and she threw upon him that glance, at once serene and
solemn, that had been her last, and was impressed indelibly upon his
heart of hearts.

Now, he could spring forward and throw himself at her feet, but alas!
as he reached her, the figure melted into the moonlight, and she was
gone--that divine Theodora, who, let us hope, returned at last to those
Elysian fields she so well deserved.



CHAPTER 70


"They have overdone it, Gertrude, with Lothair," said Lord Jerome to
his wife. "I spoke to Monsignore Catesby about it some time ago, but
he would not listen to me; I had more confidence in the cardinal and am
disappointed; but a priest is ever too hot. His nervous system has been
tried too much."

Lady St. Jerome still hoped the best, and believed in it. She was
prepared to accept the way Lothair was found senseless in the Coliseum
as a continuance of miraculous interpositions. He might have remained
there for a day or days, and never have been recognized when discovered.
How marvelously providential that Father Coleman should have been in the
vicinity, and tempted to visit the great ruin that very night!

Lord St. Jerome was devout, and easy in his temper. Priests and women
seemed to have no difficulty in managing him. But he was an English
gentleman, and there was at the bottom of his character a fund of
courage, firmness, and commonsense, that sometimes startled and
sometimes perplexed those who assumed that he could be easily
controlled. He was not satisfied with the condition of Lothair, "a peer
of England and my connection;" and he had not unlimited confidence
in those who had been hitherto consulted as to his state. There was a
celebrated English physician at that time visiting Rome, and Lord St.
Jerome, notwithstanding the multiform resistance of Monsignors Catesby,
insisted he should be called in to Lothair.

The English physician was one of those men who abhor priests, and do
not particularly admire ladies. The latter, in revenge, denounced his
manners as brutal, though they always sent for him, and were always
trying, though vainly, to pique him into sympathy. He rarely spoke,
but he listened to every one with entire patience. He sometimes asked a
question, but he never made a remark.

Lord St. Jerome had seen the physician, alone before he visited the
Palazzo Agostini, and had talked to him freely about Lothair. The
physician saw at once that Lord St. Jerome was truthful, and that,
though his intelligence might be limited, it was pure and direct.
Appreciating Lord St. Jerome, that nobleman found the redoubtable doctor
not ungenial, and assured his wife that she would meet on the morrow
by no means so savage a being as she anticipated. She received him
accordingly, and in the presence of Monsignore Catesby. Never had she
exercised her distinguished powers of social rhetoric with more art
and fervor, and never apparently had they proved less productive of the
intended consequences. The physician said not a word, and merely bowed
when exhausted Nature consigned the luminous and impassioned Lady St.
Jerome to inevitable silence. Monsignore Catesby felt he was bound in
honor to make some diversion in her favor; repeat some of her unanswered
inquiries, and reiterate some of her unnoticed views; but the only
return he received was silence, without a bow, and then the physician
remarked, "I presume I can now see the patient."

The English physician was alone with Lothair for some time, and then
he met in consultation the usual attendants. The result of all these
proceedings was that he returned to the saloon, in which he found Lord
and Lady St. Jerome, Monsignore Catesby, and Father Coleman, and he then
said: "My opinion is, that his lordship should quit Rome immediately,
and I think he had better return at once to his own country."

All the efforts of the English Propaganda were now directed to prevent
the return of Lothair to his own country. The cardinal and Lady St.
Jerome, and the monsignore, and Father Coleman, all the beautiful young
countesses who had "gone over" to Rome, and all the spirited young
earls who had come over to bring their wives back, but had unfortunately
remained themselves, looked very serious, and spoke much in whispers.
Lord St. Jerome was firm that Lothair should immediately leave the city,
and find that change of scene and air which were declared by authority
to be indispensable for his health, both of mind and body. But his
return to England, at this moment, was an affair of serious difficulty.
He could not return unattended, and attended, too, by some intimate
and devoted friend. Besides, it was very doubtful whether Lothair had
strength remaining to bear so great an exertion, and at such a season
of the year--and he seemed disinclined to it himself. He also wished to
leave Rome, but he wished also in time to extend his travels. Amid these
difficulties, a Neapolitan duke, a great friend of Monsignore Catesby, a
gentleman who always had a friend in need, offered to the young English
noble, the interesting young Englishman so favored by Heaven, the use
of his villa on the coast of the remotest part of Sicily, near Syracuse.
Here was a solution of many difficulties: departure from Rome, change
of scene and air--sea air, too, particularly recommended--and almost
the same as a return to England, without an effort, for was it not an
island, only with a better climate, and a people with free institutions,
or a taste for them, which is the same?

The mode in which Lady St. Jerome and Monsignors Catesby consulted
Lord St. Jerome on the subject took the adroit but insidious form
of congratulating him on the entire and unexpected fulfilment of his
purpose. "Are we not fortunate?" exclaimed her ladyship, looking up
brightly in his face, and gently pressing one of his arms.

"Exactly everything your lordship required," echoed Monsignore Catesby,
congratulating him by pressing the other.

The cardinal said to Lord St. Jerome, in the course of the morning, in
an easy way, and as if he were not thinking too much of the matter, "So,
you have got out of all your difficulties."

Lord St. Jerome was not entirely satisfied, but he thought he had done
a great deal, and, to say the truth, the effort for him had not been
inconsiderable; and so the result was that Lothair, accompanied by
Monsignore Catesby and Father Coleman, travelled by easy stages, and
chiefly on horseback, through a delicious and romantic country, which
alone did Lothair a great deal of good, to the coast; crossed the
straits on a serene afternoon, visited Messina and Palermo, and finally
settled at their point of destination--the Villa Catalano.

Nothing could be more satisfactory than the monsignore's bulletin,
announcing to his friends at Rome their ultimate arrangements. Three
weeks' travel, air, horse exercise, the inspiration of the landscape
and the clime, had wonderfully restored Lothair, and they might entirely
count on his passing Holy Week at Rome, when all they had hoped and
prayed for would, by the blessing of the Holy Virgin, be accomplished.



CHAPTER 71


The terrace of the Villa Catalano, with its orange and palm trees,
looked upon a sea of lapiz lazuli, and rose from a shelving shore of
aloes and arbutus. The waters reflected the color of the sky, and all
the foliage wag bedewed with the same violet light of morn which bathed
the softness of the distant mountains, and the undulating beauty of the
ever-varying coast.

Lothair was walking on the terrace, his favorite walk, for it was the
duly occasion on which he ever found himself alone. Not that he had any
reason to complain of his companions. More complete ones could scarcely
be selected. Travel, which, they say, tries all tempers, had only proved
the engaging equanimity of Catesby, and had never disturbed the amiable
repose of his brother priest: and then they were so entertaining and so
instructive, as well as handy and experienced in all common things. The
monsignore had so much taste and feeling, and various knowledge; and as
for the reverend father, all the antiquaries they daily encountered
were mere children in his hands, who, without effort, could explain and
illustrate every scene and object, and spoke as if he had never given a
thought to any other theme than Sicily and Syracuse, the expedition
of Nicias, and the adventures of Agathocles. And yet, during all their
travels, Lothair felt that he never was alone. This was remarkable at
the great cities, such as Messina and Palermo, but it was a prevalent
habit in less-frequented places. There was a petty town near them, which
he had never visited alone, although he had made more than one attempt
with that view; and it was only on the terrace in the early morn, a spot
whence he could be observed from the villa, and which did not easily
communicate with the precipitous and surrounding scenery, that Lothair
would indulge that habit of introspection which he had pursued through
many a long ride, and which to him was a never-failing source of
interest and even excitement.

He wanted to ascertain the causes of what he deemed the failure of his
life, and of the dangers and discomfiture that were still impending
over him. Were these causes to be found in any peculiarity of his
disposition, or in the general inexperience and incompetence of youth?
The latter, he was now quite willing to believe, would lead their
possessors into any amount of disaster, but his ingenuous nature
hesitated before it accepted them as the self-complacent solution of his
present deplorable position.

Of a nature profound and inquisitive, though with a great fund of
reverence which had been developed by an ecclesiastical education,
Lothair now felt that he had started in life with an extravagant
appreciation of the influence of the religious principle on the conduct
of human affairs. With him, when heaven was so nigh, earth could not be
remembered; and yet experience showed that, so long as one was on
the earth, the incidents of this planet considerably controlled one's
existence, both in behavior and in thought. All the world could not
retire to Mount Athos. It was clear, therefore, that there was a juster
conception of the relations between religion and life than that which he
had at first adopted.

Practically, Theodora had led, or was leading, him to this result; but
Theodora, though religious, did not bow before those altars to which
he for a moment had never been faithless. Theodora believed in
her immortality, and did not believe in death according to the
ecclesiastical interpretation. But her departure from the scene, and
the circumstances under which it had taken place, had unexpectedly and
violently restored the course of his life to its old bent. Shattered and
shorn, he was willing to believe that he was again entering the kingdom
of heaven, but found he was only under the gilded dome of a Jesuit's
church, and woke to reality, from a scene of magical deceptions, with
a sad conviction that even cardinals and fathers of the Church were
inevitably influenced in this life by its interest and his passions.

But the incident of his life that most occupied--it might be said
engrossed--his meditation was the midnight apparition in the Coliseum.
Making every allowance that a candid nature and an ingenious mind
could suggest for explicatory circumstances; the tension of his nervous
system, which was then doubtless strained to its last point; the memory
of her death-scene, which always harrowed and haunted him; and that dark
collision between his promise and his life which then, after so many
efforts, appeared by some supernatural ordination to be about inevitably
to occur in that very Rome whose gigantic shades surrounded him; he
still could not resist the conviction that he had seen the form of
Theodora and had listened to her voice. Often the whole day, when they
were travelling, and his companions watched him on his saddle in silent
thought, his mind in reality was fixed on this single incident and he
was cross-examining his memory as some adroit and ruthless advocate
deals with the witness in the box, and tries to demonstrate his
infidelity or his weakness.

But whether it were indeed the apparition of his adored friend or a
distempered dream, Lothair not less recognized the warning as divine,
and the only conviction he had arrived at throughout his Sicilian
travels was a determination that, however tragical the cost, his promise
to Theodora should never be broken.

The beautiful terrace of the Villa Catalano overlooked a small bay to
which it descended by winding walks. The water was deep, and in any
other country the bay might have been turned to good account; but
bays abounded on this coast, and the people, with many harbors, had no
freights to occupy them. This morn, this violet morn, when the balm of
the soft breeze refreshed Lothair, and the splendor of the rising sun
began to throw a flashing line upon the azure waters, a few fishermen in
one of the country boats happened to come in, about to dry a net upon a
sunny bank. The boat was what is called a speronaro; an open boat worked
with oars, but with a lateen sail at the same time when the breeze
served.

Lothair admired the trim of the vessel, and got talking with the men as
they ate their bread and olives, and a small fish or two.

"And your lateen sail--?" continued Lothair.

"Is the best thing in the world, except in a white squall," replied the
sailor, "and then every thing is queer in these seas with an open boat,
though I am not afraid of Santa Agnese, and that is her name. But I took
two English officers who came over here for sport and whose leave of
absence was out--I took them over in her to Malta, and did it in ten
hours. I believe it had never been done in an open boat before, but it
was neck or nothing with them."

"And you saved them?"

"With the lateen up the whole way."

"They owed you much, and I hope they paid you well."

"I asked them ten ducats," said the man, "and they paid me ten ducats."

Lothair had his hand in his pocket all this time, feeling, but
imperceptibly, for his purse, and, when he had found it, feeling how it
was lined. He generally carried about him as much as Fortunatus.

"What are you going to do with yourselves this morning?" said Lothair.

"Well, not much; we thought of throwing the net, but we have had one
dip, and no great luck."

"Are you inclined to give me a sail?"

"Certainly, signor."

"Have you a mind to go to Malta?"

"That is business, signor."

"Look here," said Lothair, "here are ten ducats in this purse, and a
little more. I will give them to you if you will take me to Malta
at once; but, if you will start in a hundred seconds, before the sun
touches that rock, and the waves just beyond it are already bright, you
shall have ten more ducats when you reach the isle."

"Step in, signor."

From the nature of the course, which was not in the direction of the
open sea, for they had to double Cape Passaro, the speronaro was out of
the sight of the villa in a few minutes. They rowed only till they had
doubled the cape, and then set the lateen sail, the breeze being light,
but steady and favorable. They were soon in open sea, no land in sight.
"And, if a white squall does rise," thought Lothair, "it will only
settle many difficulties."

But no white squall came; every thing was favorable to their progress;
the wind the current, the courage, and spirit of the men, who liked the
adventure, and liked Lothair. Night came on, but they were as tender to
him as women, fed him with their least coarse food, and covered him with
a cloak made of stuff spun by their mothers and their sisters.

Lothair was slumbering when the patron of the boat roused him, and he
saw at hand many lights, and, in a few minutes, was in still water.
They were in one of the harbors of Malta, but not permitted to land at
midnight, and, when the morn arrived, the obstacles to the release of
Lothair were not easily removed. A speronaro, an open boat from Sicily,
of course with no papers to prove their point of departure--here were
materials for doubt and difficulty, of which the petty officers of the
port knew how to avail themselves. They might come from Barbary, from an
infected port; plague might be aboard, a question of quarantine. Lothair
observed that they were nearly alongside of a fine steam-yacht, English,
for it bore the cross of St. George; and, while on the quay, he and
the patron of the speronaro arguing with the officers of the port,
a gentleman from the yacht put ashore in a boat, of which the bright
equipment immediately attracted attention. The gentleman landed almost
close to the point where the controversy was carrying on. The excited
manner and voice of the Sicilian mariner could not escape notice. The
gentleman stopped and looked at the group, and then suddenly exclaimed:
"Good Heavens! my lord, can it be you?"

"Ah, Mr. Phoebus, you will help me!" said Lothair; and then he went up
to him and told him every thing. All difficulties, of course, vanished
before the presence of Mr. Phoebus, whom the officers of the port
evidently looked upon as a being beyond criticism and control.

"And now," said Mr. Phoebus, "about your people and your baggage?"

"I have neither servants nor clothes," said Lothair, "and, if it had not
been for these good people, I should not have had food."



CHAPTER 72


Phoebus, in his steam-yacht Pan, of considerable admeasurement, and
fitted up with every luxury and convenience that science and experience
could suggest, was on his way to an island which he occasionally
inhabited, near the Asian coast of the gean Sea, and which he rented
from the chief of his wife's house, the Prince of Samos. Mr. Phoebus,
by his genius and fame, commanded a large income, and he spent it
freely and fully. There was nothing of which he more disapproved than
accumulation. It was a practice which led to sordid habits, and was
fatal to the beautiful. On the whole, he thought it more odious even
than debt, more permanently degrading. Mr. Phoebus liked pomp and
graceful ceremony, and he was of opinion that great artists should lead
a princely life, so that, in their manners and method of existence, they
might furnish models to mankind in general, and elevate the tone and
taste of nations.

Sometimes, when he observed a friend noticing with admiration, perhaps
with astonishment, the splendor or finish of his equipments, he would
say: "The world think I had a large fortune with Madame Phoebus. I had
nothing. I understand that a fortune, and no inconsiderable one, would
have been given had I chosen to ask for it. But I did not choose to
ask for it. I made Madame Phoebus my wife because she was the finest
specimen of the Aryan race that I was acquainted with, and I would have
no considerations mixed up with the high motive that influenced me.
My father-in-law Cantacuzene, whether from a feeling of gratitude or
remorse, is always making us magnificent presents. I like to receive
magnificent presents, but also to make them; and I presented him with a
picture which is the gem of his gallery, and which, if he ever part with
it, will in another generation be contended for by kings and peoples.

"On her last birthday we breakfasted with my father-in-law Cantacuzene,
and Madame Phoebus found in her napkin a check for five thousand pounds.
I expended it immediately in jewels for her personal use; for I wished
my father-in-law to understand that there are other princely families in
the world besides the Cantacuzenes."

A friend once ventured inquiringly to suggest whether his way of
life might not be conducive to envy, and so disturb that serenity of
sentiment necessary to the complete life of an artist. But Mr. Phoebus
would not for a moment admit the soundness of the objection. "No," he
said, "envy is a purely intellectual process. Splendor never excites
it; a man of splendor is looked upon always with favor--his appearance
exhilarates the heart of man. He is always popular. People wish to dine
with him, to borrow his money, but they do not envy him. If you want
to know what envy is, you should live among artists. You should hear
me lecture at the Academy. I have sometimes suddenly turned round and
caught countenances like that of the man who was waiting at the corner
of the street for Benvenuto Cellini, in order to assassinate the great
Florentine."

It was impossible for Lothair in his present condition to have fallen
upon a more suitable companion than Mr. Phoebus. It is not merely
change of scene and air that we sometimes want, but a revolution in the
atmosphere of thought and feeling in which we live and breathe. Besides
his great intelligence and fancy, and his peculiar views on art and
man and affairs in general, which always interested their hearer, and
sometimes convinced, there was a general vivacity in Mr. Phoebus and a
vigorous sense of life, which were inspiriting to his companions. When
there was any thing to be done, great or small, Mr. Phoebus liked to do
it; and this, as he averred, from a sense of duty, since, if any thing
is to be done, it should be done in the best manner, and no one could do
it so well as Mr. Phoebus. He always acted as if he had been created
to be the oracle and model of the human race, but the oracle was never
pompous or solemn, and the model was always beaming with good-nature and
high spirits.

Mr. Phoebus liked Lothair. He liked youth, and good-looking youth; and
youth that was intelligent and engaging and well-mannered. He also liked
old men. But, between fifty and seventy, he saw little to approve of in
the dark sex. They had lost their good looks if they ever had any,
their wits were on the wane, and they were invariably selfish. When they
attained second childhood, the charm often returned. Age was frequently
beautiful, wisdom appeared like an aftermath, and the heart which seemed
dry and deadened suddenly put forth shoots of sympathy.

Mr. Phoebus postponed his voyage in order that Lothair might make his
preparations to become his guest in his island. "I cannot take you to a
banker," said Mr. Phoebus, "for I have none; but I wish you would share
my purse. Nothing will ever induce me to use what they call paper money.
It is the worst thing that what they call civilization has produced;
neither hue nor shape, and yet a substitute for the richest color, and,
where the arts flourish, the finest forms."

The telegraph which brought an order to the bankers at Malta to give an
unlimited credit to Lothair, rendered it unnecessary for our friend to
share what Mr. Phoebus called his purse, and yet he was glad to have the
opportunity of seeing it, as Mr. Phoebus one morning opened a chest in
his cabin and produced several velvet bags, one full of pearls, another
of rubies, others of Venetian sequins, Napoleons, and golden piastres.
"I like to look at them," said Mr. Phoebus, "and find life more intense
when they are about my person. But bank-notes, so cold and thin--they
give me an ague."

Madame Phoebus and her sister Euphrosyne welcomed Lothair in maritime
costumes which were absolutely bewitching; wondrous jackets with loops
of pearls, girdles defended by dirks with handles of turquoises, and
tilted hats that; while they screened their long eyelashes from the sun,
crowned the longer braids of their never-ending hair. Mr. Phoebus gave
banquets every day on board his yacht, attended by the chief personages
of the island, and the most agreeable officers of the garrison. They
dined upon deck, and it delighted him, with a surface of sang-froid, to
produce a repast which both in its material and its treatment was equal
to the refined festivals of Paris. Sometimes they had a dance; sometimes
in his barge, rowed by a crew in Venetian dresses, his guests glided on
the tranquil waters, under a starry sky, and listened to the exquisite
melodies of their hostess and her sister.

At length the day of departure arrived. It was bright, with a breeze
favorable to the sail and opportune for the occasion. For all the
officers of the garrison, and all beautiful Valetta itself, seemed
present in their yachts and barges to pay their last tribute of
admiration to the enchanting sisters and the all-accomplished owner of
the Pan. Placed on the galley of his yacht, Mr. Phoebus surveyed the
brilliant and animated scene with delight. "This is the way to conduct
life," he said. "If, fortunately for them, I could have passed another
month among these people, I could have developed a feeling equal to the
old regattas of the Venetians."

The gean isle occupied by Mr. Phoebus was of no inconsiderable
dimensions. A chain of mountains of white marble intersected it, covered
with forests of oak, though in parts precipitous and bare. The lowlands,
while they produced some good crops of grain, and even cotton and silk,
were chiefly clothed with fruit-trees--orange and lemon, and the fig,
the olive, and the vine. Sometimes the land was uncultivated, and was
principally covered with myrtles, of large size, and oleanders,
and arbutus, and thorny brooms. Here game abounded, while from the
mountain-forests the wolf sometimes descended, and spoiled and scared
the islanders.

On the sea-shore, yet not too near the wave, and on a sylvan declivity,
was along, pavilion-looking building, painted in white and arabesque.
It was backed by the forest, which had a park-like character from its
partial clearance, and which, after a convenient slip of even land,
ascended the steeper country and took the form of wooded hills, backed
in due time by still sylvan yet loftier elevations, and sometimes a
glittering peak.

"Welcome, my friend!" said Mr. Phoebus to Lothair. "Welcome to an Aryan
clime, an Aryan landscape, and an Aryan race! It will do you good after
your Semitic hallucinations."



CHAPTER 73


Mr. Phoebus pursued a life in his island partly feudal, partly Oriental,
partly Venetian, and partly idiosyncratic. He had a grand studio, where
he could always find interesting occupation in drawing every fine face
and form in his dominions. Then he hunted, and that was a remarkable
scene. The ladies, looking like Diana or her nymphs, were mounted on
cream-colored Anatolian chargers, with golden bells; while Mr. Phoebus
himself, in green velvet and seven-leagued boots, sounded a wondrous
twisted horn, rife with all the inspiring or directing notes of musical
and learned venerie. His neighbors of condition came mounted, but the
field was by no means confined to cavaliers. A vast crowd of men, in
small caps and jackets and huge white breeches, and armed with all the
weapons of Palikari, handjars and ataghans and silver-sheathed muskets
of uncommon length and almost as old as the battle of Lepanto, always
rallied round his standard. The equestrians caracoled about the park,
and the horns sounded, and the hounds bayed, and the men shouted, till
the deer had all scudded away. Then, by degrees, the hunters entered the
forest, and the notes of venerie became more faint and the shouts more
distant. Then, for two or three hours, all was silent, save the sound
of an occasional shot or the note of a stray hound, until the human
stragglers began to reappear emerging from the forest, and in due
time the great body of the hunt, and a gilded cart drawn by mules and
carrying the prostrate forms of fallow-deer and roebuck. None of the
ceremonies of the chase were omitted, and the crowd dispersed, refreshed
by Samian wine, which Mr. Phoebus was teaching them to make without
resin, and which they quaffed with shrugging shoulders.

"We must have a wolf-hunt for you," said Euphrosyne to Lothair. "You
like excitement, I believe?"

"Well, I am rather inclined for repose at present, and I came here with
the hope of obtaining it."

"Well, we are never idle here; in fact, that would be impossible with
Gaston. He has established here an academy of the fine arts, and also
revived the gymnasia; and my sister and myself have schools--only music
and dancing; Gaston does not approve of letters. The poor people have,
of course, their primary schools, with their priests, and Gaston does
not interfere with them, but he regrets their existence. He looks upon
reading and writing as very injurious to education."

Sometimes reposing on divans, the sisters received the chief persons of
the isle, and regaled them with fruits and sweetmeats, and coffee and
sherbets, while Gaston's chibouques and tobacco of Salonica were a
proverb. These meetings always ended with dance and song, replete,
according to Mr. Phoebus, with studies of Aryan life.

"I believe these islanders to be an unmixed race," said Mr. Phoebus.
"The same form and visage prevails throughout; and very little changed
in any thing--even in their religion."

"Unchanged in their religion!" said Lothair, with some astonishment.

"Yes; you will find it so. Their existence is easy; their wants are not
great, and their means of subsistence plentiful. They pass much of their
life in what is called amusement--and what is it? They make parties of
pleasure; they go in procession to a fountain or a grove. They dance and
eat fruit, and they return home singing songs. They have, in fact, been
performing unconsciously the religious ceremonies of their ancestors,
and which they pursue, and will forever, though they may have forgotten
the name of the dryad or the nymph who presides over their waters."

"I should think their priests would guard them from these errors," said
Lothair.

"The Greek priests, particularly in these Asian islands, are good sort
of people," said Mr. Phoebus. "They marry and have generally large
families, often very beautiful. They have no sacerdotal feelings, for
they never can have any preferment; all the high posts in the Greek
Church being reserved for the monks, who study what is called theology.
The Greek parish priest is not at all Semitic; there is nothing to
counteract his Aryan tendencies. I have already raised the statue of
a nymph at one of their favorite springs and places of pleasant
pilgrimage, and I have a statue now in the island, still in its case,
which I contemplate installing in a famous grove of laurel not far off
and very much resorted to."

"And what then?" inquired Lothair.

"Well, I have a conviction that among the great races the old creeds
will come back," said Mr. Phoebus, "and it will be acknowledged that
true religion is the worship of the beautiful. For the beautiful cannot
be attained without virtue, if virtue consists, as I believe, in the
control of the passions, in the sentiment of repose, and the avoidance
in all things of excess."

One night Lothair was walking home with the sisters from a village
festival where they had been much amused.

"You have had a great many adventures since we first met?" said Madame
Phoebus.

"Which makes it seem longer ago than it really is," said Lothair.

"You count time by emotion, then?" said Euphrosyne.

"Well, it is a wonderful thing, however it be computed," said Lothair.

"For my part, I do not think that it ought to be counted at all," said
Madame Phoebus; "and there is nothing to me so detestable in Europe as
the quantity of clocks and watches."

"Do you use a watch, my lord?" asked Euphrosyne, in a tone which always
seemed to Lothair one of mocking artlessness.

"I believe I never wound it up when I had one," said Lothair.

"But you make such good use of your time," said Madame Phoebus, "you do
not require watches."

"I am glad to hear I make good use of my time," said Lothair, "but a
little surprised."

"But you are so good, so religious," said Madame Phoebus. "That is a
great thing; especially for one so young."

"Hem!" said Lothair.

"That must have been a beautiful procession at Rome," said Euphrosyne.

"I was rather a spectator of it than an actor in it," said Lothair, with
some seriousness. "It is too long a tale to enter into, but my part in
those proceedings was entirely misrepresented."

"I believe that nothing in the newspapers is ever true," said Madame
Phoebus.

"And that is why they are so popular," added Euphrosyne; "the taste of
the age being so decidedly for fiction."

"Is it true that you escaped from a convent to Malta?" said Madame
Phoebus.

"Not quite," said Lothair, "but true enough for conversations."

"As confidential as the present, I suppose?" said Euphrosyne.

"Yes, when we are grave, as we are inclined to be now," said Lothair.

"Then, you have been fighting a good deal," said Madame Phoebus.

"You are putting me on a court-martial, Madame Phoebus," said Lothair.

"But we do not know on which side you were," said Euphrosyne.

"That is matter of history," said Lothair, "and that, you know, is
always doubtful."

"Well, I do not like fighting," said Madame Phoebus, "and for my part I
never could find out that it did an good."

"And what do you like?" said Lothair. "Tell me how would you pass your
life?"

"Well, much as I do. I do not know that I want any change, except I
think I should like it to be always summer."

"And I would have perpetual spring," said Euphrosyne.

"But, summer or spring, what would be your favorite pursuit?"

"Well, dancing is very nice," said Madame Phoebus.

"But we cannot always, be dancing," said Lothair.

"Then we would sing," said Euphrosyne.

"But the time comes when one can neither dance nor sing," said Lothair.

"Oh, then we become part of the audience," said Madame Phoebus, "the
people for whose amusement everybody labors."

"And enjoy power without responsibility," said Euphrosyne, "detect false
notes and mark awkward gestures. How can any one doubt of Providence
with such a system of constant compensation!"

There was something in the society of these two sisters that Lothair
began to find highly attractive. Their extraordinary beauty, their
genuine and unflagging gayety, their thorough enjoyment of existence,
and the variety of resources with which they made life amusing and
graceful, all contributed to captivate him. They had, too, a great love
and knowledge both of art and nature, and insensibly they weaned Lothair
from that habit of introspection which, though natural to him, he
had too much indulged, and taught him to find sources of interest and
delight in external objects. He was beginning to feel happy in this
islands and wishing that his life might never change, when one day Mr.
Phoebus informed them that the Prince Agathonides, the eldest son of
the Prince of Samos, would arrive from Constantinople in a few days,
and would pay them a visit. "He will come with some retinue," said Mr.
Phoebus, "but I trust we shall be able by our reception to show that the
Cantacuzenes are not the only princely family in the world."

Mr. Phoebus was confident in his resources in this respect, for his
yacht's crew in their Venetian dresses could always furnish a guard of
honor which no Grecian prince or Turkish pacha could easily rival. When
the eventful day arrived, he was quite equal to the occasion. The yacht
was dressed in every part with the streaming colors of all nations, the
banner of Gaston Phoebus waved from his pavilion, the guard of honor
kept the ground, but the population of the isle were present in numbers
and in their most showy costume, and a battery of ancient Turkish guns
fired a salute without an accident.

The Prince Agathonides was a youth, good looking and dressed in a
splendid Palikar costume, though his manners were quite European, being
an attach to the Turkish embassy at Vienna. He had with him a sort of
governor, a secretary, servants in Mamlouk dresses, pipe-bearers, and
grooms, there being some horses as presents from his father to Mr.
Phoebus, and some rarely-embroidered kerchiefs and choice perfumes and
Persian greyhounds for the ladies.

'The arrival of the young prince was the signal for a series of
entertainments on the island. First of all, Mr. Phoebus resolved to give
a dinner in the Frank style, to prove to Agathonides that there were
other members of the Cantacuzene family besides himself who comprehended
a first-rate Frank dinner. The chief people of the island were invited
to this banquet. They drank the choicest grapes of France and Germany,
were stuffed with truffles, and sat on little cane chairs. But one might
detect in their countenances how they sighed for their easy divans,
their simple dishes, and their resinous wine. Then there was a
wolf-hunt, and other sport; a great day of gymnasia, many dances and
much music; in fact, there were choruses all over the island, and every
night was a serenade.

Why such general joy? Because it was understood that the heir-apparent
of the isle, their future sovereign, had in fact arrived to make his bow
to the beautiful Euphrosyne, as though he saw her for the first time.



CHAPTER 74


Very shortly after his arrival at Malta, Mr. Phoebus had spoken to
Lothair about Theodora. It appeared that Lucien Campian, though severely
wounded, had escaped with Garibaldi after the battle of Mentana into the
Italian territories. Here they were at once arrested, but not severely
detained, and Colonel Campian took the first opportunity of revisiting
England, where, after settling his affairs, he had returned to his
native country, from which he had been separated for many years. Mr.
Phoebus during the interval had seen a great deal of him, and the
colonel departed for America under the impression that Lothair had been
among the slain at the final struggle.

"Campian is one of the beat men I over knew," said Phoebus. "He was a
remarkable instance of energy combined with softness of disposition. In
my opinion, however, he ought never to have visited Europe: he was made
to clear the backwoods, and govern man by the power of his hatchet and
the mildness of his words. He was fighting for freedom all his life,
yet slavery made and slavery destroyed him. Among all the freaks of Fate
nothing is more surprising than that this Transatlantic planter should
have been ordained to be the husband of a divine being--a true Hellenic
goddess, who in the good days would have been worshipped in this
country, and have inspired her race to actions of grace, wisdom, and
beauty."

"I greatly esteem him," said Lothair "and I shall write to him
directly."

"Except by Campian, who spoke probably about you to no one save myself,"
continued Phoebus, "your name has never been mentioned with reference to
those strange transactions. Once there was a sort of rumor that you had
met with some mishap, but these things were contradicted and explained,
and then forgotten: and people were all out of town. I believe that
Cardinal Grandison communicated with your man of business, and between
them every thing was kept quiet, until this portentous account of your
doings at Rome, which transpired after we left England and which met us
at Malta."

"I have written to my man of business about that," said Lothair, "but
I think it will tax all his ingenuity to explain, or to mystify it as
successfully as he did the preceding adventures. At any rate, he will
not have the assistance of my lord cardinal."

"Theodora was a remarkable woman on many accounts," said Mr. Phoebus,
"but particularly on this, that, although one of the most beautiful
women that ever existed, she was adored by beautiful women. My wife
adored her; Euphrosyne, who has no enthusiasm, adored her; the Princess
of Tivoli, the most capricious being probably that ever existed, adored;
and always adored, Theodora. I think it must have been that there was
on her part a total absence of vanity, and this the more strange in
one whose vocation in her earlier life had been to attract and live
on popular applause; but I have seen her quit theatres ringing with
admiration and enter her carriage with the serenity of a Phidian muse."

"I adored her," said Lothair, "but I never could quite solve her
character. Perhaps it was too rich and deep far rapid comprehension."

"We shall never perhaps see her like again," said Mr. Phoebus. "It was a
rare combination, peculiar to the Tyrrhenian sea. I am satisfied that we
must go there to find the pure Hellenic blood, and from thence it got to
Rome."

"We may not see her like again, but we may see her again," said Lothair;
"and sometimes I think she is always hovering over me."

In this vein, when they were alone, they were frequently speaking of
the departed, and one day--it was before the arrival of Prince
Agathonides--Mr. Phoebus said to Lothair: "We will ride this morning to
what we call the grove of Daphne. It is a real laurel-grove. Some of the
trees must be immemorial, and deserve to have been sacred, if once
they were not so. In their huge, grotesque forms you would not easily
recognize your polished friends of Europe, so trim and glossy and
shrub-like. The people are very fond of this grove, and make frequent
processions there. Once a year they must be headed by their priest.
No one knows why, nor has he the slightest idea of the reason of the
various ceremonies which he that day performs. But we know, and some day
he or his successors will equally understand them. Yes, if I remain here
long enough--and I sometimes think I will never again quit the isle--I
shall expect some fine summer night, when there is that rich stillness
which the whispering waves only render more intense, to hear a voice
of music on the mountains declaring that the god Pan has returned to
earth."

It was a picturesque ride, as every ride was on this island, skirting
the sylvan hills with the sea glimmering in the distance. Lothair was
pleased with the approaches to the sacred grove: now and then a single
tree with gray branches and a green head, then a great spread of
underwood, all laurel, and then spontaneous plantations of young trees.

"There was always a vacant space in the centre of the grove," said Mr.
Phoebus, "once sadly overrun with wild shrubs, but I have cleared it and
restored the genius of the spot. See!"

They entered the sacred circle and beheld a statue raised on a porphyry
pedestal. The light fell with magical effect on the face of the statue.
It was the statue of Theodora, the placing of which in the pavilion
of Belmont Mr. Phoebus was superintending when Lothair first made his
acquaintance.



CHAPTER 75


The Prince Agathonides seemed quite to monopolize the attention
of Madame Phoebus and her sister. This was not very unreasonable,
considering that he was their visitor, the future chief of their house,
and had brought them so many embroidered pocket-handkerchiefs, choice
scents, and fancy dogs. But Lothair thought it quite disgusting, nor
could he conceive what they saw in him, what they were talking about or
laughing about, for, so far as he had been able to form any opinion on
the subject, the prince was a shallow-pated coxcomb without a single
quality to charm any woman of sense and spirit. Lothair began to
consider how he could pursue his travels, where he should go to, and,
when that was settled, how he should get there.

Just at this moment of perplexity, as is often the case, something
occurred which no one could foresee, but which, like every event,
removed some difficulties and introduced others.

There arrived at the island a dispatch forwarded to Mr. Phoebus by
the Russian ambassador at Constantinople, who had received it from
his colleague at London. This dispatch contained a proposition to
Mr. Phoebus to repair to the court of St. Petersburg, and accept
appointments of high distinction and emolument. Without in any way
restricting the independent pursuit of his profession, he was offered
a large salary, the post of court painter, and the presidency of the
Academy of Fine Arts. Of such moment did the Russian Government deem the
official presence of this illustrious artist in their country, that
it was intimated, if the arrangement could be effected, its conclusion
might be celebrated by conferring on Mr. Phoebus a patent of nobility
and a decoration of a high class. The dispatch contained a private
letter from an exalted member of the imperial family, who had had the
high and gratifying distinction of making Mr. Phoebus's acquaintance
in London, personally pressing the acceptance by him of the general
proposition, assuring him of cordial welcome and support, and informing
Mr. Phoebus that what was particularly desired at this moment was a
series of paintings illustrative of some of the most memorable scenes
in the Holy Land and especially the arrival of the pilgrims of the Greek
rite at Jerusalem. As for this purpose he would probably like to visit
Palestine, the whole of the autumn or even a longer period was placed at
his disposal; so that, enriched with all necessary drawings and studies,
he might achieve his more elaborate performances in Russia at his
leisure and with every advantage.

Considering that the great objects in life with Mr. Phoebus were to live
in an Aryan country, amid an Aryan race, and produce works which should
revive for the benefit of human nature Aryan creeds, a proposition to
pass some of the prime years of his life among the Mongolian race, and
at the same time devote his pencil to the celebration Semitic subjects,
was startling.

"I shall say nothing to Madame Phoebus until the prince has gone," he
remarked to Lothair; "he will go the day after to-morrow. I do not know
what they may offer to make me--probably only a baron, perhaps a count.
But you know in Russia a man may become a prince, and I certainly should
like those Cantacuzenes to feel that after all their daughter is a
princess with no thanks to them. The climate is detestable, but one owes
much to one's profession. Art would be honored at a great, perhaps the
greatest, court. There would not be a fellow at his easel in the
streets about Fitzroy Square who would not be prouder. I wonder what
the decoration will be? 'Of a high class'--vague. It might be Alexander
Newsky. You know you have a right, whatever your decoration, to have
it expressed, of course at your own expense, in brilliants. I confess I
have my weaknesses. I should like to get over to the Academy dinner--one
can do any thing in these days of railroads--and dine with the R. A's
in my ribbon and the star of the Alexander Newsky in brilliants. I think
every academician would feel elevated. What I detest are their Semitic
subjects--nothing but drapery. They cover even their heads in those
scorching climes. Can any one make any thing of a caravan of pilgrims?
To be sure, they say no one can draw a camel. If I went to Jerusalem, a
camel would at last be drawn. There is something in that. We must think
over these things, and when the prince has gone talk it over with
Madame Phoebus. I wish you all to come to a wise decision, without the
slightest reference to my individual tastes or, it may be, prejudices."

The result of all this was that Mr. Phoebus, without absolutely
committing himself, favorably entertained the general proposition of the
Russian court; while, with respect to their particular object in art, he
agreed to visit Palestine and execute at least one work for his imperial
friend and patron. He counted on reaching Jerusalem before the Easter
pilgrims returned to their homes.

"If they would make me a prince at once, and give me the Alexander
Newsky in brilliants, it might be worth thinking of," he said to
Lothair.

The ladies, though they loved their isle, were quite delighted with
the thought of going to Jerusalem. Madame Phoebus knew a Russian
grand-duchess who had boasted to her that she had been both to Jerusalem
and Torquay, and Madame Phoebus had felt quite ashamed that she had been
to neither.

"I suppose you will feel quite at home there," said Euphrosyne to
Lothair.

"No; I never was there."

"No; but you know all about those places and people--holy places and
holy persons. The Blessed Virgin did not, I believe, appear to you. It
was to a young lady, was it not? We were asking each other last night
who the young lady could be."



CHAPTER 76


Time, which changes every thing, is changing even the traditionary
appearance of forlorn Jerusalem. Not that its mien, after all, was ever
very sad. Its airy site, its splendid mosque, its vast monasteries, the
bright material of which the whole city is built, its cupolaed houses
of freestone, and above all the towers and gates and battlements of its
lofty and complete walls, always rendered it a handsome city. Jerusalem
has not been sacked so often or so recently as the other two great
ancient cities, Rome and Athens. Its vicinage was never more desolate
than the Campagna, or the state of Attica and the Morea in 1830.

The battle-field of western Asia from the days of the Assyrian kings
to those of Mehemet Ali, Palestine endured the same devastation as in
modern times has been the doom of Flanders and the Milanese; but the
years of havoc in the Low Countries and Lombardy must be counted in
Palestine by centuries. Yet the wide plains of the Holy Land, Sharon,
and Shechem, and Esdraelon, have recovered; they are as fertile and as
fair as in old days; it is the hill-culture that has been destroyed, and
that is the culture on which Jerusalem mainly depended. Its hills were
terraced gardens, vineyards, and groves of olive-trees. And here it
is that we find renovation. The terraces are again ascending the stony
heights, and the eye is frequently gladdened with young plantations.
Fruit-trees, the peach and the pomegranate, the almond and the fig,
offer gracious groups; and the true children of the land, the vine and
the olive, are again exulting in their native soil.

There is one spot, however, which has been neglected, and yet the one
that should have been the first remembered, as it has been the most
rudely wasted. Blessed be the hand which plants trees upon Olivet!
Blessed be the hand that builds gardens about Sion!

The most remarkable creation, however, in modern Jerusalem is the
Russian settlement which within a few years has risen on the elevated
ground on the western side of the city. The Latin, the Greek, and the
Armenian Churches had for centuries possessed enclosed establishments
in the city, which, under the name of monasteries, provided shelter and
protection for hundreds--it might be said even thousands--of pilgrims
belonging to their respective rites. The great scale, therefore, on
which Russia secured hospitality for her subjects was not in reality
so remarkable as the fact that it seemed to indicate a settled
determination to separate the Muscovite Church altogether from the
Greek, and throw off what little dependence is still acknowledged on the
Patriarchate of Constantinople. Whatever the motive, the design has been
accomplished on a large scale. The Russian buildings, all well defended,
are a caravanserai, a cathedral, a citadel. The consular flag crowns the
height and indicates the office of administration; priests and monks are
permanent inhabitants, and a whole caravan of Muscovite pilgrim and the
trades on which they depend can be accommodated within the precinct.

Mr. Phoebus, his family and suite, were to be the guests of the Russian
consul, and every preparation was made to insure the celebrated
painter a becoming reception. Frequent telegrams had duly impressed the
representative of all the Russias in the Holy Land with the importance
of his impending visitor. Even the qualified and strictly provisional
acceptance of the Russian proposition by Mr. Phoebus had agitated the
wires of Europe scarcely less than a suggested conference.

"An artist should always remember what he owes to posterity and his
profession," said Mr. Phoebus to Lothair, as they were walking the deck,
"even if you can distinguish between them, which I doubt, for it is only
by a sense of the beautiful that the human family can be sustained
in Its proper place in the scale of creation, and the sense of the
beautiful is a result of the study of the fine arts. It would be
something to sow the seeds of organic change in the Mongolian type, but
I am nor sanguine of success. There is no original fund of aptitude to
act upon. The most ancient of existing communities is Turanian, and yet,
though they could invent gunpowder and the mariner's compass, they never
could understand perspective.--Man ahead there! tell Madame Phoebus to
come on deck for the first sight of Mount Lebanon."

When the Pan entered the port of Joppa they observed another English
yacht in those waters; but, before they could speculate on its owner,
they were involved in all the complications of landing. On the quay, the
Russian vice-consul was in attendance with horses and mules, and
donkeys handsomer than either. The ladies were delighted with the vast
orange-gardens of Joppa, which Madame Phoebus said realized quite her
idea of the Holy Land.

"I was prepared for milk and honey," said Euphrosyne, "but this is too
delightful," as she travelled through lanes of date-bearing palm-trees,
and sniffed with her almond-shaped nostrils the all-pervading fragrance.

They passed the night at Arimathea, a pretty village surrounded
with gardens enclosed with hedges of prickly pear. Here they found
hospitality, in an old convent, but all the comforts of Europe and many
of the refinements of Asia had been forwarded for their accommodations.

"It is a great homage to art," said Mr. Phoebus, as he scattered his
gold like a great seigneur of Gascony.

The next day, two miles from Jerusalem, the consul met them with a
cavalcade, and the ladies assured their host that they were not at all
wearied with their journey, but were quite prepared, in due time, to
join his dinner-party, which he was most anxious they should attend, as
he had "two English lords" who had arrived, and whom he had invited
to meet them. They were all curious to know their names, though that,
unfortunately, the consul could not tell them, but he had sent to the
English consulate to have them written down. All he could assure them
was, that they were real English lords, not travelling English lords,
but in sober earnestness great personages.

Mr. Phoebus was highly gratified. He was pleased with his reception.
There was nothing he liked much more than a procession. He was also a
sincere admirer of the aristocracy of his country. "On the whole,"
he would say, "they most resemble the old Hellenic race; excelling in
athletic sports, speaking no other language than their own, and never
reading."

"Your fault," he would sometimes say to Lothair, "and the cause of many
of your sorrows, is the habit of mental introspection. Man is born to
observe, but if he falls into psychology he observes nothing, and then
he is astonished that life has no charms for him, or that, never seizing
the occasion, his career is a failure. No, sir, it is the eye that must
be occupied and cultivated; no one knows the capacity of the eye who has
not developed it, or the visions of beauty and delight and inexhaustible
interest which it commands. To a man who observes, life is as different
as the existence of a dreaming psychologist is to that of the animals of
the field."

"I fear," said Lothair, "that I have at length found out the truth, and
that I am a dreaming psychologist."

"You are young and not irremediably lost," said Mr. Phoebus.
"Fortunately, you have received the admirable though partial education
of your class. You are a good shot, you can ride, you can row, you can
swim. That imperfect secretion of the brain which is called thought has
not yet bowed your frame. You have not had time to read much. Give it up
altogether. The conversation of a woman like Theodora is worth all the
libraries in the world. If it were only for her sake, I should wish
to save you, but I wish to do it for your own. Yes, profit by the vast
though calamitous experience which you have gained in a short time. We
may know a great deal about our bodies, we can know very little about
our minds."

The "real English lords" turned out to be Bertram and St. Aldegonde,
returning from Nubia. They had left England about the same time as
Lothair, and had paired together on the Irish Church till Easter, with a
sort of secret hope on the part of St. Aldegonde that they might neither
of them reappear in the House of Commons again until the Irish Church
were either saved or subverted. Holy Week had long passed, and they were
at Jerusalem, not quite so near the House of Commons as the Reform
Club or the Carlton, but still St. Aldegonde had mentioned that he
was beginning to be bored with Jerusalem, and Bertram counted on their
immediate departure when they accepted the invitation to dine with the
Russian consul.

Lothair was unaffectedly delighted to meet Bertram, and glad to see
St. Aldegonde, but he was a little nervous and embarrassed as to the
probable tone of his reception by them. But their manner relieved him in
an instant, for he saw they knew nothing of his adventures.

"Well," said St. Aldegonde, "what have you been doing with yourself
since we last met? I wish you had come with us, and had a shot at a
crocodile."

Bertram told Lothair in the course of the evening that he found letters
at Cairo from Corisande, on his return, in which there was a good deal
about Lothair, and which had made him rather uneasy. "That there was a
rumor you had been badly wounded, and some other things," and Bertram
looked him full in the face; "but I dare say not a word of truth."

"I was never better in my life," said Lothair, "and I have been in
Sicily and in Greece. However, we will talk over all this another time."

The dinner at the consulate was, one of the most successful banquets
that was ever given, if to please your guests be the test of good
fortune in such enterprises. St. Aldegonde was perfectly charmed with
the Phoebus family; he did not know which to admire most--the great
artist, who was in remarkable spirits to-day, considering he was in a
Semitic country, or his radiant wife, or his brilliant sister-in-law.
St. Aldegonde took an early opportunity of informing Bertram that if he
liked to go over and vote for the Irish Church he would release him from
his pair with the greatest pleasure, but for his part he had not the
slightest intention of leaving Jerusalem at present. Strange to say,
Bertram received this intimation without a murmur. He was not so loud
in his admiration of the Phoebus family as St. Aldegonde, but there is
a silent sentiment sometimes more expressive than the noisiest applause,
and more dangerous. Bertram had sat next to Euphrosyne, and was entirely
spell-bound.

The consul's wife, a hostess not unworthy of such guests, had
entertained her friends in the European style. The dinner-hour was not
late, and the gentlemen who attended the ladies from the dinner-table
were allowed to remain some time in the saloon. Lothair talked much to
the consul's wife, by whose side sat Madame Phoebus. St. Aldegonde was
always on his legs, distracted by the rival attractions of that lady and
her husband. More remote, Bertram whispered to Euphrosyne, who answered
him with laughing eyes.

At a certain hour, the consul, attended by his male guests, crossing a
court, proceeded to his divan, a lofty and capacious chamber painted in
fresco, and with no furniture except the low but broad raised seat that
surrounded the room. Here, when they were seated, an equal number of
attendants--Arabs in Arab dress, blue gowns, and red slippers, and red
caps--entered, each proffering a long pipe of cherry or jasmine wood.
Then, in a short time, guests dropped in, and pipes and coffee were
immediately brought to them. Any person who had been formally presented
to the consul had this privilege, without any further invitation. The
society often found in these consular divans in the more remote places
of the East--Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem--is often extremely entertaining
and instructive. Celebrated travellers, distinguished men of science,
artists, adventurers who ultimately turn out to be heroes, eccentric
characters of all kinds, are here encountered, and give the fruits of
their original or experienced observation without reserve.

"It is the smoking-room over again," whispered St. Aldegonde to Lothair,
"only in England one is so glad to get away from the women, but here I
must say I should have liked to remain behind."

An individual in a Syrian dress, fawn-colored robes girdled with a rich
shawl, and a white turban, entered. He made his salute with grace and
dignity to the consul, touching his forehead, his lip, and his heart,
and took his seat with the air of one not unaccustomed to be received,
playing, until he received his chibouque, with a chaplet of beads.

"That is a good-looking fellow, Lothair," said St. Aldegonde; "or is it
the dress that turns them out such swells? I feel quite a lout by some
of these fellows."

"I think he would be good-looking in any dress," said Lothair. "A
remarkable countenance."

It was an oval visage, with features in harmony with that form; large
dark-brown eyes and lashes, and brows delicately but completely defined;
no hair upon the face except a beard, full but not long. He seemed about
the same age as Mr. Phoebus, and his complexion, though pale, was clear
and fair.

The conversation, after some rambling, had got upon the Suez Canal. Mr.
Phoebus did not care for the political or the commercial consequences of
that great enterprise, but he was glad that a natural division should
be established between the greater races and the Ethiopian. It might not
lead to any considerable result, but it asserted a principle. He looked
upon that trench as a protest.

"But would you place the Nilotic family in the Ethiopian race?" inquired
the Syrian in a voice commanding from its deep sweetness.

"I would certainly. The were Cushim, and that means negroes."

The Syrian did not agree with Mr. Phoebus; he stated his views firmly
and, clearly, but without urging them. He thought that we must look to
the Pelasgi as the colonizing race that had peopled and produced Egypt.
The mention of the Pelasgi fired Mr. Phoebus to even unusual
eloquence. He denounced the Pelasgi as a barbarous race: men of gloomy
superstitions, who, had it not been for the Hellenes, might have fatally
arrested the human development. The triumph of the Hellenes was the
triumph of the beautiful, and all that is great and good in life was
owing to their victory.

"It is difficult to ascertain what is great in life," said the Syrian,
"because nations differ on the subject and ages. Some, for example,
consider war to be a great thing, others condemn it. I remember also
when patriotism was a boast, and now it is a controversy. But it is not
so difficult to ascertain what is good. For man has in his own being
some guide to such knowledge, and divine aid to acquire it has not
been wanting to him. For my part I could not maintain that the Hellenic
system led to virtue."

The conversation was assuming an ardent character when the consul, as a
diplomatist, turned the channel. Mr. Phoebus had vindicated the Hellenic
religion, the Syrian, with a terse protest against the religion of
Nature, however idealized, as tending to the corruption of man, had let
the question die away, and the Divan were discussing dromedaries,
and dancing-girls, and sherbet made of pomegranate, which the consul
recommended and ordered to be produced. Some of the guests retired, and
among them the Syrian with the same salute and the same graceful dignity
as had distinguished his entrance.

"Who is that man?" said Mr. Phoebus. "I met him at Rome ten years ago.
Baron Mecklenburg brought him to me to paint for my great picture of
St. John, which is in the gallery of Munich. He said in his way--you
remember his way--that he would bring me a face of Paradise."

"I cannot exactly tell you his name," said the consul. "Prince Galitzin
brought him here, and thought highly of him. I believe he is one of the
old Syrian families in the mountain; but whether he be a Maronite or a
Druse, or any thing else, I really cannot say. Now try the sherbet."



CHAPTER 77


There are few things finer than the morning view of Jerusalem from the
Mount of Olives. The fresh and golden light falls on a walled city with
turrets and towers and frequent gates: the houses of freestone, with
terraced or oval roofs, sparkle in the sun, while the cupolaed pile of
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the vast monasteries, and the broad
steep of Sion crowned with the tower of David, vary the monotony of the
general masses of building. But the glory of the scene is the Mosque of
Omar as it rises on its broad platform of marble from the deep ravine
of Kedron, with its magnificent dome high in the air, its arches and
gardened courts, and its ornaments glittering amid the cedar, the
cypress, and the palm.

Reclining on Olivet, Lothair, alone and in charmed abstraction, gazed on
the wondrous scene. Since his arrival at Jerusalem he lived much apart,
nor had he found difficulty in effecting this isolation. Mr. Phoebus had
already established a studio on a considerable scale, and was engaged
in making sketches of pilgrims and monks, tall donkeys of Bethlehem with
starry fronts, in which he much delighted, and grave Jellaheen sheiks,
who were hanging about the convents in the hopes of obtaining a convoy
to the Dead Sea. As for St. Aldegonde and Bertram, they passed their
lives at the Russian consulate, or with its most charming inhabitants.
This morning, with the consul and his wife and the matchless sisters, as
St. Aldegonde always termed them, they had gone on an excursion to the
Convent of the Nativity. Dinner usually reassembled all the party, and
then the Divan followed.

"I say, Bertram," said St. Aldegonde, "what a lucky thing we paired and
went to Nubia! I rejoice in the Divan, and yet, somehow, I cannot bear
leaving those women. If the matchless sisters would only smoke, by Jove
they would be perfect!"

"I should not like Euphrosyne to smoke," said Bertram.

A person approached Lothair by the pathway from Bethany. It was the
Syrian gentleman whom he had met at the consulate. As he was passing
Lothair, he saluted him with the grace which had been before remarked,
and Lothair, who was by nature courteous, and even inclined a little
to ceremony in his manners, especially with those with whom he was not
intimate, immediately rose, as he would not receive such a deputation in
a reclining posture.

"Let me not disturb you," said the stranger, "or, if we must be on equal
terms, let me also be seated, for this is a view that never palls."

"It is perhaps familiar to you," said Lothair, "but with me, only a
pilgrim, its effect is fascinating, almost overwhelming."

"The view of Jerusalem never becomes familiar," said the Syrian, "for
its associations are so transcendent, so various, so inexhaustible, that
the mind can never anticipate its course of thought and feeling, when
one sits, as we do now, on this immortal mount."

"I presume you live here?" said Lothair.

"Not exactly," said his companion. "I have recently built a house
without the walls, and I have planted my hill with fruit-trees, and
made vineyards and olive-grounds, but I have done this as much--perhaps
more--to set an example, which, I am glad, to say, has been followed,
as for my own convenience or pleasure. My home is in the north of
Palestine, on the other side of, Jordan, beyond the Sea of Galilee. My
family has dwelt there from time immemorial; but they always loved this
city, and have a legend that they dwelt occasionally within its walls,
even in the days when Titus from that hill looked down upon the temple."

"I have often wished to visit the Sea of Galilee," said Lothair.

"Well, you have now an opportunity," said the Syrian; "the north of
Palestine, though it has no topical splendor, has much variety and a
peculiar natural charm. The burst and brightness of spring have not yet
quite vanished: you would find our plains radiant with wild-flowers, and
our hills green with young crops; and, though we cannot rival Lebanon,
we have forest glades among our famous hills that, when once seen, are
remembered."

"But there is something to me more interesting than the splendor of
tropical scenery," said Lothair, "even if Galilee could offer it. I wish
to visit the cradle of my faith."

"And you would do wisely," said the Syrian, "for there is no doubt the
spiritual nature of man is developed in this land."

"And yet there are persons at the present day who doubt--even deny--the
spiritual nature of man," said Lothair. "I do not, I could not--there
are reasons why I could not."

"There are some things I know, and some things I believe," said the
Syrian. "I know that I have a soul, and I believe that it is immortal."

"It is science that, by demonstrating the insignificance of this
globe in the vast scale of creation, has led to this infidelity," said
Lothair.

"Science may prove the insignificance of this globe in the scale of
creation," said the stranger, "but it cannot prove the insignificance of
man. What is the earth compared with the sun? a molehill by a mountain;
yet the inhabitants of this earth can discover the elements of which
the great orb consists, and will probably ere long ascertain all the
conditions of its being. Nay, the human mind can penetrate far beyond
the sun. There is no relation, therefore, between the faculties of man
and the scale in creation of the planet which he inhabits."

"I was glad to hear you assert the other night the spiritual nature of
man in opposition to Mr. Phoebus."

"Ah! Mr. Phoebus!" said the stranger, with a smile. "He is an old
acquaintance of mine. And I must say he is very consistent--except in
paying a visit to Jerusalem. That does surprise me. He said to me the
other night the same things as he said to me at Rome many years ago. He
would revive the worship of Nature. The deities whom he so eloquently
describes and so exquisitely delineates are the ideal personifications
of the most eminent human qualities, and chiefly the physical. Physical
beauty is his standard of excellence, and he has a fanciful theory that
moral order would be the consequence of the worship of physical beauty,
for without moral order he holds physical beauty cannot be maintained.
But the answer to Mr. Phoebus is, that his system has been tried and
has failed, and under conditions more favorable than are likely to
exist again; the worship of Nature ended in the degradation of the human
race."

"But Mr. Phoebus cannot really believe in Apollo and Venus," said
Lothair. "These are phrases. He is, I suppose, what is called a
Pantheist."

"No doubt the Olympus of Mr. Phoebus is the creation of his easel,"
replied the Syrian. "I should not, however, describe him as a Pantheist,
whose creed requires more abstraction than Mr. Phoebus, the worshipper
of nature, would tolerate. His school never care to pursue any
investigation which cannot be followed by the eye--and the worship of
the beautiful always ends in an orgy. As for Pantheism, it is Atheism in
domino. The belief in a Creator who is unconscious of creating is more
monstrous than any dogma of any of the Churches in this city, and we
have them all here."

"But there are people now who tell you that there never was any
Creation, and therefore there never could have been a Creator," said
Lothair.

"And which is now advanced with the confidences of novelty," said the
Syrian, "though all of it has been urged, and vainly urged, thousands of
years ago. There must be design, or all we see would be without sense,
and I do not believe in the unmeaning. As for the natural forces to
which all creation is now attributed, we know they are unconscious,
while consciousness is as inevitable a portion of our existence as the
eye or the hand. The conscious cannot be derived from the unconscious.
Man is divine."

"I wish I could assure myself of the personality of the Creator," said
Lothair. "I cling to that, but they say it is unphilosophical."

"In what sense?" asked the Syrian. "Is it more unphilosophical to
believe in a personal God, omnipotent and omniscient, than in natural
forces unconscious and irresistible? Is it unphilosophical to combine
power with intelligence? Goethe, a Spinozist who did not believe in
Spinoza, said that he could bring his mind to the conception that in the
centre of space we might meet with a monad of pure intelligence. What
may be the centre of space I leave to the daedal imagination of the
author of 'Faust;' but a monad of pure intelligence--is that more
philosophical than the truth, first revealed to man amid these
everlasting hills," said the Syrian, "that God made man in His own
image?"

"I have often found in that assurance a source of sublime consolation,"
said Lothair.

"It is the charter of the nobility of man," said the Syrian, "one of the
divine dogmas revealed in this land; not the invention of councils, not
one of which was held on this sacred soil, confused assemblies first
got together by the Greeks, and then by barbarous nations in barbarous
times."

"Yet the divine land no longer tells us divine things," said Lothair.

"It may or it may not have fulfilled its destiny," said the Syrian. "'In
my Father's house are many mansions,' and by the various families of
nations the designs of the Creator are accomplished. God works by races,
and one was appointed in due season and after many developments to
reveal and expound in this land the spiritual nature of man. The Aryan
and the Semite are of the same blood and origin, but when they quitted
their central land they were ordained to follow opposite courses. Each
division of the great race has developed one portion of the double
nature of humanity, till, after all their wanderings, they met again,
and, represented by their two choicest families, the Hellenes and the
Hebrews, brought together the treasures of their accumulated wisdom, and
secured the civilization of man."

"Those among whom I have lived of late," said Lothair, "have taught me
to trust much in councils, and to believe that without them there could
be no foundation for the Church. I observe you do not speak in that
vein, though, like myself, you find solace in those dogmas which
recognize the relations between the created and the Creator."

"There can be no religion without that recognition," said the Syrian,
"and no creed can possibly be devised without such a recognition that
would satisfy man. Why we are here, whence we come, whither we go--these
are questions which man is organically framed and forced to ask himself,
and that would not be the case if they could not be answered. As for
churches depending on councils, the first council was held more than
three centuries after the Sermon on the Mount. We Syrians had churches
in the interval: no one can deny that. I bow before the Divine decree
that swept them away from Antioch to Jerusalem, but I am not yet
prepared to transfer my spiritual allegiance to Italian popes and Greek
patriarchs. We believe that our family were among the first followers of
Jesus, and that we then held lands in Bashan which we hold now. We had
a gospel once in our district where there was some allusion to this, and
being written by neighbors, and probably at the time, I dare say it
was accurate, but the Western Churches declared our gospel was not
authentic, though why I cannot tell, and they succeeded in extirpating
it. It was not an additional reason why we, should enter into their
fold. So I am content to dwell in Galilee and trace the footsteps of my
Divine Master, musing over His life and pregnant sayings amid the mounts
He sanctified and the waters He loved so well."

The sun was now rising in the heavens, and the hour had arrived when it
became expedient to seek the shade. Lothair and the Syrian rose at the
same time.

"I shall not easily forget our conversation on the Mount of Olives,"
said Lothair, "and I would ask you to add to this kindness by permitting
me, before I leave Jerusalem, to pay my respects to you under your
roof."

"Peace be with you!" said the Syrian. "I live without the gate of
Damascus, on a hill which you will easily recognize, and my name is
PARACLETE."



CHAPTER 78


Time passed very agreeably to St. Aldegonde and Bertram at Jerusalem,
for it was passed entirely at the Russian consulate, or with its
interesting and charming inmates, who were always making excursions, or,
as they styled them, pilgrimages. They saw little of Lothair, who would
willingly have conversed with his friend on many topics, but his friend
was almost always engaged, and, if by some chance they succeeded in
finding themselves alone, Bertram appeared to be always preoccupied.
One day he said to Lothair: "I tell you what, old fellow, if you want
to know all about what has happened at home, I will give you Corisande's
letters. They are a sort of journal which she promised to keep for me,
and they will tell you every thing. I found an immense packet of them on
our return from Cairo, and I meant to have read them here; but I do not
know how it is--I suppose there is so much to be seen here--but I never
seem to have a moment to myself. I have got an engagement now to the
consulate. We are going to Elisha's Fountain to-day. Why do not you
come?"

"Well, I am engaged too," said Lothair. "I have settled to go to the
Tombs of the Kings to-day, with Signor Paraclete, and I cannot well get
off; but remember the letters."

The box of letters arrived at Lothair's rooms in due season, and their
perusal deeply interested him. In their pages, alike earnest and lively,
and a picture of a mind of high intelligence adorned with fancy
and feeling, the name of Lothair frequently appeared, and sometimes
accompanied with expressions that made his heart beat. All the rumors
of his adventures, as they gradually arrived in England, generally
distorted, were duly chronicled, and sometimes with comments, which
intimated the interest they occasioned to the correspondent of Bertram.
More than once she could not refrain from reproaching her brother for
having left his friend so much to himself. "Of all your friends," she
said, "the one who always most interested me, and seemed most worthy of
your affection." And then she deplored the absolute ruin of Lothair, for
such she deemed his entrance into the Roman Church.

"I was right in my appreciation of that woman, though I was utterly
inexperienced in life," thought Lothair. "If her mother had only favored
my views two years ago, affairs would have been different. Would they
have been better? Can they be worse? But I have gained experience.
Certainly; and paid for it with my heart's blood. And might I not have
gained experience tranquilly, in the discharge of the duties of my
position at home--dear home? Perhaps not. And suppose I never had gained
experience, I still might have been happy? And what am I now? Most lone
and sad. So lone and sad that nothing but the magical influence of the
scene around me saves me from an overwhelming despondency."

Lothair passed his life chiefly with Paraclete, and, a few weeks after
their first acquaintance, they left Jerusalem together for Galilee.

The month of May had disappeared, and June was advancing. Bertram and
Saint Aldegonde no longer talked about their pair, and their engagements
in the House of Commons. There seemed a tacit understanding between
them to avoid the subject; remarkable on the part of Bertram, for he had
always been urgent on his brother-in-law to fulfil their parliamentary
obligation.

The party at the Russian consulate had gone on a grand expedition to the
Dead Sea, and had been absent for many days from Jerusalem. They were
conveyed by one of the sheiks of the Jordan valley. It was a most
successful expedition--constant adventure, novel objects and habits, all
the spell of a romantic life. The ladies were delighted with the scenery
of the Jordan valley, and the gentlemen had good sport; St. Aldegonde
had killed a wild-boar, and Bertram an ibex, whose horns were preserved
for Brentham. Mr. Phoebus intensely studied the camel and its habits. He
persuaded himself that the ship of the desert entirely understood him.
"But it is always so," he added. "There is no animal that in a week does
not perfectly comprehend me. Had I time and could give myself up to it,
I have no doubt I could make them speak. Nature has endowed me, so far
as dumb animals are concerned, with a peculiar mesmeric power."

At last this happy caravan was again within sight of the walls of
Jerusalem.

"I should like to have remained in the valley of the Jordan forever,"
said St. Aldegonde.

"And so should I," whispered Bertram to Euphrosyne, "with the same
companions."

When they had returned to the consulate, they found the post from
England had arrived during their absence. There were dispatches for all.
It is an agitating moment--that arrival of letters in a distant land.
Lord St. Aldegonde seemed much disturbed when he tore open and perused
his. His countenance became clouded; he dashed his hand through his
dishevelled locks; he pouted; and then he said to Bertram, "Come to my
room."

"Anything wrong at home?"

"Not at home," said St. Aldegonde. "Bertha is all right. But a most
infernal letter from Glyn--most insolent. If I do return I will vote
against them. But I will not return. I have made up my mind to that.
People are so selfish," exclaimed St. Aldegonde, with indignation. "They
never think of any thing but themselves."

"Show me his letter," said Bertram. "I have got a letter too; it is from
the duke."

The letter of the Opposition whip did not deserve the epithets ascribed
to it by St. Aldegonde. It was urgent and courteously peremptory; but,
considering the circumstances of the case, by no means too absolute.
Paired to Easter by great indulgence, St. Aldegonde was passing
Whitsuntide at Jerusalem. The parliamentary position was critical, and
the future of the Opposition seemed to depend on the majority by which
their resolutions on the Irish Church were sent up to the House of
Lords.

"Well," said Bertram. "I see nothing to complain of in that letter.
Except a little more urgency, it is almost the same language as reached
us at Cairo, and then you said Glyn was a capital fellow, and seemed
quite pleased."

"Yes, because I hated Egypt," said St. Aldegonde. "I hated the pyramids,
and I was disappointed with the dancing-girls; and it seemed to me
that, if it had not been for the whip, we never should have been able to
escape. But things are very different now."

"Yes, they are," said Bertram, in a melancholy tone.

"You do not think of returning?" said St. Aldegonde.

"Instantly," replied Bertram. "I have a letter from the duke which is
peremptory. The county is dissatisfied with my absence. And mine is
a queer constituency; very numerous and several large towns; the
popularity of my family gained me the seat, not their absolute
influence."

"My constituents never trouble me," said St. Aldegonde.

"You have none," said Bertram.

"Well, if I were member for a metropolitan district I would hot budge.
And I little thought you would have deserted me."

"Ah!" sighed Bertram. "You're discontented, because your amusements are
interrupted. But think of my position, torn from a woman whom I adore."

"Well, you know you must have left her sooner or later," urged St.
Aldegonde.

"Why?" asked Bertram.

"You know what Lothair told us. She is engaged to her cousin the Prince
of Samos, and--"

"If I had only the Prince of Samos to deal with, I should care little,"
said Bertram.

"Why, what do you mean?"

"That Euphrosyne is mine, if my family will sanction our union, but not
otherwise."

St. Aldegonde gave a long whistle, and he added, "I wish Bertha were
here. She is the only person I know who has a head."

"You see, my dear Granville, while you are talking of your little
disappointments, I am involved in awful difficulties."

"You are sure about the Palace of Samos?"

"Clear your head of that. There is no engagement of any kind between
him and Euphrosyne. The visit to the island was only a preliminary
ceremony--just to show himself. No doubt the father wishes the alliance;
nor is there any reason to suppose that it would be disagreeable to the
son; but, I repeat it--no engagement exists."

"If I were not your brother-in-law, I should have been very glad to have
married Euphrosyne myself," said St. Aldegonde.

"Yes, but what am I to do?" asked Bertram, rather impatiently.

"It will not do to write to Brentham," said St. Aldegonde, gravely;
"that I see clearly." Then, after musing a while, he added: "I am vexed
to leave our friends here and shall miss them sadly. They are the most
agreeable people I ever knew. I never enjoyed myself so much. But we
must think of nothing but your affairs. We must return instantly. The
whip will be an excuse, but the real business will be Euphrosyne. I
should delight in having her for a sister-in-law, but the affair will
require management. We can make short work of getting home: steam to
Marseilles, leave the yacht there, and take the railroad. I have half
a mind to telegraph to Bertha to meet us there. She would be of great
use."



CHAPTER 79


Lothair was delighted with Galilee, and particularly with the blue
waters of its lake slumbering beneath the surrounding hills. Of all its
once pleasant towns, Tiberias alone remains, and that in ruins from a
recent earthquake. But where are Chorazin, and Bethsaida, and Capernaum?
A group of hovels and an ancient tower still bear the magic name of
Magdala, and all around are green mounts and gentle slopes, the scenes
of miracles that softened the heart of man, and of sermons that never
tire his ear. Dreams passed over Lothair of settling forever on the
shores of these waters, and of reproducing all their vanished happiness:
rebuilding their memorable cities, reviving their fisheries, cultivating
the plain of Gennesaret and the country of the Gadarenes, and making
researches in this cradle of pure and primitive Christianity.

The heritage of Paraclete was among the oaks of Bashan, a lofty land,
rising suddenly from the Jordan valley, verdant and well watered, and
clothed in many parts with forest; there the host of Lothair resided
among his lands and people, and himself dwelt in a stone and castellated
building, a portion of which was of immemorial antiquity, and where he
could rally his forces and defend himself in case of the irruption and
invasion of the desert tribes. And here one morn arrived a messenger
from Jerusalem summoning Lothair back to that city, in consequence of
the intended departure of his friends.

The call was urgent, and was obeyed immediately with that promptitude
which the manners of the East, requiring no preparation, admit.
Paraclete accompanied his guest. They had to cross the Jordan, and then
to trace their way till they reached the southern limit of the plain
of Esdraelon, from whence they counted on the following day to reach
Jerusalem. While they were encamped on this spot, a body of Turkish
soldiery seized all their horses, which were required, they said, by the
Pacha of Damascus, who was proceeding to Jerusalem, attending a great
Turkish general, who was on a mission to examine the means of defence
of Palestine on the Egyptian side. This was very vexatious, but one
of those incidents of Eastern life against which it is impossible to
contend; so Lothair and Paraclete were obliged to take refuge in their
pipes beneath a huge and solitary sycamore-tree, awaiting the arrival of
the Ottoman magnificoes.

They came at last, a considerable force of cavalry, then mules and
barbarous carriages with the harem, all the riders and inmates enveloped
in what appeared to be winding-sheets, white and shapeless; about them
eunuchs and servants. The staff of the pachas followed, preceding the
grandees who closed the march, mounted on Anatolian chargers.

Paraclete and Lothair had been obliged to leave the grateful shade of
the sycamore-tree, as the spot had been fixed on by the commander of the
advanced guard for the resting-place of the pachas. They were standing
aside and watching the progress of the procession, and contemplating the
earliest opportunity of representing their grievances to high authority,
when the Turkish general, or the seraskier, as the Syrians inaccurately
styled him, suddenly reined in his steed, and said, in a loud voice,
"Captain Muriel!"

Lothair recognized the well-known voice of his commanding officer in
the Apennine, and advanced to him with a military salute. "I must
first congratulate you on being alive, which I hardly hoped," said the
general. "Then let me know why you are here."

And Lothair told him.

"Well, you shall have back your horses," said the general; "and I will
escort you to El Khuds. In the mean time you must be our guest;" and he
presented him to the Pacha of Damascus with some form. "You and I have
bivouacked in the open air before this, and not in so bland a clime."

Beneath the shade of the patriarchal sycamore, the general narrated to
Lothair his adventures since they were fellow-combatants on the fatal
field of Mentana.

"When all was over," continued the general, "I fled with Garibaldi, and
gained the Italian frontier at Terrni. Here we were of course arrested
by the authorities, but not very maliciously. I escaped one morning, and
got among the mountains in the neighborhood of our old camp. I had to
wander about these parts for some time, for the Papalini were in the
vicinity, and there was danger. It was a hard time; but I found a
friend now and then among the country people, though they are dreadfully
superstitious. At last I got to the shore, and induced an honest fellow
to put to sea in an open boat, on the chance of something turning up. It
did, in the shape of a brigantine from Elba bound for Corfu. Here I
was sure to find friends, for the brotherhood are strong in the Ionian
Isles. And I began to look about for business. The Greeks made me some
offers, but their schemes were all vanity, worse than the Irish. You
remember our Fenian squabble? From something that transpired, I had made
up my mind, so soon as I was well equipped, to go to Turkey. I had had
some transactions with the house of Cantacuzene, through the kindness of
our dear friend whom we will never forget, but will never mention; and
through them I became acquainted with the Prince of Samos, who is the
chief of their house. He is in the entire confidence of Aali Pacha. I
soon found out that there was real business on the carpet. The Ottoman
army, after many trials and vicissitudes, is now in good case; and the
Porte has resolved to stand no more nonsense either in this direction--"
and the general gave a significant glance--"or in any other. But they
wanted a general; they wanted a man who knew his business. I am not a
Garibaldi, you know, and never pretended to be. I have no genius, or
volcanic fire, or that sort of thing; but I do presume to say, with
fair troops, paid with tolerable regularity, a battery or two of rifled
cannon, and a well-organized commissariat, I am not afraid of meeting
any captain of my acquaintance, whatever his land or language. The Turks
are a brave people, and there is nothing in their system, political or
religious, which jars with my convictions. In the army, which is all
that I much care for, there is the career of merit, and I can promote
any able man that I recognize. As for their religion, they are tolerant
and exact nothing from me; and if I had any religion except Madre
Natura, I am not sure I would not prefer Islamism; which is at least
simple, and as little sacerdotal as any organized creed can be. The
Porte made me a liberal offer, and I accepted it. It so happened that,
the moment I entered their service, I was wanted. They had a difficulty
on their Dalmatian frontier; I settled it in a way they liked. And now I
am sent here with full powers, and am a pacha of the highest class, and
with a prospect of some warm work. I do not know what your views are,
but, if you would like a little more soldiering, I will put you on my
staff; and, for aught I know, we may find your winter-quarters at Grand
Cairo--they say a pleasant place for such a season."

"My soldiering has not been very fortunate," said Lothair; "and I am not
quite as great an admirer of the Turks as you are, general. My mind is
rather on the pursuits of peace, and twenty hours ago I had a dream of
settling on the shores of the Sea of Galilee."

"Whatever you do," said the general, "give up dreams."

"I think you may be right in that," said Lothair, with half a sigh.

"Action may not always be happiness," said the general; "but there is
no happiness without action. If you will not fight the Egyptians, were I
you, I would return home and plunge into affairs. That was a fine castle
of yours I visited one morning; a man who lives in such a place must be
able to find a great deal to do."

"I almost wish I were there, with you for my companion," said Lothair.

"The wheel may turn," said the general; "but I begin to think I shall
not see much of Europe again. I have given it some of my best years and
best blood; and, if I had assisted in establishing the Roman republic,
I should not have lived in vain; but the old imposture seems to me
stronger than ever. I have got ten good years in me yet; and, if I
be well supported and in luck, for, after all, every thing depends on
fortune, and manage to put a couple of hundred thousand men in perfect
discipline, I may find some consolation for not blowing up St. Peter's,
and may do something for the freedom of mankind on the banks of the
Danube."



CHAPTER 80


Mrs. Putney Giles, in full toilet, was standing before the mantel-piece
of her drawing-room in Hyde Park Gardens, and watching, with some
anxiety, the clock that rested on it. It was the dinner-hour, and Mr.
Putney Giles, particular in such matters, had not returned. No one
looked forward to his dinner, and a chat with his wife, with greater
zest than Mr. Putney Giles; and he deserved the gratification which
both incidents afforded him, for he fairly earned it. Full of news and
bustle, brimful of importance and prosperity, sunshiny and successful,
his daily return home--which, with many, perhaps most, men, is a process
lugubriously monotonous--was in Hyde Park Gardens, even to Apollonia,
who possessed many means of amusement and occupation, a source ever of
interest and excitement.

To-day too, particularly, for their great client, friend, and patron,
Lothair, had arrived last night, from the Continent, at Muriel House,
and had directed Mr. Putney Giles to be in attendance on him on the
afternoon of this day.

Muriel House was a family mansion in the Green Park. It was built of
hewn stone, during the last century--a Palladian edifice, for a time
much neglected, but now restored and duly prepared for the reception
of its lord and master by the same combined energy and taste which had
proved so satisfactory and successful at Muriel Towers.

It was a long room, the front saloon at Hyde Park Gardens, and the door
was as remote as possible from the mantel-piece. It opened suddenly, but
only the panting face of Mr. Putney Giles was seen, as he poured forth
in hurried words: "My dear, dreadfully late, but I can dress in five
minutes. I only opened the door in passing, to tell you that I have seen
our great friend; wonderful man! but I will tell you all at dinner, or
after. It was not he who kept me, but the Duke of Brecon. The duke has
been with me two hours. I had a good mind to bring him home to dinner,
and give him a bottle of my '48. They like that sort of thing, but it
will keep," and the head vanished.

The Duke of Brecon would not have dined ill, had he honored this
household. It is a pleasant thing to see an opulent and prosperous man
of business, sanguine and full of health, and a little overworked, at
that royal meal, dinner. How he enjoys his soup! And how curious in his
fish! How critical in his entr e, and how nice in his Welsh mutton! His
exhausted brain rallies under the glass of dry sherry, and he realizes
all his dreams with the aid of claret that has the true flavor of the
violet.

"And now, my dear Apollonia," said Mr. Putney Giles, when the servants
had retired, and he turned his chair and played with a new nut from the
Brazils, "about our great friend. Well, I was there at two o'clock, and
found him at breakfast. Indeed, he said that, had he not given me an
appointment, he thought he should not have risen at all. So delighted
he was to find himself again in an English bed. Well, he told me every
thing that had happened. I never knew a man so unreserved, and so
different from what he was when I first knew him, for he never much
cared then to talk about himself. But no egotism, nothing of that sort
of thing--all his mistakes, all his blunders, as he called them. He told
me every thing, that I might thoroughly understand his position, and
that he might judge whether the steps I had taken in reference to it
were adequate."

"I suppose about his religion," said Apollonia. "What is he, after all?"

"As sound as you are. But you are right; that was the point on which he
was most anxious. He wrote, you know, to me from Malta, when the
account of his conversion first appeared, to take all necessary steps to
contradict the announcement, and counteract its consequences. He gave me
carte blanche, and was anxious to know precisely what I had done. I
told him that a mere contradiction, anonymous, or from a third person,
however unqualified its language, would have no effect in the face of
a detailed narrative, like that in all the papers, of his walking in
procession and holding a lighted taper, and all that sort of thing. What
I did was this. I commenced building, by his direction, two new churches
on his estate, and announced in the local journals, copied in London,
that he would be present at the consecration of both. I subscribed, in
his name, and largely, to all the diocesan societies, gave a thousand
pounds to the Bishop of London's fund, and accepted for him the office
of steward, for this year, for the Sons of the Clergy. Then, when the
public feeling was ripe, relieved from all its anxieties, and beginning
to get indignant at the calumnies that had been so freely circulated,
the time for paragraphs had arrived, and one appeared stating that
a discovery had taken place of the means by which an unfounded and
preposterous account of the conversion of a distinguished young English
nobleman at Rome had been invented and circulated, and would probably
furnish the occasion for an action for libel. And now his return and
appearance at the Chapel Royal, next Sunday, will clinch the whole
business."

"And he was satisfied?"

"Most satisfied; a little anxious whether his personal friends,
and particularly the Brentham family, were assured of the truth. He
travelled home with the duke's son and Lord St. Aldegonde, but they came
from remote parts, and their news from home was not very recent."

"And how does he look?"

"Very well; never saw him look better. He is handsomer than he was. But
he is changed. I could not conceive in a year that any one could be so
changed. He was young for his years; he is now old for his years. He
was, in fact, a boy; he is now a man; and yet it is only a year. He said
it seemed to him ten."

"He has been through a fiery furnace," said Apollonia.

"Well, he has borne it well," said Mr. Giles. "It is worth while serving
such a client, so cordial, so frank, and yet so full of thought. He
say he does not in the least regret all the money he has wasted. Had he
remained at home, it would have gone to building a cathedral."

"And a popish one!" said Apollonia. "I cannot agree with him," she
continued, "that his Italian campaign was a waste of money. It will bear
fruit. We shall still see the end of the 'abomination of desolation.'"

"Very likely," said Mr. Giles; "but I trust my client will have no more
to do with such questions either way."

"And did he ask after his friends?" said Apollonia.

"Very much: he asked after you. I think he went through all the guests
at Muriel Towers except the poor Campians. He spoke, to me about the
colonel, to whom it appears he has written; but Theodora he never
mentioned, except by some periphrasis, some allusion to a great sorrow,
or to some dear friend whom he had lost. He seems a little embarrassed
about the St. Jeromes, and said more than once that he owed his life to
Miss Arundel. He dwelt a good deal upon this. He asked also a great deal
about the Brentham family. They seem the people whom he most affects.
When I told him of Lady Corisande's approaching union with the Duke of
Brecon, I did not think he half liked it."

"But is it settled?"

"The same as--. The duke has been with me two hours to-day about his
arrangements. He has proposed to the parents, who are delighted with
the match, and has received every encouragement from the young lady. He
looks upon it as certain."

"I wish our kind friend had not gone abroad," said Apollonia.

"Well, at any rate, he has come back," said Mr. Giles; "that is
something. I am sure I more than once never expected to see him again."

"He has every virtue, and every charm," said Apollonia, "and principles
that are now proved. I shall never forget his kindness at the Towers. I
wish he were settled for life. But who is worthy of him? I hope he will
not fall into the clutches of that popish girl. I have sometimes, from
what I observed at Muriel, and other reasons, a dread misgiving."



CHAPTER 81


It was the first night that Lothair had slept in his own house, and,
when he awoke in the morning, he was quite bewildered, and thought for a
moment he was in the Palazzo Agostini. He had not reposed in so spacious
and lofty a chamber since he was at Rome. And this brought all his
recollection to his Roman life, and every thing that had happened there.
"And yet, after all," he said, "had it not been for Clare Arundel,
I should never have seen Muriel House. I owe to her my life." His
relations with the St. Jerome family were doubtless embarrassing, even
painful; and yet his tender and susceptible nature could not for a
moment tolerate that he should passively submit to an estrangement
from those who had conferred on him so much kindness, and whose
ill-considered and injurious courses, as he now esteemed them, were
perhaps, and probably, influenced and inspired by exalted, even sacred
motives.

He wondered whether they were in London; and, if so, what should he do?
Should he call, or should he write? He wished he could do something
to show to Miss Arundel how much he appreciated her kindness, and how
grateful he was. She was a fine creature, and all her errors were noble
ones; enthusiasm, energy, devotion to a sublime cause. Errors, but are
these errors? Are they not, on the contrary, qualities which should
command admiration in any one? and in a woman--and a beautiful
woman--more than admiration?

There is always something to worry you. It comes as regularly as
sunrise. Here was Lothair under his own roof again, after strange
and trying vicissitudes, with his health restored, his youth little
diminished, with some strange memories and many sweet ones; on the
whole, once more in great prosperity, and yet his mind harped only on
one vexing thought, and that was his painful and perplexed relations
with the St. Jerome family.

His thoughts were a little distracted from this harassing theme by
the novelty of his house, and the pleasure it gave him. He admired the
double staircase and the somewhat heavy, yet richly-carved ceilings; and
the look into the park, shadowy and green, with a rich summer sun, and
the palace in the distance. What an agreeable contrast to his hard,
noisy sojourn in a bran-new, brobdingnagian hotel, as was his coarse
fate when he was launched into London life! This made him think of
many comforts for which he ought to be grateful, and then he remembered
Muriel Towers, and how completely and capitally every thing was there
prepared and appointed, and while he was thinking over all this--and
kindly of the chief author of these satisfactory arrangements, and the
instances in which that individual had shown, not merely professional
dexterity and devotion, but some of the higher qualities that make life
sweet and pleasant--Mr. Putney Giles was announced, and Lothair sprang
forward and gave him his hand with a cordiality which repaid at once
that perfect but large-hearted lawyer for all his exertions, and some
anxieties that he had never expressed even to Apollonia.

Nothing in life is more remarkable than the unnecessary anxiety which
we endure, and generally, occasion ourselves. Between four and five
o'clock, having concluded his long conference with Mr. Putney Giles,
Lothair, as if he were travelling the principal street of a foreign
town, or rather treading on tiptoe like a prince in some enchanted
castle, ventured to walk down St. James Street, and the very first
person he met was Lord St. Jerome!

Nothing could be more unaffectedly hearty than his greeting by that good
man and thorough gentleman. "I saw, by the Post, you had arrived," said
Lord St. Jerome, "and we were all saying at breakfast how glad we should
be to see you again. And looking so well! Quite yourself! I never saw
you looking better. You have been to Egypt with Lord St. Aldegonde, I
think? It was the wisest thing you could do. I said to Gertrude, when
you went to Sicily, 'If I were Lothair, I would go a good deal farther
than Sicily.' You wanted change of scene and air, more than any man I
know."

"And how are they all?" said Lothair; "my first visit will be to them."

"And they will be delighted to see you. Lady St. Jerome is a little
indisposed--a cold caught at one of her bazaars. She will hold them, and
they say that no one ever sells so much. But still, as I often say, 'My
dear Gertrude, would it not be better if I were to give you a check
for the institution; it would be the same to them, and would save you
a great deal of trouble.' But she fancies her presence inspires others,
and perhaps there is something in it."

"I doubt not; and Miss Arundel?"

"Clare is quite well, and I am hurrying home now to ride with her. I
shall tell her that you asked after her."

"And offer her my kindest remembrances."

"What a relief!" exclaimed Lothair, when once more alone. "I thought I
should have sunk into the earth when he first addressed me, and now I
would not have missed this meeting for any consideration."

He had not the courage to go into White's. He was under a vague
impression that the whole population of the metropolis, and especially
those who reside in the sacred land, bounded on the one side by
Piccadilly, and on the other by Pall Mall, were unceasingly talking
of his scrapes and misadventures; but he met Lord Carisbrooke and Mr.
Brancepeth.

"Ah! Lothair," said Carisbrooke, "I do not think we have seen you
this season--certainly not since Easter. What have you been doing with
yourself?"

"You have been in Egypt?" said Mr. Brancepeth. "The duke was mentioning
at White's to-day that you had returned with his son and Lord St.
Aldegonde."

"And does it pay?" inquired Carisbrooke. "Egypt? What I have found
generally in this sort of thing is, that one hardly knows what to do
with one's evenings."

"There is something in that," said Lothair, "and perhaps it applies to
other countries besides Egypt. However, though it is true I did return
with St. Aldegonde and Bertram, I have myself not been to Egypt."

"And where did you pick them up?"

"At Jerusalem."

"Jerusalem! What on earth could they go to Jerusalem for?" said Lord
Carisbrooke. "I am told there is no sort of sport there. They say, in
the Upper Nile, there is good shooting."

"St. Aldegonde was disappointed. I suppose our countrymen have disturbed
the crocodiles and frightened away the pelicans?"

"We were going to look in at White's--come with us."

Lothair was greeted with general kindness; but nobody seemed aware that
he had been long and unusually absent from them. Some had themselves not
come up to town till after Easter, and had therefore less cause to miss
him. The great majority, however, were so engrossed with themselves that
they never missed anybody. The Duke of Brecon appealed to Lothair
about something that had happened at the last Derby, and was under the
impression, until better informed, that Lothair had been one of his
party. There were some exceptions to this general unacquaintance with
events which an hour before Lothair had feared fearfully engrossed
society. Hugo Bohun was doubly charmed to see him, "because we were all
in a fright one day that they were going to make you a cardinal, and it
turned out that, at the very time they said you were about to enter the
conclave, you happened to be at the second cataract. What lies these
newspapers do tell!"

But the climax of relief was reached when the noble and gray-headed
patron of the arts in Great Britain approached him with polished
benignity, and said, "I can give you perhaps even later news than you
can give me of our friends at Jerusalem. I had a letter from Madame
Phoebus this morning, and she mentioned with great regret that you had
just left them. Your first travels, I believe?"

"My first."

"And wisely planned. You were right in starting out and seeing the
distant parts. One may not always have the energy which such an
expedition requires. You can keep Italy for a later and calmer day."

Thus, one by one, all the cerulean demons of the morn had vanished,
and Lothair had nothing to worry him. He felt a little dull as the
dinner-hour approached. Bertram was to dine at home, and then go to
the House of Commons; St. Aldegonde, concluding the day with the same
catastrophe, had in the most immoral manner, in the interval, gone to
the play to see "School," of which he had read an account in Galignani
when he was in quarantine. Lothair was so displeased with this unfeeling
conduct on his part that he declined to accompany him; but Lady St.
Aldegonde, who dined at Crecy House, defended her husband, and thought
it very right and reasonable that one so fond of the drama as he, who
had been so long deprived of gratifying his taste in that respect,
should take the first opportunity of enjoying this innocent amusement.
A solitary dinner at Muriel House, in one of those spacious and lofty
chambers, rather appalled Lothair, and he was getting low again,
remembering nothing but his sorrows, when Mr. Pinto came up to him and
said: "The impromptu is always successful in life; you cannot be engaged
to dinner, for everybody believes you are at Jericho. What say you to
dining with me? Less than the Muses and more than the Graces, certainly,
if you come. Lady Beatrice has invited herself, and she is to pick up
a lady, and I was to look out for a couple of agreeable men. Huge is
coming, and you will complete the charm."

"The spell then is complete," said Lothair; "I suppose a late eight."



CHAPTER 82


Lothair was breakfasting alone on the morrow, when his servant announced
the arrival of Mr. Ruby, who had been ordered to be in attendance.

"Show him up," said Lothair, "and bring me the dispatch-box which is in
my dressing-room."

Mr. Ruby was deeply gratified to be again in the presence of a nobleman
so eminently distinguished, both for his property and his taste, as
Lothair. He was profuse in his congratulations to his lordship on his
return to his native land, while at the same time he was opening a bag,
from which he extracted a variety of beautiful objects, none of them
for sale, all executed commissions, which were destined to adorn the
fortunate and the fair. "This is lovely, my lord, quite new, for the
Queen of Madagascar; for the empress this, her majesty's own design, at
least almost. Lady Melton's bridal necklace, and my lord's George, the
last given by King James II.; broken up during the revolution, but reset
by us from an old drawing with picked stones."

"Very pretty," said Lothair; "but it is not exactly this sort of thing
that I want. See," and he opened the dispatch-box, and took from out
of it a crucifix. It was made of some Eastern wood, inlaid with
mother-of-pearl; the figure carved in brass, though not without power,
and at the end of each of the four terminations of the cross was a small
cavity, enclosing something, and covered with glass.

"See," continued Lothair, "this is the crucifix, given with a carved
shell to each pilgrim who visits the Holy Sepulchre. Within these four
cavities is earth from the four holy places: Calvary, Sion, Bethlehem,
and Gethsemane. Now, what I want is a crucifix, something of this
dimension, but made of the most costly materials; the figure must be of
pure gold; I should like the cross to be of choice emeralds, which I am
told are now more precious even than brilliants, and I wish the earth of
the sacred places to be removed from this crucifix, and introduced in a
similar manner into the one which you are to make; and each cavity must
be covered with a slit diamond. Do you understand?"

"I follow you, my lord," said Mr. Ruby, with glistening eyes. "It will
be a rare jewel. Is there to be a limit as to the cost?"

"None but such as taste and propriety suggest," said Lothair. "You will
of course make a drawing and an estimate, and send them to me; but I
desire dispatch."

When Mr. Ruby had retired, Lothair took from the dispatch-box a sealed
packet, and looked at it for some moments, and then pressed it to his
lips.

In the afternoon, Lothair found himself again in the saddle, and was
riding about London, as if he had never quitted it. He left his cards
at Crecy House, and many other houses, and he called at the St. Jeromes'
late, but asked if they were at home. He had reckoned that they would
not be, and his reckoning was right. It was impossible to conceal from
himself that it was a relief. Mr. Putney Giles dined alone with Lothair
this evening, and they talked over many things; among others the
approaching marriage of Lady Corisande with the Duke of Brecon.

"Everybody marries except myself," said Lothair, rather peevishly.

"But your lordship is too young to think of that yet," said Mr. Putney
Giles.

"I feel very old," said Lothair.

At this moment there arrived a note from Bertram, saying his mother was
quite surprised and disappointed that Lothair had not asked to see
her in the morning. She had expected him, as a matter of course, at
luncheon, and begged that he would come on the morrow.

"I have had many pleasant luncheons in that house," said Lothair, "but
this will be the last. When all the daughters are married, nobody eats
luncheon."

"That would hardly apply to this family," said Mr. Putney Giles, who
always affected to know every thing, and generally did. "They are so
united, that I fancy the famous luncheons at Crecy House will always go
on, and be a popular mode of their all meeting."

"I half agree with St. Aldegonde," said Lothair, grumbling to himself,
"that if one is to meet that Duke of Brecon every day at luncheon, for
my part I had rather stay away."

In the course of the evening there also arrived invitations to all the
impending balls and assemblies, for Lothair; and there seemed little
prospect of his again being forced to dine with his faithful solicitor
as a refuge from melancholy.

On the morrow he went in his brougham to Crecy House, and he had such
a palpitation of the heart when he arrived, that, for a moment, he
absolutely thought he must retire. His mind was full of Jerusalem, the
Mount of Olives, and the Sea of Galilee. He was never nervous there,
never agitated, never harassed, no palpitations of the heart, no dread
suspense. There was repose alike of body and soul. Why did he ever
leave Palestine and Paraclete? He should have remained in Syria forever,
cherishing, in a hallowed scene, a hallowed sorrow, of which even the
bitterness was exalted and ennobling.

He stood for a moment in the great hall at Crecy House, and the groom
of the chambers in vain solicited his attention. It was astonishing
how much passed through his mind while the great clock hardly described
sixty seconds. But in that space he had reviewed his life, arrived at
the conclusion that all was vanity and bitterness, that he had failed
in every thing, was misplaced, had no object and no hope, and that a
distant and unbroken solitude in some scene, where either the majesty of
Nature was overwhelming, or its moral associations were equally sublime,
must be his only refuge. In the meditation of the Cosmos, or in the
divine reverie of sacred lands, the burden of existence might be
endured.

"Her grace is at luncheon, my lord," at length said the groom of the
chamber--and Lothair was ushered into the gay, and festive, and cordial
scene. The number of the self-invited guests alone saved him. His
confusion was absolute, and the duchess remarked afterward that Lothair
seemed to have regained all his shyness.

When Lothair had rallied and could survey the scene, he found he was
sitting by his hostess; that the duke, not a luncheon man, was present,
and, as it turned out afterward, for the pleasure of meeting Lothair.
Bertram also was present, and several married daughters, and Lord
Montairy, and Captain Mildmay, and one or two others; and next to Lady
Corisande was the Duke of Brecon.

So far as Lothair was concerned, the luncheon was unsuccessful. His
conversational powers deserted him. He answered in monosyllables, and
never originated a remark. He was greatly relieved when they rose and
returned to the gallery, in which they seemed all disposed to linger.
The duke approached him, and, in his mood, he found it easier to talk to
men than to women. Male conversation is of a coarser grain, and does not
require so much play of thought and manner; discourse about Suez Canal,
and Arab horses, and pipes, and pachas, can be carried on without any
psychological effort, and, by degrees, banishes all sensibility. And yet
he was rather dreamy, talked better than he listened, did not look his
companion in the face, as the duke spoke, which was his custom, and his
eye was wandering. Suddenly, Bertram having joined them, and speaking to
his father, Lothair darted away and approached Lady Corisande, whom Lady
Montairy had just quitted.

"As I may never have the opportunity again," said Lothair, "let me thank
you, Lady Corisande, for some kind thoughts which you deigned to bestow
on me in my absence."

His look was serious; his tone almost sad. Neither were in keeping with
the scene and the apparent occasion; and Lady Corisande, not displeased,
but troubled, murmured: "Since I last met you, I heard you had seen much
and suffered much."

"And that makes the kind thoughts of friends more precious," said
Lothair. "I have few; your brother is the chief, but even he never did
me any kindness so great as when he told me that you had spoken of me
with sympathy."

"Bertram's friends are mine," said Lady Corisande; "but, otherwise, it
would be impossible for us all not to feel an interest in--, one of whom
we had seen so much," she added, with some hesitation.

"Ah, Brentham!" said Lothair; "dear Brentham! Do you remember once
saying to me that you hoped you should never leave Brentham?"

"Did I say so?" said Lady Corisande.

"I wish I had never left Brentham," said Lothair; "it was the happiest
time of my life. I had not then a sorrow or a care."

"But everybody has sorrows and cares," said Lady Corisande; "you have,
however, a great many things which ought to make you happy."

"I do not deserve to be happy," said Lothair, "for I have made so many
mistakes. My only consolation is that one great error, which you most
deprecated, I have escaped."

"Take a brighter and a nobler view of your life," said Lady Corisande;
"feel rather you have been tried and not found wanting."

At this moment the duchess approached them, and interrupted their
conversation; and, soon after this, Lothair left Crecy House, still
moody, but less despondent.

There was a ball at Lady Clanmorne's in the evening, and Lothair was
present. He was astonished at the number of new faces he saw, the new
phrases he heard, the new fashions alike in dress and manner. He could
not believe it was the same world that he had quitted only a year ago.
He was glad to take refuge with Hugo Bohun as with an old friend, and
could not refrain from expressing to that eminent person his surprise at
the novelty of all around him.

"It is you, my dear Lothair," replied Hugo, "that is surprising, not the
world--that has only developed in your absence. What could have induced
a man like you to be away for a whole season from the scene? Our
forefathers might afford to travel--the world was then stereotyped. It
will not do to be out of sight now. It is very well for St. Aldegonde to
do these things, for the great object of St. Aldegonde is not to be in
society, and he has never succeeded in his object. But here is the new
beauty."

There was a stir and a sensation. Men made way, and even women
retreated--and, leaning on the arm of Lord Carisbrooke, in an exquisite
costume that happily displayed her splendid figure, and, radiant
with many charms, swept by a lady of commanding mien and stature,
self-possessed, and even grave, when, suddenly turning her head, her
pretty face broke into enchanting dimples, as she exclaimed: "Oh, cousin
Lothair!"

Yes, the beautiful giantesses of Muriel Towers had become the beauties
of the season. Their success had been as sudden and immediate as it was
complete and sustained. "Well, this is stranger than all!" said Lothair
to Hugo Bohun when Lady Flora had passed on.

"The only persons talked of," said Hugo. "I am proud of my previous
acquaintance with them. I think Carisbrooke has serious thoughts; but
there are some who prefer Lady Grizell."

"Lady Corisande was your idol last season," said Lothair.

"Oh, she is out of the running," said Hugo; "she is finished. But I have
not heard yet of any day being fixed. I wonder, when he marries, whether
Brecon will keep on his theatre?"

"His theatre!"

"Yes; the high mode now for a real swell is to have a theatre. Brecon
has the Frolic; Kate Simmons is his manager, who calls herself Athalie
de Montfort. You ought to have a theatre, Lothair; and, if there is
not one to hire, you should build one. It would show that you are alive
again and had the spirit of an English noble, and atone for some of your
eccentricities."

"But I have no Kate Simmons who calls herself Athalie de Montfort," said
Lothair. "I am not so favored, Hugo. However, I might succeed Brecon,
as I hardly suppose he will maintain such an establishment when he is
married."

"I beg your pardon," rejoined Hugo. "It is the thing. Several of our
greatest swells have theatres and are married. In fact, a first-rate man
should have every thing, and therefore he ought to have both a theatre
and a wife."

"Well, I do not think your manners have improved since, last year, or
your words," said Lothair. "I have half a mind to go down to Muriel, and
shut myself up there."

He walked away and sauntered into the ballroom. The first forms he
recognized were Lady Corisande waltzing with the Duke of Brecon, who was
renowned for this accomplishment. The heart of Lothair felt bitter. He
remembered his stroll to the dairy with the Duchess at Brentham, and
their conversation. Had his views then been acceded to, how different
would have been his lot! And it was not his fault that they had been
rejected. And yet, had they been accomplished, would they have been
happy? The character of Corisande, according to her mother, was not then
formed, nor easily scrutable. Was it formed now? and what were its bent
and genius? And his own character? It could not be denied that his mind
was somewhat crude then, and his general conclusions on life and duty
hardly sufficiently matured and developed to offer a basis for domestic
happiness on which one might confidently depend.

And Theodora? Had he married then, he should never have known Theodora.
In this bright saloon, amid the gayety of festive music, and surrounded
by gliding forms of elegance and brilliancy, his heart was full of
anguish when he thought of Theodora. To have known such a woman and to
have lost her! Why should a man live after this? Yes; he would retire to
Muriel, once hallowed by her presence, and he would raise to her memory
some monumental fane, beyond the dreams ever of Artemisia, and which
should commemorate alike her wondrous life and wondrous mind.

A beautiful hand was extended to him, and a fair face, animated with
intelligence, welcomed him without a word. It was Lady St. Jerome.
Lothair bowed lowly and touched her hand with his lip.

"I was sorry to have missed you yesterday. We had gone down to Vauxe for
the day, but I heard of you from my lord with great pleasure. We are all
of us so happy that you have entirely recovered your health."

"I owe that to you, dearest lady," said Lothair, "and to those under
your roof. I can never forget your goodness to me. Had it not been for
you, I should not have been here or anywhere else."

"No, no; we did our best for the moment. But I quite agree with my lord,
now, that you stayed too long at Rome under the circumstances. It was a
good move--that going to Sicily, and so wise of you to travel in Egypt.
Men should travel."

"I have not been to Egypt," said Lothair; "I have been to the Holy Land,
and am a pilgrim. I wish you would tell Miss Arundel that I shall ask
her permission to present her with my crucifix, which contains the earth
of the holy places. I should have told her this myself, if I had seen
her yesterday. Is she here?"

"She is at Vauxe; she could not tear herself away from the roses."

"But she might have brought them with her as companions," said Lothair,
"as you have, I apprehend, yourself."

"I will give you this in Clare's name," said Lady St. Jerome, as she
selected a beautiful flower and presented it to Lothair. "It is in
return for your crucifix, which I am sure she will highly esteem. I only
wish it were a rose of Jericho."

Lothair started. The name brought up strange and disturbing
associations: the procession in the Jesuits' church, the lighted tapers,
the consecrated children, one of whom had been supernaturally presented
with the flower in question. There was an awkward silence, until
Lothair, almost without intending it, expressed a hope that the cardinal
was well.

"Immersed in affairs, but I hope well," replied Lady St. Jerome. "You
know what has happened? But you will see him. He will speak to you of
these matters himself."

"But I should like also to hear from you."

"Well, they are scarcely yet to be spoken of," said Lady St. Jerome. "I
ought not perhaps even to have alluded to the subject; but I know how
deeply devoted you are to religion. We are on the eve of the greatest
event of this century. When I wake in the morning, I always fancy that
I have heard of it only in dreams. And many--all this room--will
not believe in the possibility of its happening. They smile when the
contingency is alluded to, and if I were not present they would mock.
But it will happen--I am assured it will happen," exclaimed Lady St.
Jerome, speaking with earnestness, though in a hushed voice. "And no
human imagination can calculate or conceive what may be its effect on
the destiny of the human race."

"You excite my utmost curiosity," said Lothair.

"Hush! there are listeners. But we shall soon meet again. You will come
and see us, and soon. Come down to Vauxe on Saturday; the cardinal
will be there. And the place is so lovely now. I always say Vauxe at
Whitsuntide, or a little later, is a scene for Shakespeare. You know you
always liked Vauxe."

"More than liked it," said Lothair; "I have passed at Vauxe some of the
happiest hours of my life."



CHAPTER 83


On the morning of the very Saturday on which Lothair was to pay his
visit to Vauxe, riding in the park, he was joined by that polished
and venerable nobleman who presides over the destinies of art in Great
Britain. This distinguished person had taken rather a fancy to Lothair,
and liked to talk to him about the Phoebus family; about the great
artist himself, and all his theories and styles; but especially about
the fascinating Madame Phoebus and the captivating Euphrosyne.

"You have not found time, I dare say," said the nobleman, "to visit the
exhibition of the Royal Academy?"

"Well, I have only been here a week," said Lothair, "and have had so
many things to think of, and so many persons to see."

"Naturally," said the nobleman; "but I recommend you to go. I am now
about to make my fifth visit there; but it is only to a single picture,
and I envy its owner."

"Indeed!" said Lothair. "Pray tell me its subject, that I may not fail
to see it."

"It is a portrait," said the nobleman, "only a portrait, some would
say, as if the finest pictures in the world were not only portraits. The
masterpieces of the English school are portraits, and some day when you
have leisure and inclination, and visit Italy, you will see portraits
by Titian and Raffaelle and others, which are the masterpieces of art.
Well, the picture in question is a portrait by a young English painter
at Rome and of an English lady. I doubt not the subject was equal to
the genius of the artist, but I do not think that the modern pencil
has produced any thing equal to it, both, in design and color and
expression. You should see it, by all means, and I have that opinion of
your taste that I do not think you will be content by seeing it once.
The real taste for fine art in this country is proved by the crowd that
always surrounds that picture; and yet only a portrait of an English
lady, a Miss Arundel."

"A Miss Arundel?" said Lothair.

"Yes, of a Roman Catholic family; I believe a relative of the St.
Jeromes. They were at Rome last year, when this portrait was executed."

"If you will permit me," said Lothair, "I should like to accompany you
to the Academy. I am going out of town this afternoon, but not far, and
could manage it."

So they went together. It was the last exhibition of the Academy in
Trafalgar Square. The portrait in question was in the large room, and
hung on the eye line; so, as the throng about it was great, it was not
easy immediately to inspect it. But one or two R. A's who were gliding
about, and who looked upon the noble patron of art as a sort of
divinity, insensibly controlled the crowd, and secured for their friend
and his companion the opportunity which they desired.

"It is the finest thing since the portrait of the Cenci," said the noble
patron.

The painter had represented Miss Arundel in her robe of a sister of
mercy, but with uncovered head. A wallet was at her side, and she held a
crucifix. Her beautiful eyes, full of mystic devotions met those of the
spectator with a fascinating power that kept many spell-bound. In the
background of the picture was a masterly glimpse of the papal gardens
and the wondrous dome.

"That must be a great woman," said the noble patron of art.

Lothair nodded assent in silence.

The crowd about the picture seemed breathless and awe-struck. There were
many women, and in some eyes there were tears.

"I shall go home," said one of the spectators; "I do not wish to see any
thing else."

"That is religion," murmured her companion. "They may say what they
like, but it would be well for us if we were all like her."

It was a short half-hour by the railroad to Vauxe, and the station
was close to the park gates. The sun was in its last hour when Lothair
arrived, but he was captivated by the beauty of the scene, which he had
never witnessed in its summer splendor. The rich foliage of the great
avenues, the immense oaks that stood alone, the deer glancing in the
golden light, and the quaint and stately edifice itself, so finished and
so fair, with its freestone pinnacles and its gilded vanes glistening
and sparkling in the warm and lucid sky, contrasted with the chilly
hours when the cardinal and himself had first strolled together in that
park, and when they tried to flatter themselves that the morning mist
clinging to the skeleton trees was perhaps the burst of spring.

Lothair found himself again in his old rooms, and, as his valet unpacked
his toilet, he fell into one of his reveries.

"What," he thought to himself, "if life after all be only a dream? I can
scarcely realize what is going on. It seems to me; I have passed through
a year of visions. That I should be at Vauxe again! A roof I once
thought rife with my destiny. And perhaps it may prove so. And, were it
not for the memory of one event, I should be a ship without a rudder."

There were several guests in the house, and, when Lothair entered the
drawing-room, he was glad to find that it was rather full. The cardinal
was by the side of Lady St. Jerome when Lothair entered, and immediately
after saluting his hostess it was his duty to address his late guardian.
Lothair had looked forward to this meeting with apprehension. It seemed
impossible that it should not to a certain degree be annoying. Nothing
of the kind. It was impossible to greet him more cordially, more
affectionately than did Cardinal Grandison.

"You have seen a great deal since we parted," said the cardinal.
"Nothing could be wiser than your travelling. You remember that at
Muriel I recommended you to go to Egypt, but I thought it better that
you should see Rome first. And it answered: you made the acquaintance of
its eminent men, men whose names will be soon in everybody's mouth,
for before another year elapses Rome will be the cynosure of the world.
Then, when the great questions come on which will decide the fate of
the human race for centuries, you will feel the inestimable advantage
of being master of the situation, and that you are familiar with every
place and every individual. I think you were not very well at Rome; but
next time you must choose your season. However, I may congratulate you
on your present looks. The air of the Levant seems to have agreed with
you."

Dinner was announced almost at this moment, and Lothair, who had to take
out Lady Clanmorne, had no opportunity before dinner of addressing
any one else except his hostess and the cardinal. The dinner-party was
large, and it took some time to reconnoitre all the guests. Lothair
observed Miss Arundel, who was distant from him and on the same side of
the table, but neither Monsignore Capel nor Father Coleman were present.

Lady Clanmorne chatted agreeably. She was content to talk, and did not
insist on conversational reciprocity. She was a pure free-trader in
gossip. This rather suited Lothair. It pleased Lady Clanmorne to-day to
dilate upon marriage and the married state, but especially on all her
acquaintances, male and female, who were meditating the surrender of
their liberty and about to secure the happiness of their lives.

"I suppose the wedding of the season--the wedding of weddings--will be
the Duke of Brecon's," she said. "But I do not hear of any day being
fixed."

"Ah!" said Lothair, "I have been abroad and am very deficient in these
matters. But I was travelling with the lady's brother, and he has never
yet told me that his sister was going to be married."

"There is no doubt about that," said Lady Clanmorne. "The duchess said
to a friend of mine the other day, who congratulated her, that there was
no person in whom she should have more confidence as a son-in-law than
the duke."

"But most marriages turn out unhappy," said Lothair, rather morosely.

"Oh! my dear lord, what can you mean?"

"Well I think so," he said doggedly. "Among the lower orders, if we may
judge from the newspapers, they are always killing their wives, and in
our class we get rid of them in a more polished way, or they get rid of
us."

"You quite astonish me with such sentiments," said Lady Clanmorne. "What
would Lady St. Jerome think if she heard you, who told me the other day
that she believed you to be a faultless character? And the duchess too,
your friend's mamma, who thinks you so good, and that it is so fortunate
for her son to have such a companion?"

"As for Lady St. Jerome, she believes in every thing," said Lothair;
"and it is no compliment that she believes in me. As for my friend's
mamma, her ideal character, according to you, is the Duke of Brecon, and
I cannot pretend to compete with him. He may please the duchess, but I
cannot say the Duke of Brecon is a sort of man I admire."

"Well, he is no great favorite of mine," said Lady Clanmorne; "I think
him overbearing and selfish, and I should not like at all to be his
wife."

"What do you think of Lady Corisande?" said Lothair.

"I admire her more than any girl in society, and I think she will be
thrown away on the Duke of Brecon. She is clever and she has strong
character, and, I am told, is capable of great affections. Her manners
are good, finished, and natural; and she is beloved by her young
friends, which I always think a test."

"Do you think her handsome?"

"There can be no question about that: she is beautiful, and her beauty
is of a high class. I admire her much more than all her sisters. She has
a grander mien."

"Have you seen Miss Arundel's picture at the Academy?"

"Everybody has seen that: it has made a fury."

"I heard an eminent judge say to-day, that it was the portrait of one
who must be a great woman."

"Well, Miss Arundel is a remarkable person."

"Do you admire her?"

"I have heard first-rate critics say that there was no person to be
compared to Miss Arundel. And unquestionably it is a most striking
countenance: that profound brow and those large deep eyes--and then her
figure is so fine; but, to tell you the truth, Miss Arundel is a person
I never could make out."

"I wonder she does not marry," said Lothair.

"She is very difficult," said Lady Clanmorne. "Perhaps, too, she is of
your opinion about marriage."

"I have a good mind to ask her after dinner whether she is," said
Lothair. "I fancy she would not marry a Protestant?"

"I am no judge of such matters," said Lady Clanmorne; "only I cannot
help thinking that there would be more chance of a happy marriage when
both were of the same religion."

"I wish we were all of the same religion. Do not you?"

"Well, that depends a little on what the religion might be."

"Ah!" sighed Lothair, "what between religion and marriage and some other
things, it appears to me one never has a tranquil moment. I wonder what
religious school the Duke of Brecon belongs to? Very high and dry, I
should think."

The moment the gentlemen returned to the drawing-room, Lothair singled
out Miss Arundel, and attached himself to her.

"I have been to see your portrait today," he said. She changed color.

"I think it," he continued, "the triumph of modern art, and I could not
easily fix on any production of the old masters that excels it."

"It was painted at Rome," she said, in a low voice.

"So I understood. I regret that, when I was at Rome, I saw so little of
its art. But my health, you know, was wretched. Indeed, if it had not
been for some friends--I might say for one friend--I should not have
been here or in this world. I can never express to that person my
gratitude, and it increases every day. All that I have dreamed of angels
was then realized."

"You think too kindly of us."

"Did Lady St. Jerome give you my message about the earth from the holy
places which I had placed in a crucifix, and which I hope you will
accept from me, in remembrance of the past and your Christian kindness
to me? I should have left it at St. James's Square before this, but it
required some little arrangement after its travels."

"I shall prize it most dearly, both on account of its consecrated
character and for the donor's sake, whom I have ever wished to see the
champion of our Master."

"You never had a wish, I am sure," said Lothair, "that was not sublime
and pure."



CHAPTER 84


They breakfasted at Vauxe, in the long gallery. It was always a merry
meal, and it was the fashion of the house that all should be present.
The cardinal was seldom absent. He used to say: "I feel more on equal
terms with my friends at breakfast, and rather look forward to my
banquet of dry toast." Lord St. Jerome was quite proud of receiving
his letters and newspapers at Vauxe earlier by far than he did at
St. James's Square; and, as all were supplied with their letters
and journals, there was a great demand, for news, and a proportional
circulation of it. Lady Clanmorne indulged this passion for gossip
amusingly one morning, and read a letter from her correspondent, written
with the grace of a Sevigne, but which contained details of marriages,
elopements, and a murder among their intimate acquaintance, which made
all the real intelligence quite insipid, and was credited for at least
half an hour.

The gallery at Vauxe was of great length, and the breakfast-table was
laid at one end of it. The gallery was of panelled oak, with windows of
stained glass in the upper panes, and the ceiling, richly and heavily
carved, was entirely gilt, but with deadened gold. Though stately, the
general effect was not free from a certain character of gloom. Lit,
as it was, by sconces, this was at night much softened; but, on a rich
summer morn, the gravity and repose of this noble chamber were grateful
to the senses.

The breakfast was over; the ladies had retired, stealing off with the
Morning Post, the gentlemen gradually disappearing for the solace of
their cigars. The cardinal, who was conversing with Lothair, continued
their conversation while walking up and down the gallery, far from the
hearing of the servants, who were disembarrassing the breakfast-table,
and preparing it for luncheon. A visit to a country-house, as Pinto
says, is a series of meals mitigated by the new dresses of the ladies.

"The more I reflect on your travels," said the cardinal, "the more I am
satisfied with what has happened. I recognize the hand of Providence in
your preliminary visit to Rome and your subsequent one to Jerusalem. In
the vast events which are impending, that man is in a strong position
who has made a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre. Yo remember our walk
in the park here," continued the cardinal; "I felt then that we were on
the eve of some mighty change, but it was then indefinite, though to me
inevitable. You were destined, I was persuaded, to witness it, even, as
I hoped, to take no inconsiderable share in its fulfilment. But I hardly
believed that I should have been spared for this transcendent day, and,
when it is consummated, I will gratefully exclaim, 'Nunc me dimittis!'"

"You, allude, sir, to some important matter which Lady St. Jerome a few
days ago intimated to me, but it was only an intimation, and purposely
very vague."

"There is no doubt," said the cardinal, speaking with solemnity, "of
what I now communicate to you. The Holy Father, Pius IX., has resolved
to summon an Oecumenical Council."

"An Oecumenical Council!" said Lothair.

"It is a weak phrase," resumed the cardinal, "to say it will be the
greatest event of this century. I believe it will be the greatest event
since the Episcopate of St. Peter; greater, in its consequences to the
human race, than the fall of the Roman Empire, the pseudo-Reformation,
or the Revolution of France. It is much more than three hundred years
since the last Oecumenical Council, the Council of Trent, and the world
still vibrates with its decisions. But the Council of Trent, compared
with the impending Council of the Vatican, will be as the mediaeval
world of Europe compared with the vast and complete globe which man has
since discovered and mastered."

"Indeed!" said Lothair.

"Why, the very assembly of the Fathers of the Church will astound the
Freemasons, and the secret societies, and the atheists. That alone will
be a demonstration of power on the part of the Holy Father which no
conqueror from Sesostris to Napoleon has ever equalled. It was only the
bishops of Europe that assembled at Trent, and, inspired by the Holy
Spirit, their decisions have governed man for more than three hundred
years. But now the bishops of the whole world will assemble round the
chair of St. Peter, and prove by their presence the catholic character
of the Church. Asia will send its patriarchs and pontiffs, and America
and Australia its prelates; and at home, my dear young friend, the
Council of the Vatican will offer a striking contrast to the Council
of Trent; Great Britain will be powerfully represented. The bishops of
Ireland might have been counted on, but it is England also that will
send her prelates now, and some of them will take no ordinary share in
transactions that will give a new form and color to human existence."

"Is it true, sir, that the object of the council is to declare the
infallibility of the pope?"

"In matters of faith and morals," said the cardinal quickly. "There is
no other infallibility. That is a secret with God. All that we can know
of the decision of the council on this awful head is, that its decision,
inspired by the Holy Spirit, must infallibly be right. We must await
that decision, and, when made known, we must embrace it, not only with
obedience, but with the interior assent of mind and will. But there are
other results of the council on which we may speculate; and which, I
believe, it will certainly accomplish: first, it will show in a manner
that cannot be mistaken that there is only one alternative for the human
intellect: Rationalism or Faith; and, secondly, it will exhibit to
the Christian powers the inevitable future they are now preparing for
themselves."

"I am among the faithful," said Lothair.

"Then you must be a member of the Church Catholic," said the cardinal.
"The basis on which God has willed that His revelation should rest in
the world is the testimony of the Catholic Church, which, if considered
only as a human and historical witness, affords the highest and
most certain evidence for the fact and the contents of the Christian
religion. If this be denied, there is no such thing as history. But the
Catholic Church is not only a human and historical witness of its own
origin, constitution, and authority, it is also a supernatural and
divine witness, which can neither fail nor err. When it oecumenically
speaks, it is not merely the voice of the fathers of the world; it
declares what 'it hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us.'"

There was a pause, and then Lothair remarked: "You said, air, that
the council would show to the civil powers of the Christian world the
inevitable future they are preparing for themselves?"

"Even so. Now mark this, my child. At the Council of Trent the Christian
powers were represented, and properly so. Their seats will be empty at
the Council of the Vatican. What does that mean? The separation between
Church and State, talked of for a long time, now demonstrated. And what
does separation between Church and State mean? That society is no longer
consecrated. The civil governments of the world no longer profess to be
Catholic. The faithful indeed among their subjects will be represented
at the council by their pastors, but the civil powers have separated
themselves from the Church; either by royal edict, or legislative
enactment, or revolutionary changes, they have abolished the legal
status of the Catholic Church within their territory. It is not their
choice; they are urged on by an invisible power that is anti-Christian,
and which is the true, natural, and implacable enemy of the one visible
and universal Church. The coming anarchy is called progress, because it
advances along the line of departure from the old Christian order of the
world. Christendom was the offspring of the Christian family, and the
foundation of the Christian family is the sacrament of matrimony, the
sprit of all domestic and public morals. The anti-Christian societies
are opposed to the principle of home. When they have destroyed the
hearth, the morality of society will perish. A settlement in the
foundations may be slow in sinking, but it brings all down at last.
The next step in de-Christianizing the political life of nations is
to establish national education without Christianity. This is
systematically aimed at wherever the revolution has its way. The period
and policy of Julian are returning. Some think this bodes ill for the
Church; no, it is the State that will suffer. The secret societies are
hurrying the civil governments of the world, and mostly the governments
who disbelieve in their existence, to the brink of a precipice, over
which monarchies, and law, and civil order, will ultimately fall and
perish together."

"Then all is hopeless," said Lothair.

"To human speculation," said the cardinal; "but none can fathom the
mysteries of Divine interposition. This coming council may save society,
and on that I would speak to you most earnestly. His holiness has
resolved to invite the schismatic priesthoods to attend it, and labor to
bring about the unity of Christendom. He will send an ambassador to the
patriarch of the heresy of Photius, which is called the Greek Church. He
will approach Lambeth. I have little hope of the latter, though there is
more than one of the Anglican bishops who revere the memory and example
of Laud. But I by no means despair of your communion being present in
some form at the council. There are true spirits at Oxford who sigh for
unity. They will form, I hope, a considerable deputation; but, as
not yet being prelates, they cannot take their seats formally in the
council, I wish, in order to increase and assert their influence, that
they should be accompanied by a band of powerful laymen, who shall
represent the pious and pure mind of England--the coming guardians of
the land in the dark hour that may be at hand. Considering your previous
knowledge of Rome, your acquaintance with its eminent men and its
language, and considering too, as I well know, that the Holy Father
looks to you as one marked out by Providence to assert the truth, it
would please me--and, trust me, it would be wise in you--were you to
visit Rome on this sublime occasion, and perhaps put your mark on the
world's history."

"It must yet be a long time before the council meets," said Lothair,
after a pause.

"Not too long for preparation," replied the cardinal. "From this hour,
until its assembling, the pulse of humanity will throb. Even at this
hour they are speaking of the same matters as ourselves alike on
the Euphrates and the St. Lawrence. The good Catesby is in Ireland,
conferring with the bishops, and awakening them to the occasion. There
is a party among them narrow-minded and local, the effects of their
education. There ought not to be an Irish priest who was not brought
up at the Propaganda. You know that admirable institution. We had some
happy hours at Rome together--may we soon repeat them! You were very
unwell there; next time you will judge of Rome in health and vigor."



CHAPTER 85


They say there is a skeleton in every house; it may be doubted. What is
more certain are the sorrow and perplexity which sometimes, without a
warning and preparation, suddenly fall upon a family living in a world
of happiness and ease, and meriting their felicity by every gift of
fortune and disposition.

Perhaps there never was a circle that enjoyed life more, and deserved
to enjoy life more, than the Brentham family. Never was a family more
admired and less envied. Nobody grudged them their happy gifts and
accidents, for their demeanor was so winning, and their manners so
cordial and sympathetic, that every one felt as if he shared their
amiable prosperity. And yet, at this moment, the duchess, whose
countenance was always as serene as her soul, was walking with disturbed
visage and agitated step up and down the private room of the duke;
while his grace, seated, his head upon his arm, and with his eyes on the
ground, was apparently in anxious thought.

Now, what had happened? It seems that these excellent parents had
become acquainted, almost at the same moment, with two astounding and
disturbing facts: their son wanted to marry Euphrosyne Cantacuzene, and
their daughter would not marry the Duke of Brecon.

"I was so perfectly unprepared for the communication," said the duke,
looking up, "that I have no doubt I did not express myself as I ought to
have done. But I do not think I said any thing wrong. I showed surprise,
sorrow--no anger. I was careful not to say any thing to hurt his
feelings--that is a great point in these matters--nothing disrespectful
of the young lady. I invited him to speak to me again about it when I
had a little got over my surprise."

"It is really a catastrophe," exclaimed the duchess; "and only think,
I came to you for sympathy in my sorrow, which, after all, though
distressing, is only a mortification!"

"I am very sorry about Brecon," said the duke, "who is a man of honor,
and would have suited us very well; but, my dear Augusta, I never took
exactly the same view of this affair as you did--I was never satisfied
that Corisande returned his evident, I might say avowed, admiration of
her."

"She spoke of him always with great respect," said the duchess, "and
that is much in a girl of Corisande's disposition. I never heard her
speak of any of her admirers in the same tone--certainly not of Lord
Carisbrooke; I was quite prepared for her rejection of him. She never
encouraged him."

"Well," said the duke, "I grant you it is mortifying--infinitely
distressing; and Brecon is the last man I could have wished that it
should occur to; but, after all, our daughter must decide for herself
in such affairs. She is the person most interested in the event. I never
influenced her sisters in their choice, and she also must be free. The
other subject is more grave."

"If we could only ascertain who she really is," said the duchess.

"According to Bertram, fully our equal; but I confess I am no judge of
Levantine nobility," his grace added, with a mingled expression of pride
and despair.

"That dreadful travelling abroad!" exclaimed the duchess. "I always had
a foreboding of something disastrous from it. Why should he have gone
abroad, who has never been to Ireland, or seen half the counties of his
own country?"

"They all will go," said the duke; "and I thought, with St. Aldegonde,
he was safe from getting into any scrape of this kind."

"I should like to speak to Granville about it," said the duchess. "When
he is serious, his judgment is good."

"I am to see St. Aldegonde before I speak to Bertram," said the duke. "I
should not be surprised if he were here immediately."

One of the social mysteries is, "how things get about!" It is not the
interest of any of the persons immediately connected with the subject
that society should be aware that the Lady Corisande had declined the
proposal of the Duke of Brecon. Society had no right even to assume that
such a proposal was either expected or contemplated. The Duke of Brecon
admired Lady Corisande, so did many others; and many others were admired
by the Duke of Brecon. The duchess even hoped that, as the season was
waning, it might break up, and people go into the country or abroad, and
nothing be observed. And yet it "got about." The way things get about
is through the Hugo Bohuns. Nothing escapes their quick eyes and
slow hearts. Their mission is to peer into society, like professional
astronomers ever on the watch to detect the slightest change in the
phenomena. Never embarrassed by any passion of their own, and their only
social scheming being to maintain their transcendent position, all their
life and energy are devoted to the discovery of what is taking place
around them; and experience, combined with natural tact, invests them
with almost a supernatural skill in the detection of social secrets.
And so it happened that scarcely a week had passed before Hugo began to
sniff the air, and then to make fine observations at balls, as to whom
certain persons danced with, or did not dance with; and then he began
the curious process of what he called putting two and two together, and
putting two and two together proved in about a fortnight that it was all
up between Lady Corisande and the Duke of Brecon.

Among others he imparted this information to Lothair, and it set Lothair
a thinking; and he went to a ball that evening solely with the purpose
of making social observations like Hugo Bohun. But Lady Corisande was
not there, though the Duke of Brecon was, apparently in high spirits,
and waltzing more than once with Lady Grizell Falkirk. Lothair was not
very fortunate in his attempts to see Bertram. He called more than once
at Crecy House too, but in vain. The fact is, Bertram was naturally
entirely engrossed with his own difficulties, and the duchess, harassed
and mortified, could no longer be at home in the morning.

Her grace, however, evinced the just appreciation of character for which
women are remarkable, in the confidence which she reposed in the good
sense of Lord St. Aldegonde at this crisis. St. Aldegonde was the only
one of his sons-in-law whom the duke really considered and a little
feared. When St. Aldegonde was serious, his influence over men
was powerful. And he was serious now. St. Aldegonde, who was not
conventional, had made the acquaintance of Mr. Cantacuzene immediately
on his return to England, and they had become friends. He had dined in
the Tyburnian palace of the descendant of the Greek emperors more than
once, and had determined to make his second son, who was only four years
of age, a Greek merchant. When the duke therefore consulted him on "the
catastrophe," St. Aldegonde took high ground, spoke of Euphrosyne in
the way she deserved, as one equal to an elevated social position, and
deserving it. "But if you ask me my opinion, sir," he continued, "I do
not think, except for Bertram's sake, that you have any cause to fret
yourself. The family wish her to marry her cousin, the eldest son of the
Prince of Samos. It is an alliance of the highest, and suits them much
better than any connection with us. Besides, Cantacuzene will give
his children large fortunes, and they like the money to remain in
the family. A hundred or a hundred and fifty thousand pounds--perhaps
more--goes a great way on the coasts of Asia Minor. You might buy up
half the Archipelago. The Cantacuzenes are coming to dine with us next
week. Bertha is delighted with them. Mr. Cantacuzene is so kind as to
say he will take Clovis into his counting-house. I wish I could induce
your grace to come and meet him: then you could judge for yourself. You
would not be in the least shocked were Bertram to marry the daughter
of some of our great merchants or bankers. This is a great merchant and
banker, and the descendant of princes, and his daughter one of the most
beautiful and gifted of women and worthy to be a princess."

"There is a good deal in what St. Aldegonde says," said the duke
afterward to his wife. "The affair takes rather a different aspect. It
appears they are really people of high consideration, and great wealth
too. Nobody could describe them as adventurers."

"We might gain a little time," said the duchess. "I dislike peremptory
decisions. It is a pity we have not an opportunity of seeing the young
lady."

"Granville says she is the most beautiful woman he ever met, except her
sister."

"That is the artist's wife?" said the duchess.

"Yes," said the duke, "I believe a most distinguished man, but it rather
adds to the imbroglio. Perhaps things may turn out better than they
first promised. The fact is, I am more amazed than annoyed. Granville
knows the father, it seems, intimately. He knows so many odd people. He
wants me to meet him at dinner. What do you think about it? It is a good
thing sometimes to judge for one's self. They say this Prince of Samos
she is half betrothed to is attach to the Turkish embassy at Vienna, and
is to visit England."

"My nervous system is quite shaken," said the duchess. "I wish we could
all go to Brentham. I mentioned it to Corisande this morning, and I was
surprised to find that she wished to remain in town."

"Well, we will decide nothing, my dear, in a hurry. St. Aldegonde says
that, if we decide in that sense, he will undertake to break off the
whole affair. We may rely on that. We need consider the business only
with reference to Bertram's happiness and feelings. That is an important
issue, no doubt, but it is a limited one. The business is not of so
disagreeable a nature as it seemed. It is not an affair of a rash
engagement, in a discreditable quarter, from which he cannot extricate
himself. There is no doubt they are thoroughly reputable people, and
will sanction nothing which is not decorous and honorable. St. Aldegonde
has been a comfort to me in this matter; and you will find out a great
deal when you speak to him about it. Things might be worse. I wish I was
as easy about the Duke of Brecon. I met him this morning and rode with
him--to show there was no change in my feelings."



CHAPTER 86


The world goes on with its aching hearts and its smiling faces, and
very often, when a year has revolved, the world finds out there was
no sufficient cause for the sorrows or the smiles. There is too much
unnecessary anxiety in the world, which is apt too hastily to calculate
the consequences of any unforeseen event, quite forgetting that, acute
as it is in observation, the world, where the future is concerned, is
generally wrong. The duchess would have liked to have buried herself in
the shades of Brentham, but Lady Corisande, who deported herself as
if there were no care at Crecy House except that occasioned by her
brother's rash engagement, was of opinion that "mamma would only brood
over this vexation in the country," and that it would be much better
not to anticipate the close of the waning season. So the duchess and her
lovely daughter were seen everywhere where they ought to be seen, and
appeared the pictures of serenity and satisfaction.

As for Bertram's affair itself, under the manipulation of St. Aldegonde,
it began to assume a less anxious and more practicable aspect. The duke
was desirous to secure his son's happiness, but wished nothing to be
done rashly. If, for example, in a year's time or so, Bertram continued
in the same mind, his father would never be an obstacle to his
well-considered wishes. In the mean time, an opportunity might offer of
making the acquaintance of the young lady and her friends.

And, in the mean time, the world went on dancing, and betting, and
banqueting, and making speeches, and breaking hearts and heads, till
the time arrived when social stock is taken, the results of the campaign
estimated and ascertained, and the question asked, "Where do you think
of going this year?"

"We shall certainly winter at Rome," said Lady St. Jerome to Lady
Clanmorne, who was paying a morning visit. "I wish you could induce Lord
Clanmorne to join us."

"I wish so, too," said the lady, "but that is impossible. He never will
give up his hunting."

"I am sure there are more foxes in the Campagna than at Vauxe," said
Lady St. Jerome.

"I suppose you have heard of what they call the double event?" said Lady
Clanmorne.

"No."

"Well, it is quite true; Mr. Bohun told me last night, and he always
knows every thing."

"Every thing!" said Lady St. Jerome; "but what is it that he knows now?"

"Both the Ladies Falkirk are to be married! And on the same day."

"But to whom?"

"Whom should you think?"

"I will not even guess," said Lady St. Jerome.

"Clare," she said to Miss Arundel, who was engaged apart, "you always
find out conundrums. Lady Clanmorne has got some news for us. Lady Flora
Falkirk and her sister are going to be married, and on the same day. And
to whom, think you?"

"Well, I should think that somebody has made Lord Carisbrooke a happy
man," said Miss Arundel.

"Very good," said Lady Clanmorne. "I think Lady Flora will make an
excellent Lady Carisbrooke. He is not quite as tall as she is, but he is
a man of inches. And now for Lady Grizell."

"My powers of divination are quite exhausted," said Miss Arundel.

"Well, I will not keep you in suspense," said Lady Clanmorne. "Lady
Grizell is to be Duchess of Brecon."

"Duchess of Brecon!" exclaimed both Miss Arundel and Lady St. Jerome.

"I always admired the ladies," said Miss Arundel. "We met them at
a country-house last year, and I thought them pleasing in every
way--artless and yet piquant; but I did not anticipate their fate being
so soon sealed."

"And so brilliantly," added Lady St. Jerome.

"You met them at Muriel Towers," said Lady Clanmorne. "I heard of you
there: a most distinguished party. There was an American lady there, was
there not? a charming person, who sang, and acted, and did all sorts of
things."

"Yes; there was. I believe, however, she was an Italian, married to an
American."

"Have you seen much of your host at Muriel Towers?" said Lady Clanmorne.

"We see him frequently," said Lady St. Jerome.

"Ah! yes, I remember; I met him at Vauxe the other day. He is a great
admirer of yours," Lady Clanmorne added, addressing Miss Arundel.

"Oh! we are friends, and have long been so," said Miss Arundel, and she
left the room.

"Clare does not recognize admirers," said Lady St. Jerome, gravely.

"I hope the ecclesiastical fancy is not reviving," said Lady Clanmorne.
"I was half in hopes that the lord of Muriel Towers might have deprived
the Church of its bride."

"That could never be," said Lady St. Jerome; "though, if it could have
been, a source of happiness to Lord St. Jerome and myself would not have
been wanting. We greatly regard our kinsman, but, between ourselves,"
added Lady St. Jerome in a low voice, "it was supposed that he was
attached to the American lady of whom you were speaking."

"And where is she now?"

"I have heard nothing of late. Lothair was in Italy at the same time as
ourselves, and was ill there, under our roof; so we saw a great deal of
him. Afterward he travelled for his health, and has now just returned
from the East."

A visitor was announced, and Lady Clanmorne retired.

Nothing happens as you expect. On his voyage home Lothair had indulged
in dreams of renewing his intimacy at Crecy House, around whose hearth
all his sympathies were prepared to cluster. The first shock to
this romance was the news he received of the impending union of Lady
Corisande with the Duke of Brecon. And, what with this unexpected
obstacle to intimacy, and the domestic embarrassments occasioned by
Bertram's declaration, he had become a stranger to a roof which had so
filled his thoughts. It seemed to him that he could not enter the house
either as the admirer of the daughter or as the friend of her brother.
She was probably engaged to another, and, as Bertram's friend and
fellow-traveller, he fancied he was looked upon by the family as one who
had in some degree contributed to their mortification. Much of this was
imaginary, but Lothair was very sensitive, and the result was that he
ceased to call at Crecy House, and for some time, kept aloof from the
duchess and her daughter, when he met them in general society. He was
glad to hear from Bertram and St. Aldegonde that the position of the
former was beginning to soften at home, and that the sharpness of his
announcement was passing away. And, when he had clearly ascertained that
the contemplated union of Lady Corisande with the duke was certainly
not to take place, Lothair began to reconnoitre, and try to resume his
original position. But his reception was not encouraging, at least not
sufficiently cordial for one who by nature was retiring and reserved.
Lady Corisande was always kind, and after some time he danced with her
again. But there were no invitations to luncheon from the duchess; they
never asked him to dinner. His approaches were received with courtesy,
but he was not courted.

The announcement of the marriage of the Duke of Brecon did not,
apparently, in any degree, distress Lady Corisande. On the contrary, she
expressed much satisfaction at her two young friends settling in life
with such success and splendor. The ambition both of Lady Flora and
Lady Grizell was that Corisande should be a bridesmaid. This would be a
rather awkward post to occupy under the circumstances, so she embraced
both, and said that she loved them both so equally, that she would not
give a preference to either, and therefore, though she certainly
would attend their wedding, she would refrain from taking part in the
ceremony.

The duchess went with Lady Corisande one morning to Mr. Ruby's to choose
a present from her daughter to each of the young ladies. Mr. Ruby in
a back shop poured forth his treasures of bracelets, and rings, and
lockets. The presents must be similar in value and in beauty, and yet
there must be some difference between them; so it was a rather long and
troublesome investigation, Mr. Ruby, as usual, varying its monotony, or
mitigating its wearisomeness, by occasionally, or suddenly, exhibiting
some splendid or startling production of his art. The parure of an
empress, the bracelets of grand-duchesses, a wonderful fan that was to
flutter in the hands of majesty, had all in due course appeared, as well
as the black pearls and yellow diamonds that figure and flash on such
occasions, before eyes so favored and so fair.

At last--for, like a prudent general, Mr. Ruby had always a great
reserve--opening a case, he said, "There!" and displayed a crucifix of
the most exquisite workmanship and the most precious materials.

"I have no hesitation in saying the rarest jewel which this century has
produced. See! the figure by Monti; a masterpiece. Every emerald in
the cross a picked stone. These corners, your grace is aware," said
Mr. Ruby, condescendingly, "contain the earth of the holy places at
Jerusalem. It has been shown to no one but your grace."

"It is indeed most rare and beautiful," said the duchess, "and most
interesting, too, from containing the earth of the holy places. A
commission, of course?"

"From one of our most eminent patrons," and then he mentioned Lothair's
name.

Lady Corisande looked agitated.

"Not for himself," said Mr. Ruby.

Lady Corisande seemed relieved.

"It is a present to a young lady--Miss Arundel."

Lady Corisande changed color, and, turning away, walked toward a case
of works of art, which was in the centre of the shop, and appeared to be
engrossed in their examination.



CHAPTER 87


A day or two after this adventure of the crucifix, Lothair met Bertram,
who said to him, "By-the-by, if you want to see my people before they
leave town, you must call at once."

"You do not mean that," replied Lothair, much surprised. "Why, the
duchess told me, only three or four days ago, that they should not leave
town until the end of the first week of August. They are going to the
weddings."

"I do not know what my mother said to you, my dear fellow, but they go
to Brentham the day after to-morrow, and will not return. The duchess
has been for a long time wishing this, but Corisande would stay. She
thought they would only bother themselves about my affairs, and there
was more distraction for them in town. But now they are going, and it is
for Corisande they go. She is not well, and they have suddenly resolved
to depart."

"Well, I am very sorry to hear it," said Lothair; "I shall call at Crecy
House. Do you think they will see me?"

"Certain."

"And what are your plans?"

"I have none," said Bertram. "I suppose I must not leave my father alone
at this moment. He has behaved well; very kindly, indeed. I have nothing
to complain of. But still all is vague, and I feel somehow or other I
ought to be about him."

"Have you heard from our dear friends abroad?"

"Yes," said Bertram, with a sigh, "Euphrosyne writes to me; but I
believe St. Aldegonde knows more about their views and plans than I do.
He and Mr. Phoebus correspond much. I wish to Heaven they were here, or
rather that we were with them!" he added, with another sigh. "How happy
we all were, at Jerusalem! How I hate London! And Brentham worse. I
shall have to go to a lot of agricultural dinners and all sorts of
things. The duke expects it, and I am bound now to do every thing to
please him. What do you think of doing?"

"I neither know nor care," said Lothair, in a tone of great despondency.

"You are a little hipped."

"Not a little. I suppose it is the excitement of the last two years that
has spoiled me for ordinary life. But I find the whole thing utterly
intolerable, and regret now that I did not rejoin the staff of the
general. I shall never have such a chance again. It was a mistake; but
one is born to blunder."

Lothair called at Crecy House. The hall-porter was not sure whether the
duchess was at home, and the groom of the chambers went to see. Lothair
had never experienced this form. When the groom of the chambers came
down again, he gave her grace's compliments; but she had a headache, and
was obliged to lie down, and was sorry she could not see Lothair, who
went away livid.

Crecy House was only yards from St. James's Square, and Lothair repaired
to an accustomed haunt. He was not in a humor for society, and yet he
required sympathy. There were some painful associations with the
St. Jerome family, and yet they had many charms. And the painful
associations had been greatly removed by their easy and cordial
reception of him, and the charms had been renewed and increased by
subsequent intercourse. After all, they were the only people who had
always been kind to him. And, if they had erred in a great particular,
they had been animated by pure, and even sacred, motives. And had
they erred? Were not his present feelings of something approaching to
desolation a fresh proof that the spirit of man can alone be sustained
by higher relations than merely human ones? So he knocked at the door,
and Lady St. Jerome was at home. She had not a headache; there were no
mysterious whisperings between hall-porters and grooms of the chamber,
to ascertain whether he was one of the initiated. Whether it were London
or Vauxe, the eyes of the household proved that he was ever a welcome
and cherished guest.

Lady St. Jerome was alone, and rose from her writing-table to receive
him. And then--for she was a lady who never lost a moment--she resumed
some work, did not interfere with their conversation. Her talking
resources were so happy and inexhaustible, that it signified little that
her visitor, who was bound in that character to have something to say,
was silent and moody.

"My lord," she continued, "has taken the Palazzo Agostini for a term. I
think we should always pass our winters at Rome under any circumstances,
but--the cardinal has spoken to you about the great event--if that comes
off, of which, between ourselves, whatever the world may say, I believe
there is no sort of doubt, we should not think of being absent from Rome
for a day during the council."

"Why! it may last years," said Lothair. "There is no reason why it
should not last the Council of Trent. It has in reality much more to
do."

"We do things quicker now," said Lady St. Jerome.

"That depends on what there is to do. To revive faith is more difficult
than to create it."

"There will be no difficulty when the Church has assembled," said
Lady St. Jerome. "This sight of the universal Fathers coming from the
uttermost ends of the earth to bear witness to the truth will at once
sweep away all the vain words and vainer thoughts of this unhappy
century. It will be what they call a great fact, dear Lothair; and when
the Holy Spirit descends upon their decrees, my firm belief is the whole
world will rise as it were from a trance, and kneel before the divine
tomb of St. Peter."

"Well, we shall see," said Lothair.

"The cardinal wishes you very much to attend the council. He wishes you
to attend it as an Anglican, representing with a few others our laity.
He says it would have the very best effect for religion."

"He spoke to me."

"And you agreed to go?"

"I have not refused him. If I thought I could do any good I am not sure
I would not go," said Lothair; "but, from what I have seen of the Roman
court, there is little hope of reconciling our differences. Rome is
stubborn. Now, look at the difficulty they make about the marriage of a
Protestant and one of their own communion. It to cruel, and I think on
their part unwise."

"The sacrament of marriage is of ineffable holiness," said Lady St.
Jerome.

"I do not wish to deny that," said Lothair, "but I see no reason why I
should not marry a Roman Catholic if I liked, without the Roman Church
interfering and entirely regulating my house and home."

"I wish you would speak to Father Coleman about this," said Lady St.
Jerome.

"I have had much talk with Father Coleman about many things in my time,"
said Lothair, "but not about this. By-the-by, have you any news of the
monsignore?"

"He is in Ireland, arranging about the Oecumenical Council. They do
not understand these matters there as well as we do in England, and
his holiness, by the cardinal's advice, has sent the monsignore to put
things right."

"All the Father Colemans in the world cannot alter the state of affairs
about mixed marriages," said Lothair; "they can explain, but they cannot
alter. I want change in this matter, and Rome never changes."

"It is impossible for the Church to change," said Lady St. Jerome,
"because it is Truth."

"Is Miss Arundel at home?" said Lothair.

"I believe so," said Lady St. Jerome.

"I never see her now," he said, discontentedly. "She never goes to
balls, and she never rides. Except occasionally under this roof, she is
invisible."

'"Clare does not go any longer into society," said Lady St. Jerome.

"Why?"

"Well, it is a secret," said Lady St. Jerome, with some disturbance of
countenance and speaking in a lower tone; "at least at present; and yet
I can hardly on such a subject wish that there should be a secret from
you--Clare is about to take the veil."

"Then I have not a friend left in the world," said Lothair, in a
despairing tone.

Lady St. Jerome looked at him with an anxious glance. "Yes," she
continued; "I do not wish to conceal it from you, that for a time we
could have wished it otherwise--it has been, it is a trying event for
my lord and myself--but the predisposition, which was always strong,
has ended in a determination so absolute, that we recognize the Divine
purpose in her decision, and we bow to it."

"I do not bow to it," said Lothair; "I think it barbarous and unwise."

"Hush, hush! dear friend."

"And does the cardinal approve of this step?"

"Entirely."

"Then my confidence in him is entirely destroyed," said Lothair.



CHAPTER 88


It was August, and town was thinning fast. Parliament still lingered,
but only for technical purposes; the political struggle of the session
having terminated at the end of July. One social event was yet to be
consummated--the marriages of Lothair's cousins. They were to be married
on the same day, at the same time, and in the same place. Westminster
Abbey was to be the scene, and, as it was understood that the service
was to be choral, great expectations of ecclesiastical splendor and
effect were much anticipated by the fair sex. They were, however,
doomed to disappointment, for, although the day was fine, the attendance
numerous and brilliant beyond precedent, Lord Culloden would have
"no popery." Lord Carisbrooke, who was a ritualist, murmured, and was
encouraged in his resistance by Lady Clanmorne and a party, but, as the
Duke of Brecon was high and dry, there was a want of united action, and
Lord Culloden had his way.

After the ceremony, the world repaired to the mansion of Lord Culloden
in Belgrave Square, to inspect the presents, and to partake of a dinner
called a breakfast. Cousin Lothair wandered about the rooms, and had
the satisfaction of seeing a bracelet with a rare and splendid sapphire
which he had given to Lady Flora, and a circlet of diamond stars which
he had placed on the brow of the Duchess of Brecon. The St. Aldegondes
were the only members of the Brentham family who were present. St.
Aldegonde had a taste for marriages and public executions, and Lady
St. Aldegonde wandered about with Lothair, and pointed out to him
Corisande's present to his cousins.

"I never was more disappointed than by your family leaving town so early
this year," he said.

"We were quite surprised."

"I am sorry to bear your sister is indisposed."

"Corisande! she is perfectly well."

"I hope the duchess's headache is better," said Lothair. "She could not
receive me when I called to say farewell, because she had a headache."

"I never knew mamma to have a headache," said Lady St. Aldegonde.

"I suppose you will be going to Brentham?"

"Next week."'

"And Bertram too?"

"I fancy that we shall be all there."

"I suppose we may consider now that the season is really over!"

"Yes; they stayed for this. I should not be surprised if every one in
these rooms had disappeared by to-morrow."

"Except myself," said Lothair.

"Do you think of going abroad again?"

"One might as well go," said Lothair, "as remain."

"I wish Granville would take me to Paris. It seems so odd not to have
seen Paris. All I want is to see the new streets and dine at a caf."

"Well, you have an object; that is something," said Lothair. "I have
none."

"Men have always objects," said Lady St. Aldegonde. "They make business
when they have none, or it makes itself. They move about, and it comes."

"I have moved about a great deal," said Lothair, "and nothing has come
to me but disappointment. I think I shall take to croquet, like that
curious gentleman I remember at Brentham."

"Ah! you remember every thing."

"It is not easy to forget any thing at Brentham," said Lothair. "It is
just two years ago. That was a happy time."

"I doubt whether our reassembling will be quite as happy this year,"
said Lady St. Aldegonde, in a serious tone. "This engagement of Bertram
is an anxious business; I never saw papa before really fret. And there
are other things which are not without vexation--at least to mamma."

"I do not think I am a great favorite of your mamma," said Lothair. "She
once used to be very kind to me, but she is so no longer."

"I am sure you mistake her," said Lady St. Aldegonde, but not in a tone
which indicated any confidence in her remark. "Mamma is anxious about my
brother, and all that."

"I believe the duchess thinks that I am in some way or other connected
with this embarrassment; but I really had nothing to do with it, though
I could not refuse my testimony to the charms of the young lady, and my
belief she would make Bertram a happy man."

"As for that, you know, Granville saw a great deal more of her, at least
at Jerusalem, than you did, and he has said to mamma a great deal more
than you have done."

"Yes; but she thinks that, had it not been for me, Bertram would never
have known the Phoebus family. She could not conceal that from me, and
it has poisoned her mind."

"Oh! do not use such words."

"Yes; but they are true. And your sister is prejudiced against me also."

"That I am sure she is not," said Lady St. Aldegonde, quickly.
"Corisande was always your friend."

"Well, they refused to see me, when we may never meet again for months,
perhaps for years," said Lothair, "perhaps never."

"What shocking things you are saying, my dear lord, to-day! Here, Lord
Culloden wants you to return thanks for the bridesmaids. You must put on
a merry face."

The dreary day at last arrived, and very quickly, when Lothair was the
only person left in town. When there is nobody you know in London, the
million that go about are only voiceless phantoms. Solitude in a city is
a trance. The motion of the silent beings with whom you have no speech
or sympathy, only makes the dreamlike existence more intense. It is not
so in the country; the voices of Nature are abundant, and, from the hum
of insects to the fall of the avalanche, something is always talking to
you.

Lothair shrank from the streets. He could not endure the dreary glare of
St. James's and the desert sheen of Pall Mall. He could mount his horse
in the park, and soon lose himself in suburban roads that he once loved.
Yes; it was irresistible; and he made a visit to Belmont. The house
was dismantled, and the gardens shorn of their lustre, but still it
was there; very fair in the sunshine, and sanctified in his heart. He
visited every room that he had frequented, and lingered in her boudoir.
He did not forget the now empty pavilion, and he plucked some flowers
that she once loved, and pressed them to his lips, and placed them near
his heart. He felt now what it was that made him unhappy: it was the
want of sympathy.

He walked through the park to the residence of Mr. Phoebus, where he had
directed his groom to meet him. His heart beat as he wandered along, and
his eye was dim with tears. What characters and what scenes had he not
become acquainted with since his first visit to Belmont! And, even now,
when they had departed, or were absent, what influence were they not
exercising over his life, and the life of those most intimate with him!
Had it not been for his pledge to Theodora, it was far from improbable
that he would now have been a member of the Roman Catholic Church, and
all his hopes at Brentham, and his intimacy with the family on which he
had most reckoned in life for permanent friendship and support,
seemed to be marred and blighted by the witching eyes of that mirthful
Euphrosyne, whose mocking words on the moonlit terrace at Belmont first
attracted his notice to her. And then, by association of ideas, he
thought of the general, and what his old commander had said at their
last interview, reminding him of his fine castle, and expressing his
conviction that the lord of such a domain must have much to do.

"I will try to do it," said Lothair; "and will go down to Muriel
tomorrow."



CHAPTER 89


Lothair, who was very sensible to the charms of Nature, found at first
relief in the beauties of Muriel. The season was propitious to the
scene. August is a rich and leafy month, and the glades and avenues and
stately trees of his parks and pleasaunces seemed, at the same time, to
soothe and gladden his perturbed spirit. Muriel was still new to him,
and there was much to examine and explore for the first time. He found a
consolation also in the frequent remembrance that these scenes had been
known to those whom he loved. Often in the chamber, and often in the
bower, their forms arose; sometimes their voices lingered in his ear; a
frolic laugh, or whispered words of kindness and enjoyment. Such a
place as Muriel should always be so peopled. But that is impossible.
One cannot always have the most agreeable people in the world assembled
under one's roof. And yet the alternative should not be the loneliness
he now experienced. The analytical Lothair resolved that there was no
happiness without sympathy.

The most trying time were the evenings. A man likes to be alone in the
morning. He writes his letters and reads the newspapers, attempts to
examine his steward's accounts, and if he wants society can gossip with
his stud-groom. But a solitary evening in the country is gloomy, however
brilliant the accessories. As Mr. Phoebus was not present, Lothair
violated the prime principles of a first-class Aryan education, and
ventured to read a little. It is difficult to decide which is the most
valuable companion to a country eremite at his nightly studies, the
volume that keeps him awake or the one that sets him a-slumbering.

At the end of a week Lothair had some good sport on his moors--and this
reminded him of the excellent Campian, who had received and answered his
letter. The colonel, however, held out but a faint prospect of returning
at present to Europe, though, whenever he did, he promised to be the
guest of Lothair. Lothair asked some of his neighbors to dinner, and he
made two large parties to slaughter his grouse. They were grateful and
he was popular, but "we have not an idea in common," thought Lothair,
as, wearied and uninterested, he bade his last guest his last
good-night. Then Lothair paid a visit to the lord-lieutenant, and stayed
two nights at Agramont Castle. Here he met many county notables, and
"great was the company of the preachers;" but the talk was local
or ecclesiastical, and, after the high-spiced condiments of the
conversation to which he was accustomed, the present discourse was
insipid even to nausea. He sought some relief in the society of Lady
Ida Alice, but she blushed when she spoke to him, and tittered when he
replied to her; and at last he found refuge in pretty Mrs. Ardenne, who
concluded by asking him for his photograph.

On the morrow of his return to Muriel, the servant bringing in his
letters, he seized one in the handwriting of Bertram, and, discarding
the rest, devoured the communication of his friend, which was eventful.

It seems that the Phoebus family had returned to England, and were at
Brentham, and had been there a week. The family were delighted with
them, and Euphrosyne was an especial favorite. But this was not all. It
seems that Mr. Cantacuzene had been down to Brentham, and stayed, which
he never did anywhere, a couple of days. And the duke was particularly
charmed with Mr. Cantacuzene. This gentleman, who was only in the
earlier term of middle age, and looked younger than his age, was
distinguished in appearance, highly polished, and singularly acute. He
appeared to be the master of great wealth, for he offered to make upon
Euphrosyne any settlement which the duke desired. He had no son, and
did not wish his sons-in-law to be sighing for his death. He wished his
daughters, therefore, to enjoy the bulk of their inheritances in his
lifetime. He told the duke that he had placed one hundred thousand
pounds in the names of trustees on the marriage of Madame Phoebus, to
accumulate, "and when the genius and vanity of her husband are both
exhausted, though I believe they are inexhaustible," remarked Mr.
Cantacuzene, "it will be a nest's-egg for them to fall back upon, and at
least save them from penury." The duke had no doubt that Mr. Cantacuzene
was of imperial lineage. But the latter portion of the letter was the
most deeply interesting to Lothair. Bertram wrote that his mother had
just observed that she thought the Phoebus family would like to meet
Lothair, and begged Bertram to invite him to Brentham. The letter ended
by an urgent request, that, if disengaged, he should arrive immediately.

Mr. Phoebus highly approved of Brentham. All was art, and art of a high
character. He knew no residence with an aspect so thoroughly Aryan.
Though it was really a family party, the house was quite full; at least,
as Bertram said to Lothair on his arrival, "there is only room for
you--and you are in your old quarters."

"That is exactly what I wished," said Lothair.

He had to escort the duchess to dinner. Her manner was of old days. "I
thought you would like to meet your friends," she said.

"It gives me much pleasure, but much more to find myself at Brentham."

"There seems every prospect of Bertram being happy. We are enchanted
with the young lady. You know her, I believe, well? The duke is highly
pleased with her, father, Mr. Cantacuzene--he says one of the most
sensible men he ever met, and a thorough gentleman, which he may
well be, for I believe there is no doubt he is of the highest
descent--emperors they say, princes even now. I wish you could have
met him, but he would only stay eight-and-forty hours. I understand his
affairs are vast."

"I have always heard a considerable person; quite the head of the Greek
community in this country--indeed, in Europe generally."

"I see by the morning papers that Miss Arundel has taken the veil."

"I missed my papers to-day," said Lothair, a little agitated, "but I
have long been aware of her intention of doing so."

"Lady St. Jerome will miss her very much. She was quite the soul of the
house."

"It must be a great and painful sacrifice," said Lothair; "but, I
believe, long meditated. I remember when I was at Vauxe, nearly two
years ago, that I was told this was to be her fate. She was quite
determined on it."

"I saw the beautiful crucifix you gave her, at Mr. Ruby's."

"It was an homage to her for her great goodness to me when I was ill at
Rome--and it was difficult to find any thing that would please or suit
her. I fixed on the crucifix, because it permitted me to transfer to it
the earth of the holy places, which were included in the crucifix,
that was given to me by the monks of the Holy Sepulchre, when I made my
pilgrimage to Jerusalem."

In the evening St. Aldegonde insisted on their dancing, and he
engaged himself to Madame Phoebus. Bertram and Euphrosyne seemed never
separated; Lothair was successful in inducing Lady Corisande to be his
partner.

"Do you remember your first ball at Crecy House?" asked Lothair. "You
are not nervous now?"

"I would hardly say that," said Lady Corisande, "though I try not to
show it."

"It was the first ball for both of us," said Lothair. "I have not danced
so much in the interval as you have. Do you know, I was thinking, just
now, I have danced oftener with you than with any one else?"

"Are not you glad about Bertram's affair ending so well?"

"Very; he will be a happy man. Every body is happy, I think, except
myself."

In the course of the evening, Lady St. Aldegonde, on the arm of Lord
Montairy, stopped for a moment as she passed Lothair, and said: "Do you
remember our conversation at Lord Culloden's breakfast? Who was right
about mamma?"

They passed their long summer days in rambling and riding, and in
wondrous new games which they played in the hall. The striking feature,
however, were the matches at battledore and shuttlecock between Madame
Phoebus and Lord St. Aldegonde, in which the skill and energy displayed
were supernatural, and led to betting. The evenings were always gay;
sometimes they danced; more or less they always had some delicious
singing. And Mr. Phoebus arranged some tableaux most successfully.

All this time, Lothair hung much about Lady Corisande; he was by her
side in the riding-parties, always very near her when they walked, and
sometimes he managed unconsciously to detach her from the main party,
and they almost walked alone. If he could not sit by her at dinner,
he joined her immediately afterward, and whether it were a dance, a
tableau, or a new game, somehow or other he seemed always to be her
companion.

It was about a week after the arrival of Lothair, and they were at
breakfast at Brentham, in that bright room full of little round tables
which Lothair always admired, looking, as it did, upon a garden of many
colors.

"How I hate modern gardens!" said St. Aldegonde. "What a horrid thing
this is! One might as well have a mosaic pavement there. Give me
cabbage-roses, sweet-peas, and wall-flowers. That is my idea of a
garden. Corisande's garden is the only sensible thing of the sort."

"One likes a mosaic pavement to look like a garden," said Euphrosyne,
"but not a garden like a mosaic pavement."

"The worst of these mosaic beds," said Madame Phoebus, "is, you can
never get a nosegay, and if it were not for the kitchen-garden, we
should be destitute of that gayest and sweetest of creations."

"Corisande's garden is, since your first visit to Brentham," said the
duchess to Lothair. "No flowers are admitted that have not perfume. It
is very old-fashioned. You must get her to show it you."

It was agreed that after breakfast they should go and see Corisande's
garden. And a party did go--all the Phoebus family, and Lord and Lady
St. Aldegonde, and Lady Corisande, and Bertram, and Lothair.

In the pleasure-grounds of Brentham were the remains of an ancient
garden of the ancient house that had long ago been pulled down. When the
modern pleasure-grounds were planned and created, notwithstanding the
protests of the artists in landscape, the father of the present duke
would not allow this ancient garden to be entirely destroyed, and you
came upon its quaint appearance in the dissimilar world in which it was
placed, as you might in some festival of romantic costume upon a person
habited in the courtly dress of the last century. It was formed upon a
gentle southern slope, with turfen terraces walled in on three sides,
the fourth consisting of arches of golden yew. The duke had given this
garden to Lady Corisande, in order that she might practise her theory,
that flower-gardens should be sweet and luxuriant, and not hard and
scentless imitations of works of art. Here, in their season, flourished
abundantly all those productions of Nature which are now banished from
our once delighted senses; huge bushes of honey-suckle, and bowers of
sweet-pea and sweet-brier, and jessamine clustering over the walls, and
gillyflowers scenting with their sweet breath the ancient bricks from
which they seemed to spring. There were banks of violets which the
southern breeze always stirred, and mignonette filled every vacant nook.
As they entered now, it seemed a blaze of roses and carnations, though
one recognized in a moment the presence of the lily, the heliotrope, and
the stock. Some white peacocks were basking on the southern wall, and
one of them, as their visitors entered, moved and displayed its plumage
with scornful pride. The bees were busy in the air, but their homes were
near, and you might watch them laboring in their glassy hives.

"Now, is not Corisande quite right?" said Lord St. Aldegonde, as he
presented Madame Phoebus with a garland of woodbine, with which she said
she would dress her head at dinner. All agreed with him, and Bertram and
Euphrosyne adorned each other with carnations, and Mr. Phoebus placed
a flower on the uncovered head of Lady St. Aldegonde, according to the
principles of high art, and they sauntered and rambled in the sweet and
sunny air amid a blaze of butterflies and the ceaseless hum of bees.

Bertram and Euphrosyne had disappeared; and the rest were lingering
about the hives while Mr. Phoebus gave them a lecture on the apiary and
its marvellous life. The bees understood Mr. Phoebus, at least he said
so, and thus his friends had considerable advantage in this lesson in
entomology. Lady Corisande and Lothair were in a distant corner of the
garden, and she was explaining to him her plans; what she had done and
what she meant to do.

"I wish I had a garden like this at Muriel," said Lothair.

"You could easily make one."

"If you helped me."

"I have told you all my plans," said Lady Corisande.

"Yes; but I was thinking of something else when you spoke," said
Lothair.

"That was not very complimentary."

"I do not wish to be complimentary," said Lothair, "if compliments mean
less than they declare. I was not thinking of your garden, but of you."

"Where can they have all gone?" said Lady Corisande, looking round. "We
must find them."

"And leave this garden?" said Lothair. "And I without a flower, the only
one without a flower? I am afraid that is significant of my lot."

"You shall choose a rose," said Lady Corisande.

"Nay; the charm is, that it should be your choice."

But choosing the rose lost more times and, when Corisande and Lothair
reached the arches of golden yew, there were no friends in sight.

"I think I hear sounds this way," said Lothair, and he led his companion
farther from home.

"I see no one," said Lady Corisande, distressed, and when they had
advanced a little way.

"We are sure to find them in good time," said Lothair. "Besides, I
wanted to speak to you about the garden at Muriel. I wanted to induce
you to go there and help me to make it. Yes," he added, after some
hesitation, "on this spot--I believe on this very spot--I asked the
permission of your mother two years ago to express to you my love. She
thought me a boy, and she treated me as a boy. She said I knew nothing
of the world, and both our characters were unformed. I know the world
now. I have committed many mistakes, doubtless many follies--have formed
many opinions, and have changed many opinions; but to one I have been
constant, in one I am unchanged--and that is my adoring love to you."

She turned pale, she stopped, then, gently taking his arm, she hid her
face in his breast.

He soothed and sustained her agitated frame, and sealed with an embrace
her speechless form. Then, with soft thoughts and softer words, clinging
to him, he induced her to resume their stroll, which both of them now
wished might assuredly be undisturbed. They had arrived at the limit
of the pleasure-grounds, and they wandered into the park and its most
sequestered parts. All this time Lothair spoke much, and gave her the
history of his life since he first visited her home. Lady Corisande
said little, but, when she was more composed, she told him that from the
first her heart had been his, but every thing seemed to go against her
hopes. Perhaps at last, to please her parents, she would have married
the Duke of Brecon, had not Lothair returned; and what he had said to
her that morning at Crecy House had decided her resolution, whatever
might be her lot; to unite it to no one else but him. But then came the
adventure of the crucifix, and she thought all was over for her, and she
quitted town in despair.

"Let us rest here for a while;" said Lothair, "under the shade of this
oak;" and Lady Corisande reclined against its mighty trunk, and Lothair
threw himself at her feet. He had a great deal still to tell her, and,
among other things, the story of the pearls, which he had wished to give
to Theodora.

"She was, after all, your good genius," said Lady Corisande. "I always
liked her."

"Well, now," said Lothair, "that case has never been opened. The year
has elapsed, but I would not open it, for I had always a wild wish that
the person who opened it should be yourself. See, here it is." And he
gave her the case.

"We will not break the seal," said Corisande. "Let us respect it for
her sake--ROMA!" she said, examining it; and then they opened the case.
There was the slip of paper which Theodora, at the time, had placed upon
the pearls, and on which she had written some unseen words. They were
read now, and ran thus:

"THE OFFERING OF THEODORA TO LOTHAIR'S BRIDE."

"Let me place them on you now," said Lothair.

"I will wear them as your chains," said Corisande.

The sun began to tell them that some hours had elapsed since they
quitted Brentham House. At last a soft hand, which Lothair retained,
gave him a slight pressure, and a sweet voice whispered: "Dearest, I
think we ought to return."

And they returned almost in silence. They rather calculated that, taking
advantage of the luncheon-hour, Corisande might escape to her room, but
they were a little too late. Luncheon was over, and they met the duchess
and a large party on the terrace.

"What has become of you, my good people?" said her grace; "bells have
been ringing for you in every direction. Where can you have been?"

"I have been in Corisande's garden," said Lothair, "and she has given me
a rose."





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