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Title: Eugene Aram — Volume 01
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron
Language: English
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                             EUGENE ARAM

                               A  TALE

                       BY EDWARD BULWER LYTTON


SIR,--It has long been my ambition to add some humble tribute to the
offerings laid upon the shrine of your genius.  At each succeeding book
that I have given to the world, I have paused to consider if it were
worthy to be inscribed with your great name, and at each I have played
the procrastinator, and hoped for that morrow of better desert which
never came. But 'defluat amnis',--the time runs on; and I am tired of
waiting for the ford which the tides refuse. I seize, then, the present
opportunity, not as the best, but as the only one I can he sure of
commanding, to express that affectionate admiration with which you have
inspired me in common with all your contemporaries, and which a French
writer has not ungracefully termed "the happiest prerogative of genius."
As a Poet and as a Novelist your fame has attained to that height in
which praise has become superfluous; but in the character of the writer
there seems to me a yet higher claim to veneration than in that of the
writings. The example your genius sets us, who can emulate?  The example
your moderation bequeaths to us, who shall forget?  That nature must
indeed be gentle which has conciliated the envy that pursues intellectual
greatness, and left without an enemy a man who has no living equal in

You have gone for a while from the scenes you have immortalized, to
regain, we trust, the health which has been impaired by your noble labors
or by the manly struggles with adverse fortunes which have not found the
frame as indomitable as the mind. Take with you the prayers of all whom
your genius, with playful art, has soothed in sickness, or has
strengthened, with generous precepts, against the calamities of life.

     [Written at the time of Sir W. Scott's visit to Italy, after the
     great blow to his health and fortunes.]

                    "Navis quae, tibi creditum
                     Debes Virgilium . . .
                     Reddas incolumem!"

          "O ship, thou owest to us Virgil!  Restore in
          safety him whom we intrusted to thee."

You, I feel assured, will not deem it presumptuous in one who, to that
bright and undying flame which now streams from the gray hills of
Scotland,--the last halo with which you have crowned her literary
glories,--has turned from his first childhood with a deep and unrelaxing
devotion; you, I feel assured, will not deem it presumptuous in him to
inscribe an idle work with your illustrious name,--a work which, however
worthless in itself, assumes something of value in his eyes when thus
rendered a tribute of respect to you.


LONDON, December 22, 1831.


                         TO THE EDITION OF 1831.

Since, dear Reader, I last addressed thee, in "Paul Clifford," nearly two
years have elapsed, and somewhat more than four years since, in "Pelham,"
our familiarity first began. The Tale which I now submit to thee differs
equally from the last as from the first of those works; for of the two
evils, perhaps it is even better to disappoint thee in a new style than
to weary thee with an old. With the facts on which the tale of "Eugene
Aram" is founded, I have exercised the common and fair license of writers
of fiction it is chiefly the more homely parts of the real story that
have been altered; and for what I have added, and what omitted, I have
the sanction of all established authorities, who have taken greater
liberties with characters yet more recent, and far more protected by
historical recollections. The book was, for the most part, written in the
early part of the year, when the interest which the task created in the
Author was undivided by other subjects of excitement, and he had leisure
enough not only to be 'nescio quid meditans nugarum,' but also to be
'totes in illis.'

     ["Not only to be meditating I know not what of trifles, but also to
     be wholly engaged on them."]

I originally intended to adapt the story of Eugene Aram to the Stage.
That design was abandoned when more than half completed; but I wished to
impart to this Romance something of the nature of Tragedy,--something of
the more transferable of its qualities. Enough of this: it is not the
Author's wishes, but the Author's books that the world will judge him by.
Perhaps, then (with this I conclude), in the dull monotony of public
affairs, and in these long winter evenings, when we gather round the
fire, prepared for the gossip's tale, willing to indulge the fear and to
believe the legend, perhaps, dear Reader, thou mayest turn, not
reluctantly, even to these pages, for at least a newer excitement than
the Cholera, or for momentary relief from the everlasting discussion on
"the Bill." [The year of the Reform Bill.]

LONDON, December 22, 1831.


                         TO THE EDITION OF 1840.

The strange history of Eugene Aram had excited my interest and wonder
long before the present work was composed or conceived. It so happened
that during Aram's residence at Lynn his reputation for learning had
attracted the notice of my grandfather,--a country gentleman living in
the same county, and of more intelligence and accomplishments than, at
that day, usually characterized his class. Aram frequently visited at
Heydon (my grandfather's house), and gave lessons--probably in no very
elevated branches of erudition--to the younger members of the family.
This I chanced to hear when I was on a visit in Norfolk some two years
before this novel was published; and it tended to increase the interest
with which I had previously speculated on the phenomena of a trial which,
take it altogether, is perhaps the most remarkable in the register of
English crime. I endeavored to collect such anecdotes of Aram's life and
manners as tradition and hearsay still kept afloat. These anecdotes were
so far uniform that they all concurred in representing him as a person
who, till the detection of the crime for which he was sentenced, had
appeared of the mildest character and the most unexceptionable morals. An
invariable gentleness and patience in his mode of tuition--qualities then
very uncommon at school--had made him so beloved by his pupils at Lynn
that, in after life, there was scarcely one of them who did not persist
in the belief of his innocence.

His personal and moral peculiarities, as described in these pages, are
such as were related to me by persons who had heard him described by his
contemporaries, the calm, benign countenance; the delicate health; the
thoughtful stoop; the noiseless step; the custom, not uncommon with
scholars and absent men, of muttering to himself; a singular eloquence
in conversation, when once roused from silence; an active tenderness and
charity to the poor, with whom he was always ready to share his own
scanty means; an apparent disregard for money, except when employed in
the purchase of books; an utter indifference to the ambition usually
accompanying self-taught talent, whether to better the condition or to
increase the repute: these, and other traits of the character portrayed
in the novel, are, as far as I can rely on my information, faithful to
the features of the original.

That a man thus described--so benevolent that he would rob his own
necessities to administer to those of another, so humane that he would
turn aside from the worm in his path--should have been guilty of the
foulest of human crimes, namely, murder for the sake of gain; that a
crime thus committed should have been so episodical and apart from the
rest of his career that, however it might rankle in his conscience, it
should never have hardened his nature; that through a life of some
duration, none of the errors, none of the vices, which would seem
essentially to belong to a character capable of a deed so black, from
motives apparently so sordid, should have been discovered or suspected,--
all this presents all anomaly in human conduct so rare and surprising
that it would be difficult to find any subject more adapted for that
metaphysical speculation and analysis, in order to indulge which,
Fiction, whether in the drama or the higher class of romance, seeks its
materials and grounds its lessons in the chronicles of passion and crime.

     [For I put wholly out of question the excuse of jealousy, as
     unsupported by any evidence, never hinted at by Aram himself
     (at least on any sufficient authority), and at variance with the
     only fact which the trial establishes; namely, that the robbery was
     the crime planned, and the cause, whether accidental or otherwise,
     of the murder.]

The guilt of Eugene Aram is not that of a vulgar ruffian; it leads to
views and considerations vitally and wholly distinct from those with
which profligate knavery and brutal cruelty revolt and displease us in
the literature of Newgate and the hulks. His crime does, in fact, belong
to those startling paradoxes which the poetry of all countries, and
especially of our own, has always delighted to contemplate and examine.
Whenever crime appears the aberration and monstrous product of a great
intellect or of a nature ordinarily virtuous, it becomes not only the
subject for genius, which deals with passions, to describe, but a problem
for philosophy, which deals with actions, to investigate and solve; hence
the Macbeths and Richards, the Iagos and Othellos. My regret, therefore,
is not that I chose a subject unworthy of elevated fiction, but that such
a subject did not occur to some one capable of treating it as it
deserves; and I never felt this more strongly than when the late Mr.
Godwin (in conversing with me after the publication of this romance)
observed that he had always thought the story of Eugene Aram peculiarly
adapted for fiction, and that he had more than once entertained the
notion of making it the foundation of a novel. I can well conceive what
depth and power that gloomy record would have taken from the dark and
inquiring genius of the author of "Caleb Williams."  In fact, the crime
and trial of Eugene Aram arrested the attention and engaged the
conjectures of many of the most eminent men of his own time. His guilt or
innocence was the matter of strong contest; and so keen and so enduring
was the sensation created by an event thus completely distinct from the
ordinary annals of human crime that even History turned aside from the
sonorous narrative of the struggles of parties and the feuds of kings to
commemorate the learning and the guilt of the humble schoolmaster of
Lynn. Did I want any other answer to the animadversions of commonplace
criticism, it might be sufficient to say that what the historian relates
the novelist has little right to disdain.

Before entering on this romance, I examined with some care the
probabilities of Aram's guilt; for I need scarcely perhaps observe that
the legal evidence against him is extremely deficient,--furnished almost
entirely by one (Houseman) confessedly an accomplice of the crime and a
partner in the booty, and that in the present day a man tried upon
evidence so scanty and suspicious would unquestionably escape conviction.
Nevertheless, I must frankly own that the moral evidence appeared to me
more convincing than the legal; and though not without some doubt, which,
in common with many, I still entertain of the real facts of the murder, I
adopted that view which, at all events, was the best suited to the higher
purposes of fiction. On the whole, I still think that if the crime were
committed by Aram, the motive was not very far removed from one which led
recently to a remarkable murder in Spain. A priest in that country,
wholly absorbed in learned pursuits, and apparently of spotless life,
confessed that, being debarred by extreme poverty from prosecuting a
study which had become the sole passion of his existence, he had reasoned
himself into the belief that it would be admissible to rob a very
dissolute, worthless man if he applied the money so obtained to the
acquisition of a knowledge which he could not otherwise acquire, and
which he held to be profitable to mankind. Unfortunately, the dissolute
rich man was not willing to be robbed for so excellent a purpose; he was
armed and he resisted. A struggle ensued, and the crime of homicide was
added to that of robbery. The robbery was premeditated; the murder was
accidental. But he who would accept some similar interpretation of Aram's
crime must, to comprehend fully the lessons which belong to so terrible a
picture of frenzy and guilt, consider also the physical circumstances and
condition of the criminal at the time,--severe illness, intense labor of
the brain, poverty bordering upon famine, the mind preternaturally at
work devising schemes and excuses to arrive at the means for ends
ardently desired. And all this duly considered, the reader may see the
crime bodying itself out from the shades and chimeras of a horrible
hallucination,--the awful dream of a brief but delirious and convulsed
disease. It is thus only that we can account for the contradiction of one
deed at war with a whole life,--blasting, indeed, forever the happiness,
but making little revolution in the pursuits and disposition of the
character. No one who has examined with care and thoughtfulness the
aspects of Life and Nature but must allow that in the contemplation of
such a spectacle, great and most moral truths must force themselves on
the notice and sink deep into the heart. The entanglements of human
reasoning; the influence of circumstance upon deeds; the perversion that
may be made, by one self-palter with the Fiend, of elements the most
glorious; the secret effect of conscience in frustrating all for which
the crime was done, leaving genius without hope, knowledge without fruit,
deadening benevolence into mechanism, tainting love itself with terror
and suspicion,--such reflections (leading, with subtler minds, to many
more vast and complicated theorems in the consideration of our nature,
social and individual) arise out of the tragic moral which the story of
Eugene Aram (were it but adequately treated) could not fail to convey.

BRUSSELS, August, 1840.


                         TO THE PRESENT EDITION.

If none of my prose works have been so attacked as "Eugene Aram," none
have so completely triumphed over attack. It is true that, whether from
real or affected inorance of the true morality of fiction, a few critics
may still reiterate the old commonplace charges of "selecting heroes from
Newgate," or "investing murderers with interest;" but the firm hold which
the work has established in the opinion of the general public, and the
favor it has received in every country where English literature is known,
suffice to prove that, whatever its faults, it belongs to that legitimate
class of fiction which illustrates life and truth, and only deals with
crime as the recognized agency of pity and terror in the conduct of
tragic narrative. All that I would say further on this score has been
said in the general defence of my writings which I put forth two years
ago; and I ask the indulgence of the reader if I repeat myself:--

     "Here, unlike the milder guilt of Paul Clifford, the author was not
     to imply reform to society, nor open in this world atonement and
     pardon to the criminal. As it would have been wholly in vain to
     disguise, by mean tamperings with art and truth, the ordinary habits
     of life and attributes of character which all record and remembrance
     ascribed to Eugene Aram; as it would have defeated every end of the
     moral inculcated by his guilt, to portray, in the caricature of the
     murderer of melodrama, a man immersed in study, of whom it was noted
     that he turned aside from the worm in his path,--so I have allowed
     to him whatever contrasts with his inexpiable crime have been
     recorded on sufficient authority. But I have invariably taken care
     that the crime itself should stand stripped of every sophistry, and
     hideous to the perpetrator as well as to the world. Allowing all by
     which attention to his biography may explain the tremendous paradox
     of fearful guilt in a man aspiring after knowledge, and not
     generally inhumane; allowing that the crime came upon him in the
     partial insanity produced by the combining circumstances of a brain
     overwrought by intense study, disturbed by an excited imagination
     and the fumes of a momentary disease of the reasoning faculty,
     consumed by the desire of knowledge, unwholesome and morbid, because
     coveted as an end, not a means, added to the other physical causes
     of mental aberration to be found in loneliness, and want verging
     upon famine,--all these, which a biographer may suppose to have
     conspired to his crime, have never been used by the novelist as
     excuses for its enormity, nor indeed, lest they should seem as
     excuses, have they ever been clearly presented to the view. The
     moral consisted in showing more than the mere legal punishment at
     the close. It was to show how the consciousness of the deed was to
     exclude whatever humanity of character preceded and belied it from
     all active exercise, all social confidence; how the knowledge of the
     bar between the minds of others and his own deprived the criminal of
     all motive to ambition, and blighted knowledge of all fruit.
     Miserable in his affections, barren in his intellect; clinging to
     solitude, yet accursed in it; dreading as a danger the fame he had
     once coveted; obscure in spite of learning, hopeless in spite of
     love, fruitless and joyless in his life, calamitous and shameful in
     his end,--surely such is no palliative of crime, no dalliance and
     toying with the grimness of evil!  And surely to any ordinary
     comprehension and candid mind such is the moral conveyed by the
     fiction of 'Eugene Aram.'"--[A word to the Public, 1847]

In point of composition "Eugene Aram" is, I think, entitled to rank
amongst the best of my fictions. It somewhat humiliates me to acknowledge
that neither practice nor study has enabled me to surpass a work written
at a very early age, in the skilful construction and patient development
of plot; and though I have since sought to call forth higher and more
subtle passions, I doubt if I have ever excited the two elementary
passions of tragedy,--namely, pity and terror,--to the same degree. In
mere style, too, "Eugene Aram," in spite of certain verbal oversights,
and defects in youthful taste (some of which I have endeavored to remove
from the present edition), appears to me unexcelled by any of my later
writings,--at least in what I have always studied as the main essential
of style in narrative; namely, its harmony with the subject selected and
the passions to be moved,--while it exceeds them all in the minuteness
and fidelity of its descriptions of external nature. This indeed it ought
to do, since the study of external nature is made a peculiar attribute of
the prin cipal character, whose fate colors the narrative. I do not know
whether it has been observed that the time occupied by the events of the
story is conveyed through the medium of such descriptions. Each
description is introduced, not for its own sake, but to serve as a
calendar marking the gradual changes of the seasons as they bear on to
his doom the guilty worshipper of Nature. And in this conception, and in
the care with which it has been followed out, I recognize one of my
earliest but most successful attempts at the subtler principles of
narrative art.

In this edition I have made one alteration somewhat more important than
mere verbal correction. On going, with maturer judgment, over all the
evidences on which Aram was condemned, I have convinced myself that
though an accomplice in the robbery of Clarke, he was free both from the
premeditated design and the actual deed of murder. The crime, indeed,
would still rest on his conscience and insure his punishment, as
necessarily incidental to the robbery in which he was an accomplice, with
Houseman; but finding my convictions, that in the murder itself he had no
share, borne out by the opinion of many eminent lawyers by whom I have
heard the subject discussed, I have accordingly so shaped his confession
to Walter.

Perhaps it will not be without interest to the reader if I append to this
preface an authentic specimen of Eugene Aram's composition, for which I
am indebted to the courtesy of a gentleman by whose grandfather it was
received, with other papers (especially a remarkable "Outline of a New
Lexicon"), during Aram's confinement in York prison. The essay I select
is, indeed, not without value in itself as a very curious and learned
illustration of Popular Antiquities, and it serves also to show not only
the comprehensive nature of Aram's studies and the inquisitive eagerness
of his mind, but also the fact that he was completely self-taught; for in
contrast to much philological erudition, and to passages that evince
considerable mastery in the higher resources of language, we may
occasionally notice those lesser inaccuracies from which the writings of
men solely self-educated are rarely free,--indeed Aram himself, in
sending to a gentleman an elegy on Sir John Armitage, which shows much,
but undisciplined, power of versification, says, "I send this elegy,
which, indeed, if you had not had the curiosity to desire, I could not
have had the assurance to offer, scarce believing I, who was hardly
taught to read, have any abilities to write."


These rural entertainments and usages were formerly more general all
over England than they are at present, being become by time, necessity,
or avarice, complex, confined, and altered. They are commonly insisted
upon by the reapers as customary things, and a part of their due for the
toils of the harvest, and complied with by their masters perhaps more
through regards of interest than inclination; for should they refuse them
the pleasures of this much-expected time, this festal night, the youth
especially, of both sexes would decline serving them for the future, and
employ their labors for others, who would promise them the rustic joys of
the harvest-supper, mirth and music, dance and song. These feasts appear
to be the relics of Pagan ceremonies or of Judaism, it is hard to say
which, and carry in them more meaning and are of far higher antiquity
than is generally apprehended. It is true the subject is more curious
than important, and I believe altogether untouched; and as it seems to
be little understood, has been as little adverted to. I do not remember
it to have been so much as the subject of a conversation. Let us make,
then, a little excursion into this field, for the same reason men
sometimes take a walk. Its traces are discoverable at a very great
distance of time from ours,--nay, seem as old as a sense of joy for the
benefit of plentiful harvests and human gratitude to the eternal Creator
for His munificence to men. We hear it under various names in different
counties, and often in the same county; as, "melsupper," "churn-supper,"
"harvest-supper,"  "harvesthome,"  "feast of in-gathering," etc. And
perhaps this feast had been long observed, and by different tribes of
people, before it became preceptive with the Jews. However, let that be
as it will, the custom very lucidly appears from the following passages
of S. S., Exod. xxiii. 16, "And the feast of harvest, the first-fruits of
thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field."  And its institution as a
sacred rite is commanded in Levit. xxiii. 39: "When ye have gathered in
the fruit of the land ye shall keep a feast to the Lord."

The Jews then, as is evident from hence, celebrated the feast of harvest,
and that by precept; and though no vestiges of any such feast either are
or can be produced before these, yet the oblation of the Primitae, of
which this feast was a consequence, is met with prior to this, for we
find that "Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the
Lord" (Gen. iv. 3).

Yet this offering of the first-fruits, it may well be supposed was not
peculiar to the Jews either at the time of, or after, its establishment
by their legislator; neither the feast in consequence of it. Many other
nations, either in imitation of the Jews, or rather by tradition from
their several patriarchs, observed the rite of offering their Primitiae,
and of solemnizing a festival after it, in religious acknowledgment for
the blessing of harvest, though that acknowledgment was ignorantly
misapplied in being directed to a secondary, not the primary, fountain of
this benefit,--namely to Apollo, or the Sun.

For Callimachus affirms that these Primitiae were sent by the people of
every nation to the temple of Apollo in Delos, the most distant that
enjoyed the happiness of corn and harvest, even by the Hyperboreans in
particular,--Hymn to Apol., "Bring the sacred sheafs and the mystic

Herodotus also mentions this annual custom of the Hyperboreans, remarking
that those of Delos talk of "Holy things tied up in sheaf of wheat
conveyed from the Hyperboreans."  And the Jews, by the command of their
law, offered also a sheaf: "And shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye
shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of the harvest unto the priest."

This is not introduced in proof of any feast observed by the people who
had harvests, but to show the universality of the custom of offering the
Primitiae, which preceded this feast. But yet it maybe looked upon as
equivalent to a proof; for as the offering and the feast appear to have
been always and intimately connected in countries affording records, so
it is more than probable they were connected too in countries which had
none, or none that ever survived to our times. An entertainment and
gayety were still the concomitants of these rites, which with the vulgar,
one may pretty truly suppose, were esteemed the most acceptable and
material part of them, and a great reason of their having subsisted
through such a length of ages, when both the populace and many of the
learned too have lost sight of the object to which they had been
originally directed. This, among many other ceremonies of the heathen
worship, became disused in some places and retained in others, but still
continued declining after the promulgation of the Gospel. In short, there
seems great reason to conclude that this feast, which was once sacred to
Apollo, was constantly maintained, when a far less valuable
circumstance,--i.e., "shouting the churn,"--is observed to this day by
the reapers, and from so old an era; for we read of this exclamation,
Isa. xvi. 9: "For the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest
is fallen;" and again, ver. 10: "And in the vineyards there shall be no
singing, their shouting shall be no shouting."  Hence then, or from some
of the Phoenician colonies, is our traditionary "shouting the churn."
But it seems these Orientals shouted both for joy of their harvest of
grapes and of corn. We have no quantity of the first to occasion so much
joy as does our plenty of the last; and I do not remember to have heard
whether their vintages abroad are attended with this custom. Bread or
cakes compose part of the Hebrew offering (Levit. xxiii. 13), and a cake
thrown upon the head of the victim was also part of the Greek offering to
Apollo (see Hom., Il., a), whose worship was formerly celebrated in
Britain, where the May-pole yet continues one remain of it. This they
adorned with garlands on May-day, to welcome the approach of Apollo, or
the Sun, towards the North, and to signify that those flowers were the
product of his presence and influence. But upon the progress of
Christianity, as was observed above, Apollo lost his divinity again, and
the adoration of his deity subsided by degrees. Yet so permanent is
custom that this rite of the harvest-supper, together with that of the
May-pole (of which last see Voss. de Orig. and Prag. Idolatr., 1, 2),
have been preserved in Britain; and what had been anciently offered to
the god, the reapers as prudently ate up themselves.

At last the use of the meal of the new corn was neglected, and the
supper, so far as meal was concerned, was made indifferently of old or
new corn, as was most agreeable to the founder. And here the usage itself
accounts for the name of "Melsupper" (where mel signifies meal, or else
the instrument called with us a "Mell," wherewith antiquity reduced their
corn to meal in a mortar, which still amounts to the same thing); for
provisions of meal, or of corn in furmety, etc., composed by far the
greatest part in these elder and country entertainments, perfectly
conformable to the simplicity of those times, places, and persons,
however meanly they may now be looked upon. And as the harvest was last
concluded with several preparations of meal, or brought to be ready for
the "mell," this term became, in a translated signification, to mean the
last of other things; as, when a horse comes last in the race, they often
say in the North, "He has got the mell."

All the other names of this country festivity sufficiently explain
themselves, except "Churn-supper;" and this is entirely different from
"Melsupper:" but they generally happen so near together that they are
frequently confounded. The "Churn-supper" was always provided when all
was shorn, but the "Melsupper" after all was got in. And it was called
the "Churn-supper" because, from immemorial times, it was customary to
produce in a churn a great quantity of cream, and to circulate it by
dishfuls to each of the rustic company, to be eaten with bread. And here
sometimes very extraordinary execution has been done upon cream. And
though this custom has been disused in many places, and agreeably
commuted for by ale, yet it survives still, and that about Whitby and
Scarborough in the East, and round about Gisburn, etc., in Craven, in the
West. But perhaps a century or two more will put an end to it, and both
the thing and name shall die. Vicarious ale is now more approved, and the
tankard almost everywhere politely preferred to the Churn.

This Churn (in our provincial pronunciation Kern) is the Hebrew Kern,
or Keren, from its being circular, like most horns; and it is the Latin
'corona',--named so either from 'radii', resembling horns, as on some
very ancient coins, or from its encircling the head: so a ring of people
is called corona. Also the Celtic Koren, Keren, or corn, which continues
according to its old pronunciation in Cornwall, etc., and our modern word
horn is no more than this; the ancient hard sound of k in corn being
softened into the aspirate h, as has been done in numberless instances.

The Irish Celtae also called a round stone 'clogh crene', where the
variation is merely dialectic. Hence, too, our crane-berries,--i.e.,
round berries,--from this Celtic adjective 'crene', round.

The quotations from Scripture in Aram's original MS. were both in the
Hebrew character, and their value in English sounds.


                                 BOOK I.













                                BOOK II.









                                BOOK III.








                                BOOK IV.












                                 BOOK V.










                               EUGENE ARAM

                                 BOOK I.

                               CHAPTER I.


"Protected by the divinity they adored, supported by the earth which they
cultivated, and at peace with themselves, they enjoyed the sweets of
life, without dreading or desiring dissolution." Numa Pompilius.

In the country of--there is a sequestered hamlet, which I have often
sought occasion to pass, and which I have never left without a certain
reluctance and regret. It is not only (though this has a remarkable spell
over my imagination) that it is the sanctuary, as it were, of a story
which appears to me of a singular and fearful interest; but the scene
itself is one which requires no legend to arrest the traveller's
attention. I know not in any part of the world, which it has been my lot
to visit, a landscape so entirely lovely and picturesque, as that which
on every side of the village I speak of, you may survey. The hamlet to
which I shall here give the name of Grassdale, is situated in a valley,
which for about the length of a mile winds among gardens and orchards,
laden with fruit, between two chains of gentle and fertile hills.

Here, singly or in pairs, are scattered cottages, which bespeak a comfort
and a rural luxury, less often than our poets have described the
characteristics of the English peasantry. It has been observed, and there
is a world of homely, ay, and of legislative knowledge in the
observation, that wherever you see a flower in a cottage garden, or a
bird-cage at the window, you may feel sure that the cottagers are better
and wiser than their neighbours; and such humble tokens of attention to
something beyond the sterile labour of life, were (we must now revert to
the past,) to be remarked in almost every one of the lowly abodes at
Grassdale. The jasmine here, there the vine clustered over the threshold,
not so wildly as to testify negligence; but rather to sweeten the air
than to exclude it from the inmates. Each of the cottages possessed at
its rear its plot of ground, apportioned to the more useful and
nutritious product of nature; while the greater part of them fenced also
from the unfrequented road a little spot for the lupin, the sweet pea, or
the many tribes of the English rose. And it is not unworthy of remark,
that the bees came in greater clusters to Grassdale than to any other
part of that rich and cultivated district. A small piece of waste land,
which was intersected by a brook, fringed with ozier and dwarf and
fantastic pollards, afforded pasture for a few cows, and the only
carrier's solitary horse. The stream itself was of no ignoble repute
among the gentle craft of the Angle, the brotherhood whom our
associations defend in the spite of our mercy; and this repute drew
welcome and periodical itinerants to the village, who furnished it with
its scanty news of the great world without, and maintained in a decorous
custom the little and single hostelry of the place. Not that Peter
Dealtry, the proprietor of the "Spotted Dog," was altogether contented to
subsist upon the gains of his hospitable profession; he joined thereto
the light cares of a small farm, held under a wealthy and an easy
landlord; and being moreover honoured with the dignity of clerk to the
parish, he was deemed by his neighbours a person of no small
accomplishment, and no insignificant distinction. He was a little, dry,
thin man, of a turn rather sentimental than jocose; a memory well stored
with fag-ends of psalms, and hymns which, being less familiar than the
psalms to the ears of the villagers, were more than suspected to be his
own composition; often gave a poetic and semi-religious colouring to his
conversation, which accorded rather with his dignity in the church, than
his post at the Spotted Dog. Yet he disliked not his joke, though it was
subtle and delicate of nature; nor did he disdain to bear companionship
over his own liquor, with guests less gifted and refined.

In the centre of the village you chanced upon a cottage which had been
lately white-washed, where a certain preciseness in the owner might be
detected in the clipped hedge, and the exact and newly mended style by
which you approached the habitation; herein dwelt the beau and bachelor
of the village, somewhat antiquated it is true, but still an object of
great attention and some hope to the elder damsels in the vicinity, and
of a respectful popularity, that did not however prohibit a joke, to the
younger part of the sisterhood. Jacob Bunting, so was this gentleman
called, had been for many years in the king's service, in which he had
risen to the rank of corporal, and had saved and pinched together a
certain small independence upon which he now rented his cottage and
enjoyed his leisure. He had seen a good deal of the world, and profited
in shrewdness by his experience; he had rubbed off, however, all
superfluous devotion as he rubbed off his prejudices, and though he drank
more often than any one else with the landlord of the Spotted Dog, he
also quarrelled with him the oftenest, and testified the least
forbearance at the publican's segments of psalmody. Jacob was a tall,
comely, and perpendicular personage; his threadbare coat was scrupulously
brushed, and his hair punctiliously plastered at the sides into two stiff
obstinate-looking curls, and at the top into what he was pleased to call
a feather, though it was much more like a tile. His conversation had in
it something peculiar; generally it assumed a quick, short, abrupt turn,
that, retrenching all superfluities of pronoun and conjunction, and
marching at once upon the meaning of the sentence, had in it a military
and Spartan significance, which betrayed how difficult it often is for a
man to forget that he has been a corporal. Occasionally indeed, for where
but in farces is the phraseology of the humorist always the same? he
escaped into a more enlarged and christianlike method of dealing with the
king's English, but that was chiefly noticeable, when from conversation
he launched himself into lecture, a luxury the worthy soldier loved
greatly to indulge, for much had he seen and somewhat had he reflected;
and valuing himself, which was odd in a corporal, more on his knowledge
of the world than his knowledge even of war, he rarely missed any
occasion of edifying a patient listener with the result of his

After you had sauntered by the veteran's door, beside which you
generally, if the evening were fine, or he was not drinking with
neighbour Dealtry--or taking his tea with gossip this or master that--or
teaching some emulous urchins the broadsword exercise--or snaring trout
in the stream--or, in short, otherwise engaged; beside which, I say, you
not unfrequently beheld him sitting on a rude bench, and enjoying with
half-shut eyes, crossed legs, but still unindulgently erect posture, the
luxury of his pipe; you ventured over a little wooden bridge; beneath
which, clear and shallow, ran the rivulet we have before honorably
mentioned; and a walk of a few minutes brought you to a moderately sized
and old-fashioned mansion--the manor-house of the parish. It stood at the
very foot of the hill; behind, a rich, ancient, and hanging wood, brought
into relief--the exceeding freshness and verdure of the patch of green
meadow immediately in front. On one side, the garden was bounded by the
village churchyard, with its simple mounds, and its few scattered and
humble tombs. The church was of great antiquity; and it was only in one
point of view that you caught more than a glimpse of its grey tower and
graceful spire, so thickly and so darkly grouped the yew tree and the
larch around the edifice. Opposite the gate by which you gained the
house, the view was not extended, but rich with wood and pasture, backed
by a hill, which; less verdant than its fellows, was covered with sheep:
while you saw hard by the rivulet darkening and stealing away; till your
sight, though not your ear, lost it among the woodland.

Trained up the embrowned paling on either side of the gate, were bushes
of rustic fruit, and fruit and flowers (through plots of which green and
winding alleys had been cut with no untasteful hand) testified by their
thriving and healthful looks, the care bestowed upon them. The main
boasts of the garden were, on one side, a huge horse-chesnut tree--the
largest in the village; and on the other, an arbour covered without with
honeysuckles, and tapestried within by moss. The house, a grey and quaint
building of the time of James I. with stone copings and gable roof, could
scarcely in these days have been deemed a fitting residence for the lord
of the manor. Nearly the whole of the centre was occupied by the hall, in
which the meals of the family were commonly held--only two other
sitting-rooms of very moderate dimensions had been reserved by the
architect for the convenience or ostentation of the proprietor. An ample
porch jutted from the main building, and this was covered with ivy, as
the windows were with jasmine and honeysuckle; while seats were ranged
inside the porch covered with many a rude initial and long-past date.

The owner of this mansion bore the name of Rowland Lester. His
forefathers, without pretending to high antiquity of family, had held the
dignity of squires of Grassdale for some two centuries; and Rowland
Lester was perhaps the first of the race who had stirred above fifty
miles from the house in which each successive lord had received his
birth, or the green churchyard in which was yet chronicled his death. The
present proprietor was a man of cultivated tastes; and abilities,
naturally not much above mediocrity, had been improved by travel as well
as study. Himself and one younger brother had been early left masters of
their fate and their several portions. The younger, Geoffrey, testified a
roving and dissipated turn. Bold, licentious, extravagant, unprincipled,
--his career soon outstripped the slender fortunes of a cadet in the
family of a country squire. He was early thrown into difficulties, but,
by some means or other they never seemed to overwhelm him; an unexpected
turn--a lucky adventure--presented itself at the very moment when Fortune
appeared the most utterly to have deserted him.

Among these more propitious fluctuations in the tide of affairs, was, at
about the age of forty, a sudden marriage with a young lady of what might
be termed (for Geoffrey Lester's rank of life, and the rational expenses
of that day) a very competent and respectable fortune. Unhappily,
however, the lady was neither handsome in feature nor gentle in temper;
and, after a few years of quarrel and contest, the faithless husband, one
bright morning, having collected in his proper person whatever remained
of their fortune, absconded from the conjugal hearth without either
warning or farewell. He left nothing to his wife but his house, his
debts, and his only child, a son. From that time to the present little
had been known, though much had been conjectured, concerning the
deserter. For the first few years they traced, however, so far of his
fate as to learn that he had been seen once in India; and that previously
he had been met in England by a relation, under the disguise of assumed
names: a proof that whatever his occupations, they could scarcely be very
respectable. But, of late, nothing whatsoever relating to the wanderer
had transpired. By some he was imagined dead; by most he was forgotten.
Those more immediately connected with him--his brother in especial,
cherished a secret belief, that wherever Geoffrey Lester should chance to
alight, the manner of alighting would (to use the significant and homely
metaphor) be always on his legs; and coupling the wonted luck of the
scapegrace with the fact of his having been seen in India, Rowland, in
his heart, not only hoped, but fully expected, that the lost one would,
some day or other, return home laden with the spoils of the East, and
eager to shower upon his relatives, in recompense of long desertion,

"With richest hand ... barbaric pearl and gold."

But we must return to the forsaken spouse.--Left in this abrupt
destitution and distress, Mrs. Lester had only the resource of applying
to her brother-in-law, whom indeed the fugitive had before seized many
opportunities of not leaving wholly unprepared for such an application.
Rowland promptly and generously obeyed the summons: he took the child and
the wife to his own home,--he freed the latter from the persecution of
all legal claimants,--and, after selling such effects as remained, he
devoted the whole proceeds to the forsaken family, without regarding his
own expenses on their behalf, ill as he was able to afford the luxury of
that self-neglect. The wife did not long need the asylum of his hearth,--
she, poor lady, died of a slow fever produced by irritation and
disappointment, a few months after Geoffrey's desertion. She had no need
to recommend her children to their kindhearted uncle's care. And now we
must glance over the elder brother's domestic fortunes.

In Rowland, the wild dispositions of his brother were so far tamed, that
they assumed only the character of a buoyant temper and a gay spirit. He
had strong principles as well as warm feelings, and a fine and resolute
sense of honour utterly impervious to attack. It was impossible to be in
his company an hour and not see that he was a man to be respected. It was
equally impossible to live with him a week and not see that he was a man
to be beloved. He also had married, and about a year after that era in
the life of his brother, but not for the same advantage of fortune. He
had formed an attachment to the portionlesss daughter of a man in his own
neighbourhood and of his own rank. He wooed and won her, and for a few
years he enjoyed that greatest happiness which the world is capable of
bestowing--the society and the love of one in whom we could wish for no
change, and beyond whom we have no desire. But what Evil cannot corrupt
Fate seldom spares. A few months after the birth of a second daughter the
young wife of Rowland Lester died. It was to a widowed hearth that the
wife and child of his brother came for shelter. Rowland was a man of an
affectionate and warm heart: if the blow did not crush, at least it
changed him. Naturally of a cheerful and ardent disposition, his mood now
became soberized and sedate. He shrunk from the rural gaieties and
companionship he had before courted and enlivened, and, for the first
time in his life, the mourner felt the holiness of solitude. As his
nephew and his motherless daughters grew up, they gave an object to his
seclusion and a relief to his reflections. He found a pure and unfailing
delight in watching the growth of their young minds, and guiding their
differing dispositions; and, as time at length enabled the to return his
affection, and appreciate his cares, he became once more sensible that he
had a HOME.

The elder of his daughters, Madeline, at the time our story opens, had
attained the age of eighteen. She was the beauty and the boast of the
whole country. Above the ordinary height, her figure was richly and
exquisitely formed. So translucently pure and soft was her complexion,
that it might have seemed the token of delicate health, but for the dewy
and exceeding redness of her lips, and the freshness of teeth whiter than
pearls. Her eyes of a deep blue, wore a thoughtful and serene expression,
and her forehead, higher and broader than it usually is in women, gave
promise of a certain nobleness of intellect, and added dignity, but a
feminine dignity, to the more tender characteristics of her beauty. And
indeed, the peculiar tone of Madeline's mind fulfilled the indication of
her features, and was eminently thoughtful and high-wrought. She had
early testified a remarkable love for study, and not only a desire for
knowledge, but a veneration for those who possessed it. The remote corner
of the county in which they lived, and the rarely broken seclusion which
Lester habitually preserved from the intercourse of their few and
scattered neighbours, had naturally cast each member of the little circle
upon his or her own resources. An accident, some five years ago, had
confined Madeline for several weeks or rather months to the house; and as
the old hall possessed a very respectable share of books, she had then
matured and confirmed that love to reading and reflection, which she had
at a yet earlier period prematurely evinced. The woman's tendency to
romance naturally tinctured her meditations, and thus, while they
dignified, they also softened her mind. Her sister Ellinor, younger by
two years, was of a character equally gentle, but less elevated. She
looked up to her sister as a superior being. She felt pride without a
shadow of envy, at her superior and surpassing beauty; and was
unconsciously guided in her pursuits and predilections, by a mind she
cheerfully acknowledged to be loftier than her own. And yet Ellinor had
also her pretensions to personal loveliness, and pretensions perhaps that
would be less reluctantly acknowledged by her own sex than those of her
sister. The sunlight of a happy and innocent heart sparkled on her face,
and gave a beam it gladdened you to behold, to her quick hazel eye, and a
smile that broke out from a thousand dimples. She did not possess the
height of Madeline, and though not so slender as to be curtailed of the
roundness and feminine luxuriance of beauty, her shape was slighter,
feebler, and less rich in its symmetry than her sister's. And this the
tendency of the physical frame to require elsewhere support, nor to feel
secure of strength, influenced perhaps her mind, and made love, and the
dependence of love, more necessary to her than to the thoughtful and
lofty Madeline. The latter might pass through life, and never see the one
to whom her heart could give itself away. But every village might possess
a hero whom the imagination of Ellinor could clothe with unreal graces,
and to whom the lovingness of her disposition might bias her affections.
Both, however, eminently possessed that earnestness and purity of heart,
which would have made them, perhaps in an equal degree, constant and
devoted to the object of an attachment, once formed, in defiance of
change and to the brink of death.

Their cousin Walter, Geoffrey Lester's son, was now in his twenty-first
year; tall and strong of person, and with a face, if not regularly
handsome, striking enough to be generally deemed so. High-spirited, bold,
fiery, impatient; jealous of the affections of those he loved; cheerful
to outward seeming, but restless, fond of change, and subject to the
melancholy and pining mood common to young and ardent minds: such was the
character of Walter Lester. The estates of Lester were settled in the
male line, and devolved therefore upon him. Yet there were moments when
he keenly felt his orphan and deserted situation; and sighed to think,
that while his father perhaps yet lived, he was a dependent for
affection, if not for maintenance, on the kindness of others. This
reflection sometimes gave an air of sullenness or petulance to his
character, that did not really belong to it. For what in the world makes
a man of just pride appear so unamiable as the sense of dependence?

                              CHAPTER II.


"Ah, Don Alphonso, is it you? Agreeable accident! Chance presents you to
my eyes where you were least expected." Gil Blas.

It was an evening in the beginning of summer, and Peter Dealtry and the
ci-devant Corporal sate beneath the sign of The Spotted Dog (as it hung
motionless from the bough of a friendly elm), quaffing a cup of boon
companionship. The reader will imagine the two men very different from
each other in form and aspect; the one short, dry, fragile, and betraying
a love of ease in his unbuttoned vest, and a certain lolling, see-sawing
method of balancing his body upon his chair; the other, erect and solemn,
and as steady on his seat as if he were nailed to it. It was a fine,
tranquil balmy evening; the sun had just set, and the clouds still
retained the rosy tints which they had caught from his parting ray. Here
and there, at scattered intervals, you might see the cottages peeping
from the trees around them; or mark the smoke that rose from their roofs-
-roofs green with mosses and house-leek,--in graceful and spiral curls
against the clear soft air. It was an English scene, and the two men, the
dog at their feet, (for Peter Dealtry favoured a wirey stone-coloured
cur, which he called a terrier,) and just at the door of the little inn,
two old gossips, loitering on the threshold in familiar chat with the
landlady, in cap and kerchief,--all together made a groupe equally
English, and somewhat picturesque, though homely enough, in effect.

"Well, now," said Peter Dealtry, as he pushed the brown jug towards the
Corporal, "this is what I call pleasant; it puts me in mind--"

"Of what?" quoth the Corporal.

"Of those nice lines in the hymn, Master Bunting.

          'How fair ye are, ye little hills,
             Ye little fields also;
           Ye murmuring streams that sweetly run;
             Ye willows in a row!'

"There is something very comfortable in sacred verses, Master Bunting; but
you're a scoffer."

"Psha, man!" said the Corporal, throwing out his right leg and leaning
back, with his eyes half-shut, and his chin protruded, as he took an
unusually long inhalation from his pipe; "Psha, man!--send verses to the
right-about--fit for girls going to school of a Sunday; full-grown men
more up to snuff. I've seen the world, Master Dealtry;--the world, and be
damned to you!--augh!"

"Fie, neighbour, fie! What's the good of profaneness, evil speaking and

          'Oaths are the debts your spendthrift soul must pay;
           All scores are chalked against the reckoning day.'
           Just wait a bit, neighbour; wait till I light my pipe."

"Tell you what," said the Corporal, after he had communicated from his
own pipe the friendly flame to his comrade's; "tell you what--talk
nonsense; the commander-in-chief's no Martinet--if we're all right in
action, he'll wink at a slip word or two. Come, no humbug--hold jaw. D'ye
think God would sooner have snivelling fellow like you in his regiment,
than a man like me, clean limbed, straight as a dart, six feet one
without his shoes!--baugh!"

This notion of the Corporal's, by which he would have likened the
dominion of Heaven to the King of Prussia's body-guard, and only admitted
the elect on account of their inches, so tickled mine host's fancy, that
he leaned back in his chair, and indulged in a long, dry, obstreperous
cachinnation. This irreverence mightily displeased the Corporal. He
looked at the little man very sourly, and said in his least smooth

"What--devil--cackling at?--always grin, grin, grin--giggle, giggle,

"Why really, neighbour," said Peter, composing himself, "you must let a
man laugh now and then."

"Man!" said the Corporal; "man's a noble animal! Man's a musquet, primed,
loaded, ready to supply a friend or kill a foe--charge not to be wasted
on every tom-tit. But you! not a musquet, but a cracker! noisy,
harmless,--can't touch you, but off you go, whizz, pop, bang in one's

"Well!" said the good-humoured landlord, "I should think Master Aram, the
great scholar who lives down the vale yonder, a man quite after your own
heart. He is grave enough to suit you. He does not laugh very easily, I

"After my heart? Stoops like a bow!"

"Indeed he does look on the ground as he walks; when I think, I do the
same. But what a marvellous man it is! I hear, that he reads the Psalms
in Hebrew. He's very affable and meek-like for such a scholard."

"Tell you what. Seen the world, Master Dealtry, and know a thing or two.
Your shy dog is always a deep one. Give me a man who looks me in the face
as he would a cannon!"

"Or a lass," said Peter knowingly.

The grim Corporal smiled.

"Talking of lasses," said the soldier, re-filling his pipe, "what
creature Miss Lester is! Such eyes!--such nose! Fit for a colonel, by
God! ay, or a major-general!"

"For my part, I think Miss Ellinor almost as handsome; not so grand-like,
but more lovesome!"

"Nice little thing!" said the Corporal, condescendingly. "But, zooks!
whom have we here?"

This last question was applied to a man who was slowly turning from the
road towards the inn. The stranger, for such he was, was stout, thick-
set, and of middle height. His dress was not without pretension to a rank
higher than the lowest; but it was threadbare and worn, and soiled with
dust and travel. His appearance was by no means prepossessing; small
sunken eyes of a light hazel and a restless and rather fierce expression,
a thick flat nose, high cheekbones, a large bony jaw, from which the
flesh receded, and a bull throat indicative of great strength,
constituted his claims to personal attraction. The stately Corporal,
without moving, kept a vigilant and suspicious eye upon the new comer,
muttering to Peter,--"Customer for you; rum customer too--by Gad!"

The stranger now reached the little table, and halting short, took up the
brown jug, without ceremony or preface, and emptied it at a draught.

The Corporal stared--the Corporal frowned; but before--for he was
somewhat slow of speech--he had time to vent his displeasure, the
stranger, wiping his mouth across his sleeve, said, in rather a civil and
apologetic tone,

"I beg pardon, gentlemen. I have had a long march of it, and very tired I

"Humph! march," said the Corporal a little appeased, "Not in his
Majesty's service--eh?"

"Not now," answered the Traveller; then, turning round to Dealtry, he
said: "Are you landlord here?"

"At your service," said Peter, with the indifference of a man well to do,
and not ambitious of halfpence.

"Come, then, quick--budge," said the Traveller, tapping him on the back:
"bring more glasses--another jug of the October; and any thing or every
thing your larder is able to produce--d'ye hear?"

Peter, by no means pleased with the briskness of this address, eyed the
dusty and way-worn pedestrian from head to foot; then, looking over his
shoulder towards the door, he said, as he ensconced himself yet more
firmly on his seat--

"There's my wife by the door, friend; go, tell her what you want."

"Do you know," said the Traveller, in a slow and measured accent--"Do you
know, master Shrivel-face, that I have more than half a mind to break
your head for impertinence. You a landlord!--you keep an inn, indeed!
Come, Sir, make off, or--"

"Corporal!--Corporal!" cried Peter, retreating hastily from his seat as
the brawny Traveller approached menacingly towards him--"You won't see
the peace broken. Have a care, friend--have a care I'm clerk to the
parish--clerk to the parish, Sir--and I'll indict you for sacrilege."

The wooden features of Bunting relaxed into a sort of grin at the alarm
of his friend. He puffed away, without making any reply; meanwhile the
Traveller, taking advantage of Peter's hasty abandonment of his
cathedrarian accommodation, seized the vacant chair, and drawing it yet
closer to the table, flung himself upon it, and placing his hat on the
table, wiped his brows with the air of a man about to make himself
thoroughly at home.

Peter Dealtry was assuredly a personage of peaceable disposition; but
then he had the proper pride of a host and a clerk. His feeling were
exceedingly wounded at this cavalier treatment--before the very eyes of
his wife too--what an example! He thrust his hands deep into his breeches
pockets, and strutting with a ferocious swagger towards the Traveller, he

"Harkye, sirrah! This is not the way folks are treated in this country:
and I'd have you to know, that I'm a man what has a brother a constable."

"Well, Sir!"

"Well, Sir, indeed! Well!--Sir, it's not well, by no manner of means; and
if you don't pay for the ale you drank, and go quietly about your
business, I'll have you put in the stocks for a vagrant."

This, the most menacing speech Peter Dealtry was ever known to deliver,
was uttered with so much spirit, that the Corporal, who had hitherto
preserved silence--for he was too strict a disciplinarian to thrust
himself unnecessarily into brawls,--turned approvingly round, and
nodding as well as his stock would suffer him at the indignant Peter, he
said: "Well done! 'fegs--you've a soul, man!--a soul fit for the forty-
second! augh!--A soul above the inches of five feet two!"

There was something bitter and sneering in the Traveller's aspect as he
now, regarding Dealtry, repeated--

"Vagrant--humph! And pray what is a vagrant?"

"What is a vagrant?" echoed Peter, a little puzzled.

"Yes! answer me that."

"Why, a vagrant is a man what wanders, and what has no money."

"Truly," said the stranger smiling, but the smile by no means improved
his physiognomy, "an excellent definition, but one which, I will convince
you, does not apply to me." So saying, he drew from his pocket a handful
of silver coins, and, throwing them on the table, added: "Come, let's
have no more of this. You see I can pay for what I order; and now, do
recollect that I am a weary and hungry man."

No sooner did Peter behold the money, than a sudden placidity stole over
his ruffled spirit:--nay, a certain benevolent commiseration for the
fatigue and wants of the Traveller replaced at once, and as by a spell,
the angry feelings that had previously roused him.

"Weary and hungry," said he; "why did not you say that before? That would
have been quite enough for Peter Dealtry. Thank God! I am a man what can
feel for my neighbours. I have bowels--yes, I have bowels. Weary and
hungry!--you shall be served in an instant. I may be a little hasty or
so, but I'm a good Christian at bottom--ask the Corporal. And what says
the Psalmist, Psalm 147?--

          'By Him, the beasts that loosely range
              With timely food are fed:
           He speaks the word--and what He wills
              Is done as soon as said.'"

Animating his kindly emotions by this apt quotation, Peter turned to the
house. The Corporal now broke silence: the sight of the money had not
been without an effect upon him as well as the landlord.

"Warm day, Sir:--your health. Oh! forgot you emptied jug--baugh! You said
you were not now in his Majesty's service: beg pardon--were you ever?"

"Why, once I was; many years ago."

"Ah!--and what regiment? I was in the forty-second. Heard of the forty-
second? Colonel's name, Dysart; captain's, Trotter; corporal's, Bunting,
at your service."

"I am much obliged by your confidence," said the Traveller drily. "I dare
say you have seen much service."

"Service! Ah! may well say that;--twenty-three years' hard work: and not
the better for it! A man that loves his country is 'titled to a pension--
that's my mind!--but the world don't smile upon corporals--augh!"

Here Peter re-appeared with a fresh supply of the October, and an
assurance that the cold meat would speedily follow.

"I hope yourself and this gentleman will bear me company," said the
Traveller, passing the jug to the Corporal; and in a few moments, so well
pleased grew the trio with each other, that the sound of their laughter
came loud and frequent to the ears of the good housewife within.

The traveller now seemed to the Corporal and mine host a right jolly,
good-humoured fellow. Not, however, that he bore a fair share in the
conversation--he rather promoted the hilarity of his new acquaintances
than led it. He laughed heartily at Peter's jests, and the Corporal's
repartees; and the latter, by degrees, assuming the usual sway he bore in
the circle of the village, contrived, before the viands were on the
table, to monopolize the whole conversation.

The Traveller found in the repast a new excuse for silence. He ate with a
most prodigious and most contagious appetite; and in a few seconds the
knife and fork of the Corporal were as busily engaged as if he had only
three minutes to spare between a march and a dinner.

"This is a pretty, retired spot," quoth the Traveller, as at length he
finished his repast, and threw himself back on his chair--a very pretty
spot. Whose neat old-fashioned house was that I passed on the green, with
the gable-ends and the flower-plots in front?

"Oh, the Squire's," answered Peter; "Squire Lester's an excellent

"A rich man, I should think, for these parts; the best house I have seen
for some miles," said the Stranger carelessly.

"Rich--yes, he's well to do; he does not live so as not to have money to
lay by."

"Any family?"

"Two daughters and a nephew."

"And the nephew does not ruin him. Happy uncle! Mine was not so lucky,"
said the Traveller.

"Sad fellows we soldiers in our young days!" observed the Corporal with a
wink. "No, Squire Walter's a good young man, a pride to his uncle!"

"So," said the pedestrian, "they are not forced to keep up a large
establishment and ruin themselves by a retinue of servants?--Corporal,
the jug."

"Nay!" said Peter, "Squire Lester's gate is always open to the poor; but
as for shew, he leaves that to my lord at the castle."

"The castle, where's that?"

"About six miles off, you've heard of my Lord--, I'll swear."

"Ah, to be sure, a courtier. But who else lives about here? I mean, who
are the principal persons, barring the Corporal and yourself, Mr. Eelpry-
-I think our friend here calls you."

"Dealtry, Peter Dealtry, Sir, is my name.--Why the most noticeable man,
you must know, is a great scholard, a wonderfully learned man; there
yonder, you may just catch a glimpse of the tall what-d'ye-call-it he has
built out on the top of his house, that he may get nearer to the stars.
He has got glasses by which I've heard that you may see the people in the
moon walking on their heads; but I can't say as I believe all I hear."

"You are too sensible for that, I'm sure. But this scholar, I suppose, is
not very rich; learning does not clothe men now-a-days--eh, Corporal?"

"And why should it? Zounds! can it teach a man how to defend his country?
Old England wants soldiers, and be d--d to them! But the man's well
enough, I must own, civil, modest--"

"And not by no means a beggar," added Peter; "he gave as much to the poor
last winter as the Squire himself."

"Indeed!" said the Stranger, "this scholar is rich then?"

"So, so; neither one nor t'other. But if he were as rich as my lord, he
could not be more respected; the greatest folks in the country come in
their carriages and four to see him. Lord bless you, there is not a name
more talked on in the whole county than Eugene Aram."

"What!" cried the Traveller, his countenance changing as he sprung from
his seat; "what!--Aram!--did you say Aram? Great God! how strange!"

Peter, not a little startled by the abruptness and vehemence of his
guest, stared at him with open mouth, and even the Corporal took his pipe
involuntarily from his lips.

"What!" said the former, "you know him, do you? you've heard of him, eh?"

The Stranger did not reply, he seemed lost in a reverie; he muttered
inaudible words between his teeth; now he strode two steps forward,
clenching his hands; now smiled grimly; and then returning to his seat,
threw himself on it, still in silence. The soldier and the clerk
exchanged looks, and now outspake the Corporal.

"Rum tantrums! What the devil, did the man eat your grandmother?"

Roused perhaps by so pertinent and sensible a question, the Stranger
lifted his head from his breast, and said with a forced smile, "You have
done me, without knowing it, a great kindness, my friend. Eugene Aram was
an early and intimate acquaintance of mine: we have not met for many
years. I never guessed that he lived in these parts: indeed I did not
know where he resided. I am truly glad to think I have lighted upon him
thus unexpectedly."

"What! you did not know where he lived? Well! I thought all the world
knew that! Why, men from the univarsities have come all the way, merely
to look at the spot."

"Very likely," returned the Stranger; "but I am not a learned man myself,
and what is celebrity in one set is obscurity in another. Besides, I have
never been in this part of the world before!"

Peter was about to reply, when he heard the shrill voice of his wife

"Why don't you rise, Mr. Lazyboots? Where are your eyes? Don't you see
the young ladies."

Dealtry's hat was off in an instant,--the stiff Corporal rose like a
musquet; the Stranger would have kept his seat, but Dealtry gave him an
admonitory tug by the collar; accordingly he rose, muttering a hasty
oath, which certainly died on his lips when he saw the cause which had
thus constrained him into courtesy.

Through a little gate close by Peter's house Madeline and her sister had
just passed on their evening walk, and with the kind familiarity for
which they were both noted, they had stopped to salute the landlady of
the Spotted Dog, as she now, her labours done, sat by the threshold,
within hearing of the convivial group, and plaiting straw. The whole
family of Lester were so beloved, that we question whether my Lord
himself, as the great nobleman of the place was always called, (as if
there were only one lord in the peerage,) would have obtained the same
degree of respect that was always lavished upon them.

"Don't let us disturb you, good people," said Ellinor, as they now moved
towards the boon companions, when her eye suddenly falling on the
Stranger, she stopped short. There was something in his appearance, and
especially in the expression of his countenance at that moment, which no
one could have marked for the first time without apprehension and
distrust: and it was so seldom that, in that retired spot, the young
ladies encountered even one unfamiliar face, that the effect the
stranger's appearance might have produced on any one, might well be
increased for them to a startling and painful degree. The Traveller saw
at once the sensation he had created: his brow lowered; and the same
unpleasing smile, or rather sneer, that we have noted before, distorted
his lip, as he made with affected humility his obeisance.

"How!--a stranger!" said Madeline, sharing, though in a less degree, the
feelings of her sister; and then, after a pause, she said, as she glanced
over his garb, "not in distress, I hope."

"No, Madam!" said the stranger, "if by distress is meant beggary. I am in
all respects perhaps better than I seem."

There was a general titter from the Corporal, my host, and his wife, at
the Traveller's semi-jest at his own unprepossessing appearance: but
Madeline, a little disconcerted, bowed hastily, and drew her sister away.

"A proud quean!" said the Stranger, as he re-seated himself, and watched
the sisters gliding across the green.

All mouths were opened against him immediately. He found it no easy
matter to make his peace; and before he had quite done it, he called for
his bill, and rose to depart.

"Well!" said he, as he tendered his hand to the Corporal, "we may meet
again, and enjoy together some more of your good stories. Meanwhile,
which is my way to this--this--this famous scholar's--Ehem?"

"Why," quoth Peter, "you saw the direction in which the young ladies
went; you must take the same. Cross the stile you will find at the right
--wind along the foot of the hill for about three parts of a mile, and
you will then see in the middle of a broad plain, a lonely grey house
with a thingumebob at the top; a servatory they call it. That's Master

"Thank you."

"And a very pretty walk it is too," said the Dame, "the prettiest
hereabouts to my liking, till you get to the house at least; and so the
young ladies think, for it's their usual walk every evening!"

"Humph,--then I may meet them."

"Well, and if you do, make yourself look as Christian-like as you can,"
retorted the hostess.

There was a second grin at the ill-favoured Traveller's expense, amidst
which he went his way.

"An odd chap!" said Peter, looking after the sturdy form of the
Traveller. "I wonder what he is; he seems well edicated--makes use of
good words."

"What sinnifies?" said the Corporal, who felt a sort of fellow-feeling
for his new acquaintance's brusquerie of manner;--"what sinnifies what he
is. Served his country,--that's enough;--never told me, by the by, his
regiment;--set me a talking, and let out nothing himself;--old soldier
every inch of him!"

"He can take care of number one," said Peter. "How he emptied the jug;
and my stars! what an appetite!"

"Tush," said the Corporal, "hold jaw. Man of the world--man of the
world,--that's clear."

                             CHAPTER III.


                    "A fellow by the hand of Nature marked,
                   Quoted, and signed, to do a deed of shame."
                                      --Shakspeare.--King John.

                   "He is a scholar, if a man may trust
                   The liberal voice of Fame, in her report.
                     Myself was once a student, and indeed
                     Fed with the self-same humour he is now."
                              --Ben Jonson.--Every Man in his Humour.

The two sisters pursued their walk along a scene which might well be
favoured by their selection. No sooner had they crossed the stile, than
the village seemed vanished into earth; so quiet, so lonely, so far from
the evidence of life was the landscape through which they passed. On
their right, sloped a green and silent hill, shutting out all view beyond
itself, save the deepening and twilight sky; to the left, and immediately
along their road lay fragments of stone, covered with moss, or shadowed
by wild shrubs, that here and there, gathered into copses, or breaking
abruptly away from the rich sod, left frequent spaces through which you
caught long vistas of forestland, or the brooklet gliding in a noisy and
rocky course, and breaking into a thousand tiny waterfalls, or mimic
eddies. So secluded was the scene, and so unwitnessing of cultivation,
that you would not have believed that a human habitation could be at
hand, and this air of perfect solitude and quiet gave an additional charm
to the spot.

"But I assure you," said Ellinor, earnestly continuing a conversation
they had begun, "I assure you I was not mistaken, I saw it as plainly as
I see you."

"What, in the breast pocket?"

"Yes, as he drew out his handkerchief, I saw the barrel of the pistol
quite distinctly."

"Indeed, I think we had better tell my father as soon as we get home; it
may be as well to be on our guard, though robbery, I believe, has not
been heard of in Grassdale for these twenty years."

"Yet for what purpose, save that of evil, could he in these peaceable
times and this peaceable country, carry fire arms about him. And what a
countenance! Did you note the shy, and yet ferocious eye, like that of
some animal, that longs, yet fears to spring upon you."

"Upon my word, Ellinor," said Madeline, smiling, "you are not very
merciful to strangers. After all, the man might have provided himself
with the pistol which you saw as a natural precaution; reflect that, as a
stranger, he may well not know how safe this district usually is, and he
may have come from London, in the neighbourhood of which they say
robberies have been frequent of late. As to his looks, they are I own
unpardonable; for so much ugliness there can be no excuse. Had the man
been as handsome as our cousin Walter, you would not perhaps have been so
uncharitable in your fears at the pistol."

"Nonsense, Madeline," said Ellinor, blushing, and turning away her face;-
-there was a moment's pause, which the younger sister broke.

"We do not seem," said she, "to make much progress in the friendship of
our singular neighbour. I never knew my father court any one so much as
he has courted Mr. Aram, and yet, you see how seldom he calls upon us;
nay, I often think that he seeks to shun us; no great compliment to our
attractions, Madeline."

"I regret his want of sociability, for his own sake," said Madeline, "for
he seems melancholy as well as thoughtful, and he leads so secluded a
life, that I cannot but think my father's conversation and society, if he
would but encourage it, might afford some relief to his solitude."

"And he always seems," observed Ellinor, "to take pleasure in my father's
conversation, as who would not? how his countenance lights up when he
converses! it is a pleasure to watch it. I think him positively handsome
when he speaks."

"Oh, more than handsome!" said Madeline, with enthusiasm, "with that
high, pale brow, and those deep, unfathomable eyes!"

Ellinor smiled, and it was now Madeline's turn to blush.

"Well," said the former, "there is something about him that fills one
with an indescribable interest; and his manner, if cold at times, is yet
always so gentle."

"And to hear him converse," said Madeline, "it is like music. His
thoughts, his very words, seem so different from the language and ideas
of others. What a pity that he should ever be silent!"

"There is one peculiarity about his gloom, it never inspires one with
distrust," said Ellinor; "if I had observed him in the same circumstances
as that ill-omened traveller, I should have had no apprehension."

"Ah! that traveller still runs in your head. If we were to meet him in
this spot."

"Heaven forbid!" cried Ellinor, turning hastily round in alarm--and, lo!
as if her sister had been a prophet, she saw the very person in question
at some little distance behind them, and walking on with rapid strides.

She uttered a faint shriek of surprise and terror, and Madeline, looking
back at the sound, immediately participated in her alarm. The spot looked
so desolate and lonely, and the imagination of both had been already so
worked upon by Ellinor's fears, and their conjectures respecting the ill-
boding weapon she had witnessed, that a thousand apprehensions of outrage
and murder crowded at once upon the minds of the two sisters. Without,
however, giving vent in words to their alarm, they, as by an involuntary
and simultaneous suggestion, quickened their pace, every moment stealing
a glance behind, to watch the progress of the suspected robber. They
thought that he also seemed to accelerate his movements; and this
observation increased their terror, and would appear indeed to give it
some more rational ground. At length, as by a sudden turn of the road
they lost sight of the dreaded stranger, their alarm suggested to them
but one resolution, and they fairly fled on as fast as the fear which
actuated, would allow, them. The nearest, and indeed the only house in
that direction, was Aram's, but they both imagined if they could come
within sight of that, they should be safe. They looked back at every
interval; now they did not see their fancied pursuer--now he emerged
again into view--now--yes--he also was running.

"Faster, faster, Madeline, for God's sake! he is gaining upon us!" cried
Ellinor: the path grew more wild, and the trees more thick and frequent;
at every cluster that marked their progress they saw the Stranger closer
and closer; at length, a sudden break,--a sudden turn in the landscape;--
a broad plain burst upon them, and in the midst of it the Student's
solitary abode!

"Thank God, we are safe!" cried Madeline. She turned once more to look
for the Stranger; in so doing, her foot struck against a fragment of
stone, and she fell with great violence to the ground. She endeavoured to
rise, but found herself, at first, unable to stir from the spot. In this
state she looked, however, back, and saw the Traveller at some little
distance. But he also halted, and after a moment's seeming deliberation,
turned aside, and was lost among the bushes.

With great difficulty Ellinor now assisted Madeline to rise; her ancle
was violently sprained, and she could not put her foot to the ground; but
though she had evinced so much dread at the apparition of the stranger,
she now testified an almost equal degree of fortitude in bearing pain.

"I am not much hurt, Ellinor," she said, faintly smiling, to encourage
her sister, who supported her in speechless alarm: "but what is to be
done? I cannot use this foot; how shall we get home?"

"Thank God, if you are not much hurt!" said poor Ellinor, almost crying,
"lean on me--heavier--pray. Only try and reach the house, and we can
then stay there till Mr. Aram sends home for the carriage."

"But what will he think? how strange it will seem!" said Madeline, the
colour once more visiting her cheek, which a moment since had been
blanched as pale as death.

"Is this a time for scruples and ceremony?" said Ellinor. "Come! I
entreat you, come; if you linger thus, the man may take courage and
attack us yet. There! that's right! Is the pain very great?"

"I do not mind the pain," murmered Madeline; "but if he should think we
intrude? His habits are so reserved--so secluded; indeed I fear--"

"Intrude!" interrupted Ellinor. "Do you think so ill of him?--Do you
suppose that, hermit as he is, he has lost common humanity? But lean more
on me, dearest; you do not know how strong I am!"

Thus alternately chiding, caressing, and encouraging her sister, Ellinor
led on the sufferer, till they had crossed the plain, though with
slowness and labour, and stood before the porch of the Recluse's house.
They had looked back from time to time, but the cause of so much alarm
appeared no more. This they deemed a sufficient evidence of the justice
of their apprehensions.

Madeline would even now fain have detained her sister's hand from the
bell that hung without the porch half imbedded in ivy; but Ellinor, out
of patience--as she well might be--with her sister's unseasonable
prudence, refused any longer delay. So singularly still and solitary was
the plain around the house, that the sound of the bell breaking the
silence, had in it something startling, and appeared in its sudden and
shrill voice, a profanation to the deep tranquillity of the spot. They
did not wait long--a step was heard within--the door was slowly unbarred,
and the Student himself stood before them.

He was a man who might, perhaps, have numbered some five and thirty
years; but at a hasty glance, he would have seemed considerably younger.
He was above the ordinary stature; though a gentle, and not ungraceful
bend in the neck rather than the shoulders, somewhat curtailed his proper
advantages of height. His frame was thin and slender, but well knit and
fair proportioned. Nature had originally cast his form in an athletic
mould; but sedentary habits, and the wear of mind, seemed somewhat to
have impaired her gifts. His cheek was pale and delicate; yet it was
rather the delicacy of thought than of weak health. His hair, which was
long, and of a rich and deep brown, was worn back from his face and
temples, and left a broad high majestic forehead utterly unrelieved and
bare; and on the brow there was not a single wrinkle, it was as smooth as
it might have been some fifteen years ago. There was a singular calmness,
and, so to speak, profundity, of thought, eloquent upon its clear
expanse, which suggested the idea of one who had passed his life rather
in contemplation than emotion. It was a face that a physiognomist would
have loved to look upon, so much did it speak both of the refinement and
the dignity of intellect.

Such was the person--if pictures convey a faithful resemblance--of a man,
certainly the most eminent in his day for various and profound learning,
and a genius wholly self-taught, yet never contented to repose upon the
wonderful stores it had laboriously accumulated.

He now stood before the two girls, silent, and evidently surprised; and
it would scarce have been an unworthy subject for a picture--that ivied
porch--that still spot--Madeline's reclining and subdued form and
downcast eyes--the eager face of Ellinor, about to narrate the nature and
cause of their intrusion--and the pale Student himself, thus suddenly
aroused from his solitary meditations, and converted into the protector
of beauty.

No sooner did Aram gather from Ellinor the outline of their story, and of
Madeline's accident, than his countenance and manner testified the
liveliest and most eager sympathy. Madeline was inexpressibly touched and
surprised at the kindly and respectful earnestness with which this
recluse scholar--usually so cold and abstracted in mood--assisted and led
her into the house: the sympathy he expressed for her pain--the sincerity
of his tone--the compassion of his eyes--and as those dark--and to use
her own thought--unfathomable orbs bent admiringly and yet so gently upon
her, Madeline, even in spite of her pain, felt an indescribable, a
delicious thrill at her heart, which in the presence of no one else had
she ever experienced before.

Aram now summoned the only domestic his house possessed, who appeared in
the form of an old woman, whom he seemed to have selected from the whole
neighbourhood as the person most in keeping with the rigid seclusion he
preserved. She was exceedingly deaf, and was a proverb in the village for
her extreme taciturnity. Poor old Margaret; she was a widow, and had lost
ten children by early deaths. There was a time when her gaiety had been
as noticeable as her reserve was now. In spite of her infirmity, she was
not slow in comprehending the accident Madeline had met with; and she
busied herself with a promptness that shewed her misfortunes had not
deadened her natural kindness of disposition, in preparing fomentations
and bandages for the wounded foot.

Meanwhile Aram, having no person to send in his stead, undertook to seek
the manor-house, and bring back the old family coach, which had dozed
inactively in its shelter for the last six months, to convey the sufferer

"No, Mr. Aram," said Madeline, colouring; "pray do not go yourself:
consider, the man may still be loitering on the road. He is armed--good
Heavens, if he should meet you!"

"Fear not, Madam," said Aram, with a faint smile. "I also keep arms, even
in this obscure and safe retreat; and to satisfy you, I will not neglect
to carry them with me."

"As he spoke, he took from the wainscoat, from which they hung, a brace
of large horse pistols, slung them round him by a leather belt, and
flinging over his person, to conceal weapons so alarming to any less
dangerous passenger he might encounter, the long cloak then usually worn
in inclement seasons, as an outer garment, he turned to depart.

"But are they loaded?" asked Ellinor.

Aram answered briefly, in the affirmative. It was somewhat singular, but
the sisters did not then remark it, that a man so peaceable in his
pursuits, and seemingly possessed of no valuables that could tempt
cupidity, should in that spot, where crime was never heard of, use such
habitual precaution.

When the door closed upon him, and while the old woman, relieved with a
light hand and soothing lotions, which she had shewn some skill in
preparing, the anguish of the sprain, Madeline cast glances of interest
and curiosity around the apartment into which she had had the rare good
fortune to obtain admittance.

The house had belonged to a family of some note, whose heirs had
outstripped their fortunes. It had been long deserted and uninhabited;
and when Aram settled in those parts, the proprietor was too glad to get
rid of the incumbrance of an empty house, at a nominal rent. The solitude
of the place had been the main attraction to Aram; and as he possessed
what would be considered a very extensive assortment of books, even for a
library of these days, he required a larger apartment than he would have
been able to obtain in an abode more compact and more suitable to his
fortunes and mode of living.

The room in which the sisters now found themselves was the most spacious
in the house, and was indeed of considerable dimensions. It contained in
front one large window, jutting from the wall. Opposite was an antique
and high mantelpiece of black oak. The rest of the room was walled from
the floor to the roof with books; volumes of all languages, and it might
even be said, without much exaggeration, upon all sciences, were strewed
around, on the chairs, the tables, or the floor. By the window stood the
Student's desk, and a large old-fashioned chair of oak. A few papers,
filled with astronomical calculations, lay on the desk, and these were
all the witnesses of the result of study. Indeed Aram does not appear to
have been a man much inclined to reproduce the learning he acquired;--
what he wrote was in very small proportion to what he had read.

So high and grave was the reputation he had acquired, that the retreat
and sanctum of so many learned hours would have been interesting, even to
one who could not appreciate learning; but to Madeline, with her peculiar
disposition and traits of mind, we may readily conceive that the room
presented a powerful and pleasing charm. As the elder sister looked round
in silence, Ellinor attempted to draw the old woman into conversation.
She would fain have elicited some particulars of the habits and daily
life of the recluse; but the deafness of their attendant was so obstinate
and hopeless, that she was forced to give up the attempt in despair. "I
fear," said she at last, her goodnature so far overcome by impatience as
not to forbid a slight yawn; "I fear we shall have a dull time of it till
my father arrives. Just consider, the fat black mares, never too fast,
can only creep along that broken path,--for road there is none: it will
be quite night before the coach arrives."

"I am sorry, dear Ellinor, my awkwardness should occasion you so stupid
an evening," answered Madeline.

"Oh," cried Ellinor, throwing her arms around her sister's neck, "it is
not for myself I spoke; and indeed I am delighted to think we have got
into this wizard's den, and seen the instruments of his art. But I do so
trust Mr. Aram will not meet that terrible man."

"Nay," said the prouder Madeline, "he is armed, and it is but one man. I
feel too high a respect for him to allow myself much fear."

"But these bookmen are not often heroes," remarked Ellinor, laughing.

"For shame," said Madeline, the colour mounting to her forehead. "Do you
not remember how, last summer, Eugene Aram rescued Dame Grenfeld's child
from the bull, though at the literal peril of his own life? And who but
Eugene Aram, when the floods in the year before swept along the low lands
by Fairleigh, went day after day to rescue the persons, or even to save
the goods of those poor people; at a time too, when the boldest villagers
would not hazard themselves across the waters?--But bless me, Ellinor,
what is the matter? you turn pale, you tremble.'

"Hush!" said Ellinor under her breath, and, putting her finger to her
mouth, she rose and stole lightly to the window; she had observed the
figure of a man pass by, and now, as she gained the window, she saw him
halt by the porch, and recognised the formidable Stranger. Presently the
bell sounded, and the old woman, familiar with its shrill sound, rose
from her kneeling position beside the sufferer to attend to the summons.
Ellinor sprang forward and detained her: the poor old woman stared at her
in amazement, wholly unable to comprehend her abrupt gestures and her
rapid language. It was with considerable difficulty and after repeated
efforts, that she at length impressed the dulled sense of the crone with
the nature of their alarm, and the expediency of refusing admittance to
the Stranger. Meanwhile, the bell had rung again,--again, and the third
time with a prolonged violence which testified the impatience of the
applicant. As soon as the good dame had satisfied herself as to Ellinor's
meaning, she could no longer be accused of unreasonable taciturnity; she
wrung her hands and poured forth a volley of lamentations and fears,
which effectually relieved Ellinor from the dread of her unheeding the
admonition. Satisfied at having done thus much, Ellinor now herself
hastened to the door and secured the ingress with an additional bolt, and
then, as the thought flashed upon her, returned to the old woman and made
her, with an easier effort than before, now that her senses were
sharpened by fear, comprehend the necessity of securing the back entrance
also; both hastened away to effect this precaution, and Madeline, who
herself desired Ellinor to accompany the old woman, was left alone. She
kept her eyes fixed on the window with a strange sentiment of dread at
being thus left in so helpless a situation; and though a door of no
ordinary dimensions and doubly locked interposed between herself and the
intruder, she expected in breathless terror, every instant, to see the
form of the ruffian burst into the apartment. As she thus sat and looked,
she shudderingly saw the man, tired perhaps of repeating a summons so
ineffectual, come to the window and look pryingly within: their eyes met;
Madeline had not the power to shriek. Would he break through the window?
that was her only idea, and it deprived her of words, almost of sense. He
gazed upon her evident terror for a moment with a grim smile of contempt;
he then knocked at the window, and his voice broke harshly on a silence
yet more dreadful than the interruption.

"Ho, ho! so there is some life stirring! I beg pardon, Madam, is Mr.
Aram--Eugene Aram, within?"

"No," said Madeline faintly, and then, sensible that her voice did not
reach him, she reiterated the answer in a louder tone. The man, as if
satisfied, made a rude inclination of his head and withdrew from the
window. Ellinor now returned, and with difficulty Madeline found words to
explain to her what had passed. It will be conceived that the two young
ladies watched the arrival of their father with no lukewarm expectation;
the stranger however appeared no more; and in about an hour, to their
inexpressible joy, they heard the rumbling sound of the old coach as it
rolled towards the house. This time there was no delay in unbarring the

                              CHAPTER IV.


                   "Or let my lamp at midnight hour
                   Be seen in some high lonely tower,
                   Where I may oft outwatch the Bear,
                   Or thrice-great Hermes, and unsphere
                   The spirit of Plato."
                                --Milton.--Il Penseroso.

As Aram assisted the beautiful Madeline into the carriage--as he listened
to her sweet voice--as he marked the grateful expression of her soft eyes
--as he felt the slight yet warm pressure of her fairy hand, that vague
sensation of delight which preludes love, for the first time, in his
sterile and solitary life, agitated his breast. Lester held out his hand
to him with a frank cordiality which the scholar could not resist.

"Do not let us be strangers, Mr. Aram," said he warmly. "It is not often
that I press for companionship out of my own circle; but in your company
I should find pleasure as well as instruction. Let us break the ice
boldly, and at once. Come and dine with me to-morrow, and Ellinor shall
sing to us in the evening."

The excuse died upon Aram's lips. Another glance at Madeline conquered
the remains of his reserve: he accepted the invitation, and he could not
but mark, with an unfamiliar emotion of the heart, that the eyes of
Madeline sparkled as he did so.

With an abstracted air, and arms folded across his breast, he gazed after
the carriage till the winding of the valley snatched it from his view. He
then, waking from his reverie with a start, turned into the house, and
carefully closing and barring the door, mounted with slow steps to the
lofty chamber with which, the better to indulge his astronomical
researches, he had crested his lonely abode.

It was now night. The Heavens broadened round him in all the loving yet
august tranquillity of the season and the hour; the stars bathed the
living atmosphere with a solemn light; and above--about--around--

"The holy time was quiet as a nun Breathless with adoration." He looked
forth upon the deep and ineffable stillness of the night, and indulged
the reflections that it suggested.

"Ye mystic lights," said he soliloquizing: "worlds upon worlds--infinite-
-incalculable.--Bright defiers of rest and change, rolling for ever above
our petty sea of mortality, as, wave after wave, we fret forth our little
life, and sink into the black abyss;--can we look upon you, note your
appointed order, and your unvarying course, and not feel that we are
indeed the poorest puppets of an all-pervading and resistless destiny?
Shall we see throughout creation each marvel fulfilling its pre-ordered
fate--no wandering from its orbit--no variation in its seasons--and yet
imagine that the Arch-ordainer will hold back the tides He has sent from
their unseen source, at our miserable bidding? Shall we think that our
prayers can avert a doom woven with the skein of events? To change a
particle of our fate, might change the destiny of millions! Shall the
link forsake the chain, and yet the chain be unbroken? Away, then, with
our vague repinings, and our blind demands. All must walk onward to their
goal, be he the wisest who looks not one step behind. The colours of our
existence were doomed before our birth--our sorrows and our crimes;--
millions of ages back, when this hoary earth was peopled by other kinds,
yea! ere its atoms had formed one layer of its present soil, the Eternal
and the all-seeing Ruler of the universe, Destiny, or God, had here fixed
the moment of our birth and the limits of our career. What then is
crime?--Fate! What life?--Submission!"

Such were the strange and dark thoughts which, constituting a part indeed
of his established creed, broke over Aram's mind. He sought for a fairer
subject for meditation, and Madeline Lester rose before him.

Eugene Aram was a man whose whole life seemed to have been one sacrifice
to knowledge. What is termed pleasure had no attraction for him. From the
mature manhood at which he had arrived, he looked back along his youth,
and recognized no youthful folly. Love he had hitherto regarded with a
cold though not an incurious eye: intemperance had never lured him to a
momentary self-abandonment. Even the innocent relaxations with which the
austerest minds relieve their accustomed toils, had had no power to draw
him from his beloved researches. The delight monstrari digito; the
gratification of triumphant wisdom; the whispers of an elevated vanity;
existed not for his self-dependent and solitary heart. He was one of
those earnest and highwrought enthusiasts who now are almost extinct upon
earth, and whom Romance has not hitherto attempted to pourtray; men not
uncommon in the last century, who were devoted to knowledge, yet
disdainful of its fame; who lived for nothing else than to learn. From
store to store, from treasure to treasure, they proceeded in exulting
labour, and having accumulated all, they bestowed nought; they were the
arch-misers of the wealth of letters. Wrapped in obscurity, in some
sheltered nook, remote from the great stir of men, they passed a life at
once unprofitable and glorious; the least part of what they ransacked
would appal the industry of a modern student, yet the most superficial of
modern students might effect more for mankind. They lived among oracles,
but they gave none forth. And yet, even in this very barrenness, there
seems something high; it was a rare and great spectacle--Men, living
aloof from the roar and strife of the passions that raged below, devoting
themselves to the knowledge which is our purification and our immortality
on earth, and yet deaf and blind to the allurements of the vanity which
generally accompanies research; refusing the ignorant homage of their
kind, making their sublime motive their only meed, adoring Wisdom for her
sole sake, and set apart in the populous universe, like stars, luminous
with their own light, but too remote from the earth on which they looked,
to shed over its inmates the lustre with which they glowed.

From his youth to the present period, Aram had dwelt little in cities
though he had visited many, yet he could scarcely be called ignorant of
mankind; there seems something intuitive in the science which teaches us
the knowledge of our race. Some men emerge from their seclusion, and
find, all at once, a power to dart into the minds and drag forth the
motives of those they see; it is a sort of second sight, born with them,
not acquired. And Aram, it may be, rendered yet more acute by his
profound and habitual investigations of our metaphysical frame, never
quitted his solitude to mix with others, without penetrating into the
broad traits or prevalent infirmities their characters possessed. In
this, indeed, he differed from the scholar tribe, and even in abstraction
was mechanically vigilant and observant. Much in his nature would, had
early circumstances given it a different bias, have fitted him for
worldly superiority and command. A resistless energy, an unbroken
perseverance, a profound and scheming and subtle thought, a genius
fertile in resources, a tongue clothed with eloquence, all, had his
ambition so chosen, might have given him the same empire over the
physical, that he had now attained over the intellectual world. It could
not be said that Aram wanted benevolence, but it was dashed, and mixed
with a certain scorn: the benevolence was the offspring of his nature;
the scorn seemed the result of his pursuits. He would feed the birds from
his window, he would tread aside to avoid the worm on his path; were one
of his own tribe in danger, he would save him at the hazard of his life:-
-yet in his heart he despised men, and believed them beyond amelioration.
Unlike the present race of schoolmen, who incline to the consoling hope
of human perfectibility, he saw in the gloomy past but a dark prophecy of
the future. As Napoleon wept over one wounded soldier in the field of
battle, yet ordered without emotion, thousands to a certain death; so
Aram would have sacrificed himself for an individual, but would not have
sacrificed a momentary gratification for his race. And this sentiment
towards men, at once of high disdain and profound despondency, was
perhaps the cause why he rioted in indolence upon his extraordinary
mental wealth, and could not be persuaded either to dazzle the world or
to serve it. But by little and little his fame had broke forth from the
limits with which he would have walled it: a man who had taught himself,
under singular difficulties, nearly all the languages of the civilized
earth; the profound mathematician, the elaborate antiquarian, the
abstruse philologist, uniting with his graver lore the more florid
accomplishments of science, from the scholastic trifling of heraldry to
the gentle learning of herbs and flowers, could scarcely hope for utter
obscurity in that day when all intellectual acquirement was held in high
honour, and its possessors were drawn together into a sort of brotherhood
by the fellowship of their pursuits. And though Aram gave little or
nothing to the world himself, he was ever willing to communicate to
others any benefit or honour derivable from his researches. On the altar
of science he kindled no light, but the fragrant oil in the lamps of his
more pious brethren was largely borrowed from his stores. From almost
every college in Europe came to his obscure abode letters of
acknowledgement or inquiry; and few foreign cultivators of learning
visited this country without seeking an interview with Aram. He received
them with all the modesty and the courtesy that characterized his
demeanour; but it was noticeable that he never allowed these
interruptions to be more than temporary. He proffered no hospitality, and
shrunk back from all offers of friendship; the interview lasted its hour,
and was seldom renewed. Patronage was not less distasteful to him than
sociality. Some occasional visits and condescensions of the great, he had
received with a stern haughtiness, rather than his wonted and subdued
urbanity. The precise amount of his fortune was not known; his wants were
so few, that what would have been poverty to others might easily have
been competence to him; and the only evidence he manifested of the
command of money, was in his extended and various library.

He had now been about two years settled in his present retreat. Unsocial
as he was, every one in the neighbourhood loved him; even the reserve of
a man so eminent, arising as it was supposed to do from a painful
modesty, had in it something winning; and he had been known to evince on
great occasions, a charity and a courage in the service of others which
removed from the seclusion of his habits the semblance of misanthropy and
of avarice. The peasant drew aside with a kindness mingled with his
respect, as in his homeward walk he encountered the pale and thoughtful
Student, with the folded arms and downeast eyes, which characterised the
abstraction of his mood; and the village maiden, as she curtsied by him,
stole a glance at his handsome but melancholy countenance; and told her
sweetheart she was certain the poor scholar had been crossed in love.

And thus passed the Student's life; perhaps its monotony and dullness
required less compassion than they received; no man can judge of the
happiness of another. As the Moon plays upon the waves, and seems to our
eyes to favour with a peculiar beam one long track amidst the waters,
leaving the rest in comparative obscurity; yet all the while, she is no
niggard in her lustre--for though the rays that meet not our eyes seem to
us as though they were not, yet she with an equal and unfavouring
loveliness, mirrors herself on every wave: even so, perhaps, Happiness
falls with the same brightness and power over the whole expanse of Life,
though to our limited eyes she seems only to rest on those billows from
which the ray is reflected back upon our sight.

From his contemplations, of whatsoever nature, Aram was now aroused by a
loud summons at the door;--the clock had gone eleven. Who could at that
late hour, when the whole village was buried in sleep, demand admittance?
He recollected that Madeline had said the Stranger who had so alarmed
them had inquired for him, at that recollection his cheek suddenly
blanched, but again, that stranger was surely only some poor traveller
who had heard of his wonted charity, and had called to solicit relief,
for he had not met the Stranger on the road to Lester's house; and he had
naturally set down the apprehensions of his fair visitants to a mere
female timidity. Who could this be? no humble wayfarer would at that hour
crave assistance;--some disaster perhaps in the village. From his lofty
chamber he looked forth and saw the stars watch quietly over the
scattered cottages and the dark foliage that slept breathlessly around.
All was still as death, but it seemed the stillness of innocence and
security: again! the bell again! He thought he heard his name shouted
without; he strode once or twice irresolutely to and fro the chamber; and
then his step grew firm, and his native courage returned. His pistols
were still girded round him; he looked to the priming, and muttered some
incoherent words; he then descended the stairs, and slowly unbarred the
door. Without the porch, the moonlight full upon his harsh features and
sturdy frame, stood the ill-omened Traveller.

                              CHAPTER V.


                   "Can he not be sociable?"
                                      --Troilus and Cressida.

                "Subit quippe etiam ipsius inertiae dulcedo;
                 et invisa primo desidia postremo amatur."

                   "How use doth breed a habit in a man!
                   This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods,
                   I better brook than flourishing people towns."
                                      --Winter's Tale.

The next day, faithful to his appointment, Aram arrived at Lester's. The
good Squire received him with a warm cordiality, and Madeline with a
blush and a smile that ought to have been more grateful to him than
acknowledgements. She was still a prisoner to the sofa, but in compliment
to Aram, the sofa was wheeled into the hall where they dined, so that she
was not absent from the repast. It was a pleasant room, that old hall!
Though it was summer--more for cheerfulness than warmth, the log burnt on
the spacious hearth: but at the same time the latticed windows were
thrown open, and the fresh yet sunny air stole in, rich from the embrace
of the woodbine and clematis, which clung around the casement.

A few old pictures were pannelled in the oaken wainscot; and here and
there the horns of the mighty stag adorned the walls, and united with the
cheeriness of comfort associations of that of enterprise. The good old
board was crowded with the luxuries meet for a country Squire. The
speckled trout, fresh from the stream, and the four-year-old mutton
modestly disclaiming its own excellent merits, by affecting the shape and
assuming the adjuncts of venison. Then for the confectionery,--it was
worthy of Ellinor, to whom that department generally fell; and we should
scarcely be surprised to find, though we venture not to affirm, that its
delicate fabrication owed more to her than superintendence. Then the ale,
and the cyder with rosemary in the bowl, were incomparable potations; and
to the gooseberry wine, which would have filled Mrs. Primrose with envy,
was added the more generous warmth of port which, in the Squire's younger
days, had been the talk of the country, and which had now lost none of
its attributes, save "the original brightness" of its colour.

But (the wine excepted) these various dainties met with slight honour
from their abstemious guest; and, for though habitually reserved he was
rarely gloomy, they remarked that he seemed unusually fitful and sombre
in his mood. Something appeared to rest upon his mind, from which, by the
excitement of wine and occasional bursts of eloquence more animated than
ordinary, he seemed striving to escape; and at length, he apparently
succeeded. Naturally enough, the conversation turned upon the curiosities
and scenery of the country round; and here Aram shone with a peculiar
grace. Vividly alive to the influences of Nature, and minutely acquainted
with its varieties, he invested every hill and glade to which remark
recurred with the poetry of his descriptions; and from his research he
gave even scenes the most familiar, a charm and interest which had been
strange to them till then. To this stream some romantic legend had once
attached itself, long forgotten and now revived;--that moor, so barren to
an ordinary eye, was yet productive of some rare and curious herb, whose
properties afforded scope for lively description;--that old mound was yet
rife in attraction to one versed in antiquities, and able to explain its
origin, and from such explanation deduce a thousand classic or celtic

No subject was so homely or so trite but the knowledge that had neglected
nothing, was able to render it luminous and new. And as he spoke, the
scholar's countenance brightened, and his voice, at first hesitating and
low, compelled the attention to its earnest and winning music. Lester
himself, a man who, in his long retirement, had not forgotten the
attractions of intellectual society, nor even neglected a certain
cultivation of intellectual pursuits, enjoyed a pleasure that he had not
experienced for years. The gay Ellinor was fascinated into admiration;
and Madeline, the most silent of the groupe, drank in every word,
unsconcious of the sweet poison she imbibed. Walter alone seemed not
carried away by the eloquence of their guest. He preserved an unadmiring
and sullen demeanour, and every now and then regarded Aram with looks of
suspicion and dislike. This was more remarkable when the men were left
alone; and Lester, in surprise and anger, darted significant and
admonitory looks towards his nephew, which at length seemed to rouse him
into a more hospitable bearing. As the cool of the evening now came on,
Lester proposed to Aram to enjoy it without, previous to returning to the
parlour, to which the ladies had retired. Walter excused himself from
joining them. The host and the guest accordingly strolled forth alone.

"Your solitude," said Lester, smiling, "is far deeper and less broken
than mine: do you never find it irksome?"

"Can Humanity be at all times contented?" said Aram. "No stream,
howsoever secret or subterranean, glides on in eternal tranquillity."

"You allow, then, that you feel some occasional desire for a more active
and animated life?"

"Nay," answered Aram; "that is scarcely a fair corollary from my remark.
I may, at times, feel the weariness of existence--the tedium vitae; but I
know well that the cause is not to be remedied by a change from
tranquillity to agitation. The objects of the great world are to be
pursued only by the excitement of the passions. The passions are at once
our masters and our deceivers;--they urge us onward, yet present no limit
to our progress. The farther we proceed, the more dim and shadowy grows
the goal. It is impossible for a man who leads the life of the world, the
life of the passions, ever to experience content. For the life of the
passions is that of a perpetual desire; but a state of content is the
absence of all desire. Thus philosophy has become another name for mental
quietude; and all wisdom points to a life of intellectual indifference,
as the happiest which earth can bestow."

"This may be true enough," said Lester, reluctantly; "but--"

"But what?"

"A something at our hearts--a secret voice--an involuntary impulse--
rebels against it, and points to action--action, as the true sphere of

A slight smile curved the lip of the Student; he avoided, however, the
argument, and remarked,

"Yet, if you think so, the world lies before you; why not return to it?"

"Because constant habit is stronger than occasional impulse; and my
seclusion, after all, has its sphere of action--has its object."

"All seclusion has."

"All? Scarcely so; for me, I have my object of interest in my children."

"And mine is in my books."

"And engaged in your object, does not the whisper of Fame ever animate
you with the desire to go forth into the world, and receive the homage
that would await you?"

"Listen to me," replied Aram. "When I was a boy, I went once to a
theatre. The tragedy of Hamlet was performed: a play full of the noblest
thoughts, the subtlest morality, that exists upon the stage. The audience
listened with attention, with admiration, with applause. I said to
myself, when the curtain fell, 'It must be a glorious thing to obtain
this empire over men's intellects and emotions.' But now an Italian
mountebank appeared on the stage,--a man of extraordinary personal
strength and slight of hand. He performed a variety of juggling tricks,
and distorted his body into a thousand surprising and unnatural postures.
The audience were transported beyond themselves: if they had felt delight
in Hamlet, they glowed with rapture at the mountebank: they had listened
with attention to the lofty thought, but they were snatched from
themselves by the marvel of the strange posture. 'Enough,' said I; 'I
correct my former notion. Where is the glory of ruling men's minds, and
commanding their admiration, when a greater enthusiasm is excited by mere
bodily agility, than was kindled by the most wonderful emanations of a
genius little less than divine?' I have never forgotten the impression of
that evening."

Lester attempted to combat the truth of the illustration, and thus
conversing, they passed on through the village green, when the gaunt form
of Corporal Bunting arrested their progress.

"Beg pardon, Squire," said he, with a military salute; "beg pardon, your
honour," bowing to Aram; "but I wanted to speak to you, Squire, 'bout the
rent of the bit cot yonder; times very hard--pay scarce--Michaelmas close
at hand--and--"

"You desire a little delay, Bunting, eh?--Well, well, we'll see about it,
look up at the Hall to-morrow; Mr. Walter, I know wants to consult you
about letting the water from the great pond, and you must give us your
opinion of the new brewing."

"Thank your honour, thank you; much obliged I'm sure. I hope your honour
liked the trout I sent up. Beg pardon, Master Aram, mayhap you would
condescend to accept a few fish now and then; they're very fine in these
streams, as you probably know; if you please to let me, I'll send some up
by the old 'oman to-morrow, that is if the day's cloudy a bit."

The Scholar thanked the good Bunting, and would have proceeded onward,
but the Corporal was in a familiar mood.

"Beg pardon, beg pardon, but strange-looking dog here last evening--asked
after you--said you were old friend of his--trotted off in your direction
--hope all was right, Master?--augh!"

"All right!" repeated Aram, fixing his eyes on the Corporal, who had
concluded his speech with a significant wink, and pausing a full moment
before he continued, then as if satisfied with his survey, he added:

"Ay, ay, I know whom you mean; he had known me some years ago. So you saw
him! What said he to you of me?"

"Augh! little enough, Master Aram, he seemed to think only of satisfying
his own appetite; said he'd been a soldier."

"A soldier, humph!"

"Never told me the regiment, though,--shy--did he ever desert, pray, your

"I don't know;" answered Aram, turning away. "I know little, very little,
about him!" He was going away, but stopped to add: "The man called on me
last night for assistance; the lateness of the hour a little alarmed me.
I gave him what I could afford, and he has now proceeded on his journey."

"Oh, then, he won't take up his quarters hereabouts, your honour?" said
the Corporal, inquiringly.

"No, no; good evening."

"What! this singular stranger, who so frightened my poor girls, is really
known to you;" said Lester, in surprise: "pray is he as formidable as he
seemed to them?"

"Scarcely," said Aram, with great composure; "he has been a wild roving
fellow all his life, but--but there is little real harm in him. He is
certainly ill-favoured enough to--" here, interrupting himself, and
breaking into a new sentence, Aram added: "but at all events he will
frighten your nieces no more--he has proceeded on his journey northward.
And now, yonder lies my way home. Good evening." The abruptness of this
farewell did indeed take Lester by surprise.

"Why, you will not leave me yet? The young ladies expect your return to
them for an hour or so! What will they think of such desertion? No, no,
come back, my good friend, and suffer me by and by to walk some part of
the way home with you."

"Pardon me," said Aram, "I must leave you now. As to the ladies," he
added, with a faint smile, half in melancholy, half in scorn, "I am not
one whom they could miss;--forgive me if I seem unceremonious. Adieu."

Lester at first felt a little offended, but when he recalled the peculiar
habits of the Scholar, he saw that the only way to hope for a continuance
of that society which had so pleased him, was to indulge Aram at first in
his unsocial inclinations, rather than annoy him by a troublesome
hospitality; he therefore, without further discourse, shook hands with
him, and they parted.

When Lester regained the little parlour, he found his nephew sitting,
silent and discontented, by the window. Madeline had taken up a book, and
Ellinor, in an opposite corner, was plying her needle with an air of
earnestness and quiet, very unlike her usual playful and cheerful
vivacity. There was evidently a cloud over the groupe; the good Lester
regarded them with a searching, yet kindly eye.

"And what has happened?" said he, "something of mighty import, I am sure,
or I should have heard my pretty Ellinor's merry laugh long before I
crossed the threshold."

Ellinor coloured and sighed, and worked faster than ever. Walter threw
open the window, and whistled a favourite air quite out of tune. Lester
smiled, and seated himself by his nephew.

"Well, Walter," said he, "I feel, for the first time in these ten years,
I have a right to scold you. What on earth could make you so inhospitable
to your uncle's guest? You eyed the poor student, as if you wished him
among the books of Alexandria!"

"I would he were burnt with them!" answered Walter, sharply. "He seems to
have added the black art to his other accomplishments, and bewitched my
fair cousins here into a forgetfulness of all but himself."

"Not me!" said Ellinor eagerly, and looking up.

"No, not you, that's true enough; you are too just, too kind;--it is a
pity that Madeline is not more like you."

"My dear Walter," said Madeline, "what is the matter? You accuse me of
what? being attentive to a man whom it is impossible to hear without

"There!" cried Walter passionately; "you confess it; and so for a
stranger,--a cold, vain, pedantic egotist, you can shut your ears and
heart to those who have known and loved you all your life; and--and--"

"Vain!" interrupted Madeline, unheeding the latter part of Walter's

"Pedantic!" repeated her father.

"Yes! I say vain, pedantic!" cried Walter, working himself into a
passion. What on earth but the love of display could make him monopolize
the whole conversation?--What but pedantry could make him bring out those
anecdotes and allusions, and descriptions, or whatever you call them,
respecting every old wall or stupid plant in the country?

"I never thought you guilty of meanness before," said Lester gravely.


"Yes! for is it not mean to be jealous of superior acquirements, instead
of admiring them?"

"What has been the use of those acquirements? Has he benefited mankind by
them? Shew me the poet--the historian--the orator, and I will vield to
none of you; no, not to Madeline herself in homage of their genius: but
the mere creature of books--the dry and sterile collector of other men's
learning--no--no. What should I admire in such a machine of literature,
except a waste of perseverance?--And Madeline calls him handsome too!"

At this sudden turn from declamation to reproach, Lester laughed
outright; and his nephew, in high anger, rose and left the room.

"Who could have thought Walter so foolish?" said Madeline.

"Nay," observed Ellinor gently, "it is the folly of a kind heart, after
all. He feels sore at our seeming to prefer another--I mean another's
conversation--to his!"

Lester turned round in his chair, and regarded with a serious look, the
faces of both sisters.

"My dear Ellinor," said he, when he had finished his survey, "you are a
kind girl--come and kiss me!"

                              CHAPTER VI.


                   "The soft season, the firmament serene,
                   The loun illuminate air, and firth amene
                   The silver-scalit fishes on the grete
                   O'er-thwart clear streams sprinkillond for the heat,"
                                      --Gawin Douglas.

                                       "Ilia subter
                   Caecum vulnus habes; sed lato balteus auro

Several days elapsed before the family of the manor-house encountered
Aram again. The old woman came once or twice to present the inquiries of
her master as to Miss Lester's accident; but Aram himself did not appear.
This want to interest certainly offended Madeline, although she still
drew upon herself Walter's displeasure, by disputing and resenting the
unfavourable strictures on the scholar, in which that young gentleman
delighted to indulge. By degrees, however, as the days passed without
maturing the acquaintance which Walter had disapproved, the youth relaxed
in his attacks, and seemed to yield to the remonstrances of his uncle.
Lester had, indeed, conceived an especial inclination towards the
recluse. Any man of reflection, who has lived for some time alone, and
who suddenly meets with one who calls forth in him, and without labour or
contradiction, the thoughts which have sprung up in his solitude,
scarcely felt in their growth, will comprehend the new zest, the
awakening, as it were, of the mind, which Lester found in the
conversation of Eugene Aram. His solitary walk (for his nephew had the
separate pursuits of youth) appeared to him more dull than before; and he
longed to renew an intercourse which had given to the monotony of his
life both variety and relief. He called twice upon Aram, but the student
was, or affected to be, from home; and an invitation he sent him, though
couched in friendly terms, was, but with great semblance of kindness,

"See, Walter," said Lester, disconcerted, as he finished reading the
refusal--"see what your rudeness has effected. I am quite convinced that
Aram (evidently a man of susceptible as well as retired mind) observed
the coldness of your manner towards him, and that thus you have deprived
me of the only society which, in this country of boors and savages, gave
me any gratification."

Walter replied apologetically, but his uncle turned away with a greater
appearance of anger than his placid features were wont to exhibit; and
Walter, cursing the innocent cause of his uncle's displeasure towards
him, took up his fishing-rod and went out alone, in no happy or
exhilarated mood.

It was waxing towards eve--an hour especially lovely in the month of
June, and not without reason favoured by the angler. Walter sauntered
across the rich and fragrant fields, and came soon into a sheltered
valley, through which the brooklet wound its shadowy way. Along the
margin the grass sprung up long and matted, and profuse with a thousand
weeds and flowers--the children of the teeming June. Here the ivy-leaved
bell-flower, and not far from it the common enchanter's night-shade, the
silver weed, and the water-aven; and by the hedges that now and then
neared the water, the guelder-rose, and the white briony, overrunning the
thicket with its emerald leaves and luxuriant flowers. And here and
there, silvering the bushes, the elder offered its snowy tribute to the
summer. All the insect youth were abroad, with their bright wings and
glancing motion; and from the lower depths of the bushes the blackbird
darted across, or higher and unseen the first cuckoo of the eve began its
continuous and mellow note. All this cheeriness and gloss of life, which
enamour us with the few bright days of the English summer, make the
poetry in an angler's life, and convert every idler at heart into a
moralist, and not a gloomy one, for the time.

Softened by the quiet beauty and voluptuousness around him, Walter's
thoughts assumed a more gentle dye, and he broke out into the old lines:

"Sweet day, so soft, so calm, so bright; The bridal of the earth and
sky," as he dipped his line into the current, and drew it across the
shadowy hollows beneath the bank. The river-gods were not, however, in a
favourable mood, and after waiting in vain for some time, in a spot in
which he was usually successful, he proceeded slowly along the margin of
the brooklet, crushing the reeds at every step, into that fresh and
delicious odour, which furnished Bacon with one of his most beautiful

He thought, as he proceeded, that beneath a tree that overhung the waters
in the narrowest part of their channel, he heard a voice, and as he
approached he recognised it as Aram's; a curve in the stream brought him
close by the spot, and he saw the student half reclined beneath the tree,
and muttering, but at broken intervals, to himself.

The words were so scattered, that Walter did not trace their clue; but
involuntarily he stopped short, within a few feet of the soliloquist: and
Aram, suddenly turning round, beheld him. A fierce and abrupt change
broke over the scholar's countenance; his cheek grew now pale, now
flushed; and his brows knit over his flashing and dark eyes with an
intent anger, that was the more withering, from its contrast to the usual
calmness of his features. Walter drew back, but Aram stalking directly up
to him, gazed into his face, as if he would read his very soul.

"What! eaves-dropping?" said he, with a ghastly smile. "You overheard me,
did you? Well, well, what said I?--what said I?" Then pausing, and noting
that Walter did not reply, he stamped his foot violently, and grinding
his teeth, repeated in a smothered tone "Boy! what said I?"

"Mr. Aram," said Walter, "you forget yourself; I am not one to play the
listener, more especially to the learned ravings of a man who can conceal
nothing I care to know. Accident brought me hither."

"What! surely--surely I spoke aloud, did I not?--did I not?"

"You did, but so incoherently and indistinctly, that I did not profit by
your indiscretion. I cannot plagiarise, I assure you, from any scholastic
designs you might have been giving vent to."

Aram looked on him for a moment, and then breathing heavily, turned away.

"Pardon me," he said; "I am a poor half-crazed man; much study has
unnerved me; I should never live but with my own thoughts; forgive me,
Sir, I pray you."

Touched by the sudden contrition of Aram's manner, Walter forgot, not
only his present displeasure, but his general dislike; he stretched forth
his hand to the Student, and hastened to assure him of his ready
forgiveness. Aram sighed deeply as he pressed the young man's hand, and
Walter saw, with surprise and emotion, that his eyes were filled with

"Ah!" said Aram, gently shaking his head, "it is a hard life we bookmen
lead. Not for us is the bright face of noon-day or the smile of woman,
the gay unbending of the heart, the neighing steed, and the shrill trump;
the pride, pomp, and circumstance of life. Our enjoyments are few and
calm; our labour constant; but that is it not, Sir?--that is it not? the
body avenges its own neglect. We grow old before our time; we wither up;
the sap of youth shrinks from our veins; there is no bound in our step.
We look about us with dimmed eyes, and our breath grows short and thick,
and pains and coughs, and shooting aches come upon us at night; it is a
bitter life--a bitter life--a joyless life. I would I had never
commenced it. And yet the harsh world scowls upon us: our nerves are
broken, and they wonder we are querulous; our blood curdles, and they ask
why we are not gay; our brain grows dizzy and indistinct, (as with me
just now,) and, shrugging their shoulders, they whisper their neighbours
that we are mad. I wish I had worked at the plough, and known sleep, and
loved mirth--and--and not been what I am."

As the Student uttered the last sentence, he bowed down his head, and a
few tears stole silently down his cheek. Walter was greatly affected--it
took him by surprise; nothing in Aram's ordinary demeanour betrayed any
facility to emotion; and he conveyed to all the idea of a man, if not
proud, at least cold.

"You do not suffer bodily pain, I trust?" asked Walter, soothingly.

"Pain does not conquer me," said Aram, slowly recovering himself. "I am
not melted by that which I would fain despise. Young man, I wronged you--
you have forgiven me. Well, well, we will say no more on that head; it is
past and pardoned. Your father has been kind to me, and I have not
returned his advances; you shall tell him why. I have lived thirteen
years by myself, and I have contracted strange ways and many humours not
common to the world--you have seen an example of this. Judge for yourself
if I be fit for the smoothness, and confidence, and ease of social
intercourse; I am not fit, I feel it! I am doomed to be alone--tell your
father this--tell him to suffer me to live so! I am grateful for his
goodness--I know his motives--but have a certain pride of mind; I cannot
bear sufferance--I loath indulgence. Nay, interrupt me not, I beseech
you. Look round on Nature--behold the only company that humbles me not--
except the dead whose souls speak to us from the immortality of books.
These herbs at your feet, I know their secrets--I watch the mechanism of
their life; the winds--they have taught me their language; the stars--I
have unravelled their mysteries; and these, the creatures and ministers
of God--these I offend not by my mood--to them I utter my thoughts, and
break forth into my dreams, without reserve and without fear. But men
disturb me--I have nothing to learn from them--I have no wish to confide
in them; they cripple the wild liberty which has become to me a second
nature. What its shell is to the tortoise, solitude has become to me--my
protection; nay, my life!"

"But," said Walter, "with us, at least, you would not have to dread
restraint; you might come when you would; be silent or converse,
according to your will."

Aram smiled faintly, but made no immediate reply.

"So, you have been angling!" he said, after a short pause, and as if
willing to change the thread of conversation. "Fie! It is a treacherous
pursuit; it encourages man's worst propensities--cruelty and deceit."

"I should have thought a lover of Nature would have been more indulgent
to a pastime which introduces us to her most quiet retreats."

"And cannot Nature alone tempt you without need of such allurements?
What! that crisped and winding stream, with flowers on its very tide--
the water-violet and the water-lily--these silent brakes--the cool of the
gathering evening--the still and luxuriance of the universal life around
you; are not these enough of themselves to tempt you forth? if not, go
to--your excuse is hypocrisy."

"I am used to these scenes," replied Walter; "I am weary of the thoughts
they produce in me, and long for any diversion or excitement."

"Ay, ay, young man! The mind is restless at your age--have a care.
Perhaps you long to visit the world--to quit these obscure haunts which
you are fatigued in admiring?"

"It may be so," said Walter, with a slight sigh. "I should at least like
to visit our great capital, and note the contrast; I should come back, I
imagine, with a greater zest to these scenes."

Aram laughed. "My friend," said he, "when men have once plunged into the
great sea of human toil and passion, they soon wash away all love and
zest for innocent enjoyments. What once was a soft retirement, will
become the most intolerable monotony; the gaming of social existence--
the feverish and desperate chances of honour and wealth, upon which the
men of cities set their hearts, render all pursuits less exciting,
utterly insipid and dull. The brook and the angle--ha!--ha!--these are
not occupations for men who have once battled with the world."

"I can forego them, then, without regret;" said Walter, with the
sanguineness of his years. Aram looked upon him wistfully; the bright
eye, the healthy cheek, and vigorous frame of the youth, suited with his
desire to seek the conflict of his kind, and gave a naturalness to his
ambition, which was not without interest, even to the recluse.

"Poor boy!" said he, mournfully, "how gallantly the ship leaves the port;
how worn and battered it will return!"

When they parted, Walter returned slowly homewards, filled with pity
towards the singular man whom he had seen so strangely overpowered; and
wondering how suddenly his mind had lost its former rancour to the
Student. Yet there mingled even with these kindly feelings, a little
displeasure at the superior tone which Aram had unconsciously adopted
towards him; and to which, from any one, the high spirit of the young man
was not readily willing to submit.

Meanwhile, the Student continued his path along the water side, and as,
with his gliding step and musing air, he roamed onward, it was impossible
to imagine a form more suited to the deep tranquillity of the scene. Even
the wild birds seemed to feel, by a sort of instinct, that in him there
was no cause for fear; and did not stir from the turf that neighboured,
or the spray that overhung, his path.

"So," said he, soliloquizing, but not without casting frequent and
jealous glances round him, and in a murmur so indistinct as would have
been inaudible even to a listener--"so, I was not overheard,--well, I
must cure myself of this habit; our thoughts, like nuns, ought not to go
abroad without a veil. Ay, this tone will not betray me, I will preserve
its tenor, for I can scarcely altogether renounce my sole confidant--
SELF; and thought seems more clear when uttered even thus. 'Tis a fine
youth! full of the impulse and daring of his years; I was never so young
at heart. I was--nay, what matters it? Who is answerable for his nature?
Who can say, "I controlled all the circumstances which made me what I
am?" Madeline,--Heavens! did I bring on myself this temptation? Have I
not fenced it from me throughout all my youth, when my brain did at
moments forsake me, and the veins did bound? And now, when the yellow
hastens on the green of life; now, for the first time, this emotion--this
weakness--and for whom? One I have lived with--known--beneath whose eyes
I have passed through all the fine gradations, from liking to love, from
love to passion? No;--one, whom I have seen but little; who, it is true,
arrested my eye at the first glance it caught of her two years since, but
with whom till within the last few weeks I have scarcely spoken! Her
voice rings on my ear, her look dwells on my heart; when I sleep, she is
with me; when I wake, I am haunted by her image. Strange, strange! Is
love then, after all, the sudden passion which in every age poetry has
termed it, though till now my reason has disbelieved the notion? ... And
now, what is the question? To resist, or to yield. Her father invites me,
courts me; and I stand aloof! Will this strength, this forbearance,
last?--Shall I encourage my mind to this decision?" Here Aram paused
abruptly, and then renewed: "It is true! I ought to weave my lot with
none. Memory sets me apart and alone in the world; it seems unnatural to
me, a thought of dread--to bring another being to my solitude, to set an
everlasting watch on my uprisings and my downsittings; to invite eyes to
my face when I sleep at nights, and ears to every word that may start
unbidden from my lips. But if the watch be the watch of love--away! does
love endure for ever? He who trusts to woman, trusts to the type of
change. Affection may turn to hatred, fondness to loathing, anxiety to
dread; and, at the best, woman is weak, she is the minion to her
impulses. Enough, I will steel my soul,--shut up the avenues of sense,--
brand with the scathing-iron these yet green and soft emotions of
lingering youth,--and freeze and chain and curdle up feeling, and heart,
and manhood, into ice and age!"

                              CHAPTER VII.

                              ITS EFFECTS.

             MAD. "Then, as Time won thee frequent to our hearth,

             Didst thou not breathe, like dreams, into my soul

             Nature's more gentle secrets, the sweet lore

             Of the green herb and the bee-worshipp'd flower?

             And when deep Night did o'er the nether Earth

             Diffuse meek quiet, and the Heart of Heaven

             With love grew breathless--didst thou not unrol

             The volume of the weird chaldean stars,

             And of the winds, the clouds, the invisible air,

             Make eloquent discourse, until, methought,

             No human lip, but some diviner spirit

             Alone, could preach such truths of things divine?

             And so--and so--"

             ARAM. "From Heaven we turned to Earth,

             And Wisdom fathered Passion."

                 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

             ARAM. "Wise men have praised the Peasant's thoughtless lot,

             And learned Pride hath envied humble Toil;

             If they were right, why let us burn our books,

             And sit us down, and play the fool with Time,

             Mocking the prophet Wisdom's high decrees,

             And walling this trite Present with dark clouds,

             'Till Night becomes our Nature; and the ray

             Ev'n of the stars, but meteors that withdraw

             The wandering spirit from the sluggish rest

             Which makes its proper bliss. I will accost

             This denizen of toil."

            --From Eugene Aram, a MS. Tragedy.

             "A wicked hag, and envy's self excelling

             In mischiefe, for herself she only vext,

             But this same, both herself and others eke perplext."

             . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

             "Who then can strive with strong necessity,

             That holds the world in his still changing state,

             . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

             Then do no further go, no further stray,

             But here lie down, and to thy rest betake."


Few men perhaps could boast of so masculine and firm a mind, as, despite
his eccentricities, Aram assuredly possessed. His habits of solitude had
strengthened its natural hardihood; for, accustomed to make all the
sources of happiness flow solely from himself, his thoughts the only
companion--his genius the only vivifier--of his retreat; the tone and
faculty of his spirit could not but assume that austere and vigorous
energy which the habit of self-dependence almost invariably produces; and
yet, the reader, if he be young, will scarcely feel surprise that the
resolution of the Student, to battle against incipient love, from
whatever reasons it might be formed, gradually and reluctantly melted
away. It may be noted, that the enthusiasts of learning and reverie have,
at one time or another in their lives, been, of all the tribes of men,
the most keenly susceptible to love; their solitude feeds their passion;
and deprived, as they usually are, of the more hurried and vehement
occupations of life, when love is once admitted to their hearts, there is
no counter-check to its emotions, and no escape from its excitation.
Aram, too, had just arrived at that age when a man usually feels a sort
of revulsion in the current of his desires. At that age, those who have
hitherto pursued love, begin to grow alive to ambition; those who have
been slaves to the pleasures of life, awaken from the dream, and direct
their desire to its interests. And in the same proportion, they who till
then have wasted the prodigal fervours of youth upon a sterile soil; who
have served Ambition, or, like Aram, devoted their hearts to Wisdom;
relax from their ardour, look back on the departed years with regret, and
commence, in their manhood, the fiery pleasures and delirious follies
which are only pardonable in youth. In short, as in every human pursuit
there is a certain vanity, and as every acquisition contains within
itself the seed of disappointment, so there is a period of life when we
pause from the pursuit, and are discontented with the acquisition. We
then look around us for something new--again follow--and are again
deceived. Few men throughout life are the servants to one desire. When we
gain the middle of the bridge of our mortality, different objects from
those which attracted us upward almost invariably lure us to the descent.
Happy they who exhaust in the former part of the journey all the foibles
of existence! But how different is the crude and evanescent love of that
age when thought has not given intensity and power to the passions, from
the love which is felt, for the first time, in maturer but still youthful
years! As the flame burns the brighter in proportion to the resistance
which it conquers, this later love is the more glowing in proportion to
the length of time in which it has overcome temptation: all the solid
and, concentred faculties ripened to their full height, are no longer
capable of the infinite distractions, the numberless caprices of youth;
the rays of the heart, not rendered weak by diversion, collect into one
burning focus;

      [Love is of the nature of a burning glass, which kept
       still in one place, fireth; changed often it doth nothing!"
       --Letters by Sir John Suckling.]

the same earnestness and unity of purpose which render what we
undertake in manhood so far more successful than what we would effect in
youth, are equally visible and equally triumphant, whether directed to
interest or to love. But then, as in Aram, the feelings must be fresh as
well as matured; they must not have been frittered away by previous
indulgence; the love must be the first produce of the soil, not the
languid after-growth.

The reader will remark, that the first time in which our narrative has
brought Madeline and Aram together, was not the first time they had met;
Aram had long noted with admiration a beauty which he had never seen
paralleled, and certain vague and unsettled feelings had preluded the
deeper emotion that her image now excited within him. But the main cause
of his present and growing attachment, had been in the evident sentiment
of kindness which he could not but feel Madeline bore towards him. So
retiring a nature as his, might never have harboured love, if the love
bore the character of presumption; but that one so beautiful beyond his
dreams as Madeline Lester, should deign to exercise towards him a
tenderness, that might suffer him to hope, was a thought, that when he
caught her eye unconsciously fixed upon him, and noted that her voice
grew softer and more tremulous when she addressed him, forced itself upon
his heart, and woke there a strange and irresistible emotion, which
solitude and the brooding reflection that solitude produces--a reflection
so much more intense in proportion to the paucity of living images it
dwells upon--soon ripened into love. Perhaps even, he would not have
resisted the impulse as he now did, had not at this time certain thoughts
connected with past events, been more forcibly than of late years
obtruded upon him, and thus in some measure divided his heart. By
degrees, however, those thoughts receded from their vividness, into the
habitual deep, but not oblivious, shade beneath which his commanding mind
had formerly driven them to repose; and as they thus receded, Madeline's
image grew more undisturbedly present, and his resolution to avoid its
power more fluctuating and feeble. Fate seemed bent upon bringing
together these two persons, already so attracted towards each other.
After the conversation recorded in our last chapter, between Walter and
the Student, the former, touched and softened as we have seen, in spite
of himself, had cheerfully forborne (what before he had done reluctantly)
the expressions of dislike which he had once lavished so profusely upon
Aram; and Lester, who, forward as he had seemed, had nevertheless been
hitherto a little checked in his advances to his neighbour by the
hostility of his son, now felt no scruple to deter him from urging them
with a pertinacity that almost forbade refusal. It was Aram's constant
habit, in all seasons, to wander abroad at certain times of the day,
especially towards the evening; and if Lester failed to win entrance to
his house, he was thus enabled to meet the Student in his frequent
rambles, and with a seeming freedom from design. Actuated by his great
benevolence of character, Lester earnestly desired to win his solitary
and unfriended neighbour from a mood and habit which he naturally
imagined must engender a growing melancholy of mind; and since Walter had
detailed to him the particulars of his meeting with Aram, this desire had
been considerably increased. There is not perhaps a stronger feeling in
the world than pity, when united with admiration. When one man is
resolved to know another, it is almost impossible to prevent him: we see
daily the most remarkable instances of perseverance on one side
conquering distaste on the other. By degrees, then, Aram relaxed from his
insociability; he seemed to surrender himself to a kindness, the
sincerity of which he was compelled to acknowledge; if he for a long time
refused to accept the hospitality of his neighbour, he did not reject his
society when they met, and this intercourse by little and little
progressed, until ultimately the recluse yielded to solicitation, and
became the guest as well as companion. This, at first accident, grew,
though not without many interruptions, into habit; and at length few
evenings were passed by the inmates of the Manor-house without the
society of the Student. As his reserve wore off, his conversation mingled
with its attractions a tender and affectionate tone. He seemed grateful
for the pains which had been taken to allure him to a scene in which, at
last, he acknowledged he found a happiness that he never experienced
before: and those who had hitherto admired him for his genius, admired
him now yet more for his susceptibility to the affections.

There was not in Aram any thing that savoured of the harshness of
pedantry, or the petty vanities of dogmatism: his voice was soft and low,
and his manner always remarkable for its singular gentleness, and a
certain dignified humility. His language did indeed, at times, assume a
tone of calm and patriarchal command; but it was only the command arising
from an intimate persuasion of the truth of what he uttered. Moralizing
upon our nature, or mourning over the delusions of the world, a grave and
solemn strain breathed throughout his lofty words and the profound
melancholy of his wisdom; but it touched, not offended--elevated, not
humbled--the lesser intellect of his listeners; and even this air of
unconscious superiority vanished when he was invited to teach or explain.
That task which so few do gracefully, that an accurate and shrewd thinker
has said: "It is always safe to learn, even from our enemies; seldom safe
to instruct even our friends," [Note: Lacon.] Aram performed with a
meekness and simplicity that charmed the vanity, even while it corrected
the ignorance, of the applicant; and so various and minute was the
information of this accomplished man, that there scarcely existed any
branch even of that knowledge usually called practical, to which he could
not impart from his stores something valuable and new. The agriculturist
was astonished at the success of his suggestions; and the mechanic was
indebted to him for the device which abridged his labour in improving its

It happened that the study of botany was not, at that day, so favourite
and common a diversion with young ladies as it is now, and Ellinor,
captivated by the notion of a science that gave a life and a history to
the loveliest of earth's offspring, besought Aram to teach her its

As Madeline, though she did not second the request, could scarcely absent
herself from sharing the lesson, this pursuit brought the pair--already
lovers--closer and closer together. It associated them not only at home,
but in their rambles throughout that enchanting country; and there is a
mysterious influence in Nature, which renders us, in her loveliest
scenes, the most susceptible to love! Then, too, how often in their
occupation their hands and eyes met:--how often, by the shady wood or the
soft water-side, they found themselves alone. In all times, how dangerous
the connexion, when of different sexes, between the scholar and the
teacher! Under how many pretences, in that connexion, the heart finds the
opportunity to speak out.

Yet it was not with ease and complacency that Aram delivered himself to
the intoxication of his deepening attachment. Sometimes he was studiously
cold, or evidently wrestling with the powerful passion that mastered his
reason. It was not without many throes, and desperate resistance, that
love at length overwhelmed and subdued him; and these alternations of his
mood, if they sometimes offended Madeline and sometimes wounded, still
rather increased than lessened the spell which bound her to him. The
doubt and the fear--the caprice and the change, which agitate the
surface, swell also the tides, of passion. Woman, too, whose love is so
much the creature of her imagination, always asks something of mystery
and conjecture in the object of her affection. It is a luxury to her to
perplex herself with a thousand apprehensions; and the more restlessly
her lover occupies her mind, the more deeply he enthrals it.

Mingling with her pure and tender attachment to Aram, a high and
unswerving veneration, she saw in his fitfulness, and occasional
abstraction and contradiction of manner, a confirmation of the modest
sentiment that most weighed upon her fears; and imagined that at those
times he thought her, as she deemed herself, unworthy of his love. And
this was the only struggle which she conceived to pass between the
affection he evidently bore her, and the feelings which had as yet
restrained him from its open avowal.

One evening, Lester and the two sisters were walking with the Student
along the valley that led to the house of the latter, when they saw an
old woman engaged in collecting firewood among the bushes, and a little
girl holding out her apron to receive the sticks with which the crone's
skinny arms unsparingly filled it. The child trembled, and seemed half-
crying; while the old woman, in a harsh, grating croak, was muttering
forth mingled objurgation and complaint.

There was something in the appearance of the latter at once impressive
and displeasing; a dark, withered, furrowed skin was drawn like parchment
over harsh and aquiline features; the eyes, through the rheum of age,
glittered forth black and malignant; and even her stooping posture did
not conceal a height greatly above the common stature, though gaunt and
shrivelled with years and poverty. It was a form and face that might have
recalled at once the celebrated description of Otway, on a part of which
we have already unconsciously encroached, and the remaining part of which
we shall wholly borrow.

"--On her crooked shoulders had she wrapped The tattered remnants of an
old stript hanging, That served to keep her carcase from the cold, So
there was nothing of a piece about her. Her lower weeds were all o'er
coarsely patched With different coloured rags, black, red, white, yellow,
And seemed to speak variety of wretchedness."

"See," said Lester, "one of the eyesores of our village, (I might say)
the only discontented person."

"What! Dame Darkmans!" said Ellinor, quickly. "Ah! let us turn back. I
hate to encounter that old woman; there is something so evil and savage
in her manner of talk--and look, how she rates that poor girl, whom she
has dragged or decoyed to assist her!"

Aram looked curiously on the old hag. "Poverty," said he, "makes some
humble, but more malignant; is it not want that grafts the devil on this
poor woman's nature? Come, let us accost her--I like conferring with

"It is hard labour this?" said the Student gently.

The old woman looked up askant--the music of the voice that addressed her
sounded harsh on her ear.

"Ay, ay!" she answered. "You fine gentlefolks can know what the poor
suffer; ye talk and ye talk, but ye never assist."

"Say not so, Dame," said Lester; "did I not send you but yesterday bread
and money? and when do you ever look up at the Hall without obtaining

"But the bread was as dry as a stick," growled the hag: "and the money,
what was it? will it last a week? Oh, yes! Ye think as much of your doits
and mites, as if ye stripped yourselves of a comfort to give it to us.
Did ye have a dish less--a 'tato less, the day ye sent me--your charity I
'spose ye calls it? Och! fie! But the Bible's the poor cretur's comfort."

"I am glad to hear you say that, Dame," said the good-natured Lester;
"and I forgive every thing else you have said, on account of that one

The old woman dropped the sticks she had just gathered, and glowered at
the speaker's benevolent countenance with a malicious meaning in her dark

"An' ye do? Well, I'm glad I please ye there. Och! yes! the Bible's a
mighty comfort; for it says as much that the rich man shall not inter the
kingdom of Heaven! There's a truth for you, that makes the poor folk's
heart chirp like a cricket--ho! ho! I sits by the imbers of a night, and
I thinks and thinks as how I shall see you all burning; and ye'll ask me
for a drop o' water, and I shall laugh thin from my pleasant seat with
the angels. Och--it's a book for the poor that!"

The sisters shuddered. "And you think then that with envy, malice, and
all uncharitableness at your heart, you are certain of Heaven? For shame!
Pluck the mote from your own eye!"

"What sinnifies praching? Did not the Blessed Saviour come for the poor?
Them as has rags and dry bread here will be ixalted in the nixt world;
an' if we poor folk have malice as ye calls it, whose fault's that? What
do ye tache us? Eh?--answer me that. Ye keeps all the larning an' all the
other fine things to yoursel', and then ye scould, and thritten, and hang
us, 'cause we are not as wise as you. Och! there is no jistice in the
Lamb, if Heaven is not made for us; and the iverlasting Hell, with its
brimstone and fire, and its gnawing an' gnashing of teeth, an' its
theirst, an' its torture, and its worm that niver dies, for the like o'

"Come! come away," said Ellinor, pulling her father's arm.

"And if," said Aram, pausing, "if I were to say to you,--name your want
and it shall be fulfilled, would you have no charity for me also?"

"Umph," returned the hag, "ye are the great scolard; and they say ye
knows what no one else do. Till me now," and she approached, and
familiarly, laid her bony finger on the student's arm; "till me,--have ye
iver, among other fine things, known poverty?"

"I have, woman!" said Aram, sternly.

"Och ye have thin! And did ye not sit and gloat, and eat up your oun
heart, an' curse the sun that looked so gay, an' the winged things that
played so blithe-like, an' scowl at the rich folk that niver wasted a
thought on ye? till me now, your honour, till me!"

And the crone curtesied with a mock air of beseeching humility.

"I never forgot, even in want, the love due to my fellow-sufferers; for,
woman, we all suffer,--the rich and the poor: there are worse pangs than
those of want!"

"Ye think there be, do ye? that's a comfort, umph! Well, I'll till ye
now, I feel a rispict for you, that I don't for the rest on 'em; for your
face does not insult me with being cheary like their's yonder; an' I have
noted ye walk in the dusk with your eyes down and your arms crossed; an'
I have said,--that man I do not hate, somehow, for he has something dark
at his heart like me!"

"The lot of earth is woe," answered Aram calmly, yet shrinking back from
the crone's touch; "judge we charitably, and act we kindly to each other.
There--this money is not much, but it will light your hearth and heap
your table without toil, for some days at least!"

"Thank your honour: an' what think you I'll do with the money?"


"Drink, drink, drink!" cried the hag fiercely; "there's nothing like
drink for the poor, for thin we fancy oursels what we wish, and," sinking
her voice into a whisper, "I thinks thin that I have my foot on the
billies of the rich folks, and my hands twisted about their intrails, and
I hear them shriek, and--thin I'm happy!"

"Go home!" said Aram, turning away, "and open the Book of life with other

The little party proceeded, and, looking back, Lester saw the old woman
gaze after them, till a turn in the winding valley hid her from his

"That is a strange person, Aram; scarcely a favourable specimen of the
happy English peasant;" said Lester, smiling.

"Yet they say," added Madeline, "that she was not always the same
perverse and hateful creature she is now."

"Ay," said Aram, "and what then is her history?"

"Why," replied Madeline, slightly blushing to find herself made the
narrator of a story, "some forty years ago this woman, so gaunt and
hideous now, was the beauty of the village. She married an Irish soldier
whose regiment passed through Grassdale, and was heard of no more till
about ten years back, when she returned to her native place, the
discontented, envious, altered being you now see her."

"She is not reserved in regard to her past life, said Lester. "She is too
happy to seize the attention of any one to whom she can pour forth her
dark and angry confidence. She saw her husband, who was afterwards
dismissed the service, a strong, powerful man, a giant of his tribe, pine
and waste, inch by inch, from mere physical want, and at last literally
die from hunger. It happened that they had settled in the country in
which her husband was born, and in that county, those frequent famines
which are the scourge of Ireland were for two years especially severe.
You may note, that the old woman has a strong vein of coarse eloquence at
her command, perhaps acquired in (for it partakes of the natural
character of) the country in which she lived so long; and it would
literally thrill you with horror to hear her descriptions of the misery
and destitution that she witnessed, and amidst which her husband breathed
his last. Out of four children, not one survives. One, an infant, died
within a week of the father; two sons were executed, one at the age of
sixteen, one a year older, for robbery committed under aggravated
circumstances; and the fourth, a daughter, died in the hospitals of
London. The old woman became a wanderer and a vagrant, and was at length
passed to her native parish, where she has since dwelt. These are the
misfortunes which have turned her blood to gall; and these are the causes
which fill her with so bitter a hatred against those whom wealth has
preserved from sharing or witnessing a fate similar to hers."

"Oh!" said Aram, in a low, but deep tone, "when--when will these hideous
disparities be banished from the world? How many noble natures--how many
glorious hopes--how much of the seraph's intellect, have been crushed
into the mire, or blasted into guilt, by the mere force of physical want?
What are the temptations of the rich to those of the poor? Yet see how
lenient we are to the crimes of the one,--how relentless to those of the
other! It is a bad world; it makes a man's heart sick to look around him.
The consciousness of how little individual genius can do to relieve the
mass, grinds out, as with a stone, all that is generous in ambition; and
to aspire from the level of life is but to be more graspingly selfish."

"Can legislators, or the moralists that instruct legislators, do so
little, then, towards universal good?" said Lester, doubtingly.

"Why? what can they do but forward civilization? And what is
civilization, but an increase of human disparities? The more the luxury
of the few, the more startling the wants, and the more galling the sense,
of poverty. Even the dreams of the philanthropist only tend towards
equality; and where is equality to be found, but in the state of the
savage? No; I thought otherwise once; but I now regard the vast lazar-
house around us without hope of relief:--Death is the sole Physician!"

"Ah, no!" said the high-souled Madeline, eagerly; "do not take away from
us the best feeling and the highest desire we can cherish. How poor, even
in this beautiful world, with the warm sun and fresh air about us, that
alone are sufficient to make us glad, would be life, if we could not make
the happiness of others!"

Aram looked at the beautiful speaker with a soft and half-mournful smile.
There is one very peculiar pleasure that we feel as we grow older,--it
is to see embodied in another and a more lovely shape the thoughts and
sentiments we once nursed ourselves; it is as if we viewed before us the
incarnation of our own youth; and it is no wonder that we are warmed
towards the object, that thus seems the living apparition of all that was
brightest in ourselves! It was with this sentiment that Aram now gazed on
Madeline. She felt the gaze, and her heart beat delightedly, but she sunk
at once into a silence, which she did not break during the rest of their

"I do not say," said Aram, after a pause, "that we are not able to make
the happiness of those immediately around us. I speak only of what we can
effect for the mass. And it is a deadening thought to mental ambition,
that the circle of happiness we can create is formed more by our moral
than our mental qualities. A warm heart, though accompanied but by a
mediocre understanding, is even more likely to promote the happiness of
those around, than are the absorbed and abstract, though kindly powers of
a more elevated genius; but (observing Lester about to interrupt him),
let us turn from this topic,--let us turn from man's weakness to the
glories of the mother-nature, from which he sprung."

And kindling, as he ever did, the moment he approached a subject so dear
to his studies, Aram now spoke of the stars, which began to sparkle
forth,--of the vast, illimitable career which recent science had opened
to the imagination,--and of the old, bewildering, yet eloquent theories,
which from age to age had at once misled and elevated the conjecture of
past sages. All this was a theme which his listeners loved to listen to,
and Madeline not the least. Youth, beauty, pomp, what are these, in point
of attraction, to a woman's heart, when compared to eloquence?--the magic
of the tongue is the most dangerous of all spells!

                             CHAPTER VIII.


             "Alc.--I am for Lidian:
             This accident no doubt will draw him from his hermit's life!

             "Lis.--Spare my grief, and apprehend
             What I should speak."
                      --Beaumont and Fletcher.--The Lovers' Progress.

In the course of the various conversations our family of Grassdale
enjoyed with their singular neighbour, it appeared that his knowledge had
not been confined to the closet; at times, he dropped remarks which
shewed that he had been much among cities, and travelled with the design,
or at least with the vigilance, of the observer; but he did not love to
be drawn into any detailed accounts of what he had seen, or whither he
had been; an habitual though a gentle reserve, kept watch over the past--
not indeed that character of reserve which excites the doubt, but which
inspires the interest. His most gloomy moods were rather abrupt and
fitful than morose, and his usual bearing was calm, soft, and even

There is a certain charm about great superiority of intellect, that winds
into deep affections which a much more constant and even amiability of
manners in lesser men, often fails to reach. Genius makes many enemies,
but it makes sure friends--friends who forgive much, who endure long, who
exact little; they partake of the character of disciples as well as
friends. There lingers about the human heart a strong inclination to look
upward--to revere: in this inclination lies the source of religion, of
loyalty, and also of the worship and immortality which are rendered so
cheerfully to the great of old. And in truth, it is a divine pleasure to
admire! admiration seems in some measure to appropriate to ourselves the
qualities it honours in others. We wed,--we root ourselves to the natures
we so love to contemplate, and their life grows a part of our own. Thus,
when a great man, who has engrossed our thoughts, our conjectures, our
homage, dies, a gap seems suddenly left in the world; a wheel in the
mechanism of our own being appears abruptly stilled; a portion of
ourselves, and not our worst portion, for how many pure, high, generous
sentiments it contains, dies with him! Yes! it is this love, so rare, so
exalted, and so denied to all ordinary men, which is the especial
privilege of greatness, whether that greatness be shewn in wisdom, in
enterprise, in virtue, or even, till the world learns better, in the more
daring and lofty order of crime. A Socrates may claim it to-day--a
Napoleon to-morrow; nay, a brigand chief, illustrious in the circle in
which he lives, may call it forth no less powerfully than the generous
failings of a Byron, or the sublime excellence of the greater Milton.

Lester saw with evident complacency the passion growing up between his
friend and his daughter; he looked upon it as a tie that would
permanently reconcile Aram to the hearth of social and domestic life; a
tie that would constitute the happiness of his daughter, and secure to
himself a relation in the man he felt most inclined, of all he knew, to
honour and esteem. He remarked in the gentleness and calm temper of Aram
much that was calculated to ensure domestic peace, and knowing the
peculiar disposition of Madeline, he felt that she was exactly the
person, not only to bear with the peculiarities of the Student, but to
venerate their source. In short, the more he contemplated the idea of
this alliance, the more he was charmed with its probability.

Musing on this subject, the good Squire was one day walking in his
garden, when he perceived his nephew at some distance, and remarked that
Walter, on seeing him, was about, instead of coming forward to meet him,
to turn down an alley in an opposite direction.

A little pained at this, and remembering that Walter had of late seemed
estranged from himself, and greatly altered from the high and cheerful
spirits natural to his temper, Lester called to his nephew; and Walter,
reluctantly and slowly changing his purpose of avoidance, advanced and
met him.

"Why, Walter!" said the uncle, taking his arm; "this is somewhat unkind,
to shun me; are you engaged in any pursuit that requires secrecy or

"No, indeed, Sir!" said Walter, with some embarrassment; "but I thought
you seemed wrapped in reflection, and would naturally dislike being

"Hem! as to that, I have no reflections I wish concealed from you,
Walter, or which might not be benefited by your advice." The youth
pressed his uncle's hand, but made no reply; and Lester, after a pause,

"You seem, Walter, I am most delighted to think, entirely to have
overcome the little unfavourable prepossession which at first you
testified towards our excellent neighbour. And for my part, I think he
appears to be especially attracted towards yourself, he seeks your
company; and to me he always speaks of you in terms, which, coming from
such a quarter, give me the most lively gratification."

Walter bowed his head, but not in the delighted vanity with which a young
man generally receives the assurance of another's praise.

"I own," renewed Lester, "that I consider our friendship with Aram one of
the most fortunate occurrences in my life; at least," added he with a
sigh, "of late years. I doubt not but you must have observed the
partiality with which our dear Madeline evidently regards him; and yet
more, the attachment to her, which breaks forth from Aram, in spite of
his habitual reserve and self-control. You have surely noted this,

"I have," said Walter, in a low tone, and turning away his head.

"And doubtless you share my satisfaction. It happens fortunately now,
that Madeline early contracted that studious and thoughtful turn, which I
must own at one time gave me some uneasiness and vexation. It has taught
her to appreciate the value of a mind like Aram's. Formerly, my dear boy,
I hoped that at one time or another, she and yourself might form a dearer
connection than that of cousins. But I was disappointed, and I am now
consoled. And indeed I think there is that in Ellinor which might be yet
more calculated to render you happy; that is, if the bias of your mind
should ever lean that way."

"You are very good," said Walter, bitterly. "I own I am not flattered by
your selection; nor do I see why the plainest and least brilliant of the
two sisters must necessarily be the fittest for me."

"Nay," replied Lester, piqued, and justly angry, "I do not think, even if
Madeline have the advantage of her sister, that you can find any fault
with the personal or mental attractions of Ellinor. But indeed this is
not a matter in which relations should interfere. I am far from any wish
to prevent you from choosing throughout the world any one whom you may
prefer. All I hope is, that your future wife will be like Ellinor in
kindness of heart and sweetness of temper."

"From choosing throughout the world!" repeated Walter; "and how in this
nook am I to see the world?"

"Walter! your voice is reproachful!--do I deserve it?"

Walter was silent.

"I have of late observed," continued Lester, "and with wounded feelings,
that you do not give me the same confidence, or meet me with the same
affection, that you once delighted me by manifesting towards me. I know
of no cause for this change. Do not let us, my son, for I may so call
you--do not let us, as we grow older, grow also more apart. Time divides
with a sufficient demarcation the young from the old; why deepen the
necessary line? You know well, that I have never from your childhood
insisted heavily on a guardian's authority. I have always loved to
contribute to your enjoyments, and shewn you how devoted I am to your
interests, by the very frankness with which I have consulted you on my
own. If there be now on your mind any secret grievance, or any secret
wish, speak it, Walter:--you are alone with the friend on earth who loves
you best!"

Walter was wholly overcome by this address: he pressed his good uncle's
hand to his lips, and it was some moments before he mustered self-
composure sufficient to reply.

"You have ever, ever been to me all that the kindest parent, the
tenderest friend could have been:--believe me, I am not ungrateful. If of
late I have been altered, the cause is not in you. Let me speak freely:
you encourage me to do so. I am young, my temper is restless; I have a
love of enterprise and adventure: is it not natural that I should long to
see the world? This is the cause of my late abstraction of mind. I have
now told you all: it is for you to decide."

Lester looked wistfully on his nephew's countenance before he replied--

"It is as I gathered," said he, "from various remarks which you have
lately let fall. I cannot blame your wish to leave us; it is certainly
natural: nor can I oppose it. Go, Walter, when you will!"

The young man turned round with a lighted eye and flushed cheek.

"And why, Walter?" said Lester, interrupting his thanks, "why this
surprise? why this long doubt of my affection? Could you believe I should
refuse a wish that, at your age, I should have expressed myself? You have
wronged me; you might have saved a world of pain to us both by
acquainting me with your desire when it was first formed; but, enough. I
see Madeline and Aram approach,--let us join them now, and to-morrow we
will arrange the time and method of your departure.

"Forgive me, Sir," said Walter, stopping abruptly as the glow faded from
his cheek, "I have not yet recovered myself; I am not fit for other
society than yours. Excuse my joining my cousin, and--"

"Walter!" said Lester, also stopping short and looking full on his
nephew, "a painful thought flashes upon me! Would to heaven I may be
wrong!--Have you ever felt for Madeline more tenderly than for her

Walter literally trembled as he stood. The tears rushed into Lester's
eyes:--he grasped his nephew's hand warmly--

"God comfort thee, my poor boy!" said he, with great emotion; "I never
dreamt of this."

Walter felt now that he was understood. He gratefully returned the
pressure of his uncle's hand, and then, withdrawing his own, darted down
one of the intersecting walks, and was almost instantly out of sight.

                              CHAPTER IX.


                    "This great disease for love I dre,
                      There is no tongue can tell the wo;
                   I love the love that loves not me,
                      I may not mend, but mourning mo."
                                   --The Mourning Maiden.

                    "I in these flowery meads would be,
                   These crystal streams should solace me,
                   To whose harmonious bubbling voice

                   I with my angle would rejoice."
                                --Izaac Walton.

When Walter left his uncle, he hurried, scarcely conscious of his steps,
towards his favourite haunt by the water-side. From a child, he had
singled out that scene as the witness of his early sorrows or boyish
schemes; and still, the solitude of the place cherished the habit of his

Long had he, unknown to himself, nourished an attachment to his beautiful
cousin; nor did he awaken to the secret of his heart, until, with an
agonizing jealousy, he penetrated the secret at her own. The reader has,
doubtless, already perceived that it was this jealousy which at the first
occasioned Walter's dislike to Aram: the consolation of that dislike was
forbid him now. The gentleness and forbearance of the Student's
deportment had taken away all ground of offence; and Walter had
sufficient generosity to acknowledge his merits, while tortured by their
effect. Silently, till this day, he had gnawed his heart, and found for
its despair no confidant and no comfort. The only wish that he cherished
was a feverish and gloomy desire to leave the scene which witnessed the
triumph of his rival. Every thing around had become hateful to his eyes,
and a curse had lighted upon the face of Home. He thought now, with a
bitter satisfaction, that his escape was at hand: in a few days he might
be rid of the gall and the pang, which every moment of his stay at
Grassdale inflicted upon him. The sweet voice of Madeline he should hear
no more, subduing its silver sound for his rival's ear:--no more he
should watch apart, and himself unheeded, how timidly her glance roved in
search of another, or how vividly her cheek flushed when the step of that
happier one approached. Many miles would at least shut out this picture
from his view; and in absence, was it not possible that he might teach
himself to forget? Thus meditating, he arrived at the banks of the little
brooklet, and was awakened from his reverie by the sound of his own name.
He started, and saw the old Corporal seated on the stump of a tree, and
busily employed in fixing to his line the mimic likeness of what anglers,
and, for aught we know, the rest of the world, call the "violet fly."

"Ha! master,--at my day's work, you see:--fit for nothing else now. When
a musquet's halfworn out, schoolboys buy it--pop it at sparrows. I be
like the musket: but never mind--have not seen the world for nothing. We
get reconciled to all things: that's my way--augh! Now, Sir, you shall
watch me catch the finest trout you have seen this summer: know where he
lies--under the bush yonder. Whi--sh! Sir, whi--sh!"

The Corporal now gave his warrior soul up to the due guidance of the
violet-fly: now he shipped it lightly on the wave; now he slid it
coquettishly along the surface; now it floated, like an unconscious
beauty, carelessly with the tide; and now, like an artful prude, it
affected to loiter by the way, or to steal into designing obscurity under
the shade of some overhanging bank. But none of these manoeuvres
captivated the wary old trout on whose acquisition the Corporal had set
his heart; and what was especially provoking, the angler could see
distinctly the dark outline of the intended victim, as it lay at the
bottom,--like some well-regulated bachelor who eyes from afar the charms
he has discreetly resolved to neglect.

The Corporal waited till he could no longer blind himself to the
displeasing fact, that the violet-fly was wholly inefficacious; he then
drew up his line, and replaced the contemned beauty of the violet-fly,
with the novel attractions of the yellow-dun.

"Now, Sir!" whispered he, lifting up his finger, and nodding sagaciously
to Walter. Softly dropped the yellow-dun upon the water, and swiftly did
it glide before the gaze of the latent trout; and now the trout seemed
aroused from his apathy, behold he moved forward, balancing himself on
his fins; now he slowly ascended towards the surface; you might see all
the speckles of his coat;--the Corporal's heart stood still--he is now at
a convenient distance from the yellow-dun; lo, he surveys it steadfastly;
he ponders, he see-saws himself to and fro. The yellow-dun sails away in
affected indifference, that indifference whets the appetite of the
hesitating gazer, he darts forward; he is opposite the yellow-dun,--he
pushes his nose against it with an eager rudeness,--he--no, he does not
bite, he recoils, he gazes again with surprise and suspicion on the
little charmer; he fades back slowly into the deeper water, and then
suddenly turning his tail towards the disappointed bait, he makes off as
fast as he can,--yonder,--yonder, and disappears! No, that's he leaping
yonder from the wave; Jupiter! what a noble fellow! What leaps he at?--a
real fly--"Damn his eyes!" growled the Corporal.

"You might have caught him with a minnow," said Walter, speaking for the
first time.

"Minnow!" repeated the Corporal gruffly, "ask your honour's pardon.
Minnow!--I have fished with the yellow-dun these twenty years, and never
knew it fail before. Minnow!--baugh! But ask pardon; your honour is very
welcome to fish with a minnow if you please it."

"Thank you, Bunting. And pray what sport have you had to-day?"

"Oh,--good, good," quoth the Corporal, snatching up his basket and
closing the cover, lest the young Squire should pry into it. No man is
more tenacious of his secrets than your true angler. "Sent the best home
two hours ago; one weighed three pounds, on the faith of a man; indeed,
I'm satisfied now; time to give up;" and the Corporal began to disjoint
his rod.

"Ah, Sir!" said he, with a half sigh, "a pretty river this, don't mean to
say it is not; but the river Lea for my money. You know the Lea?--not a
morning's walk from Lunnun. Mary Gibson, my first sweetheart, lived by
the bridge,--caught such a trout there by the by!--had beautiful eyes--
black, round as a cherry--five feet eight without shoes--might have
listed in the forty-second."

"Who, Bunting!" said Walter smiling, "the lady or the trout?"

"Augh!--baugh!--what? Oh, laughing at me, your honour, you're welcome,
Sir. Love's a silly thing--know the world now--have not fallen in love
these ten years. I doubt--no offence, Sir, no offence--I doubt whether
your honour and Miss Ellinor can say as much."

"I and Miss Ellinor!--you forge yourself strangely, Bunting," said
Walter, colouring with anger.

"Beg pardon, Sir, beg pardon--rough soldier--lived away from the world so
long, words slipped out of my mouth--absent without leave."

"But why," said Walter, smothering or conquering his vexation,--"why
couple me with Miss Ellinor? Did you imagine that we,--we were in love
with each other?"

"Indeed, Sir, and if I did, 'tis no more than my neighbours imagine too."

"Humph! your neighbours are very silly, then, and very wrong."

"Beg pardon, Sir, again--always getting askew. Indeed some did say it was
Miss Madeline, but I says,--says I,--'No! I'm a man of the world--see
through a millstone; Miss Madeline's too easy like; Miss Nelly blushes
when he speaks;'scarlet is love's regimentals--it was ours in the forty-
second, edged with yellow--pepper and salt pantaloons! For my part I
think,--but I've no business to think, howsomever--baugh!"

"Pray what do you think, Mr. Bunting? Why do you hesitate?"

"'Fraid of offence--but I do think that Master Aram--your honour
understands--howsomever Squire's daughter too great a match for such as

Walter did not answer; and the garrulous old soldier, who had been the
young man's playmate and companion since Walter was a boy; and was
therefore accustomed to the familiarity with which he now spoke,
continued, mingling with his abrupt prolixity an occasional shrewdness of
observation, which shewed that he was no inattentive commentator on the
little and quiet world around him.

"Free to confess, Squire Walter, that I don't quite like this larned man,
as much as the rest of 'em--something queer about him--can't see to the
bottom of him--don't think he's quite so meek and lamb-like as he seems:-
-once saw a calm dead pool in foren parts--peered down into it--by little
and little, my eye got used to it--saw something dark at the bottom--
stared and stared--by Jupiter--a great big alligator!--walked off
immediately--never liked quiet pools since--augh, no!"

"An argument against quiet pools, perhaps, Bunting; but scarcely against
quiet people."

"Don't know as to that, your honour--much of a muchness. I have seen
Master Aram, demure as he looks, start, and bite his lip, and change
colour, and frown--he has an ugly frown, I can tell ye--when he thought
no one nigh. A man who gets in a passion with himself may be soon out of
temper with others. Free to confess, I should not like to see him married
to that stately beautiful young lady--but they do gossip about it in the
village. If it is not true, better put the Squire on his guard--false
rumours often beget truths--beg pardon, your honour--no business of mine-
-baugh! But I'm a lone man, who have seen the world, and I thinks on the
things around me, and I turns over the quid--now on this side, now on the
other--'tis my way, Sir--and--but I offend your honour."

"Not at all; I know you are an honest man, Bunting, and well affected to
our family; at the same time it is neither prudent nor charitable to
speak harshly of our neighbours without sufficient cause. And really you
seem to me to be a little hasty in your judgment of a man so inoffensive
in his habits and so justly and generally esteemed as Mr. Aram."

"May be, Sir--may be,--very right what you say. But I thinks what I
thinks all the same; and indeed, it is a thing that puzzles me, how that
strange-looking vagabond, as frighted the ladies so, and who, Miss Nelly
told me, for she saw them in his pocket, carried pistols about him, as if
he had been among cannibals and hottentots, instead of the peaceablest
county that man ever set foot in, should boast of his friendship with
this larned schollard, and pass a whole night in his house. Birds of a
feather flock together--augh!--Sir!"

"A man cannot surely be answerable for the respectability of all his
acquaintances, even though he feel obliged to offer them the
accommodation of a night's shelter."

"Baugh!" grunted the Corporal. "Seen the world, Sir--seen the world--
young gentlemen are always so good-natured; 'tis a pity, that the more
one sees the more suspicious one grows. One does not have gumption till
one has been properly cheated--one must be made a fool very often in
order not to be fooled at last!"

"Well, Corporal, I shall now have opportunities enough of profiting by
experience. I am going to leave Grassdale in a few days, and learn
suspicion and wisdom in the great world."

"Augh! baugh!--what?" cried the Corporal, starting from the contemplative
air which he had hitherto assumed. "The great world?--how?--when?--going
away;--who goes with your honour?"

"My honour's self; I have no companion, unless you like to attend me;"
said Walter, jestingly--but the Corporal affected, with his natural
shrewdness, to take the proposition in earnest.

"I! your honour's too good; and indeed, though I say it, Sir, you might
do worse; not but what I should be sorry to leave nice snug home here,
and this stream, though the trout have been shy lately,--ah! that was a
mistake of yours, Sir, recommending the minnow; and neighbour Dealtry,
though his ale's not so good at 'twas last year; and--and--but, in short,
I always loved your honour--dandled you on my knees;--You recollect the
broadsword exercise?--one, two, three--augh! baugh!--and if your honour
really is going, why rather than you should want a proper person who
knows the world, to brush your coat, polish your shoes, give you good
advice--on the faith of a man, I'll go with you myself!"

This alacrity on the part of the Corporal was far from displeasing to
Walter. The proposal he had at first made unthinkingly, he now seriously
thought advisable; and at length it was settled that the Corporal should
call the next morning at the manor-house, and receive instructions as to
the time and method of their departure. Not forgetting, as the sagacious
Bunting delicately insinuated, "the wee settlements as to wages, and
board wages, more a matter of form, like, than any thing else--augh!"

                               CHAPTER X.


                   Two such I saw, what time the laboured ox
                   In his loose traces from the furrow came.

                   Pedro. Now do me noble right.
                   Rod. I'll satisfy you;
                   But not by the sword.
                         --Beaumont and Fletcher.--The Pilgrim.

While Walter and the Corporal enjoyed the above conversation, Madeline
and Aram, whom Lester soon left to themselves, were pursuing their walk
along the solitary fields. Their love had passed from the eye to the lip,
and now found expression in words.

"Observe," said he, as the light touch of one who he felt loved him
entirely rested on his arm,--"Observe, as the later summer now begins to
breathe a more various and mellow glory into the landscape, how
singularly pure and lucid the atmosphere becomes. When, two months ago,
in the full flush of June, I walked through these fields, a grey mist hid
yon distant hills and the far forest from my view. Now, with what a
transparent stillness the whole expanse of scenery spreads itself before
us. And such, Madeline, is the change that has come over myself since
that time. Then, if I looked beyond the limited present, all was dim and
indistinct. Now, the mist had faded away--the broad future extends before
me, calm and bright with the hope which is borrowed from your love!"

We will not tax the patience of the reader, who seldom enters with keen
interest into the mere dialogue of love, with the blushing Madeline's
reply, or with all the soft vows and tender confessions which the rich
poetry of Aram's mind made yet more delicious to the ear of his dreaming
and devoted mistress.

"There is one circumstance," said Aram, "which casts a momentary shade on
the happiness I enjoy--my Madeline probably guesses its nature. I regret
to see that the blessing of your love must be purchased by the misery of
another, and that other, the nephew of my kind friend. You have doubtless
observed the melancholy of Walter Lester, and have long since known its

"Indeed, Eugene," answered Madeline, "it has given me great pain to note
what you refer to, for it would be a false delicacy in me to deny that I
have observed it. But Walter is young and high-spirited; nor do I think
he is of a nature to love long where there is no return!"

"And what," said Aram, sorrowfully,--"what deduction from reason can ever
apply to love? Love is a very contradiction of all the elements of our
ordinary nature,--it makes the proud man meek,--the cheerful, sad,--the
high-spirited, tame; our strongest resolutions, our hardiest energy fail
before it. Believe me, you cannot prophesy of its future effect in a man
from any knowledge of his past character. I grieve to think that the blow
falls upon one in early youth, ere the world's disappointments have
blunted the heart, or the world's numerous interests have multiplied its
resources. Men's minds have been turned when they have not well sifted
the cause themselves, and their fortunes marred, by one stroke on the
affections of their youth. So at least have I read, Madeline, and so
marked in others. For myself, I knew nothing of love in its reality till
I knew you. But who can know you, and not sympathise with him who has
lost you?"

"Ah, Eugene! you at least overrate the influence which love produces on
men. A little resentment and a little absence will soon cure my cousin of
an ill-placed and ill-requited attachment. You do not think how easy it
is to forget."

"Forget!" said Aram, stopping abruptly; "Ay, forget--it is a strange
truth! we do forget! the summer passes over the furrow, and the corn
springs up; the sod forgets the flower of the past year; the battle-field
forgets the blood that has been spilt upon its turf; the sky forgets the
storm; and the water the noon-day sun that slept upon its bosom. All
Nature preaches forgetfulness. Its very order is the progress of
oblivion. And I--I--give me your hand, Madeline,--I, ha! ha! I forget

As Aram spoke thus wildly, his countenance worked; but his voice was
slow, and scarcely audible; he seemed rather conferring with himself,
than addressing Madeline. But when his words ceased, and he felt the soft
hand of his betrothed, and turning, saw her anxious and wistful eyes
fixed in alarm, yet in all unsuspecting confidence, on his face; his
features relaxed into their usual serenity, and kissing the hand he
clasped, he continued, in a collected and steady tone,

"Forgive me, my sweetest Madeline. These fitful and strange moods
sometimes come upon me yet. I have been so long in the habit of pursuing
any train of thought, however wild, that presents itself to my mind, that
I cannot easily break it, even in your presence. All studious men--the
twilight Eremites of books and closets, contract this ungraceful custom
of soliloquy. You know our abstraction is a common jest and proverb: you
must laugh me out of it. But stay, dearest!--there is a rare herb at
your feet, let me gather it. So, do you note its leaves--this bending and
silver flower? Let us rest on this bank, and I will tell you of its
qualities. Beautiful as it is, it has a poison."

The place in which the lovers rested, is one which the villagers to this
day call "The Lady's-seat;" for Madeline, whose history is fondly
preserved in that district, was afterwards wont constantly to repair to
that bank (during a short absence of her lover, hereafter to be noted),
and subsequent events stamped with interest every spot she was known to
have favoured with resort. And when the flower had been duly conned, and
the study dismissed, Aram, to whom all the signs of the seasons were
familiar, pointed to her the thousand symptoms of the month which are
unheeded by less observant eyes; not forgetting, as they thus reclined,
their hands clasped together, to couple each remark with some allusion to
his love or some deduction which heightened compliment into poetry. He
bade her mark the light gossamer as it floated on the air; now soaring
high--high into the translucent atmosphere; now suddenly stooping, and
sailing away beneath the boughs, which ever and anon it hung with a
silken web, that by the next morn, would glitter with a thousand dew
drops. "And, so," said he fancifully, "does Love lead forth its
numberless creations, making the air its path and empire; ascending aloof
at its wild will, hanging its meshes on every bough, and bidding the
common grass break into a fairy lustre at the beam of the daily sun!"

He pointed to her the spot, where, in the silent brake, the harebells,
now waxing rare and few, yet lingered--or where the mystic ring on the
soft turf conjured up the associations of Oberon and his train. That
superstition gave licence and play to his full memory and glowing fancy;
and Shakspeare--Spenser--Ariosto--the magic of each mighty master of
Fairy Realm--he evoked, and poured into her transported ear. It was
precisely such arts, which to a gayer and more worldly nature than
Madeline's might have seemed but wearisome, that arrested and won her
imaginative and high-wrought mind. And thus he, who to another might have
proved but the retired and moody Student, became to her the very being of
whom her "Maiden meditation" had dreamed--the master and magician of her

Aram did not return to the house with Madeline; he accompanied her to the
garden gate, and then taking leave of her, bent his way homeward. He had
gained the entrance of the little valley that led to his abode, when he
saw Walter cross his path at a short distance. His heart, naturally
susceptible to kindly emotion, smote him as he remarked the moody
listlessness of the young man's step, and recalled the buoyant lightness
it was once wont habitually to wear. He quickened his pace, and joined
Walter before the latter was aware of his presence.

"Good evening," said he, mildly; "if you are going my way, give me the
benefit of your company."

"My path lies yonder," replied Walter, somewhat sullenly; "I regret that
it is different from yours."

"In that case," said Aram, "I can delay my return home, and will, with
your leave, intrude my society upon you for some few minutes."

Walter bowed his head in reluctant assent. They walked on for some
moments without speaking, the one unwilling, the other seeking an
occasion, to break the silence.

"This to my mind," said Aram at length, "is the most pleasing landscape
in the whole country; observe the bashful water stealing away among the
woodlands. Methinks the wave is endowed with an instinctive wisdom, that
it thus shuns the world."

"Rather," said Walter, "with the love for change which exists everywhere
in nature, it does not seek the shade until it has passed by 'towered
cities,'and 'the busy hum of men.'"

"I admire the shrewdness of your reply," rejoined Aram; "but note how far
more pure and lovely are its waters in these retreats, than when washing
the walls of the reeking town, receiving into its breast the taint of a
thousand pollutions, vexed by the sound, and stench, and unholy
perturbation of men's dwelling-place. Now it glasses only what is high or
beautiful in nature--the stars or the leafy banks. The wind that ruffles
it, is clothed with perfumes; the rivulet that swells it, descends from
the everlasting mountains, or is formed by the rains of Heaven. Believe
me, it is the type of a life that glides into solitude, from the
weariness and fretful turmoil of the world.

'No flattery, hate, or envy lodgeth there, There no suspicion walled in
proved steel, Yet fearful of the arms herself doth wear, Pride is not
there; no tyrant there we feel!'" [Phineas Fletcher.]

"I will not cope with you in simile, or in poetry," said Walter, as his
lip curved; "it is enough for me to think that life should be spent in
action. I hasten to prove if my judgment be erroneous."

"Are you, then, about to leave us?" inquired Aram.

"Yes, within a few days."

"Indeed, I regret to hear it."

The answer sounded jarringly on the irritated nerves of the disappointed

"You do me more honour than I desire," said he, "in interesting yourself,
however lightly, in my schemes or fortune!"

"Young man," replied Aram, coldly, "I never see the impetuous and
yearning spirit of youth without a certain, and it may be, a painful
interest. How feeble is the chance, that its hopes will be fulfilled!
Enough, if it lose not all its loftier aspirings, as well as its brighter

Nothing more aroused the proud and fiery temper of Walter Lester than the
tone of superior wisdom and superior age, which his rival assumed towards
him. More and more displeased with his present companion, he answered, in
no conciliatory tone, "I cannot but consider the warning and the fears of
one, neither my relation nor my friend, in the light of a gratuitous

Aram smiled as he answered,

"There is no occasion for resentment. Preserve this hot spirit, and high
self-confidence, till you return again to these scenes, and I shall be at
once satisfied and corrected."

"Sir," said Walter, colouring, and irritated more by the smile than the
words of his rival, "I am not aware by what right or on what ground you
assume towards me the superiority, not only of admonition but reproof. My
uncle's preference towards you gives you no authority over me. That
preference I do not pretend to share."--He paused for a moment, thinking
Aram might hasten to reply; but as the Student walked on with his usual
calmness of demeanour, he added, stung by the indifference which he
attributed, not altogether without truth, to disdain, "And since you have
taken upon yourself to caution me, and to forebode my inability to resist
the contamination, as you would term it, of the world, I tell you, that
it may be happy for you to bear so clear a conscience, so untouched a
spirit as that which I now boast, and with which I trust in God and my
own soul I shall return to my birth-place. It is not the holy only that
love solitude; and men may shun the world from another motive than that
of philosophy."

It was now Aram's turn to feel resentment, and this was indeed an
insinuation not only unwarrantable in itself, but one which a man of so
peaceable and guileless a life, affecting even an extreme and rigid
austerity of morals, might well be tempted to repel with scorn and
indignation; and Aram, however meek and forbearing in general, testified
in this instance that his wonted gentleness arose from no lack of man's
natural spirit. He laid his hand commandingly on young Lester's shoulder,
and surveyed his countenance with a dark and menacing frown.

"Boy!" said he, "were there meaning in your words, I should (mark me!)
avenge the insult;--as it is, I despise it. Go!"

So high and lofty was Aram's manner--so majestic was the sternness of his
rebuke, and the dignity of his bearing, as he now waving his hand turned
away, that Walter lost his self-possession and stood fixed to the spot,
absorbed, and humbled from his late anger. It was not till Aram had moved
with a slow step several paces backward towards his home, that the bold
and haughty temper of the young man returned to his aid. Ashamed of
himself for the momentary weakness he had betrayed, and burning to redeem
it, he hastened after the stately form of his rival, and planting himself
full in his path, said, in a voice half choked with contending emotions,

"Hold!--you have given me the opportunity I have long desired; you
yourself have now broken that peace which existed between us, and which
to me was more bitter than wormwood. You have dared,--yes, dared to use
threatening language towards me. I call on you to fulfil your threat. I
tell you that I meant, I designed, I thirsted to affront you. Now resent
my purposed--premeditated affront as you will and can!"

There was something remarkable in the contrasted figures of the rivals,
as they now stood fronting each other. The elastic and vigorous form of
Walter Lester, his sparkling eyes, his sunburnt and glowing cheek, his
clenched hands, and his whole frame, alive and eloquent with the energy,
the heat, the hasty courage, and fiery spirit of youth; on the other
hand,--the bending frame of the student, gradually rising into the
dignity of its full height--his pale cheek, in which the wan hues neither
deepened nor waned, his large eye raised to meet Walter's bright, steady,
and yet how calm! Nothing weak, nothing irresolute could be traced in
that form--or that lofty countenance; yet all resentment had vanished
from his aspect. He seemed at once tranquil and prepared.

"You designed to affront me!" said he; "it is well--it is a noble
confession;--and wherefore? What do you propose to gain by it?--a man
whose whole life is peace, you would provoke to outrage? Would there be
triumph in this, or disgrace?--A man whom your uncle honours and loves,
you would insult without cause--you would waylay--you would, after
watching and creating your opportunity, entrap into defending himself. Is
this worthy of that high spirit of which you boasted?--is this worthy a
generous anger, or a noble hatred? Away! you malign yourself. I shrink
from no quarrel--why should I? I have nothing to fear: my nerves are
firm--my heart is faithful to my will; my habits may have diminished my
strength, but it is yet equal to that of most men. As to the weapons of
the world--they fall not to my use. I might be excused by the most
punctilious, for rejecting what becomes neither my station nor my habits
of life; but I learnt this much from books long since, 'hold thyself
prepared for all things:'--I am so prepared. And as I can command the
spirit, I lack not the skill, to defend myself, or return the hostility
of another." As Aram thus said, he drew a pistol from his bosom; and
pointed it leisurely towards a tree, at the distance of some paces.

"Look," said he, "you note that small discoloured and white stain in the
bark--you can but just observe it;--he who can send a bullet through that
spot, need not fear to meet the quarrel which he seeks to avoid."

Walter turned mechanically, and indignant, though silent, towards the
tree. Aram fired, and the ball penetrated the centre of the stain. He
then replaced the pistol in his bosom, and said:--

"Early in life I had many enemies, and I taught myself these arts. From
habit, I still bear about me the weapons I trust and pray I may never
have occasion to use. But to return.--I have offended you--I have
incurred your hatred--why? What are my sins?"

"Do you ask the cause?" said Walter, speaking between his ground teeth.
"Have you not traversed my views--blighted my hopes--charmed away from me
the affections which were more to me than the world, and driven me to
wander from my home with a crushed spirit, and a cheerless heart. Are
these no cause for hate?"

"Have I done this?" said Aram, recoiling, and evidently and powerfully
affected. "Have I so injured you?--It is true! I know it--I perceive it--
I read your heart; and--bear witness Heaven!--I felt for the wound that
I, but with no guilty hand, inflict upon you. Yet be just:--ask yourself,
have I done aught that you, in my case, would have left undone? Have I
been insolent in triumph, or haughty in success? if so, hate me, nay,
spurn me now."

Walter turned his head irresolutely away.

"If it please you, that I accuse myself, in that I, a man seared and lone
at heart, presumed to come within the pale of human affections;--that I
exposed myself to cross another's better and brighter hopes, or dared to
soften my fate with the tender and endearing ties that are meet alone for
a more genial and youthful nature;--if it please you that I accuse and
curse myself for this--that I yielded to it with pain and with self-
reproach--that I shall think hereafter of what I unconsciously cost you
with remorse--then be consoled!"

"It is enough," said Walter; "let us part. I leave you with more soreness
at my late haste than I will acknowledge, let that content you; for
myself, I ask for no apology or--."

"But you shall have it amply," interrupted Aram, advancing with a cordial
openness of mien not usual to him. "I was all to blame; I should have
remembered you were an injured man, and suffered you to have said all you
would. Words at best are but a poor vent for a wronged and burning heart.
It shall be so in future, speak your will, attack, upbraid, taunt me, I
will bear it all. And indeed, even to myself there seems some witchcraft,
some glamoury in what has chanced. What! I favoured where you love? Is it
possible? It might teach the vainest to forswear vanity. You, the young,
the buoyant, the fresh, the beautiful?--And I, who have passed the glory
and zest of life between dusty walls; I who--well, well, fate laughs at

Aram now seemed relapsing into one of his more abstracted moods; he
ceased to speak aloud, but his lips moved, and his eyes grew fixed in
reverie on the ground. Walter gazed at him for some moments with mixed
and contending sensations. Once more, resentment and the bitter wrath of
jealousy had faded back into the remoter depths of his mind, and a
certain interest for his singular rival, despite of himself, crept into
his breast. But this mysterious and fitful nature, was it one in which
the devoted Madeline would certainly find happiness and repose?--would
she never regret her choice? This question obtruded itself upon him, and
while he sought to answer it, Aram, regaining his composure, turned
abruptly and offered him his hand. Walter did not accept it, he bowed
with a cold respect. "I cannot give my hand without my heart," said he;
"we were foes just now; we are not friends yet. I am unreasonable in
this, I know, but--"

"Be it so," interrupted Aram; "I understand you. I press my good will on
you no more. When this pang is forgotten, when this wound is healed, and
when you will have learned more of him who is now your rival, we may meet
again with other feelings on your side."

Thus they parted, and the solitary lamp which for weeks past had been
quenched at the wholesome hour in the Student's home, streamed from the
casement throughout the whole of that night; was it a witness of the calm
and learned vigil, or of the unresting heart?

                              CHAPTER XI.


                                        So we grew together
                   Like to a double cherry, seeming parted,
                   But yet an union in partition.
                                --Midsummer Night's Dream.

                The Corporal had not taken his measures so badly
                in this stroke of artilleryship.--Tristram Shandy.

It was late that evening when Walter returned home, the little family
were assembled at the last and lightest meal of the day; Ellinor silently
made room for her cousin beside herself, and that little kindness touched
Walter. "Why did I not love her?" thought he, and he spoke to her in a
tone so affectionate, that it made her heart thrill with delight. Lester
was, on the whole, the most pensive of the group, but the old and young
man exchanged looks of restored confidence, which, on the part of the
former, were softened by a pitying tenderness.

When the cloth was removed, and the servants gone, Lester took it on
himself to break to the sisters the intended departure of their cousin.
Madeline received the news with painful blushes, and a certain self-
reproach; for even where a woman has no cause to blame herself, she, in
these cases, feels a sort of remorse at the unhappiness she occasions.
But Ellinor rose suddenly and left the room.

"And now," said Lester, "London will, I suppose, be your first
destination. I can furnish you with letters to some of my old friends
there: merry fellows they were once: you must take care of the
prodigality of their wine. There's John Courtland--ah! a seductive dog
to drink with. Be sure and let me know how honest John looks, and what he
says of me. I recollect him as if it were yesterday; a roguish eye, with
a moisture in it; full cheeks; a straight nose; black curled hair; and
teeth as even as dies:--honest John shewed his teeth pretty often, too:
ha, ha! how the dog loved a laugh. Well, and Peter Hales--Sir Peter now,
has his uncle's baronetcy--a generous, open-hearted fellow as ever lived-
-will ask you very often to dinner--nay, offer you money if you want it:
but take care he does not lead you into extravagances: out of debt, out
of danger, Walter. It would have been well for poor Peter Hales, had he
remembered that maxim. Often and often have I been to see him in the
Marshalsea; but he was the heir to good fortunes, though his relations
kept him close; so I suppose he is well off now. His estates lie in--
shire, on your road to London; so, if he is at his country-seat, you can
beat up his quarters, and spend a month or so with him: a most hospitable

With these little sketches of his cotemporaries, the good Squire
endeavoured to while the time; taking, it is true, some pleasure in the
youthful reminiscences they excited, but chiefly designing to enliven the
melancholy of his nephew. When, however, Madeline had retired, and they
were alone, he drew his chair closer to Walter's, and changed the
conversation into a more serious and anxious strain. The guardian and the
ward sate up late that night; and when Walter retired to rest, it was
with a heart more touched by his uncle's kindness, than his own sorrows.

But we are not about to close the day without a glance at the chamber
which the two sisters held in common. The night was serene and starlit,
and Madeline sate by the open window, leaning her face upon her hand, and
gazing on the lone house of her lover, which might be seen afar across
the landscape, the trees sleeping around it, and one pale and steady
light gleaming from its lofty casement like a star.

"He has broken faith," said Madeline: "I shall chide him for this to-
morrow. He promised me the light should be ever quenched before this

"Nay," said Ellinor in a tone somewhat sharpened from its native
sweetness, and who now sate up in the bed, the curtain of which was half-
drawn aside, and the soft light of the skies rested full upon her rounded
neck and youthful countenance--"nay, Madeline, do not loiter there any
longer; the air grows sharp and cold, and the clock struck one several
minutes since. Come, sister, come!"

"I cannot sleep," replied Madeline, sighing, "and think that yon light
streams upon those studies which steal the healthful hues from his cheek,
and the very life from his heart."

"You are infatuated--you are bewitched by that man," said Ellinor,

"And have I not cause--ample cause?" returned Madeline, with all a girl's
beautiful enthusiasm, as the colour mantled her cheek, and gave it the
only additional loveliness it could receive. "When he speaks, is it not
like music?--or rather, what music so arrests and touches the heart?
Methinks it is Heaven only to gaze upon him--to note the changes of that
majestic countenance--to set down as food for memory every look and every
movement. But when the look turns to me--when the voice utters my name,
ah! Ellinor, then it is not a wonder that I love him thus much: but that
any others should think they have known love, and yet not loved him! And,
indeed, I feel assured that what the world calls love is not my love. Are
there more Eugenes in the world than one? Who but Eugene could be loved
as I love?"

"What! are there none as worthy?" said Ellinor, half smiling.

"Can you ask it?" answered Madeline, with a simple wonder in her voice;
"Whom would you compare--compare! nay, place within a hundred grades of
the height which Eugene Aram holds in this little world?"

"This is folly--dotage;" said Ellinor, indignantly: "Surely there are
others, as brave, as gentle, as kind, and if not so wise, yet more fitted
for the world."

"You mock me," replied Madeline, incredulously; "whom could you select?"

Ellinor blushed deeply--blushed from her snowy temples to her yet whiter
bosom, as she answered,

"If I said Walter Lester, could you deny it?"

"Walter!" repeated Madeline, "the equal to Eugene Aram!"

"Ay, and more than equal," said Ellinor, with spirit, and a warm and
angry tone. "And indeed, Madeline," she continued, after a pause, "I lose
something of that respect, which, passing a sister's love, I have always
borne towards you, when I see the unthinking and lavish idolatry you
manifest to one, who, but for a silver tongue and florid words, would
rather want attractions than be the wonder you esteem him. Fie, Madeline!
I blush for you when you speak, it is unmaidenly so to love any one!"

Madeline rose from the window, but the angry word died on her lips when
she saw that Ellinor, who had worked her mind beyond her self-control,
had thrown herself back on the pillow, and now sobbed aloud.

The natural temper of the elder sister had always been much more calm and
even than that of the younger, who united with her vivacity something of
the passionate caprice and fitfulness of her sex. And Madeline's
affection for her had been tinged by that character of forbearance and
soothing, which a superior nature often manifests to one more imperfect,
and which in this instance did not desert her. She gently closed the
window, and, gliding to the bed, threw her arms round her sister's neck,
and kissed away her tears with a caressing fondness, that, if Ellinor
resisted for one moment, she returned with equal tenderness the next.

"Indeed, dearest," said Madeline, gently, "I cannot guess how I hurt you,
and still less, how Eugene has offended you?"

"He has offended me in nothing," replied Ellinor, still weeping, "if he
has not stolen away all your affection from me. But I was a foolish girl,
forgive me, as you always do; and at this time I need your kindness, for
I am very--very unhappy."

"Unhappy, dearest Nell, and why?"

Ellinor wept on without answering.

Madeline persisted in pressing for a reply; and at length her sister
sobbed out:

"I know that--that--Walter only has eyes for you, and a heart for you,
who neglect, who despise his love; and I--I--but no matter, he is going
to leave us, and of me--poor me, he will think no more!"

Ellinor's attachment to their cousin, Madeline had long half suspected,
and she had often rallied her sister upon it; indeed it might have been
this suspicion which made her at the first steel her breast against
Walter's evident preference to herself. But Ellinor had never till now
seriously confessed how much her heart was affected; and Madeline, in the
natural engrossment of her own ardent and devoted love, had not of late
spared much observation to the tokens of her sister's. She was therefore
dismayed, if not surprised, as she now perceived the cause of the
peevishness Ellinor had just manifested, and by the nature of the love
she felt herself, she judged, and perhaps somewhat overrated, the anguish
that Ellinor endured.

She strove to comfort her by all the arguments which the fertile
ingenuity of kindness could invent; she prophesied Walter's speedy
return, with his boyish disappointment forgotten, and with eyes no longer
blinded to the attractions of one sister, by a bootless fancy for
another. And though Ellinor interrupted her from time to time with
assertions, now of Walter's eternal constancy to his present idol; now,
with yet more vehement declarations of the certainty of his finding new
objects for his affections in new scenes; she yet admitted, by little and
little, the persuasive power of Madeline to creep into her heart, and
brighten away its griefs with hope, till at last, with the tears yet wet
on her cheek, she fell asleep in her sister's arms.

And Madeline, though she would not stir from her post lest the movement
should awaken her sister, was yet prevented from closing her eyes in a
similar repose; ever and anon she breathlessly and gently raised herself
to steal a glimpse of that solitary light afar; and ever, as she looked,
the ray greeted her eyes with an unswerving and melancholy stillness,
till the dawn crept greyly over the heavens, and that speck of light,
holier to her than the stars, faded also with them beneath the broader
lustre of the day.

The next week was passed in preparations for Walter's departure. At that
time, and in that distant part of the country, it was greatly the fashion
among the younger travellers to perform their excursions on horseback,
and it was this method of conveyance that Walter preferred. The best
steed in the squire's stables was therefore appropriated to his service,
and a strong black horse with a Roman nose and a long tail, was consigned
to the mastery of Corporal Bunting. The Squire was delighted that his
nephew had secured such an attendant. For the soldier, though odd and
selfish, was a man of some sense and experience, and Lester thought such
qualities might not be without their use to a young master, new to the
common frauds and daily usages of the world he was about to enter.

As for Bunting himself, he covered his secret exultation at the prospect
of change, and board-wages, with the cool semblance of a man sacrificing
his wishes to his affections. He made it his peculiar study to impress
upon the Squire's mind the extent of the sacrifice he was about to make.
The bit cot had been just white-washed, the pet cat just lain in; then
too, who would dig, and gather seeds, in the garden, defend the plants,
(plants! the Corporal could scarce count a dozen, and nine out of them
were cabbages!) from the impending frosts? It was exactly, too, the time
of year when the rheumatism paid flying visits to the bones and loins of
the worthy Corporal; and to think of his "galavanting about the country,"
when he ought to be guarding against that sly foe the lumbago, in the
fortress of his chimney corner!

To all these murmurs and insinuations the good Lester seriously inclined,
not with the less sympathy, in that they invariably ended in the
Corporal's slapping his manly thigh, and swearing that he loved Master
Walter like gunpowder, and that were it twenty times as much, he would
cheerfully do it for the sake of his handsome young honour. Ever at this
peroration, the eyes of the Squire began to twinkle, and new thanks were
given to the veteran for his disinterested affection, and new promises
pledged him in inadequate return.

The pious Dealtry felt a little jealousy at the trust imparted to his
friend. He halted, on his return from his farm, by the spruce stile which
led to the demesne of the Corporal, and eyed the warrior somewhat sourly,
as he now, in the cool of the evening, sate without his door, arranging
his fishing-tackle and flies, in various little papers, which he
carefully labelled by the help of a stunted pen which had seen at least
as much service as himself.

"Well, neighbour Bunting," said the little landlord, leaning over the
stile, but not passing its boundary, "and when do you go?--you will have
wet weather of it (looking up to the skies)--you must take care of the
rumatiz. At your age it's no trifle, eh--hem."

"My age! should like to know--what mean by that! my age indeed!--augh!--
bother!" grunted Bunting, looking up from his occupation. Peter chuckled
inly at the Corporal's displeasure, and continued, as in an apologetic

"Oh, I ax your pardon, neighbour. I don't mean to say you are too old to
travel. Why there was Hal Whittol, eighty-two come next Michaelmas, took
a trip to Lunnun last year--

"For young and old, the stout--the poorly,--The eye of God be on them

"Bother!" said the Corporal, turning round on his seat.

"And what do you intend doing with the brindled cat? put'un up in the
saddle-bags? You won't surely have the heart to leave'un."

"As to that," quoth the Corporal, sighing, "the poor dumb animal makes me
sad to think on't." And putting down his fish-hooks, he stroked the sides
of an enormous cat, who now, with tail on end, and back bowed up, and
uttering her lenes susurros--anglicae, purr;--rubbed herself to and fro,
athwart the Corporal's legs.

"What staring there for? won't ye step in, man? Can climb the stile I

"No thank'ye, neighbour. I do very well here, that is, if you can hear
me; your deafness is not so troublesome as it was last win--"

"Bother!" interrupted the Corporal, in a voice that made the little
landlord start bolt upright from the easy confidence of his position.
Nothing on earth so offended the perpendicular Jacob Bunting, as any
insinuation of increasing years or growing infirmities; but at this
moment, as he meditated putting Dealtry to some use, he prudently
conquered the gathering anger, and added, like the man of the world he
justly plumed himself on being--in a voice gentle as a dying howl, "What
'fraid on? come in, there's good fellow, want to speak to ye. Come do--a-
u-g-h!" the last sound being prolonged into one of unutterable
coaxingness, and accompanied with a beck of the hand and a wheedling

These allurements the good Peter could not resist--he clambered the
stile, and seated himself on the bench beside the Corporal.

"There now, fine fellow, fit for the forty-second;" said Bunting,
clapping him on the back. "Well, and--a--nd--a beautiful cat, isn't her?"

"Ah!" said Peter very shortly--for though a remarkably mild man, Peter
did not love cats: moreover, we must now inform the reader, that the cat
of Jacob Bunting was one more feared than respected throughout the
village. The Corporal was a cunning teacher of all animals: he could
learn goldfinches the use of the musket; dogs, the art of the broadsword;
horses, to dance hornpipes and pick pockets; and he had relieved the
ennui of his solitary moments by imparting sundry accomplishments to the
ductile genius of his cat. Under his tuition, Puss had learned to fetch
and carry; to turn over head and tail, like a tumbler; to run up your
shoulder when you least expected it; to fly, as if she were mad, at any
one upon whom the Corporal thought fit to set her; and, above all, to rob
larders, shelves, and tables, and bring the produce to the Corporal, who
never failed to consider such stray waifs lawful manorial acquisitions.
These little feline cultivations of talent, however delightful to the
Corporal, and creditable to his powers of teaching the young idea how to
shoot, had nevertheless, since the truth must be told, rendered the
Corporal's cat a proverb and byeword throughout the neighbourhood. Never
was cat in such bad odour: and the dislike in which it was held was
wonderfully increased by terror; for the creature was singularly large
and robust, and withal of so courageous a temper, that if you attempted
to resist its invasion of your property, it forthwith set up its back,
put down its ears, opened its mouth, and bade you fully comprehend that
what it feloniously seized it could gallantly defend. More than one
gossip in the village had this notable cat hurried into premature
parturition, as, on descending at day-break into her kitchen, the dame
would descry the animal perched on the dresser, having entered, God knows
how, and gleaming upon her with its great green eyes, and a malignant,
brownie expression of countenance.

Various deputations had indeed, from time to time, arrived at the
Corporal's cottage, requesting the death, expulsion, or perpetual
imprisonment of the favourite. But the stout Corporal received them
grimly, and dismissed them gruffly; and the cat still went on waxing in
size and wickedness, and baffling, as if inspired by the devil, the
various gins and traps set for its destruction. But never, perhaps, was
there a greater disturbance and perturbation in the little hamlet, than
when, some three weeks since, the Corporal's cat was known to be brought
to bed, and safely delivered of a numerous offspring. The village saw
itself overrun with a race and a perpetuity of Corporal's cats! Perhaps,
too, their teacher growing more expert by practice, the descendants might
attain to even greater accomplishment than their nefarious progenitor. No
longer did the faint hope of being delivered from their tormentor by an
untimely or even natural death, occur to the harassed Grassdalians. Death
was an incident natural to one cat, however vivacious, but here was a
dynasty of cats! Principes mortales, respublica eterna!

Now the Corporal loved this creature better, yes better than any thing in
the world, except travelling and board-wages; and he was sorely perplexed
in his mind how he should be able to dispose of her safely in his
absence. He was aware of the general enmity she had inspired, and
trembled to anticipate its probable result, when he was no longer by to
afford her shelter and protection. The Squire had, indeed, offered her an
asylum at the manor-house; but the Squire's cook was the cat's most
embittered enemy; and who can answer for the peaceable behaviour of his
cook? The Corporal, therefore, with a reluctant sigh, renounced the
friendly offer, and after lying awake three nights, and turning over in
his own mind the characters, consciences, and capabilities of all his
neighbours, he came at last to the conviction that there was no one with
whom he could so safely entrust his cat as Peter Dealtry. It is true, as
we said before, that Peter was no lover of cats, and the task of
persuading him to afford board and lodging to a cat, of all cats the most
odious and malignant, was therefore no easy matter. But to a man of the
world, what intrigue is impossible?

The finest diplomatist in Europe might have taken a lesson from the
Corporal, as he now proceeded earnestly towards the accomplishment of his

He took the cat, which by the by we forgot to say that he had thought fit
to christen after himself, and to honour with a name, somewhat lengthy
for a cat, (but indeed this was no ordinary cat!) viz. Jacobina. He took
Jacobina then, we say, upon his lap, and stroking her brindled sides with
great tenderness, he bade Dealtry remark how singularly quiet the animal
was in its manners. Nay, he was not contented until Peter himself had
patted her with a timorous hand, and had reluctantly submitted the said
hand to the honour of being licked by the cat in return. Jacobina, who,
to do her justice, was always meek enough in the presence, and at the
will, of her master, was, fortunately this day, on her very best

"Them dumb animals be mighty grateful," quoth the Corporal.

"Ah!" rejoined Peter, wiping his hand with his pocket handkerchief.

"But, Lord! what scandal there be in the world!"

"'Though slander's breath may raise a storm, It quickly does decay!'"
muttered Peter.

"Very well, very true; sensible verses those," said the Corporal,
approvingly; "and yet mischief's often done before the amends come. Body
o' me, it makes a man sick of his kind, ashamed to belong to the race of
men, to see the envy that abounds in this here sublunary wale of tears!"
said the Corporal, lifting up his eyes.

Peter stared at him with open mouth; the hypocritical rascal continued,
after a pause,--

"Now there's Jacobina, 'cause she's a good cat, a faithful servant, the
whole village is against her: such lies as they tell on her, such
wappers, you'd think she was the devil in garnet! I grant, I grant,"
added the Corporal, in a tone of apologetic candour, "that she's wild,
saucy, knows her friends from her foes, steals Goody Solomon's butter;
but what then? Goody Solomon's d--d b--h! Goody Solomon sold beer in
opposition to you, set up a public;--you do not like Goody Solomons,
Peter Dealtry?"

"If that were all Jacobina had done!" said the landlord, grinning.

"All! what else did she do? Why she eat up John Tomkins's canary-bird;
and did not John Tomkins, saucy rascal, say you could not sing better nor
a raven?"

"I have nothing to say against the poor creature for that," said Peter,
stroking the cat of his own accord. "Cats will eat birds, 'tis the
'spensation of Providence. But what! Corporal!" and Peter hastily
withdrawing his hand, hurried it into his breeches pocket--"but what! did
not she scratch Joe Webster's little boy's hand into ribbons, because the
boy tried to prevent her running off with a ball of string?"

"And well," grunted the Corporal, "that was not Jacobina's doing, that
was my doing. I wanted the string--offered to pay a penny for it--think
of that!"

"It was priced three pence ha'penny," said Peter.

"Augh--baugh! you would not pay Joe Webster all he asks! What's the use
of being a man of the world, unless one makes one's tradesmen bate a bit?
Bargaining is not cheating, I hope?"

"God forbid!" said Peter.

"But as to the bit string, Jacobina took it solely for your sake. Ah, she
did not think you were to turn against her!"

So saying, the Corporal, got up, walked into his house, and presently
came back with a little net in his hand.

"There, Peter, net for you, to hold lemons. Thank Jacobina for that; she
got the string. Says I to her one day, as I was sitting, as I might be
now, without the door, 'Jacobina, Peter Dealtry's a good fellow, and he
keeps his lemons in a bag: bad habit,--get mouldy,--we'll make him a net:
and Jacobina purred, (stroke the poor creature, Peter!)--so Jacobina and
I took a walk, and when we came to Joe Webster's I pointed out the ball
o'twine to her. So, for your sake, Peter, she got into this here scrape--

"Ah!" quoth Peter laughing, "poor Puss! poor Pussy! poor little Pussy!"

"And now, Peter," said the Corporal, taking his friend's hand, "I am
going to prove friendship to you--going to do you great favour."

"Aha!" said Peter, "my good friend, I'm very much obliged to you. I know
your kind heart, but I really don't want any"--

"Bother!" cried the Corporal, "I'm not the man as makes much of doing a
friend a kindness. Hold jaw! tell you what,--tell you what: am going away
on Wednesday at day-break, and in my absence you shall--"

"What? my good Corporal."

"Take charge of Jacobina!"

"Take charge of the devil!" cried Peter.

"Augh!--baugh!--what words are those? Listen to me."

"I won't!"

"You shall!"

"I'll be d--d if I do!" quoth Peter sturdily. It was the first time he
had been known to swear since he was parish clerk.

"Very well, very well!" said the Corporal chucking up his chin, "Jacobina
can take care of herself! Jacobina knows her friends and her foes as well
as her master! Jacobina never injures her friends, never forgives foes.
Look to yourself! look to yourself! insult my cat, insult me! Swear at
Jacobina, indeed!"

"If she steals my cream!" cried Peter--

"Did she ever steal your cream?"

"No! but, if--"

"Did she ever steal your cream?"

"I can't say she ever did."

"Or any thing else of yours?"

"Not that I know of; but--"

"Never too late to mend."


"Will you listen to me, or not?"


"You'll listen?"


"Know then, that I wanted to do you kindness."


"Hold jaw! I taught Jacobina all she knows."

"More's the pity!"

"Hold jaw! I taught her to respect her friends,--never to commit herself
in doors--never to steal at home--never to fly at home--never to scratch
at home--to kill mice and rats--to bring all she catches to her master--
to do what he tells her--and to defend his house as well as a mastiff:
and this invaluable creature I was going to lend you:--won't now, d--d if
I do!"


"Hold jaw! When I'm gone, Jacobina will have no one to feed her. She'll
feed herself--will go to every larder, every house in the place--your's
best larder, best house;--will come to you oftenest. If your wife
attempts to drive her away, scratch her eyes out; if you disturb her,
serve you worse than Joe Webster's little boy:--wanted to prevent this--
won't now, d--d if I do!"

"But, Corporal, how would it mend the matter to take the devil in-doors?"

"Devil!" Don't call names. Did not I tell you, only one Jacobina does not
hurt is her master?--make you her master: now d'ye see?"

"It is very hard," said Peter grumblingly, "that the only way I can
defend myself from this villainous creature is to take her into my

"Villainous! You ought to be proud of her affection. She returns good for
evil--she always loved you; see how she rubs herself against you--and
that's the reason why I selected you from the whole village, to take care
of her; but you at once injure yourself and refuse to do your friend a
service. Howsomever, you know I shall be with young Squire, and he'll be
master here one of these days, and I shall have an influence over him--
you'll see--you'll see. Look that there's not another "Spotted Dog" set

"But what would my wife say, if I took the cat? she can't abide its

"Let me alone to talk to your wife. What would she say if I bring her
from Lunnun Town a fine silk gown, or a neat shawl, with a blue border--
blue becomes her; or a tay-chest--that will do for you both, and would
set off the little back parlour. Mahogany tay-chest--inlaid at top--
initials in silver--J. B. to D. and P. D.--two boxes for tay, and a bowl
for sugar in the middle.--Ah! ah! Love me, love my cat! When was Jacob
Bunting ungrateful?--augh!"

"Well, well! will you talk to Dorothy about it?"

"I shall have your consent, then? Thanks, my dear, dear Peter; 'pon my
soul you're a fine fellow! you see, you're great man of the parish. If
you protect her, none dare injure; if you scout her, all set upon her.
For as you said, or rather sung, t'other Sunday--capital voice you were
in too--

"The mighty tyrants without cause Conspire her blood to shed!"

"I did not think you had so good a memory, Corporal," said Peter
smiling;--the cat was now curling itself up in his lap: "after all,
Jacobina--what a deuce of a name--seems gentle enough."

"Gentle as a lamb--soft as butter--kind as cream--and such a mouser!"

"But I don't think Dorothy--"

"I'll settle Dorothy."

"Well, when will you look up?"

"Come and take a dish of tay with you in half an hour;--you want a new
tay-chest; something new and genteel."

"I think we do," said Peter, rising and gently depositing the cat on the

"Aha! we'll see to it!--we'll see! Good b'ye for the present--in half an
hour be with you!"

The Corporal left alone with Jacobina, eyed her intently, and burst into
the following pathetic address.

"Well, Jacobina! you little know the pains I takes to serve you--the lies
I tells for you--endangered my precious soul for your sake, you jade! Ah!
may well rub your sides against me. Jacobina! Jacobina! you be the only
thing in the world that cares a button for me. I have neither kith nor
kin. You are daughter--friend--wife to me: if any thing happened to you,
I should not have the heart to love any thing else. Any body o' me, but
you be as kind as any mistress, and much more tractable than any wife;
but the world gives you a bad name, Jacobina. Why? Is it that you do
worse than the world do? You has no morality in you, Jacobina; well, but
has the world?--no! But it has humbug--you have no humbug, Jacobina. On
the faith of a man, Jacobina, you be better than the world!--baugh! You
takes care of your own interest, but you takes care of your master's
too!--You loves me as well as yourself. Few cats can say the same,
Jacobina! and no gossip that flings a stone at your pretty brindled skin,
can say half as much. We must not forget your kittens, Jacobina;--you
have four left--they must be provided for. Why not a cat's children as
well as a courtier's? I have got you a comfortable home, Jacobina--take
care of yourself, and don't fall in love with every Tomcat in the place.
Be sober, and lead a single life till my return. Come, Jacobina, we will
lock up the house, and go and see the quarters I have provided for you.--

As he finished his harangue, the Corporal locked the door of his cottage,
and Jacobina trotting by his side, he stalked with his usual stateliness
to the Spotted Dog.

Dame Dorothy Dealtry received him with a clouded brow, but the man of the
world knew whom he had to deal with. On Wednesday morning Jacobina was
inducted into the comforts of the hearth of mine host;--and her four
little kittens mewed hard by, from the sinecure of a basket lined with

Reader. Here is wisdom in this chapter: it is not every man who knows how
to dispose of his cat!

                              CHAPTER XII.


             Fall. Out, out, unworthy to speak where he breatheth....

             Punt. Well now, my whole venture is forth, I will resolve
                   to depart.
                         --Ben Jonson.--Every Man out of his Humour.

It was now the eve before Walter's departure, and on returning home from
a farewell walk among his favourite haunts, he found Aram, whose visit
had been made during Walter's absence, now standing on the threshold of
the door, and taking leave of Madeline and her father. Aram and Walter
had only met twice before since the interview we recorded, and each time
Walter had taken care that the meeting should be but of short duration.
In these brief encounters, Aram's manner had been even more gentle than
heretofore; that of Walter's, more cold and distant. And now, as they
thus unexpectedly met at the door, Aram, looking at him earnestly, said:

"Farewell, Sir! You are to leave us for some time, I hear. Heaven speed
you!" Then he added in a lower tone, "Will you take my hand, now, in

As he said, he put forth his hand,--it was the left.

"Let it be the right hand," observed the elder Lester, smiling: "it is a
luckier omen."

"I think not," said Aram, drily. And Walter noted that he had never
remembered him to give his right hand to any one, even to Madeline; the
peculiarity of this habit might, however, arise from an awkward early
habit, it was certainly scarce worth observing, and Walter had already
coldly touched the hand extended to him: when Lester carelessly renewed
the subject.

"Is there any superstition," said he gaily, "that makes you think, as
some of the ancients did, the left hand luckier than the right?"

"Yes," replied Aram; "a superstition. Adieu."

The Student departed; Madeline slowly walked up one of the garden alleys,
and thither Walter, after whispering to his uncle, followed her.

There is something in those bitter feelings, which are the offspring of
disappointed love; something in the intolerable anguish of well-founded
jealousy, that when the first shock is over, often hardens, and perhaps
elevates the character. The sterner powers that we arouse within us to
combat a passion that can no longer be worthily indulged, are never
afterwards wholly allayed. Like the allies which a nation summons to its
bosom to defend it from its foes, they expel the enemy only to find a
settlement for themselves. The mind of every man who conquers an
unfortunate attachment, becomes stronger than before; it may be for evil,
it may be for good, but the capacities for either are more vigorous and

The last few weeks had done more for Walter's character than years of
ordinary, even of happy emotion, might have effected. He had passed from
youth to manhood, and with the sadness, had acquired also something of
the dignity, of experience. Not that we would say that he had subdued his
love, but he had made the first step towards it; he had resolved that at
all hazards it should be subdued.

As he now joined Madeline, and she perceived him by her side, her
embarrassment was more evident than his. She feared some avowal, and from
his temper, perhaps some violence on his part. However, she was the first
to speak: women, in such cases, always are.

"It is a beautiful evening," said she, "and the sun set in promise of a
fine day for your journey to-morrow."

Walter walked on silently; his heart was full. "Madeline," he said at
length, "dear Madeline, give me your hand. Nay, do not fear me; I know
what you think, and you are right; I loved--I still love you! but I know
well that I can have no hope in making this confession; and when I ask
you for your hand, Madeline, it is only to convince you that I have no
suit to press; had I, I would not dare to touch that hand."

Madeline, wondering and embarrassed, gave him her hand; he held it for a
moment with a trembling clasp, pressed it to his lips, and then resigned

"Yes, Madeline, my cousin, my sweet cousin; I have loved you deeply, but
silently, long before my heart could unravel the mystery of the feelings
with which it glowed. But this--all this--it were now idle to repeat. I
know that I have no hope of return; that the heart whose possession would
have made my whole life a dream, a transport, is given to another. I have
not sought you now, Madeline, to repine at this, or to vex you by the
tale of any suffering I may endure: I am come only to give you the
parting wishes, the parting blessing, of one, who, wherever he goes, or
whatever befall him, will always think of you as the brightest and
loveliest of human beings. May you be happy, yes even with another!"

"Oh, Walter!" said Madeline, affected to tears, "if I ever encouraged--if
I ever led you to hope for more than the warm, the sisterly affection I
bear you, how bitterly I should reproach myself!"

"You never did, dear Madeline; I asked for no inducement to love you,--I
never dreamed of seeking a motive, or inquiring if I had cause to hope.
But as I am now about to quit you, and as you confess you feel for me a
sister's affection, will you give me leave to speak to you as a brother

Madeline held her hand to him in frank cordiality: "Yes!" said she,

"Then," said Walter, turning away his head in a spirit of delicacy that
did him honour, "is it yet all too late for me to say one word of caution
as relates to--Eugene Aram?"

"Of caution! you alarm me, Walter; speak, has aught happened to him? I
saw him as lately as yourself. Does aught threaten him? Speak, I implore

"I know of no danger to him!" replied Walter, stung to perceive the
breathless anxiety with which Madeline spoke; "but pause, my cousin, may
there be no danger to you from this man?"


"I grant him wise, learned, gentle,--nay, more than all, bearing about
him a spell, a fascination, by which he softens, or awes at will, and
which even I cannot resist. But yet his abstracted mood, his gloomy life,
certain words that have broken from him unawares,--certain tell-tale
emotions, which words of mine, heedlessly said, have fiercely aroused,
all united, inspire me,--shall I say it,--with fear and distrust. I
cannot think him altogether the calm and pure being he appears. Madeline,
I have asked myself again and again, is this suspicion the effect of
jealousy? do I scan his bearing with the jaundiced eye of disappointed
rivalship? And I have satisfied my conscience that my judgment is not
thus biassed. Stay! listen yet a little while! You have a high--a
thoughtful mind. Exert it now. Consider your whole happiness rests on one
step! Pause, examine, compare! Remember, you have not of Aram, as of
those whom you have hitherto mixed with, the eye-witness of a life! You
can know but little of his real temper, his secret qualities; still less
of the tenor of his former life. I only ask of you, for your own sake,
for my sake, your sister's sake, and your good father's, not to judge too
rashly! Love him, if you will; but observe him!"

"Have you done?" said Madeline, who had hitherto with difficulty
contained herself; "then hear me. Was it I? was it Madeline Lester whom
you asked to play the watch, to enact the spy upon the man whom she
exults in loving? Was it not enough that you should descend to mark down
each incautious look--to chronicle every heedless word--to draw dark
deductions from the unsuspecting confidence of my father's friend--to lie
in wait--to hang with a foe's malignity upon the unbendings of familiar
intercourse--to extort anger from gentleness itself, that you might
wrest the anger into crime! Shame, shame upon you, for the meanness! And
must you also suppose that I, to whose trust he has given his noble
heart, will receive it only to play the eavesdropper to its secrets?

The generous blood crimsoned the cheek and brow of this high-spirited
girl as she uttered her galling reproof; her eyes sparkled, her lip
quivered, her whole frame seemed to have grown larger with the majesty of
indignant love.

"Cruel, unjust, ungrateful!" ejaculated Walter, pale with rage, and
trembling under the conflict of his roused and wounded feelings. "Is it
thus you answer the warning of too disinterested and self-forgetful a

"Love!" exclaimed Madeline. "Grant me patience!--Love! It was but now I
thought myself honoured by the affection you said you bore me. At this
instant, I blush to have called forth a single sentiment in one who knows
so little what love is! Love!--methought that word denoted all that was
high and noble in human nature--confidence, hope, devotion, sacrifice of
all thought of self! but you would make it the type and concentration of
all that lowers and debases!--suspicion--cavil--fear--selfishness in all
its shapes! Out on you--love!"

"Enough, enough! Say no more, Madeline, say no more. We part not as I had
hoped; but be it so. You are changed indeed, if your conscience smite you
not hereafter for this injustice. Farewell, and may you never regret, not
only the heart you have rejected, but the friendship you have belied."
With these words, and choked by his emotions, Walter hastily strode away.

He hurried into the house, and into a little room adjoining the chamber
in which he slept, and which had been also appropriated solely to his
use. It was now spread with boxes and trunks, some half packed, some
corded, and inscribed with the address to which they were to be sent in
London. All these mute tokens of his approaching departure struck upon
his excited feelings with a suddenness that overpowered him.

"And it is thus--thus," said he aloud, "that I am to leave, for the first
time, my childhood's home."

He threw himself on his chair, and covering his face with his hands,
burst, fairly subdued and unmanned, into a paroxysm of tears.

When this emotion was over, he felt as if his love for Madeline had also
disappeared; a sore and insulted feeling was all that her image now
recalled to him. This idea gave him some consolation. "Thank God!" he
muttered, "thank God, I am cured at last!"

The thanksgiving was scarcely over, before the door opened softly, and
Ellinor, not perceiving him where he sat, entered the room, and laid on
the table a purse which she had long promised to knit him, and which
seemed now designed as a parting gift.

She sighed heavily as she laid it down, and he observed that her eyes
seemed red as with weeping.

He did not move, and Ellinor left the room without discovering him; but
he remained there till dark, musing on her apparition, and before he went
down-stairs, he took up the little purse, kissed it, and put it carefully
into his bosom.

He sate next to Ellinor at supper that evening, and though he did not say
much, his last words were more to her than words had ever been before.
When he took leave of her for the night, he whispered, as he kissed her
cheek; "God bless you, dearest Ellinor, and till I return, take care of
yourself, for the sake of one, who loves you now, better than any thing
on earth."

Lester had just left the room to write some letters for Walter; and
Madeline, who had hitherto sat absorbed and silent by the window, now
approached Walter, and offered him her hand.

"Forgive me, my dear cousin," she said, in her softest voice. "I feel
that I was hasty, and to blame. Believe me, I am now at least grateful,
warmly grateful, for the kindness of your motives."

"Not so," said Walter, bitterly, "the advice of a friend is only

"Come, come, forgive me; pray, do not let us part unkindly. When did we
ever quarrel before? I was wrong, grievously wrong--I will perform any
penance you may enjoin."

"Agreed then, follow my admonitions."

"Ah! any thing else," said Madeline, gravely, and colouring deeply.

Walter said no more; he pressed her hand lightly and turned away.

"Is all forgiven?" said she, in so bewitching a tone, and with so bright
a smile, that Walter, against his conscience, answered, "Yes."

The sisters left the room. I know not which of the two received his last

Lester now returned with the letters. "There is one charge, my dear boy,"
said he, in concluding the moral injunctions and experienced suggestions
with which the young generally leave the ancestral home (whether
practically benefited or not by the legacy, may be matter of question)--
"there is one charge which I need not entrust to your ingenuity and zeal.
You know my strong conviction, that your father, my poor brother, still
lives. Is it necessary for me to tell you to exert yourself by all ways
and in all means to discover some clue to his fate? Who knows," added
Lester, with a smile, "but that you may find him a rich nabob. I confess
that I should feel but little surprise if it were so; but at all events
you will make every possible inquiry. I have written down in this paper
the few particulars concerning him which I have been enabled to glean
since he left his home; the places where he was last seen, the false
names he assumed, I shall watch with great anxiety for any fuller success
to your researches."

"You needed not, my dear uncle," said Walter seriously, "to have spoken
to me on this subject. No one, not even yourself, can have felt what I
have; can have cherished the same anxiety, nursed the same hope, indulged
the same conjecture. I have not, it is true, often of late years spoken
to you on a matter so near to us both, but I have spent whole hours in
guesses at my father's fate, and in dreams that for me was reserved the
proud task to discover it. I will not say indeed that it makes at this
moment the chief motive for my desire to travel, but in travel it will
become my chief object. Perhaps I may find him not only rich,--that for
my part is but a minor wish,--but sobered and reformed from the errors
and wildness of his earlier manhood. Oh, what should be his gratitude to
you for all the care with which you have supplied to the forsaken child
the father's place; and not the least, that you have, in softening the
colours of his conduct, taught me still to prize and seek for a father's

"You have a kind heart, Walter," said the good old man, pressing his
nephew's hand, "and that has more than repaid me for the little I have
done for you; it is better to sow a good heart with kindness, than a
field with corn, for the heart's harvest is perpetual."

Many, keen, and earnest were that night the meditations of Walter Lester.
He was about to quit the home in which youth had been passed, in which
first love had been formed and blighted: the world was before him; but
there was something more grave than pleasure, more steady than
enterprise, that beckoned him to its paths. The deep mystery that for so
many years had hung over the fate of his parent, it might indeed be his
lot to pierce; and with a common waywardness in our nature, the restless
son felt his interest in that parent the livelier from the very
circumstance of remembering nothing of his person. Affection had been
nursed by curiosity and imagination, and the bad father was thus more
fortunate in winning the heart of the son, than had he perhaps, by the
tenderness of years, deserved that affection.

Oppressed and feverish, Walter opened the lattice of his room, and looked
forth on the night. The broad harvest-moon was in the heavens, and filled
the air as with a softer and holier day. At a distance its light just
gave the dark outline of Aram's house, and beneath the window it lay
bright and steady on the green, still church-yard that adjoined the
house. The air and the light allayed the fitfulness at the young man's
heart, but served to solemnize the project and desire with which it beat.
Still leaning from the casement, with his eyes fixed upon the tranquil
scene below, he poured forth a prayer, that to his hands might the
discovery of his lost sire be granted. The prayer seemed to lift the
oppression from his breast; he felt cheerful and relieved, and flinging
himself on his bed, soon fell into the sound and healthful sleep of
youth. And oh! let Youth cherish that happiest of earthly boons while yet
it is at its command;--for there cometh the day to all, when "neither the
voice of the lute or the birds"

                      [Quotation from Horace]

shall bring back the sweet slumbers that fell on their young eyes, as
unbidden as the dews. It is a dark epoch in a man's life when Sleep
forsakes him; when he tosses to and fro, and Thought will not be
silenced; when the drug and draught are the courters of stupefaction, not
sleep; when the down pillow is as a knotted log; when the eyelids close
but with an effort, and there is a drag and a weight, and a dizziness in
the eyes at morn. Desire and Grief, and Love, these are the young man's
torments, but they are the creatures of Time; Time removes them as it
brings, and the vigils we keep, "while the evil days come not," if weary,
are brief and few. But Memory, and Care, and Ambition, and Avarice, these
are the demon-gods that defy the Time that fathered them. The worldlier
passions are the growth of mature years, and their grave is dug but in
our own. As the dark Spirits in the Northern tale, that watch against the
coming of one of a brighter and holier race, lest if he seize them
unawares, he bind them prisoners in his chain, they keep ward at night
over the entrance of that deep cave--the human heart--and scare away the
angel Sleep!

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