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´╗┐Title: Godolphin, Volume 3.
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron
Language: English
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GODOLPHIN, Volume 3.
By Edward Bulwer Lytton
(Lord Lytton)


CHAPTER XXII.

THE BRIDE ALONE.--A DIALOGUE POLITICAL AND MATRIMONIAL.--CONSTANCWE GENIUS
FOR DIPLOMACY.--THE CHARACTER OF HER ASSBMBLIES.--HER CONQUEST OVER LADY
DELVILLE.

"Bring me that book; place that table nearer; and leave me."

The Abigail obeyed the orders, and the young Countess of Erpingham was
alone.  Alone! what a word for a young and beautiful bride in the first
months of her marriage!  Alone! and in the heart of that mighty city in
which rank and wealth--and they were hers--are the idols adored by
millions.

It was a room fancifully and splendidly decorated.  Flowers and perfumes
were, however, its chief luxury; and from the open window you might see
the trees in the old Mall deepening into the rich verdure of June.  That
haunt, too--a classical haunt for London--was at the hour I speak of full
of gay and idle life; and there was something fresh and joyous in the air,
the sun, and the crowd of foot and horse that swept below.

Was the glory gone from your brow, Constance?--or the proud gladness from
your eye?  Alas! are not the blessings of the world like the enchanted
bullets?--that which pierces our heart is united with the gift which our
heart desired!

Lord Erpingham entered the room.  "Well, Constance," said he, "shall you
ride on horseback to-day?"

"I think not."

"Then I wish you would call on Lady Delville.  You see Delville is of my
party: we sit together.  You should be very civil to her, and I did not
think you were so the other night."

"You wish Lady Delville to support your political interest; and, if I
mistake not, you think her at present lukewarm?"

"Precisely."

"Then, my dear lord, will you place confidence in my discretion?  I
promise you, if you will leave me undisturbed in my own plans, that Lady
Delville shall be the most devoted of your party before the season is half
over: but then, the means will not be those you advise."

"Why, I advised none."

"Yes--civility; a very poor policy."

"D--n it, Constance! why, you would not frown a great person like Lady
Delville into affection for us?"

"Leave it to me."

"Nonsense!"

"My dear lord, only try.  Three months is all I ask.  You will leave the
management of politics to me ever afterwards!  I was born a schemer.  Am I
not John Vernon's daughter?"

"Well, well, do as you will," said Lord Erpingham; "but I see how it will
end.  However, you will call on Lady Delville to-day?"

"If you wish it, certainly."

"I do."

Lady Delville was a proud, great lady; not very much liked and not so
often invited by her equals as if she had been agreeable and a flirt.

Constance knew with whom she had to treat.  She called on Lady Delville
that day.  Lady Delville was at home: a pretty and popular Mrs. Trevor was
with her.

Lady Delville received her coolly--Constance was haughtiness itself.

"You go to the Duchess of Daubigny's to-night?" said Lady Delville in the
course of their broken conversation.

"Indeed I do not.  I like agreeable society.  It shall be my object to
form a circle that not one displeasing person shall obtain access to.
Will you assist me, my dear Mrs. Trevor?"--and Constance turned, with her
softest smile, to the lady she addressed.

Mrs. Trevor was flattered: Lady Delville drew herself up.

"It is a small party at the duchess's," said the latter; "merely to meet
the Duke and Duchess of C----."

"Ah, few people are capable of giving a suitable entertainment to the
royal family."

But surely none more so than the Duchess of Daubigny--her house so large,
her rank so great!"

"These are but poor ingredients towards the forming of an agreeable
party," said Constance, coldly.  "The mistake made by common minds is to
suppose titles the only rank.  Royal dukes love, above all other persons,
to be amused; and amusement is the last thing generally provided for
them."

The conversation fell into other channels.  Constance rose to depart.
She warmly pressed the hand of Mrs. Trevor, whom she had only seen once
before.

"A few persons come to me to-morrow evening," said she; "_do_ waive
ceremony, and join us.  I can promise you that not one disagreeable person
shall be present; and that the Duchess of Daubigny shall write for an
invitation and be refused."

Mrs. Trevor accepted the invitation.

Lady Delville was enraged beyond measure.  Never was female tongue more
bitter than hers at the expense of that insolent Lady Erpingham!  Yet
Lady Delville was secretly in grief; for the first time in her life, she
was hurt at not having been asked to a party: and being hurt because she
was not going, she longed most eagerly to go.

The next evening came.  Erpingham House was not large, but it was well
adapted to the description of assembly its beautiful owner had invited.
Statues, busts, pictures, books, scattered or arranged about the
apartments, furnished matter for intellectual conversation, or gave at
least an intellectual air to the meeting.

About a hundred persons were present.  They were selected from the most
distinguished ornaments of the time.  Musicians, painters, authors,
orators, fine gentlemen, dukes, princes, and beauties.  One thing,
however, was imperatively necessary in order to admit them--the profession
of liberal opinions.  No Tory, however wise, eloquent or beautiful, could,
that evening, have obtained the sesame to those apartments.

Constance never seemed more lovely, and never before was she so winning.
The coldness and the arrogance of her manner had wholly vanished.  To
every one she spoke; and to every one her voice, her manner, were kind,
cordial, familiar, but familiar with a soft dignity that heightened the
charm.  Ambitious not only to please but to dazzle, she breathed into her
conversation all the grace and culture of her mind.  They who admired her
the most were the most accomplished themselves.

Now exchanging with foreign nobles that brilliant trifling of the world in
which there is often so much penetration, wisdom, and research into
character; now with a kindling eye and animated cheek commenting, with
poets and critics, on literature and the arts; now, in a more remote and
quiet corner, seriously discussing, with hoary politicians, those affairs
in which even they allowed her shrewdness and her grasp of intellect; and
combining with every grace and every accomplishment a rare and dazzling
order of beauty--we may readily imagine the sensation she created, and the
sudden and novel zest which so splendid an Armida must have given to the
tameness of society.

The whole of the next week, the party at Erpingham House was the theme of
every conversation.  Each person who had been there had met the lion he
had been most anxious to see.  The beauty had conversed with the poet, who
had charmed her; the young debutant in science had paid homage to the
great professor of its loftiest mysteries; the statesman had thanked the
author who had defended his measures; the author had been delighted with
the compliment of the statesman.  Every one then agreed that, while the
highest rank in the kingdom had been there, rank had been the least
attraction; and those who before had found Constance repellent, were the
very persons who now expatiated with the greatest rapture on the sweetness
of her manners.  Then, too, every one who had been admitted to the coterie
dwelt on the rarity of the admission; and thus, all the world were dying
for an introduction to Erpingham House--partly, because it was
agreeable--principally, because it was difficult.

It soon became a compliment to the understanding to say of a person, "He
goes to Lady Erpingham's!"  They who valued themselves on their
understandings moved heaven and earth to become popular with the beautiful
countess.  Lady Delville was not asked; Lady Delville was furious: she
affected disdain, but no one gave her credit for it.  Lord Erpingham
teazed Constance on this point.

"You see I was right; for you have affronted Lady Delville.  She has made
Delville look coolly on me; in a few weeks he will be a Tory; think of
that, Lady Erpingham!"

"One month more," answered Constance, with a smile, "and you shall see."

One night, Lady Delville and Lady Erpingham met at a large party.  The
latter seated herself by her haughty enemy; not seeming to heed Lady
Delville's coolness, Constance entered into conversation with her.  She
dwelt upon books, pictures, music: her manner was animated, and her wit
playful.  Pleased, in spite of herself, Lady Delville warmed from her
reserve.

"My dear Lady Delville," said Constance, suddenly turning her bright
countenance on the countess with an expression of delighted surprise,
"will you forgive me?--I never dreamed before that you were so charming a
person!  I never conceal my sentiments: and I own with regret and shame
that, till this moment, I had never seen in your mind--whatever I might in
your person--those claims to admiration which were constantly dinned into
my ear."

Lady Delville actually coloured.

"Pray," continued Constance, "condescend to permit me to a nearer
acquaintance.  Will you dine with us on Thursday?--we shall have only nine
persons beside yourself: but they are the nine persons whom I most esteem
and admire."

Lady Delville accepted the invitation.  From that hour, Lady Delville--who
had at first resented, from the deepest recess of her heart, Constance
Vernon's accession to rank and wealth,--who, had Constance deferred to her
early acquaintance, would have always found something in her she could
have affected to despise; from that hour, Lady Delville was the warmest
advocate, and a little time after, the sincerest follower, of the youthful
countess.

CHAPTER XXIII.

AN INSIGHT INTO THE REAL GRANDE MONDE;--BEING A SEARCH BEHIND THE
ROSE-COLOURED CURTAINS.

The time we now speak of was the most brilliant the English world, during
the last half century, has known.  Lord Byron was in his brief and
dazzling zenith; De Stael was in London; the Peace had turned the
attention of rich idlers to social enjoyment and to letters.  There was an
excitement, and a brilliancy, and a spirituality, about our circles, which
we do not recognise now.  Never had a young and ambitious woman--a beauty
and a genius--a finer moment for the commencement of her power.  It was
Constance's early and bold resolution to push to the utmost--even to
exaggeration--a power existing in all polished states, but now mostly in
this,--the power of fashion!  This mysterious and subtle engine she was
eminently skilled to move according to her will.  Her intuitive
penetration into character, her tact, and her grace, were exactly the
talents Fashion most demands; and they were at present devoted only to
that sphere.  The rudeness that she mingled, at times, with the bewitching
softness and ease of manner she could command at others, increased the
effect of her power.  It is much to intimidate as well as to win.  And her
rudeness in a very little while grew popular; for it was never exercised
but on those whom the world loves to see humbled.  Modest merit in any
rank; and even insolence, if accompanied with merit, were always safe from
her satire.  It was the hauteur of foolish duchesses or purse-proud
roturiers that she loved, and scrupled not, to abase.

And the independence of her character was mixed with extraordinary
sweetness of temper.  Constance could not be in a passion: it was out of
her nature.  If she was stung, she could utter a sarcasm; but she could
not frown or raise her voice.  There was that magic in her, that she was
always feminine.  She did not stare young men out of countenance; she
never addressed them by their Christian names; she never flirted--never
coquetted: the bloom and flush of modesty was yet all virgin upon her
youth.  She, the founder of a new dynasty, avoided what her successors and
contemporaries have deemed it necessary to incur.  She was the leader of
fashion; but--it is a miraculous union--she was respectable!

At this period, some new dances were brought into England.  These dances
found much favour in the eves of several great ladies young enough to
dance them.  They met at each other's houses in the morning to practise
the steps.  Among these was Lady Erpingham; her house became the favourite
rendezvous.

The young Marquis of Dartington was one of the little knot.  Celebrated
for his great fortune, his personal beauty, and his general success, he
resolved to fall in love with Lady Erpingham.  He devoted himself
exclusively to her; he joined her in the morning in her rides--in the
evening in her gaieties.  He had fallen in love with her?--yes!--did he
love her?--not the least.  But he was excessively idle!--what else could
he do?

Constance early saw the attentions and designs of Lord Dartington.  There
is one difficulty in repressing advances in great society--one so easily
becomes ridiculous by being a prude.  But Constance dismissed Lord
Dartington with great dexterity.  This was the occasion:--

One of the apartments in Erpingham House communicated with a conservatory.
In this conservatory Constance was alone one morning, when Lord
Dartington, who had entered the house with Lord Erpingham, joined her.  He
was not a man who could ever become sentimental; he was rather the gay
lover--rather the Don Gaolor than the Amadis; but he was a little abashed
before Constance.  He trusted, however, to his fine eyes and his good
complexion--plucked up courage; and, picking a flower from the same plant
Constance was tending, said,--

"I believe there is a custom in some part of the world to express love by
flowers.  May I, dear Lady Erpingham, trust to this flower to express what
I dare not utter?"

Constance did not blush, nor look confused, as Lord Dartington had hoped
and expected.  One who had been loved by Godolphin was not likely to feel
much agitation at the gallantry of Lord Dartington; but she looked gravely
in his face, paused a little before she answered, and then said, with a
smile that abashed the suitor more than severity could possibly have
done:--

"My dear Lord Dartington, do not let us mistake each other.  I live in the
world like other women, but I am not altogether like them.  Not another
word of gallantry to me alone, as you value my friendship.  In a crowded
room pay me as many compliments as you like.  It will flatter my vanity to
have you in my train.  And now, just do me the favour to take these
scissors and cut the dead leaves off that plant."

Lord Dartington, to use a common phrase, "hummed and hawed."  He looked,
too, a little angry.  An artful and shrewd politician, it was not
Constance's wish to cool the devotion, though she might the attachment, of
a single member of her husband's party.  With a kind look--but a look so
superior, so queen-like, so free from the petty and coquettish
condescension of the sex, that the gay lord wondered from that hour how he
could ever have dreamed of Constance as of certain other ladies--she
stretched her hand to him.

"We are friends, Lord Dartington?--and now we know each other, we shall be
so always."

Lord Dartington bowed confusedly over the beautiful hand he touched; and
Constance, walking into the drawing-room, sent for Lord Erpingham on
business--Dartington took his leave.

CHAPTER XXIV.

THE MARRIED STATE OF CONSTANCE.

Constance, Countess of Erpingham, was young, rich, lovely as a dream,
worshipped as a goddess.  Was she happy? and was her whole heart occupied
with the trifles that surrounded her?

Deep within her memory was buried one fatal image that she could not
exorcise.  The reproaching and mournful countenance of Godolphin rose
before her at all times and seasons.  The charm of his presence no other
human being could renew.  His eloquent and noble features, living, and
glorious with genius and with passion, his sweet deep voice, his
conversation, so rich with mind and knowledge, and the subtle delicacy
with which he applied its graces to some sentiment dedicated to her,
(delicious flattery, of all flatteries the most attractive to a sensitive
and intellectual woman!)--these occurred to her again and again, and
rendered all she saw around her flat, wearisome, insipid.  Nor was this
deep-seated and tender weakness the only serpent--if I may use so confused
a metaphor--in the roses of her lot.

And here I invoke the reader's graver attention.  The fate of women in all
the more polished circles of society is eminently unnatural and unhappy.
The peasant and his dame are on terms of equality--equality even of
ambition: no career is open to one and shut to the other;--equality even
of hardship, and hardship is employment: no labour occupies the whole
energies of the man, but leaves those of the woman unemployed.  Is this
the case with the wives in a higher station?--the wives of the lawyer, the
merchant, the senator, the noble?  There, the men have their occupations;
and the women (unless, like poor Fanny, work-bags and parrots can employ
them) none.  They are idle.  They employ the imagination and the heart.
They fall in love and are wretched; or they remain virtuous, and are
either wearied by an eternal monotony or they fritter away intellect,
mind, character, in the minutest frivolities--frivolities being their only
refuge from stagnation.  Yes! there is one very curious curse for the sex
which men don't consider!  Once married, the more aspiring of them have no
real scope for ambition: the ambition gnaws away their content, and never
find elsewhere wherewithal to feed on.

This was Constance's especial misfortune.  Her lofty, and restless, and
soaring spirit pined for a sphere of action, and ballrooms and boudoirs
met it on every side.  One hope she did indeed cherish; that hope was the
source of her intriguings and schemes, of her care for seeming trifles,
the waste of her energies on seeming frivolities.  This hope, this object,
was to diminish--to crush, not only the party which had forsaken her
father, but the power of that order to which she belonged herself; which
she had entered only to humble.  But this hope was a distant and chill
vision.  She was too rational to anticipate an early and effectual change
in our social state, and too rich in the treasures of mind to be the
creature of one idea.  Satiety--the common curse of the great;--crept over
her day by day.  The powers within her lay stagnant--the keen intellect
rusted in its sheath.

"How is it," said she to the beautiful Countess of ----, "that you seem
always so gay and so animated; that with all your vivacity and tenderness,
you are never at a loss for occupation?  You never seem
weary--ennuyee--why is this?"

"I will tell you," said the pretty countess, archly; "I change my lovers
every month."  Constance blushed, and asked no more.

Many women in her state, influenced by contagious example, wearied by a
life in which the heart had no share; without children, without a guide;
assailed and wooed on all sides, in all shapes;--many women might have
ventured, if not into love, at least into coquetry.  But Constance
remained as bright and cold as ever--"the unsunned snow!"  It might be,
indeed, that the memory of Godolphin preserved her safe from all lesser
dangers.  The asbestos once conquered by fire can never be consumed by it;
but there was also another cause in Constance's very nature--it was pride!

Oh! if men could but dream of what a proud woman endures in those
caresses which humble her, they would not wonder why proud women are so
difficult to subdue.  This is a matter on which we all ponder much, but we
dare not write honestly upon it.  But imagine a young, haughty, guileless
beauty, married to a man whom she neither loves nor honours; and so far
from that want of love rendering her likely to fall hereafter, it is more
probable that it will make her recoil from the very name of love.

About this time the Dowager Lady Erpingham died; an event sincerely
mourned by Constance, and which broke the strongest tie that united the
young countess to her lord.  Lord Erpingham and Constance, indeed, now saw
but little of each other.  Like most men six feet high, with large black
whiskers, the earl was vain of his person; and, like most rich noblemen,
he found plenty of ladies who assured him he was irresistible.  He had
soon grown angry at the unadmiring and calm urbanity of Constance; and,
living a great deal with single men, he formed liaisons of the same order
as they do.  He was, however, sensible that he had been fortunate in the
choice of a wife.  His political importance the wisdom of Constance had
quadrupled; at the least; his house she had rendered the most brilliant in
London, and his name the most courted in the lists of the peerage.  Though
munificent, she was not extravagant; though a beauty, she did not
intrigue; neither, though his inconstancy was open, did she appear
jealous; nor, whatever the errors of his conduct, did she ever disregard
his interest, disobey his wishes, or waver from the smooth and continuous
sweetness of her temper.  Of such a wife Lord Erpingham could not
complain: he esteemed her, praised her, asked her advice, and stood a
little in awe of her.

Ah, Constance! had you been the daughter of a noble or a peasant--had you
been the daughter of any man but John Vernon--what a treasure beyond
price, without parallel, would that heart, that beauty, that genius have
been!

CHAPTER XXV.

THE PLEASURE OF RETALIATING HUMILIATION.--CONSTANCE'S DEFENCE OF
FASHION.--REMARKS ON FASHION.--GODOLPHIN'S WHEREABOUT.--FANNY MILLINGER'S
CHARACTER OF HERSELF.--WANT OF COURAGE IN MORALISTS.

It was a proud moment for Constance when the Duchess of Winstoun and Lady
Margaret Midgecombe wrote to her, worried her, beset her, for a smile, a
courtesy, an invitation, or a ticket to Almack's.

They had at first thought to cry her down; to declare that she was
plebeian, mad, bizarre, and a blue.  It was all in vain.  Constance rose
every hour.  They struggled against the conviction, but it would not do.
The first person who confounded them with a sense of their error was the
late King, then Regent; he devoted himself to Lady Erpingham for a whole
evening, at a ball given by himself.  From that hour they were assured
they had been wrong: they accordingly called on her the next day.
Constance received them with the same coldness she had always evinced; but
they went away declaring they never saw any one whose manners were so
improved.  They then sent her an invitation! she refused it; a second!
she refused; a third, begging her to fix the day!!! she fixed the day, and
disappointed them.  Lord bless us!--how sorry they were, how alarmed, how
terrified!--their dear Lady Erpingham must be ill!--they sent every day
for the next week to know how she was!

"Why," said Mrs. Trevor to Lady Erpingham,--"why do you continue so cruel
to these poor people?  I know they were very impertinent, and so forth,
once; but it is surely wiser and more dignified now to forgive; to appear
unconscious of the past:  people of the world ought not to quarrel with
each other."

"You are right, and yet you are mistaken," said Constance: "I do forgive,
and I don't quarrel; but my opinion, my contempt, remain the same, or are
rather more disdainful than ever.  These people are not worth losing the
luxury we all experience in expressing contempt.  I continue, therefore,
but quietly and without affectation, to indulge that luxury.  Besides, I
own to you, my dear Mrs. Trevor, I do think that the mere insolence of
titles must fairly and thoroughly be put down, if we sincerely wish to
render society agreeable; and where can we find a better example for
punishment than the Duchess of Winstoun?"

"But, my dear Lady Erpingham, you are thought insolent: your friend, Lady
----, is called insolent, too;--are you sure the charge is not merited?"

"I allow the justice of the charge; but you will observe, ours is not the
insolence of rank: we have made it a point to protect, to the utmost, the
poor and unfriended of all circles.  Are we ever rude to governesses or
companions, or poor writers, or musicians?  When a man marries below him,
do we turn our backs on the poor wife?  Do we not, on the contrary, lavish
our attention on her, and throw round her equivocal and joyless state the
protection of Fashion?  No, no! _our_ insolence is Justice! it is the
chalice returned to the lips which prepared it; it is insolence to the
insolent; reflect, and you will allow it."

The fashion that Constance set and fostered was of a generous order; but
it was not suited to the majority; it was corrupted by her followers into
a thousand basenesses.  In vain do we make a law, if the general spirit is
averse to the law.  Constance could humble the great; could loosen the
links of extrinsic rank; could undermine the power of titles; but that was
all!  She could abase the proud, but not elevate the general tone: for one
slavery she only substituted another,--people hugged the chains of
Fashion, as before they hugged those of Titular Arrogance.

Amidst the gossip of the day Constance heard much of Godolphin, and all
spoke of him with interest--even those who could not comprehend his very
intricate and peculiar character.  Separated from her by lands and seas,
there seemed no danger in allowing herself the sweet pleasure of hearing
his actions and his mind discussed.  She fancied she did not permit
herself to _love_ him; she was too pure not to start at such an idea; but
her mind was not so regulated, so trained and educated in sacred
principle, that she forbade herself the luxury to _remember._  Of his
present mode of life she heard little.  He was traced from city to city;
from shore to shore; from the haughty noblesse of Vienna to the gloomy
shrines of Memphis, by occasional report, and seemed to tarry long in no
place.  This roving and unsettled life, which secretly assured her of her
power, suffused his image in all tender and remorseful dyes.  Ah! where is
that one person to been vied, could we read the heart?

The actress had heard incidentally from Saville of Godolphin's attachment
to the beautiful countess.  She longed to see her; and when, one night at
the theatre, she was informed that Lady Erpingham was in the Lord
Chamberlain's box close before her, she could scarcely command her
self-possession sufficiently to perform with her wonted brilliancy of
effect.

She was greatly struck by the singular nobleness of Lady Erpingham's face
and person: and Godolphin rose in her estimation, from the justice of the
homage he had rendered to so fair a shrine.  What a curious trait, by the
by, that is in women;--their exaggerated anxiety to see one who has been
loved by the man in whom they themselves take interest: and the manner
which the said man rises or falls in their estimation, according as they
admire, or are disappointed in, the object of his love.

"And so," said Saville, supping one night with the actress, "you think the
world does not overlaud Lady Erpingham?"

"No: she is what Medea would have been, if innocent--full of majesty, and
yet of sweetness.  It is the face of a queen of some three thousand years
back.  I could have worshipped her."

"My little Fanny, you are a strange creature.  Methinks you have a dash of
poetry in you."

"Nobody who has not written poetry could ever read my character," answered
Fanny, with naivete, yet with truth.  "Yet you have not much of the ideal
about you, pretty one."

"No; because I was so early thrown on myself, that I was forced to make
independence my chief good.  I soon saw that if I followed my heart to and
fro, wherever it led me, I should be the creature of every breath--the
victim of every accident: I should have been the very soul of romance;
lived on a smile; and died, perhaps, in a ditch at last.  Accordingly, I
set to work with my feelings, and pared and cut them down to a convenient
compass.  Happy for me that I did so!  What would have become of me if,
years go, when I loved Godolphin, I had thrown the whole world of my heart
upon him?"

"Why, he has generosity; he would not have deserted you."

"But I should have wearied him," answered Fanny; "and that would have been
quite enough for me.  But I did love him well, and purely--(ah! you may
smile!)--and disinterestedly.  I was only fortified in my resolution not
to love any one too much, by perceiving that he had _affection_ but no
_sympathy_ for me.  His nature was different from mine.  I am _woman_ in
everything, and Godolphin is always sighing for a _goddess!_"

"I should like to sketch your character, Fanny.  It is original, though
not strongly marked.  I never met with it in any book; yet it is true to
your sex, and to the world."

"Few people could paint me exactly," answered Fanny.  "The danger is that
they would make too much or too little of me.  But such as I am, the world
ought to know what is so common, and, as you think, so undescribed."

And now, beautiful Constance, farewell for the present!  I leave you
surrounded by power, and pomp, and adulation.  Enjoy as you may that for
which you sacrificed affection!

CHAPTER XXVI.

THE VISIONARY AND HIS DAUGHTER--AN ENGLISHMAN, SUCH AS FOREIGNERS IMAGINE
THE ENGLISH.

We must now present the reader to characters very diferent from those
which have hitherto passed before his eye.  Without the immortal city,
along the Appia Via, there dwelt a singular and romantic visionary, of the
name of Volktman.  He was by birth a Dane; and nature had bestowed on him
that frame of mind which might have won him a distinguished career, had
she placed the period of his birth in the eleventh century.  Volktman was
essentially a man belonging to the past time:  the character of his
enthusiasm was weird and Gothic; with beings of the present day he had no
sympathy; their loves, their hatreds, their politics, their literature,
awoke no echo in his breast.  He did not affect to herd with them; his
life was solitude, and its occupation study--and study of that nature
which every day unfitted him more and more for the purposes of existence.
In a word, he was a reader of the stars; a believer in the occult and
dreamy science of astrology.  Bred up to the art of sculpture, he had
early in life sought Rome, as the nurse of inspiration; but even then he
had brought with him the dark and brooding temper of his northern tribe.
The images of the classic world; the bright, and cold, and beautiful
divinities, whose natures as well as shapes the marble simulation of life
is so especially adapted to represent; spoke but little to Volktman's
pre-occupied and gloomy imagination.  Faithful to the superstitions and
the warriors of the North, the loveliness and majesty of the southern
creations but called forth in him the desire to apply the principles by
which they were formed to the embodying those stern visions which his
haggard and dim fancies only could invoke.  This train of inspiration
preserved him, at least, from the deadliest vice in a worshipper of the
arts--commonplace.  He was no servile and trite imitator; his very faults
were solemn and commanding.  But before he had gained that long experience
which can alone perfect genius, his natural energies were directed to new
channels.  In an illness which prevented his applying to his art, he had
accidentally sought entertainment in a certain work upon astrology.  The
wild and imposing theories of the science--if science it may be
called--especially charmed and invited him.  The clear bright nights of
his fatherland were brought back to his remembrance; he recalled the
mystic and unanalysed impressions with which he had gazed upon the lights
of heaven; and he imagined that the very vagueness of his feelings was a
proof of the certainty of the science.

The sons of the North are pre-eminently liable to be affected by that
romance of emotion which the hushed and starry aspect of night is
calculated to excite.  The long-broken luxurious silence that, in their
frozen climate, reigns from the going down of the sun to its rise; the
wandering and sudden meteors that disport, as with an impish life, along
the noiseless and solemn heaven; the peculiar radiance of the stars; and
even the sterile and severe features of the earth, which those stars light
up with their chill and ghostly serenity, serve to deepen the effect of
the wizard tales which are instilled into the ear of childhood, and to
connect the less known and more visionary impulses of life with the
influences, or at least with the associations, of Night and Heaven.

To Volktman, more alive than even his countrymen are wont to be, to
superstitious impressions, the science on which he had chanced came with
an all-absorbing interest and fascination.  He surrendered himself wholly
to his new pursuit.  By degrees the block and the chisel were neglected,
and, though he still worked from time to time, he ceased to consider the
sculptor's art as the vocation of his life and the end of his ambition.
Fortunately, though not rich, Volktman was not without the means of
existence, nor even without the decent and proper comforts: so that he was
enabled, as few men are, to indulge his ardour for unprofitable
speculations, albeit to the exclusion of lucrative pursuits.  It may be
noted, that when a man is addicted to an occupation that withdraws him
from the world, any great affliction tends to confirm, without hope of
cure, his inclinations to solitude.  The world, distasteful, in that it
gave no pleasure, becomes irremediably hateful when it is coupled with the
remembrance of pain.  Volktman had married an Italian, a woman who loved
him entirely, and whom he loved with that strong though uncaressing
affection common to men of his peculiar temper.  Of the gay and social
habits and constitution of her country, the Italian was not disposed to
suffer the astrologer to dwell only among the stars.  She sought,
playfully and kindly, to attract him towards human society; and Volktman
could not always resist--as what man earth-born can do?--the influence of
the fair presider over his house and hearth.  It happened, that on one day
in which she peculiarly wished his attendance at some one of those parties
in which Englishmen think the notion of festivity strange--for it includes
conversation--Volktman had foretold the menace of some great misfortune.
Uncertain, from the character of the prediction, whether to wish his wife
to remain at home or to go abroad, he yielded to her wish, and accompanied
her to her friend's house.  A young Englishman lately arrived at Rome, and
already celebrated in the circles of that city for eccentricity of life
and his passion for beauty, was of the party.  He appeared struck with the
sculptor's wife; and in his attentions, Volktman, for the first and the
last time, experienced the pangs of jealousy; he hurried his wife away.

On their return home, whether or not a jewel worn by the signora had
attracted the cupidity of some of the lawless race who live through
gaining, and profiting by, such information, they were attacked by two
robbers in the obscure and ill-lighted suburb.  Though Volktman offered no
resistance, the manner of their assailants was rude and violent.  The
signora was fearfully alarmed; her shrieks brought a stranger to their
assistance; it was the English youth who had so alarmed the jealousy of
Volktman.  Accustomed to danger in his profession of a gallant, the
Englishman seldom, in those foreign lands, went from home at night without
the protection of pistols.  At the sight of firearms, the ruffians felt
their courage evaporate; they fled from their prey; and the Englishman
assisted Volktman in conveying the Italian to her home.  But the terror of
the encounter operated fatally on a delicate frame; and within three weeks
from that night Volktman was a widower.

His marriage had been blessed with but one daughter, who at the time of
this catastrophe was about eight years of age.  His love for his child in
some measure reconciled Volktman to life; and as the shock of the event
subsided, he returned with a pertinacity which was now subjected to no
interruption, to his beloved occupations and mysterious researches.  One
visitor alone found it possible to win frequent ingress to his seclusion;
it was the young English man.  A sentiment of remorse at the jealous
feelings he had experienced, and for which his wife, though an Italian,
had never given him even the shadow of a cause, had softened--into a
feeling rendered kind by the associations of the deceased, and a vague
desire to atone to her for an acknowledged error,--the dislike he had at
first conceived against the young man.  This was rapidly confirmed by the
gentle and winning manners of the stranger, by his attentions to the
deceased, to whom he had sent an English physician of great skill, and, as
their acquaintance expanded, by the animated interest which he testified
in the darling theories of the astrologer.

It happened also that Volktman's mother had been the daughter of Scotch
parents.  She had taught him the English tongue; and it was the only
language, save his own, which he spoke as a native.  This circumstance
tended greatly to facilitate his intercourse with the traveller; and he
found in the society of a man ardent, sensitive, melancholy, and addicted
to all abstract contemplation, a pleasure which, among the keen, but
uncultivated intellects of Italy, he had never enjoyed.

Frequently, then, came the young Englishman to the lone house on the Appia
Via; and the mysterious and unearthly conversation of the starry visionary
afforded to him, who had early learned to scrutinise the varieties of his
kind, a strange delight, heightened by the contrast it presented to the
worldly natures with which he usually associated, and the commonplace
occupations of a life in pursuit of pleasure.

And there was one who, child as she was, watched the coming of that young
and beautiful stranger with emotion beyond her years.  Brought up alone;
mixing, since her mother's death, with no companions of her age; catching
dim and solemn glimpses of her father's wild but lofty speculations; his
books, filled with strange characters and imposing "words of mighty
sound," open for ever to her young and curious gaze; it can scarce be
matter of wonder that something strange and unworldly mingled with the
elements of character which Lucilla Volktman early developed--a character
that was nature itself, yet of a nature erratic and bizarre.  Her impulses
she obeyed spontaneously, but none fathomed their origin.  She was not of
a quiet and meek order of mind; but passionate, changeful, and restless.
She would laugh and weep without apparent cause; and the colour on her
cheek never seemed for two minutes the same; and the most fitful changes
of an April heaven were immutability itself compared with the play and
lustre of expression that undulated in her features and her wild, deep,
eloquent eyes.

Her person resembled her mind; it was beautiful; but the beauty struck you
less than the singularity of its character.  Her eyes were of a darkness
that at night seemed black; but her hair was of the brightest and purest
auburn; her complexion, sometimes pale, sometimes radiant even to the
flush of a fever, was delicate and clear; her teeth and mouth were lovely
beyond all words; her hands and feet were small to a fault; and as she
grew up (for we have forestalled her age in this description) her shape,
though wanting in height, was in such harmony and proportion, that the
mind of the sculptor would sometimes escape from the absorption of the
astrologer and Volktman would gaze upon her with the same admiration that
he would have bestowed, in spite of the subject, on the goddess-forms of
Phidias or Canova.  But then, this beauty was accompanied with such
endless variety of gesture, often so wild, though always necessarily
graceful, that the eye ached for that repose requisite for prolonged
admiration.

When she was spoken to, she did not often answer to the purpose, but
rather appeared to reply as to some interrogatory of her own; in the midst
of one occupation, she would start up to another; leave that, in turn,
undone, and sit down in silence lasting for hours.  Her voice, in singing,
was exquisitely melodious; she had too, an intuitive talent for painting;
and she read all the books that came in her way with an avidity that
bespoke at once the restlessness and the genius of her mind.

This description of Lucilla must, I need scarcely repeat, be considered as
applicable to her at some years distant from the time in which the young
Englishman first attracted her childish but ardent imagination.  To her,
that face, with its regular and harmonious features, its golden hair, and
soft, shy, melancholy aspect, seemed as belonging to a higher and brighter
order of beings than those who, with exaggerated lineaments and swarthy
hues, surrounded and displeased her.  She took a strange and thrilling
pleasure in creeping to his side, and looking up, when unobserved, at the
countenance which, in his absence, she loved to imitate with her pencil by
day; and to recall in her dreams at night.  But she seldom spoke to him,
and she shrank, covered with painful blushes, from his arms, whenever he
attempted to bestow on her those caresses which children are wont to claim
as an attention.  Once, however, she summoned courage to ask him to teach
her English, and he complied.  She learned that language with surprising
facility; and as Volktman loved its sound she grew familiar with its
difficulties, by always addressing her father in a tongue which became
inexpressibly dear to her.  And the young stranger delighted to hear that
soft and melodious voice, with its trembling, Italian accent, make music
from the nervous and masculine language of his native land.  Scarce
accountably to himself, a certain tender and peculiar interest in the
fortunes of this singular and bewitching child grew up within
him--peculiar and not easily accounted for, in that it was not wholly the
interest we feel in an engaging child, and yet was of no more interested
nor sinister order.  Were there truth in the science of the stars, I
should say that they had told him her fate was to have affinity with his;
and with that persuasion, something mysterious and more than ordinarily
tender, entered into the affection he felt for the daughter of his friend.

The Englishman was himself of a romantic character.  He had been
self-taught; and his studies, irregular though often deep, had given
directions to his intellect frequently enthusiastic and unsound.  His
imagination preponderated over his judgment; and any pursuit that
attracted his imagination won his entire devotion, until his natural
sagacity proved it deceitful.  If at times, living as he did in that daily
world which so sharpens our common sense, he smiled at the persevering
fervour of the astrologer, he more often shared it; and he became his
pupil in "the poetry of heaven," with a secret but deep belief in the
mysteries cultivated by his master.  Carrying the delusion to its height,
I fear that the enthusiast entered upon ground still more shadowy and
benighted;--the old secrets of the alchymist, and perhaps even of those
arcana yet more gloomy and less rational, were subjected to their serious
contemplation; and night after night, they delivered themselves wholly up
to that fearful and charmed fascination which the desire and effort to
overleap our mortal boundaries produce even in the hardest and best
regulated minds.  The train of thought so long nursed by the abstruse and
solitary Dane was, perhaps, a better apology for the weakness of
credulity, than the youth and wandering fancy of the Englishman.  But the
scene around--not alluring to the one--fed to overflowing the romantic
aspirations of the other.

On his way home, as the stars (which night had been spent in reading)
began to wink and fade, the Englishman crossed the haunted Almo, renowned
of yore for its healing virtues, and in whose stream the far-famed
simulacrum, (the image of Cybele), which fell from heaven, was wont to be
laved with every coming spring: and around his steps, till he gained his
home, were the relics and monuments of that superstition which sheds so
much beauty over all that, in harsh reasoning, it may be said to degrade;
so that his mind, always peculiarly alive to external impressions, was
girt, as it were, with an atmosphere favourable both to the lofty
speculation and the graceful credulities of romance.

The Englishman remained at Rome, with slight intervals of absence, for
nearly three years.  On the night before the day in which he received
intelligence of an event that recalled him to his native country, he
repaired at an hour accidentally later than usual to the astrologer's
abode.

CHAPTER XXVII.

A CONVERSATION LITTLE APPERTAINING TO THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.--RESEARCHES
INTO HUMAN FATE._-THE PREDICTION.

On entering the apartment he found Lucilla seated on a low stool beside
the astrologer.  She looked up when she heard his footsteps; but her
countenance seemed so dejected, that he turned involuntarily to that of
Volktman for explanation.  Volktman met his gaze with a steadfast and
mournful aspect.

"What has happened?" asked the Englishman: "you seem sad,--you do not
greet me as usual."

"I have been with the stars," replied the visionary.

"They seem but poor company," rejoined the Englishman; "and do not appear
to have much heightened your spirits."

"Jest not, my friend," said Volktman; it was for the loss of thee I looked
sorrowful.  I perceive that thou wilt take a journey soon, and that it
will be of no pleasant nature."

"Indeed!" answered the Englishman, smilingly.  "I ask leave to question
the fact: you know better than any man how often, through an error in our
calculations, through haste, even through an over-attention, astrological
predictions are exposed to falsification; and at present I foresee so
little chance of my quitting Rome, that I prefer the earthly probabilities
to the celestial."

"My schemes are just, and the Heavens wrote their decrees in their
clearest language," answered the astrologer.  "Thou art on the eve of
quitting Rome."

"On what occasion?"

The astrologer hesitated--the young visitor pressed the question.

"The lord of the fourth house," said Volktman, reluctantly, "is located in
the eleventh house.  Thou knowest to whom the position portends disaster."

"My father!" said the Englishman, anxiously, and turning pale; "I think
that position would relate to him."

"It doth," said the astrologer, slowly.

"Impossible!  I heard from him to-day; he is well--let me see the
figures."

The young man looked over the mystic hieroglyphics of the art, inscribed
on a paper that was placed before the visionary, with deep and
scrutinising attention.  Without bewildering the reader with those words
and figures of weird sound and import which perplex the uninitiated, and
entangle the disciple of astrology, I shall merely observe that there was
one point in which the judgment appeared to admit doubt as to the
signification.  The Englishman insisted on the doubt; and a very learned
and edifying debate was carried on between pupil and master, in the heat
of which all recollection of the point in dispute (as is usual in such
cases) evaporated.

"I know not how it is," said the Englishman, "that I should give any
credence to a faith which (craving your forgiveness) most men out of
Bedlam concur, at this day, in condemning as wholly idle and absurd.  For
it may be presumed that men only incline to some unpopular theory in
proportion as it flatters or favours them; and as for this theory of
yours--of ours, if you will--it has foretold me nothing but misfortune."

"Thy horoscope," replied the astrologer, "is indeed singular and ominous:
but, like my daughter, the exact minute (within almost a whole hour) of
thy birth seems unknown; and however ingeniously we, following the
ancients, have contrived means for correcting nativities, our predictions
(so long as the exact period of birth is not ascertained) remain, in my
mind, always liable to some uncertainty.  Indeed, the surest method of
reducing the supposed time to the true--that of 'Accidents,' is but
partially given, as in thy case; for, with a negligence that cannot be too
severely blamed or too deeply lamented, thou hast omitted to mark down, or
remember, the days on which accidents--fevers, broken limbs, &c.--occurred
to thee; and this omission leaves a cloud over the bright chapters of
fate----"

"Which," interrupted the young man, "is so much the happier for me, in
that it allows me some loophole for hope."

"Yet," renewed the astrologer, as if resolved to deny his friend any
consolation, "thy character, and the bias of thy habits, as well as the
peculiarities of thy person--nay even the moles upon thy skin--accord with
thy proposed horoscope."

"Be it so!" said the Englishman, gaily.  "You grant me, at least, the
fairest of earthly gifts--the happiness of pleasing that sex which alone
sweetens our human misfortunes.  That gift I would sooner have, even
accompanied as it is, than all the benign influences without it."

"Yet," said the astrologer, "shalt thou even there be met with affliction;
for Saturn had the power to thwart the star Venus, that was disposed to
favour thee, and evil may be the result of the love thou inspirest.  There
is one thing remarkable in our science, which is especially worthy of
notice in thy lot.  The ancients, unacquainted with the star of Herschel,
seem also scarcely acquainted with the character which the influence of
that wayward and melancholy orb creates.  Thus, the aspect of Herschel
neutralises, in great measure, the boldness and ambition, and pride of
heart, thou wouldst otherwise have drawn from the felicitous configuration
of the stars around the Moon and Mercury at thy birth.  That yearning for
something beyond the narrow bounds of the world, that love for reverie,
that passionate romance, yea, thy very leaning, despite thy worldly sense,
to these occult and starry mysteries;--all are bestowed on thee by this
new and potential planet."

"And hence, I suppose," said the Englishman, interested (as the astrologer
had declared) in spite of himself, "hence that opposition in my nature of
the worldly and romantic; hence, with you, I am the dreaming enthusiast;
but the instant I regain the living and motley crowd, I shake off the
influence with ease, and become the gay pursuer of social pleasures."

"Never _at heart gay,_" muttered the astrologer; "Saturn and Herschel make
not sincere mirth-makers."  The Englishman did not hear or seem to hear
him.

"No," resumed the young man, musingly, "no! it is true that there is some
counteraction of what, at times, I should have called my natural bent.
Thus, I am bold enough, and covetous of knowledge, and not deaf to vanity;
and yet I have no ambition.  The desire to rise seems to me wholly
unalluring: I scorn and contemn it as a weakness.  But what matters it? so
much the happier for me if, as you predict, my life be short.  But how, if
so unambitious and so quiet of habit, how can I imagine that my death will
be violent as well as premature?"

It was as he spoke that the young Lucilla, who, with fixed eyes and lips
apart, had been drinking in their conversation suddenly rose and left the
room.  They were used to her comings in and her goings out without cause
or speech, and continued their conversation.

"Alas!" said the visionary; "can tranquillity of life, or care, or
prudence, preserve us from our destiny?  No sign is more deadly, whether
by accident or murder, than that which couples Hyleg with Orion and
Saturn.  Yet, thou mayest pass the year in which that danger is foretold
thee; and, beyond that time, peace, honour, good fortune, await thee.
Better to have the menace of ill in early life than in its decline.  Youth
bears up against misfortune; but it withers the heart, and crushes the
soul of age!"

"After all," said the young guest, haughtily, "we must do our best to
contradict the starry evils by our own internal philosophy.  We can make
ourselves independent of fate; that independence is better than
prosperity!"  Then, changing his tone, he added,--"But you imagine that,
by the power of other arts, we may control and counteract the prophecies
of the stars----"

"How meanest thou?" said the astrologer, hastily.  "Thou dost not suppose
that alchymy, which is the servant of the heavenly host, is their
opponent?"

"Nay," answered the disciple, "but you allow that we may be enabled to
ward off evils, and to cure diseases, otherwise fatal to us, by the gift
of Uriel and the charm of the Cabala?"

"Surely," replied the visionary; "but then I opine that the discovery of
these precious secrets was foretold to us by the Omniscient Book at our
nativity; and, therefore, though the menace of evils be held out to us, so
also is the probability of their correction or our escape.  And I must own
(pursued the enthusiast) that, to me, the very culture of those divine
arts hath given a consolation amidst the evils to which I have been fated;
so true seems it, that it is not in the outer nature, in the great
elements, and in the bowels of the earth, but also within ourselves that
we must look for the preparations whereby we are to achieve the wisdom of
Zoroaster and Hermes.  We must abstract ourselves from passion and earthly
desires.  Lapped in a celestial reverie, we must work out, by
contemplation, the essence from the matter of things: nor can we dart into
the soul of the Mystic World until we ourselves have forgotten the body;
and by fast, by purity, and by thought, have become, in the flesh itself,
a living soul."

Much more, and with an equal wildness of metaphysical eloquence, did the
astrologer declare in praise of those arts condemned by the old Church;
and it doth indeed appear from reference to the numerous works of the
alchymists and magians yet extant, somewhat hastily and unjustly.  For
those books all unite in dwelling on the necessity of virtue, subdued
passions and a clear mind, in order to become a fortunate and accomplished
cabalist--a precept, by the way, not without its policy; for, if the
disciple failed, the failure might be attributed to his own fleshly
imperfections, not to any deficiency in the truth of the science.

The young man listened to the visionary with an earnest and fascinated
attention.  Independent of the dark interest always attached to discourses
of supernatural things more especially, we must allow, in the mouth of a
fervent and rapt believer, there was that in the language and very person
of the astrologer which inexpressibly enhanced the effect of the theme.
Like most men acquainted with the literature of a country, but not
accustomed to daily conversation with its natives, the English words and
fashion of periods that occurred to Volktman were rather those used in
books than in colloquy; and a certain solemnity and slowness of tone
accompanied with the frequent, almost constant use of the pronoun
singular--the thou and the thee, gave a strangeness and unfamiliar majesty
to his dialect that suited well with the subjects on which he so loved to
dwell.  He himself was lean, gaunt, and wan; his cheeks were drawn and
hollow; and thin locks, prematurely bleached to grey, fell in disorder
round high, bare temples, in which the thought that is not of this world
had paled the hue and furrowed the surface.  But, as may be noted in many
imaginative men, the life that seemed faint and chill in the rest of the
frame, collected itself, as in a citadel, within the eye.  Bright, wild,
and deep, the expression of those blue large orbs told the intense
enthusiasm of the mind within; and, even somewhat thrillingly,
communicated a part of that emotion to those on whom they dwelt.  No
painter could have devised, nor even Volktman himself, in the fulness of
his northern phantasy, have sculptured forth a better image of those pale
and unearthly students who, in the darker ages, applied life and learning
to one unhallowed vigil, the Hermes or the Gebir of the alchymist's empty
science--dreamers, and the martyrs of their dreams.

In the discussion of mysteries which to detail would only weary while it
perplexed the reader, the enthusiasts passed the greater portion of the
night; and when at length the Englishman rose to depart, it cannot be
denied that a solemn and boding emotion agitated his breast.

"We have talked," said he, attempting a smile, "of things above this
nether life; and here we are lost, uncertain.  On one thing, however, we
can decide; life itself is encompassed with gloom; sorrow and anxiety
await even those upon whom the stars shed their most golden influence.  We
know not one day what the next shall bring!--no; I repeat it; no--in spite
of your scheme, and your ephemeris, and your election of happy moments.
But, come what will, Volktman, come all that you foretell to me; crosses
in my love, disappointment in my life, melancholy in my blood, and a
violent death in the very flush of my manhood,--Me: at least, Me! my soul,
my heart, my better part, you shall never cast down, nor darken, nor
deject.  I move in a certain and serene circle; ambition cannot tempt me
above it, nor misfortune cast me below!"

Volktman looked at the speaker with surprise and admiration; the
enthusiasm of a brave mind is the only fire broader and brighter than that
of a fanatical one.

"Alas! my young friend," he said, as he clashed the hand of his guest, "I
would to Heaven that my predictions may be wrong: often and often they
have been erroneous," added he bowing his head humbly; "they may be so in
their reference to thee.  So young, so brilliant, so beautiful too; so
brave, yet so romantic of heart, I feel for all that may happen to
thee--ay, far, far more deeply than aught which may be fated to myself;
for I am an old man now, and long inured to disappointment; all the
greenness of my life is gone: even could I attain to the Grand Secret the
knowledge methinks would be too late.  And, at my birth, my lot was
portioned out unto me in characters so clear, that, while I have had time
to acquiesce in it, I have had no hope to correct and change it.  For
Jupiter in Cancer, removed from the Ascendant, and not impedited of any
other star, betokened me indeed some expertness in science, but a life of
seclusion, and one that should bring not forth the fruits that its labour
deserved.  But there is so much in thy fate that ought to be bright and
glorious, that it will be no common destiny marred, should the evil
influences and the ominous seasons prevail against thee.  But thou
speakest boldly--boldly, and as one of a high soul, though it be sometimes
clouded and led astray.  And I, therefore, again and again impress upon
thee, it is from thine own self, thine own character, thine own habits,
that all evil, save that of death, will come.  Wear, then, I implore thee,
wear in thy memory, as a jewel, the first great maxim of alchymist and
magian:--'Search thyself--correct thyself--subdue thyself:' it is only
through the lamp of crystal that the light will shine duly out."

"It is more likely that the stars should err," returned the Englishman,
"than that the human heart should correct itself of error: adieu!"

He left the room, and proceeded along a passage that led to the outer
door.  Ere he reached it, another door opened suddenly, and the face of
Lucilla broke forth upon him.  She held a light in her hand; and as she
gazed on the Englishman, he saw that her face was very pale, and that she
had been weeping.  She looked at him long and earnestly, and the look
affected him strangely; he broke silence, which at first it appeared to
him difficult to do.

"Good night, my pretty friend," said he: "shall I bring you some flowers
to-morrow?"

Lucilla burst into a wild eltritch laugh; and abruptly closing the door,
left him in darkness.

The cool air of the breaking dawn came freshly to the cheek of our
countryman; yet, still, an unpleasant and heavy sensation sat at his
heart.  His nerves, previously weakened by his long commune with the
visionary, and the effect it had produced, yet tingled and thrilled with
the abrupt laugh and meaning countenance of that strange girl, who
differed so widely from all others of her years.  The stars were growing
pale and ghostly, and there was a mournful and dim haze around the moon.

"Ye look ominously upon me," said he, half aloud, as his eyes fixed their
gaze above; and the excitement of his spirit spread to his language: "ye
on whom, if our lore be faithful, the Most High hath written the letters
of our mortal doom.  And if ye rule the tides of the great deep, and the
changes of the rolling year, what is there out of reason or nature in our
belief that ye hold the same sympathetic and unseen influence over the
blood and heart, which are the character (and the character makes the
conduct) of man?"  Pursuing his soliloquy of thought, and finding reasons
for a credulity that afforded to him but little cause for pleasure or
hope, the Englishman took his way to St. Sebastian's gate.

There was, in truth, much in the traveller's character that corresponded
with that which was attributed and destined to one to whom the heavens had
given a horoscope answering to his own; and it was this conviction rather
than any accidental coincidence in events, which had first led him to pore
with a deep attention over the vain but imposing prophecies of judicial
astrology.  Possessed of all the powers that enable men to rise; ardent,
yet ordinarily shrewd; eloquent, witty, brave, and, though not what may be
termed versatile, possessing that rare art of concentrating the faculties
which enables the possessor rapidly and thoroughly to master whatsoever
once arrests the attention, be yet despised all that would have brought
these endowments into full and legitimate display.  He lived only for
enjoyment.  A passionate lover of women, music, letters, and the arts, it
was society, not the world, which made the sphere and end of his
existence.  Yet was he no vulgar and commonplace epicurean: he lived for
enjoyment; but that enjoyment was mainly formed from elements wearisome to
more ordinary natures.  Reverie, contemplation, loneliness, were at times
dearer to him than the softer and more Aristippean delights.  His energies
were called forth in society, but he was scarcely social.  Trained from
his early boyhood to solitude, he was seldom weary of being alone.  He
sought the crowd, not to amuse himself, but to observe others.  The world
to him was less as a theatre on which he was to play a part, than as a
book in which he loved to decipher the enigmas of wisdom.  He observed all
that passed around him.  No sprightly cavalier at any time; the charm that
he exercised at will over his companions was that of softness, not
vivacity.  But amidst that silken blandness of demeanour, the lynx eye of
Remark never slept.  He penetrated character at a glance, but he seldom
made use of his knowledge.  He found a pleasure in reading men, but a
fatigue in governing them.  And thus, consummately skilled as he was in
the science du monde, he often allowed himself to appear ignorant of its
practice.  Forming in his mind a beau ideal of friendship and of love, he
never found enough in the realities long to engage his affection.  Thus,
with women he was considered fickle, and with men he had no intimate
companionship.  This trait of character is common with persons of genius;
and, owing to too large an overflow of heart, they are frequently
considered heartless.  There is always, however, danger that a character
of this kind should become with years what it seems; what it soon learns
to despise.  Nothing steels the affections like contempt.

The next morning an express from England reached the young traveller.  His
father was dangerously ill; nor was it expected that the utmost diligence
would enable the young man to receive his last blessing.  The Englishman,
appalled and terror-stricken, recalled his interview with the astrologer.
Nothing so effectually dismays us, as to feel a confirmation of some idea
of supernatural dread that has already found entrance within our reason;
and of all supernatural belief, that of being compelled by a predecree,
and thus being the mere tools and puppets of a dark and relentless fate,
seems the most fraught at once with abasement and with horror.

The Englishman left Rome that morning, and sent only a verbal and hasty
message to the astrologer, announcing the cause of his departure.
Volktman was a man of excellent heart; but one would scarcely like to
inquire whether exultation at the triumph of his prediction was not with
him a far more powerful sentiment than grief at the misfortune to his
friend!

CHAPTER XXVIII.

THE YOUTH OF LUCILLA VOLKTMAN.--A MYSTERIOUS CONVERSATION.--THE RETURN OF
ONE UNLOOKED FOR.

Time went slowly on, and Lucilla grew up in beauty.  The stranger traits
of her character increased in strength, but perhaps in the natural
bashfulness of maidenhood they became more latent.  At the age of fifteen,
her elastic shape had grown round and full, and the wild girl had already
ripened to the woman.  An expression of thought, when the play of her
features was in repose, that dwelt upon her lip and forehead, gave her the
appearance of being two or three years older than she was; but again,
when her natural vivacity returned,--when the clear and buoyant music of
her gay laugh rang out, or when the cool air and bright sky of morning
sent the blood to her cheek and the zephyr to her step, her face became as
the face of childhood, and contrasted with a singular and dangerous
loveliness the rich development of her form.

And still was Lucilla Volktman a stranger to all that savoured of the
world; the company of others of her sex and age never drew forth her
emotions from their resting-place:--

   "And Nature said, a lovelier flower
    On earth was never sown
    *   *   *   *   *
    Myself will to my darling be
    Both law and impulse; and with me
      The girl, in rock and plain,
    In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
    Shall feel an overseeing power
      To kindle or restrain.

    The stars of midnight shall be dear
    To her; and she shall lean her ear
      In many a secret place;
    Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
      And beauty, born of murmuring sound,
    Shall pass into her face."

                                     WORDSWORTH.

These lines have occurred to me again and again, as I looked on the face
of her to whom I have applied them.  And, remembering as I do its radiance
and glory in her happier moments, I can scarcely persuade myself to notice
the faults and heats of temper which at times dashed away all its lustre
and gladness.  Unrestrained and fervid, she gave way to the irritation of
grief of the moment with a violence that would have terrified any one who
beheld her at such times.  But it rarely happened that the scene had its
witness even in her father, for she fled to the loneliest spot she could
find to indulge these emotions; and perhaps even the agony they
occasioned--an agony convulsing the heart and whole of her impassioned
frame--took a sort of luxury from the solitary and unchecked nature of its
indulgence.

Volktman continued his pursuits with an ardour that increased--as do all
species of monomania--with increasing years; and in the accidental truth
of some of his predictions, he forgot the erroneous result of the rest.  He
corresponded at times with the Englishman, who, after a short sojourn in
England, had returned to the Continent, and was now making a prolonged
tour through its northern capitals.

Very different, indeed, from the astrologer's occupations were those of
the wanderer; and time, dissipation, and a maturer intellect had cured the
latter of his boyish tendency to studies so idle and so vain.  Yet he
always looked back with an undefined and unconquered interest to the
period of his acquaintance with the astrologer; to their long and
thrilling watches in the night season; to the contagious fervour of faith
breathing from the visionary; his dark and restless excursions into that
remote science associated with the legends of eldest time, and of

   "The crew, who, under names of old renown,
    Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train,
    With monstrous shapes and sorceries, abused
    Fanatic Egypt and her priests."

One night, four years after the last scene we have described in the
astrologer's house, Volktman was sitting alone in his favourite room.
Before him was a calculation on which the ink was scarcely dry.  His face
leant on his breast, and he seemed buried in thought.  His health had been
of late gradually declining; and it might be seen upon his worn brow and
attenuated frame, that death was already preparing to withdraw the
visionary from a world whose substantial enjoyments he had so sparingly
tasted.

Lucilla had been banished from his chamber during the day.  She now knew
that his occupation was over, and entered the room with his evening
repast; that frugal meal, common with the Italians--the polenta (made of
Indian corn), the bread and the fruits, which after the fashion of
students he devoured unconsciously, and would not have remembered one hour
after whether or not it had been tasted!

"Sit thee down, child," said he to Lucilla, kindly;--"sit thee down."

Lucilla obeyed, and took her seat upon the very stool on which she had
been seated the last night on which the Englishman had seen her.

"I have been thinking," said Volktman, as he placed his hand on his
daughter's head, "that I shall soon leave thee; and I should like to see
thee protected by another before my own departure."

"Ah, father," said Lucilla, as the tears rushed to her eyes, "do not talk
thus! indeed, indeed, you must not indulge in this perpetual gloom and
seclusion of life.  You promised to take me with you, some day this week,
to the Vatican.  Do let it be to-morrow; the weather has been so fine
lately; and who knows how long it may last?"

"True," said Volktman; "and to-morrow will not, I think, be unfavourable
to our stirring abroad, for the moon will be of the same age as at my
birth--an accident that thou wilt note, my child, to be especially
auspicious towards any enterprise."

The poor astrologer so rarely stirred from his home, that he did well to
consider a walk of a mile or two in the light of an enterprise.--"I have
wished," continued he, after a pause, "that I might see our English friend
once more--that is, ere long.  For, to tell thee the truth, Lucilla,
certain events happening unto him do, strangely enough, occur about the
same time as that in which events, equally boding, will befall thee.  This
coincidence it was which contributed to make me assume so warm an interest
in the lot of a stranger.  I would I might see him soon."

Lucilla's beautiful breast heaved, and her face was covered with blushes:
these were symptoms of a disorder that never occurred to the recluse.

"Thou rememberest the foreigner?" asked Volktman, after a pause.

"Yes," said Lucilla, half inaudibly.

"I have not heard from him of late: I will make question concerning him
ere the cock crow."

"Nay my father!" said Lucilla, quickly: "not tonight: you want rest, your
eyes are heavy."

"Girl," said the mystic, "the soul sleepeth not, nor wanteth sleep: even
as the stars, to which (as the Arabian saith) there is also a soul,
wherewith an intent passion of our own doth make a union--so that we, by
an unslumbering diligence, do constitute ourselves a part of the heaven
itself!--even, I say, as the stars may vanish from the human eye, nor be
seen in the common day--though all the while their course is stopped not,
nor their voices dumb--even so doth the soul of man retire, as it were,
into a seeming sleep and torpor, yet it worketh all the same--and perhaps
with a less impeded power, in that it is more free from common obstruction
and trivial hindrance.  And if I purpose to confer this night with the
'Intelligence' that ruleth earth and earth's beings, concerning this
stranger, it will not be by the vigil and the scheme, but by the very
sleep which thou imaginest, in thy mental darkness, would deprive me of
the resources of my art."

"Can you really, then, my father," said Lucilla, in a tone half anxious,
half timid,--"can you really, at will, conjure up in your dreams the
persons you wish to see; or draw, from sleep, any oracle concerning their
present state?"

"Of a surety," answered the astrologer; "it is one of the great--though
not perchance the most gifted--of our endowments."

"Can you teach me the method?" asked Lucilla, gravely.

"All that relates to the art I can," rejoined the mystic: "but the chief
and main power rests with thyself.  For know, my daughter, that one who
seeks the wisdom that is above the earth must cultivate and excite, with
long labour and deep thought, his least earthly faculty."

Here the visionary, observing that the countenance of Lucilla was stamped
with a fixed attention, which she did not often bestow upon his
metaphysical exordiums; paused for a moment; and then pursued the theme
with the tone of one desirous of making himself at once as clear and
impressive as the nature of an abstruse science would allow.

"There are two things in the outer creation, which, according to the great
Hermes, suffice for the operation of all that is wonderful and
glorious--Fire and Earth.  Even so, my child, there are in the human mind
two powers that affect all of which our nature is capable--reason and
imagination.  Now mankind,--less wise in themselves than in the outer
world--have cultivated, for the most part, but one of these faculties; and
that the inferior and more passive, reason.  They have tilled the earth of
the human heart, but suffered its fire to remain dormant, or waste itself
in chance and frivolous directions.  Hence the insufficiency of human
knowledge.  Inventions founded only on reason move within a circle from
which their escape is momentary and trivial.  When some few, endowed with
a just instinct, have had recourse to the diviner element, imagination,
thou wilt observe, that they have used it only in the service of the
lighter arts, and those chiefly disconnected from reason.  Such is poetry
and music, and other delicious fabrications of genius, that amuse men,
soften men, but _advance_ them not.  They have--with but rare
exceptions--left this glorious and winged faculty utterly passive in the
service of Philosophy.  There, reason alone has been admitted, and
imagination hath been carefully banished, as an erratic and deceitful
meteor.  Now mark me, child: I, noting this our error in early youth, did
resolve to see what might be effected by the culture of this renounced and
maltreated element; and finding, as I proceeded in the studies that grew
from this desire, by the occult yet guiding writings of the great
philosophers of old, that they had forestalled me in this discovery, I
resolved to learn, from their experience, by what means the imagination is
best fostered, and, as it were, sublimed.

"Anxiously following their precepts--the truth of which soon appeared--I
found that solitude, fast, intense reverie upon the one theme on which we
desired knowledge, were the true elements and purifiers of this glorious
faculty.  It was by these means, and by this power, that men so far behind
us in lesser lore achieved, on the mooned plains of Chaldea and by the
dark waters of Egypt, their penetration into the womb of Event;--by these
means, and this power, the solitaries of the Gothic time not only attained
to the most intricate arcana of the stars, but to the empire of the
spirits about, above, and beneath the earth; a power, indeed, disputed by
the presumptuous sophists of the present time, but of which their writings
yet contain ample proof.  Nay, by the constant feeding, and impressing and
moulding, and refining, and heightening, the imaginative power, I do
conceive that even the false prophets and the evil practitioners of the
blacker cabala clomb into the power seemingly inconceivable--the power of
accomplishing miracles and prodigies, and to appearance belie, but in
truth verify, the course of nature.  By this spirit within the flesh, we
grow _from_ the flesh, and may see, and at length invoke, the souls of the
dead, and receive warnings, and hear omens, and girdle our sleep with
dreams.

"Not unto me," continued the cabalist, in a lowlier tone, "have been
vouchsafed all these gifts; for I began the art when the first fire of
youth was dim within me; and it was therefore with duller and already
earth-clogged pinions that I sought to rise.  Something, however, I have
won as a recompense for austere abstinence and much labour; and this power
over the land of dreams is at least within my command."

"Then," said Lucilla, in a disappointed tone, "it is only by a long course
of indulgence to the fervour of the imagination, and not by spell or
charm, that one can gain a similar power?"

"Not wholly so, my daughter," replied the mystic; "they who do so excite,
and have so raised the diviner faculty, can alone possess the certain and
invariable power over dreams, even without charms and talismans; but the
most dull or idle may hope to do so with just confidence (though not
certainty) by help of skill, and by directing the full force of their
half-roused fancy towards the person or object they wish to see reflected
in the glass of Sleep."

"And what means should the uninitiated employ?" asked Lucilla, in a tone
betokening her interest.

"I will tell thee," answered the astrologer.  "Thou must inscribe on a
white parchment an image of the sun."

"As how?" interrupted Lucilla.

"Thus!" said the astrologer, drawing from among his papers one inscribed
with the figure of a man asleep on the bosom of an angel.  "This was made
at the potential and appointed time, when the sun was in the Ninth of the
Celestial Houses, and the Lion shook his bright mane as he ascended the
blue mount.  Observe, that on the figure must be written thy desire--the
name of the person thou wishest to see, or the thing thou wouldst have
foreshown: then having prepared and brought the mind to a faith in the
effect--for without faith the imagination lies inert and lifeless--this
image will be placed under the head of the invoker, and when the moon
goeth through the sign which was in the Ninth House of his nativity, the
Dream will glide into him, and his soul walk with the spirit of the
vision."

"Give me the image," said Lucilla, eagerly.

The mystic hesitated--"No, Lucilla," said he, at length; "no, it is a dark
and comfortless path, that of prescience and unearthly knowledge, save to
the few that walk it with a gifted light and a fearless soul.  It is not
for women or children--nay, for few amongst men: it withers up the sap of
life, and makes the hair grey before its time.  No, no; take the broad
sunshine, and the brief but sweet flowers of earth; they are better for
thee, my child, and for thy years than the fever and hope of the
night-dream and the planetary influence."

So saying, the astrologer replaced the image within the leaves of one of
his books; and with prudence not common to him, thrust the volume into a
drawer, which he locked.  The fair face of Lucilla became clouded, but the
ill health of her father imposed a restraint on her wild temper.

Just at that moment the door slowly opened, and the Englishman stood
before the daughter and sire.  They did not note him at first.  The
solitary servant of the sage had admitted him; he had proceeded, without
ceremony, to the well-remembered apartment.

As he now stood gazing on the pair, he observed with an inward smile, how
exactly their present attitudes (as well as the old aspect of the scene)
resembled those in which he had broken upon them on the last evening he
had visited that chamber; the father bending over the old, worn, quaint,
table; and the daughter seated beside him on the same low stool.  The
character of their countenances struck him, too, as wearing the same
ominous expression as when those countenances had chilled him on that
evening.  For Volktman's features were impressed with the sadness that
breathed from, and caused, his prohibition to his daughter; and that
prohibition had given to her features an abstraction and shadow similar to
the dejection they had worn on the night we recur to.

This remembered coincidence did not cheer the spirits of the young
traveller; he muttered to himself; and then, as if anxious to break the
silence, moved forward with a heavy step.

Volktman started at the sound; and looking up, seemed literally
electrified by this sudden apparition of one whom he had so lately
expressed his desire to see.  His lips muttered the intruder's name, one
well known to the reader (it was the name of Godolphin) and then closed;
but Lucilla sprang from her seat, and, clasping her hands joyously
together, darted forward till she came within a foot of the unexpected
visitor.  There she abruptly arrested herself, blushed deeply, and stood
before him humbled, agitated, but all vivid with delight.

"What, is this Lucilla?" said Godolphin admiringly: "how beautiful she is
grown!" and advancing, he saluted, with a light and fraternal kiss, her
girlish and damask cheek: then, without heeding her confusion, he turned
to the astrologer, who by this time had a little recovered from his amaze.

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE EFFECT OF YEARS AND EXPERIENCE.--THE ITALIAN CHARACTER.

Godolphin now came almost daily to the astrologer's abode.  He was shocked
to perceive the physical alteration four years had wrought in his singular
friend; and, with the warmth of a heart naturally kind, he sought to
contribute to the comfort and enjoyment of a life that was evidently
drawing to a close.

Godolphin's company seemed to give Volktman a pleasure which nothing else
could afford him.  He loved to converse on the various incidents that had
occurred to each since they met; and, in whatsoever Godolphin communicated
to him, the mystic sought to impress upon his friend's attention the
fulfilment of an astrological prediction.

Godolphin, though no longer impressed with a belief in the visionary's
science, did not affect to combat his assertions.  He had not, in his
progress through life, found much to shake his habitual indolence in
ordinary affairs; and it was no easy matter to provoke one of his quiet
temper and self-indulging wisdom into conversational dispute.  Besides,
who argues with fanaticism?

Since the young idealist had left England, the elements of his character
had been slowly performing the ordination of time, and working their due
change in its general aspect.  The warm fountains of youth flowed not so
freely as before the selfishness that always comes, sooner or later, to
solitary men of the world, had gradually mingled itself with all the
channels of his heart.  The brooding and thoughtful disposition of his
faculties having turned from romance to what he deemed philosophy, that
which once was enthusiasm had hardened into wisdom.  He neither hated men
nor loved them with a sanguine philanthropy; he viewed them with cool and
discerning eyes.  He did not think it within the power of governments to
make the mass, in any country, much happier or more elevated than they
are.  Republics, he was wont to say, favoured aristocratic virtues, and
despotisms extinguished them: but, whether in a monarchy or republic, the
hewers of wood and the drawers of the water, the multitude, still remained
intrinsically the same.

This theory heightened his indifference to ambition.  The watchwords of
party appeared to him ridiculous; and politics in general--what a great
moralist termed one question in particular--a shuttlecock kept up by the
contention of noisy children.  His mind thus rested as to all public
matters in a state of quietude, and covered over with the mantle of a most
false, a most perilous philosophy.  His appetites to pleasure had grown
somewhat dulled by experience, but he was as yet neither sated nor
discontented.  One feeling at his breast still remained scarcely
diminished of its effect, when the string was touched--his tender
remembrance of Constance; and this had prevented any subsequent but
momentary attachment deepening into love.  Thus, at the age of seven and
twenty, Percy Godolphin reappears on our stage.

There was a great deal in the Italian character that our traveller liked:
its love of ease, reduced into a system; its courtesy; its content with
the world as it is; its moral apathy as regards all that agitates life,
save one passion--and the universal tenderness, ardour, and delicacy
which, in that passion, it ennobles itself in displaying.  The commonest
peasant of Rome or Naples, though not perhaps in the freer land of
Tuscany, can comprehend all the romance and mystery of the most subtle
species of love; all that it requires in England the idle habits of
aristocracy, or the sensitive fibre of genius, even to conceive.  And what
is yet stranger, the worn-out debauches, sage with an experience and
variety of licentiousness, which come not within the compass of a northern
profligacy, remains alive to the earliest and most innocent sentiments of
the passion.  And if Platonism in its coldest purity exist on earth, it is
among the Aretins of southern Italy.

This unworldly refinement, amidst so much worldly callousness, was a
peculiarity that afforded perpetual amusement to the nice eye and subtle
judgment of Godolphin.  He loved not to note the common elements of
character; whatever was most abstract and difficult to analyse, pleased
him most.  He mixed then much with the Romans, and was a favourite amongst
them; but, during his present visit to the Immortal City, he did not, how
distantly soever, associate with the English.  His carelessness of show,
and the independence of a single man from burdensome connexions, rendered
his income fully competent to his wants; but, like many proud men, he was
not willing to make it seem even to himself, as a comparative poverty,
beside the lavish expenses of his ostentatious countrymen.  Travel,
moreover, had augmented those stores of reflection which rob solitude of
ennui.

CHAPTER XXX.

MAGNETISM.--SYMPATHY.--THE RETURN OF ELEMENTS TO ELEMENTS.

Daily did the health of Volktman decline; Lucilla was the only one
ignorant of his danger.  She had never seen the gradual approaches of
death: her mother's abrupt and rapid illness made the whole of her
experience of disease.  Physicians and dark rooms were necessarily coupled
in her mind with all graver maladies; and as the astrologer, wrapt in his
calculations, altered not any of his habits, and was insensible to pain,
she fondly attributed his occasional complaints to the melancholy induced
by seclusion.  With sedentary men, diseases being often those connected
with the Organisation of the heart, do not usually terminate suddenly: it
was so with Volktman.

One day he was alone with Godolphin, and their conversation turned upon
one of the doctrines of the old Magnetism, a doctrine which, depending as
it does so much upon a seeming reference to experience, survived the rest
of its associates, and is still not wholly out of repute among the wild
imaginations of Germany.

"One of the most remarkable and abstruse points in what students call
metaphysics," said Volktman, "is sympathy! the first principle, according
to some, of all human virtue.  It is this, say they, which makes men just,
humane, charitable.  When one who has never heard of the duty of assisting
his neighbour, sees another drowning, he plunges into the water and saves
him.  Why? because involuntarily, and at once, his imagination places
himself in the situation of the stranger: the pain he would experience in
the watery death glances across him: from this pain he hastens,--without
analysing its cause, to deliver himself.

"Humanity is thus taught him by sympathy: where is this sympathy
placed?--in the nerves: the nerves are the communicants with outward
nature; the more delicate the nerves, the finer the sympathies; hence,
women and children are more alive to sympathy than men.  Well, mark me: do
not these nerves have attraction and sympathy---not only with human
suffering, but with the powers of what is falsely termed inanimate nature?
Do not the wind, the influences of the weather and the seasons, act
confessedly upon them? and if one part of nature, why not another,
inseparably connected too with that part?  If the weather and seasons have
sympathy with the nerves, why not the moon and the stars, by which the
weather and the seasons are influenced and changed?  Ye of the schools may
allow that sympathy originates some of our actions; I say it governs the
whole world--the whole creation!  Before the child is born, it is this
secret affinity which can mark and stamp him with the witness of his
mother's terror or his mother's desire."

"Yet," said Godolphin, "you would scarcely, in your zeal for sympathy,
advocate the same cause as Edricius Mohynnus, who cured wounds by a
powder, not applied to the wound, but to the towel that had been dipped in
its blood?"

"No," answered Volktman: "it is these quacks and pretenders that have
wronged all sciences, by clamouring for false deductions.  But I do
believe of sympathy, that it has a power to transport ourselves out of the
body and reunite us with the absent.  Hence, trances, and raptures, in
which the patient, being sincere, will tell thee, in grave earnestness,
and with minute detail, of all that he saw, and heard, and encountered,
afar off, in other parts of the earth, or even above the earth.  As thou
knowest the accredited story of the youth, who, being transported with a
vehement and long-nursed desire to see his mother, did, through that same
desire, become as it were rapt, and beheld her, being at the distance of
many miles, and giving and exchanging signs of their real and bodily
conference."

Godolphin turned aside to conceal an involuntary smile at this grave
affirmation; but the mystic, perhaps perceiving it, continued yet more
eagerly:--

"Nay, I myself, at times, have experienced such trance, if trance it be;
and have conversed with them who have passed from the outward earth--with
my father and my wife.  And," continued he, after a moment's pause, "I do
believe that we may, by means of this power of attraction--this elementary
and all-penetrative sympathy, pass away, in our last moments, at once into
the bosom of those we love.  For, by the intent and rapt longing to behold
the Blest and to be amongst them, we may be drawn insensibly into their
presence, and the hour being come when the affinity between the spirit and
the body shall be dissolved, the mind and desire, being so drawn upward,
can return to earth no more.  And this sympathy, refined and extended,
will make, I imagine, our powers, our very being, in a future state.  Our
sympathy being only, then, with what is immortal, we shall partake
necessarily of that nature which attracts us; and the body no longer
clogging the intenseness of our desires, we shall be able by a wish to
transport ourselves wheresoever we please,--from star to star, from glory
to glory, charioted and winged by our wishes."

Godolphin did not reply, for he was struck with the growing paleness of
the mystic, and with a dreaming and intent fixedness that seemed creeping
over his eyes, which were usually bright and restless.  The day was now
fast declining, Lucilla entered the room, and came caressingly to her
father's side.

"Is the evening warm, my child?" said the astrologer.

"Very mild and warm," answered Lucilla.

"Give me your arm then," said he; "I will sit a little while without the
threshold."

The Romans live in flats, as at Edinburgh, and with a common stair.
Volktman's abode was in the secondo piano.  He descended the stairs with
a step lighter than it had been of late; and sinking into a seat without
the house, seemed silently and gratefully to inhale the soft and purple
air of an Italian sunset.

By and by the sun had entirely vanished: and that most brief but most
delicious twilight, common to the clime, had succeeded.  Veil-like and
soft, the mist that floats at that hour between earth and heaven, lent its
transparent shadow to the scene around them: it seemed to tremble as for a
moment, and then was gone.  The moon arose, and cast its light over
Volktman's earnest countenance,--over the rich bloom and watchful eye of
Lucilla,--over the contemplative brow and motionless figure of Godolphin.
It was a group of indefinable interest: the Earth was so still, that the
visionary might well have fancied it had hushed itself, to drink within
its quiet heart the voices of that Heaven in whose oracles he believed.
Not one of the group spoke,--the astrologer's mind and gaze were riveted
above; and neither of his companions wished to break the meditations of
the old and dreaming man.

Godolphin, with folded arms and downcast eyes, was pursuing his own
thoughts; and Lucilla, to whom Godolphin's presence was a subtle and
subduing intoxication, looked indeed upward to the soft and tender
heavens, but with the soul of the loving daughter of earth.

Slowly, nor marked by his companions, the gaze of the mystic deepened and
deepened in its fixedness.

The minutes went on; and the evening waned, till a chill breeze, floating
down from the Latian Hills, recalled Lucilla's attention to her father.
She covered him tenderly with her own mantle, and whispered gently in his
ear her admonition to shun the coldness of the coming night.  He did not
answer; and on raising her voice a little higher, with the same result,
she looked appealingly to Godolphin.  He laid his hand on Volktman's
shoulder; and, bending forward to address him,--was struck dumb by the
glazed and fixed expression of the mystic's eyes.  The certainty flashed
across him; he hastily felt Volktman's pulse--it was still.  There was no
doubt left on his mind; and yet the daughter, looking at him all the
while, did not even dream of this sudden and awful stroke.  In silence,
and unconsciously, the strange and solitary spirit of the mystic had
passed from its home--in what exact instant of time, or by what last
contest of nature, was not known.

CHAPTER XXXI.

A SCENE.--LUCILLA'S STRANGE CONDUCT-GODOLPHIN PASSES THROUGH A SEVERE
ORDEAL.--EGERIA'S GROTTO, AND WHAT THERE HAPPENS.

Let us pass over Godolphin's most painful task.  What Lucilla's feelings
were, the reader may imagine; and yet, her wayward and unanalysed temper
mocked at once imagination and expression to depict its sufferings or its
joys.

The brother of Volktman's wife was sent for: he and his wife took
possession of the abode of death.  This, if possible, heightened Lucilla's
anguish.  The apathetic and vain character of the middle classes in Rome,
which her relations shared, stung her heart by contrasting its own
desolate abandonment to grief.  Above all, she was revolted by the
unnatural ceremonies of a Roman funeral.  The corpse exposed--the cheeks
painted--the parading procession, all shocked the delicacy of her real and
reckless affliction.  But when this was over--when the rite of death was
done, and when, in the house wherein her sire had presided, and she
herself had been left to a liberty wholly unrestricted, she saw strangers
(for such comparatively her relatives were to her) settling themselves
down, with vacant countenances and light words, to the common occupations
of life,--when she saw them move, alter (nay, talk calmly, and sometimes
with jests, of selling), those little household articles of furniture
which, homely and worn as they were, were hallowed to her by a thousand
dear, and infantine, and filial recollections;--when, too, she found
herself treated as a child, and, in some measure, as a dependant,--when
she, the wild, the free, saw herself subjected to restraint--nay, heard
the commonest actions of her life chidden and reproved,--when she saw the
trite and mean natures which thus presumed to lord it over her, and assume
empire in the house of one, of whose wild and lofty, though erring
speculations--of whose generous though abstract elements of character, she
could comprehend enough to respect, while what she did not comprehend
heightened the respect into awe;--then, the more vehement and indignant
passions of her mind broke forth! her flashing eye, her scornful gesture,
her mysterious threat, and her open defiance, astonished always, sometimes
amused, but more often terrified, the apathetic and superstitious
Italians.

Godolphin, moved by interest and pity for the daughter of his friend,
called once or twice after the funeral at the house; and commended, with
promises and gifts, the desolate girl to the tenderness and commiseration
of her relations.  There is nothing an Italian will not promise, nothing
he will not sell; and Godolphin thus purchased, in reality, a forbearance
to Lucilla's strange temper (as it was considered) which otherwise,
assuredly, would not have been displayed.

More than a month had elapsed since the astrologer's decease; and, the
season of the malaria verging to its commencement, Godolphin meditated a
removal to Naples.  He strolled, two days prior to his departure, to the
house on the Appia Via, in order to take leave of Lucilla, and bequeath to
her relations his parting injunctions.

It was a strange and harsh face that peered forth on him through the iron
grating of the door before he obtained admittance; and when he entered, he
heard the sound of voices in loud altercation.  Among the rest, the
naturally dulcet and silver tones of Lucilla were strained beyond their
wonted key, and breathed the accents of passion and disdain.

He entered the room whence the sounds of dispute proceeded, and the first
face that presented itself to him was that of Lucilla.  It was flushed
with anger; the veins in the smooth forehead were swelled; the short lip
breathed beautiful contempt.  She stood at some little distance from the
rest of the inmates of the room, who were seated; and her posture was
erect and even stately, though in wrath: her arms were folded upon her
bosom, and the composed excitement of her figure contrasted with the play,
and fire, and energy of her features.

At Godolphin's appearance, a sudden silence fell upon the conclave; the
uncle and the aunt (the latter of whom had seemed the noisiest) subsided
into apologetic respect to the rich (he was rich to them) young
Englishman; and Lucilla sank into a seat, covered her face with her small
and beautiful hands, and--humbled from her anger and her vehemence--burst
into tears.

"And what is this?" said Godolphin, pityingly.

The Italians hastened to inform him.  Lucilla had chosen to absent herself
from home every evening; she had been seen, the last night on the
Corso,--crowded as that street was with the young, the profligate, and the
idle.  They could not but reprove "the dear girl" for this indiscretion
(Italians, indifferent as to the conduct of the married, are generally
attentive to that of their single, women); and she announced her
resolution to persevere in it.

"Is this true, my pupil?" said Godolphin, turning to Lucilla: the poor
girl sobbed on, but returned no answer.  "Leave me to reprimand and
admonish her," said he to the aunt and uncle; and they, without appearing
to notice the incongruity of reprimand in the mouth of a man of
seven-and-twenty to a girl of fifteen, chattered forth a Babel of
conciliation and left the apartment.

Godolphin, young as he might be, was not unfitted for his task.  There was
a great deal of quiet dignity mingled with the kindness of his manner; and
his affection for Lucilla had hitherto been so pure, that he felt no
embarrassment in addressing her as a brother.  He approached the corner of
the room in which she sat; he drew a chair near to her; and took her
reluctant and trembling hand with a gentleness that made her weep with a
yet wilder vehemence.

"My dear Lucilla," said he, "you know your father honoured me with his
regard: let me presume on that regard, and on my long acquaintance with
yourself, to address you as your friend--as your brother."  Lucilla drew
away her hand; but again, as if ashamed of the impulse, extended it
towards him.

"You cannot know the world as I do, dear Lucilla," continued Godolphin;
"for experience in its affairs is bought at some little expense, which I
pray that it may never cost you.  In all countries, Lucilla, an unmarried
female is exposed to dangers which, without any actual fault of her own,
may embitter her future life.  One of the greatest of these dangers lies
in deviating from custom.  With the woman who does this, every man thinks
himself entitled to give his thoughts--his words--nay, even his actions, a
license which you cannot but dread to incur.  Your uncle and aunt,
therefore, do right to advise your not going alone, to the public streets
of Rome more especially, except in the broad daylight; and though their
advice be irksomely intruded, and ungracefully couched, it is good in its
principle, and--yes, dearest Lucilla, even necessary for you to follow."

"But," said Lucilla, through her tears, "you cannot guess what insults,
what unkindness, I have been forced to submit to from them.  I, who never
knew, till now, what insult and unkindness were!  I, who----" here sobs
checked her utterance.

"But how, my young and fair friend, how can you mend their manners by
destroying their esteem for you?  Respect yourself, Lucilla, if you wish
others to respect you.  But, perhaps,"--and such a thought for the first
time flashed across Godolphin--"perhaps you did not seek the Corso for
the _crowd_ but for _one;_ perhaps you went there to meet--dare I guess
the fact?--an admirer, a lover."

"Now _you_ insult me!" cried Lucilla, angrily.

"I thank you for your anger; I accept it as a contradiction," said
Godolphin.  "But listen yet a while, and for give frankness.  If there be
any one, among the throng of Italian youths, whom you have seen, and could
be happy with; one who loves you and whom you do not hate;--remember that
I am your father's friend; that I am rich; that I can----"

"Cruel, cruel!" interrupted Lucilla and withdrawing herself from
Godolphin, she walked to and fro with great and struggling agitation.

"Is it not so, then?" said Godolphin, doubtingly.

"No, sir: no!"

"Lucilla Volktman," said Godolphin, with a colder gravity than he had yet
called forth, "I claim some attention from you, some confidence, nay, some
esteem;--for the sake of your father--for the sake of your early years,
when I assisted to teach you my native tongue, and loved you as a brother.
Promise me that you will not commit this indiscretion any more--at least
till we meet again; nay, that you will not stir abroad, save with one of
your relations."

"Impossible! impossible!" cried Lucilla, vehemently; "it were to take
away the only solace I have: it were to make life a privation--a curse."

"Not so, Lucilla; it is to make life respectable and safe.  I, on the
other hand, will engage that all within these walls shall behave to you
with indulgence and kindness."

"I care not for their kindness!--for the kindness of any one; save----"

"Whom?" asked Godolphin, perceiving she would not proceed: but as she was
still silent, he did not press the question.  "Come!" said he,
persuasively: "come, promise, and be friends with me; do not let us part
angrily: I am about to take my leave of you for many months.

"Part!--you!--months!--O God, do not say so!"

With these words, she was by his side; and gazing on him with her large
and pleading eyes, wherein was stamped a wildness, a terror, the cause of
which he did not as yet decipher.

"No, no," said she, with a faint smile: "no! you mean to frighten me, to
extort my promise.  You are not going to desert me!"

"But, Lucilla, I will not leave you to unkindness; they shall not--they
dare not wound you again."

"Say to me that you are not going from Rome--speak; quick!"

"I go in two days."

"Then let me die!" said Lucilla, in a tone of such deep despair, that it
chilled and appalled Godolphin, who did not, however, attribute her grief
(the grief of this mere child--a child so wayward and eccentric) to any
other cause than that feeling of abandonment which the young so bitterly
experience at being left utterly alone with persons unfamiliar to their
habits and opposed to their liking.

He sought to soothe her, but she repelled him.  Her features worked
convulsively: she walked twice across the room; then stopped opposite to
him, and a certain strained composure on her brow seemed to denote that
she had arrived at some sudden resolution.

"Wouldst thou ask me," she said, "what cause took me into the streets as
the shadows darkened, and enabled me lightly to bear threats at home and
risk abroad?"

"Ay, Lucilla: will you tell me?"

"Thou wast the cause!" she said, in a low voice, trembling with emotion,
and the next moment sank on her knees before him.

With a confusion that ill became so practised and favoured a gallant,
Godolphin sought to raise her.  "No! no!" she said; "you will despise me
now: let me lie here, and die thinking of thee.  Yes!" she continued, with
an inward but rapid voice, as he lifted her reluctant frame from the
earth, and hung over her with a cold and uncaressing attention: "yes! you
I loved--I adored--from my very childhood.  When you were by, life seemed
changed to me; when absent, I longed for night, that I might dream of you.
The spot you had touched I marked out in silence, that I might kiss it and
address it when you were gone.  You left us; four years passed away: and
the recollection of you made and shaped my very nature.  I loved solitude;
for in solitude I saw you--in imagination I spoke to you--and methought
you answered and did not chide.  You returned--and--and--but no matter: to
see you, at the hour you usually leave home; to see you, I wandered forth
with the evening.  I tracked you, myself unseen; I followed you at a
distance: I marked you disappear within some of the proud palaces that
never know what love is.  I returned home weeping, but happy.  And do you
think--do you dare to think--that I should have told you this, had you not
driven me mad!--had you not left me reckless of what henceforth was
thought of me--became of me!  What will life be to me when you are gone?
And now I have said all!  Go!  You do not love me: I know it: but do not
say so.  Go--leave me; why do you not leave me?"

Does there live one man who can hear a woman, young and beautiful, confess
attachment to him, and not catch the contagion?  Affected, flattered, and
almost melted into love himself, Godolphin felt all the danger of the
moment but this young, inexperienced girl--the daughter of his friend--no!
her he could not--loving, willing as she was, betray.

Yet it was some moments before he could command himself sufficiently to
answer her:--"Listen to me calmly," at length he said; "we are at least to
each other dear friends nay, listen, I beseech you.  I, Lucilla, am a man
whose heart is forestalled--exhausted before its time; I have loved,
deeply, and passionately: that love is over, but it has unfitted me for
any species of love resembling itself--any which I could offer to you.
Dearest Lucilla, I will not disguise the truth from you.  Were I to love
you, it would be--not in the eyes of _your_ countrymen (with whom such
connexions are common), but in the eyes of mine--it would be dishonour.
Shall I confer even this partial dishonour on you?  No!  Lucilla, this
feeling of yours towards me is (pardon me) but a young and childish
phantasy: you will smile at it some years hence.  I am not worthy of so
pure and fresh a heart: but at least" (here he spoke in a lower voice, and
as to himself)--"at least I am not so unworthy as to wrong it."

"Go!" said Lucilla; "go, I implore you."  She spoke, and stood hueless and
motionless, as if the life (life's life was indeed gone!) had departed
from her.  Her features were set and rigid; the tears that stole in large
drops down her cheeks were unfelt; a slight quivering of her lips only
bespoke what passed within her.

"Ah!" cried Godolphin, stung from his usual calm--stung from the quiet
kindness he had sought, from principle, to assume--"can I withstand this
trial?--I, whose dream of life has been the love that I might now find!
I, who have never before known an obstacle to a wish which I have not
contended against, if not conquered: and, weakened as I am with the
habitual indulgence to temptation, which has never been so strong as
now;--but no!  I will--I will deserve this attachment by self-restraint,
self-sacrifice."

He moved away; and then returning, dropped on his knee before Lucilla.

"Spare me!" said he in an agitated voice, which brought back all the blood
to that young and transparent cheek, which was now half averted from
him--"spare me--spare yourself!  Look around, when I am gone, for some one
to replace my image: thousands younger, fairer, warmer of heart, will
aspire to your love; that love for them will be exposed to no peril--no
shame: forget me; select another; be happy and respected.  Permit me alone
to fill the place of your friend--your brother.  I will provide for your
comforts, your liberty: you shall be restrained, offended no more.  God
bless you, dear, dear Lucilla; and believe," (he said almost in a
whisper), "that, in thus flying you, I have acted generously, and with an
effort worthy of your loveliness and your love."

He said, and hurried from the apartment.  Lucilla turned slowly round as
the door closed and then fell motionless on the ground.

Meanwhile Godolphin, mastering his emotion, sought the host and hostess;
and begging them to visit his lodging that evening, to receive certain
directions and rewards, hastily left the house.

But instead of returning home, the desire for a brief solitude and
self-commune, which usually follows strong excitement, (and which, in all
less ordinary events, suggested his sole counsellors or monitors to the
musing Godolphin), led his steps in an opposite direction.  Scarcely
conscious whither he was wandering, he did not pause till he found himself
in that green and still valley in which the pilgrim beholds the grotto of
Egeria.

It was noon, and the day warm, but not overpowering.  The leaf slept on
the old trees that are scattered about that little valley; and amidst the
soft and rich turf the wanderer's step disturbed the lizard, basking its
brilliant hues in the noontide, and glancing rapidly through the herbage
as it retreated.  And from the trees, and through the air, the occasional
song of the birds (for in Italy their voices are rare) floated with a
peculiar clearness, and even noisiness of music, along the deserted haunts
of the Nymph.

The scene, rife with its beautiful associations, recalled Godolphin from
his reverie.  "And here," thought he, "Fable has thrown its most lovely
enduring enchantment: here, every one who has tasted the loves of earth,
and sickened for the love that is ideal, finds a spell more attractive to
his steps--more fraught with contemplation to his spirit, than aught
raised by the palace of the Caesars or the tomb of the Scipios."

Thus meditating, and softened by the late scene with Lucilla, (to which
his thoughts again recurred), he sauntered onward to the steep side of the
bank, in which faith and tradition have hollowed out the grotto of the
goddess.  He entered the silent cavern, and bathed his temples in the
delicious waters of the fountain.

It was perhaps well that it was not at that moment Lucilla made to him her
strange and unlooked-for confession: again and again he said to himself
(as if seeking for a justification of his self-sacrifice), "Her father was
not Italian, and possessed feeling and honour: let me not forget that he
loved me!"  In truth, the avowal of this wild girl; an avowal made indeed
with the ardour--but also breathing of the innocence, the inexperience--of
her character--had opened to his fancy new and not undelicious prospects.
He had never loved her, save with a lukewarm kindness, before that last
hour; but now, in recalling her beauty, her tears, her passionate
abandonment can we wonder that he felt a strange beating at his heart, and
that he indulged that dissolved and luxurious vein of tender meditation
which is the prelude to all love?  We must recall, too, the recollection
of his own temper, so constantly yearning for the unhackneyed, the
untasted; and his deep and soft order of imagination, by which he
involuntarily conjured up the delight of living with one, watching one, so
different from the rest of the world, and whose thoughts and passions
(wild as they might be) were all devoted to him!

And in what spot were these imaginings fed and coloured?  In a spot which
in the nature of its divine fascination could be found only beneath one
sky, that sky the most balmy and loving upon earth!  Who could think of
love within the haunt and temple of

   "That Nympholepsy of some fond despair,"

and not feel that love enhanced, deepened, modulated, into at once a dream
and a desire?

It was long that Godolphin indulged himself in recalling the image of
Lucilla; but nerved at length and gradually, by harder, and we may hope
better, sentiments than those of a love which he could scarcely indulge
without criminality on the one hand, or, what must have appeared to the
man of the world, derogatory folly on the other; he turned his thoughts
into a less voluptuous channel, and prepared, though with a reluctant
step, to depart homewards.  But what was his amaze, his confusion, when,
on reaching the mouth of the cave, he saw within a few steps of him
Lucilla herself!

She was walking alone and slowly, her eyes bent upon the ground, and did
not perceive him.  According to a common custom with the middle classes of
Rome, her rich hair, save by a single band, was uncovered; and as her
slight and exquisite form moved along the velvet sod, so beautiful a
shape, and a face so rare in its character, and delicate in its
expression, were in harmony with the sweet superstition of the spot, and
seemed almost to restore to the deserted cave and the mourning stream
their living Egeria.

Godolphin stood transfixed to the earth; and Lucilla, who was walking in
the direction of the grotto, did not perceive, till she was almost
immediately before him.  She gave a faint scream as she lifted her eyes;
and the first and most natural sentiment of the woman breaking forth
involuntarily,--she attempted to falter out her disavowal of all
expectation of meeting him there.

"Indeed, indeed, I did not know--that is--I--I--" she could achieve no
more.

"Is this a favourite spot with you?" said he, with the vague
embarrassment of one at a loss for words.

"Yes," said Lucilla, faintly.

And so, in truth, it was: for its vicinity to her home, the beauty of the
little valley, and the interest attached to it--an interest not the less
to her in that she was but imperfectly acquainted with the true legend of
the Nymph and her royal lover--had made it, even from her childhood, a
chosen and beloved retreat, especially in that dangerous summer time,
which drives the visitor from the spot, and leaves the scene, in great
measure, to the solitude which befits it.  Associated as the place was
with the recollection of her earlier griefs, it was thither that her first
instinct made her fly from the rude contact and displeasing companionship
of her relations, to give vent to the various and conflicting passions
which the late scene with Godolphin had called forth.

They now stood for a few moments silent and embarrassed, till Godolphin,
resolved to end a scene which he began to feel was dangerous, said in a
hurried tone:--

"Farewell, my sweet pupil!--farewell!--May God bless you!"

He extended his hand, Lucilla seized it, as if by impulse; and conveying
it suddenly to her lips, bathed it with tears.  "I feel," said this wild
and unregulated girl, "I feel, from your manner, that I ought to be
grateful to you: yet I scarcely know why: you confessed you cannot love
me, that my affection distresses you--you fly--you desert me.  Ah, if you
felt one particle even of friendship for me, could you do so?"

"Lucilla, what can I say?--I cannot marry you."

"Do I wish it?--I ask thee but to let me go with thee wherever thou
goest."

"Poor child!" said Godolphin, gazing on her; "art thou not aware that thou
askest thine own dishonour?"

Lucilla seemed surprised:--"Is it dishonour to love?  They do not think so
in Italy.  It is wrong for a maiden to confess it; but that thou hast
forgiven me.  And if to follow thee--to sit with thee--to be near
thee--bring aught of evil to myself, not thee,--let me incur the evil: it
can be nothing compared to the agony of thy absence!"

She looked up timidly as she spoke, and saw, with a sort of terror, that
his face worked with emotions which seemed to choke his answer.  "If," she
cried passionately, "if I have said what pains thee--if I have asked what
would give dishonour, as thou callest it, or harm, to thyself, for give
me--I knew it not--and leave me.  But if it were not of thyself that thou
didst speak, believe that thou hast done me but a cruel mercy.  Let me go
with thee, I implore!  I have no friend here: no one loves me.  I hate the
faces I gaze upon; I loathe the voices I hear.  And, were it for nothing
else, thou remindest me of him who is gone:--thou art familiar to
me--every look of thee breathes of my home, of my household recollections.
Take me with thee, beloved stranger!--or leave me to die--I will not
survive thy loss!"

"You speak of your father: know you that, were I to grant what you, in
your childish innocence, so unthinkingly request, he might curse me from
his grave?"

"O God, not so!--mine is the prayer--be mine the guilt, if guilt there be.
But is it not unkinder in thee to desert his daughter than to protect
her?"

There was a great, a terrible struggle in Godolphin's breast.  "What,"
said he, scarcely knowing what he said,--"what will the world think of you
if you fly with a stranger?"

"There is no world to me but thee!"

"What will your uncle--your relations say?"

"I care not; for I shall not hear them."

"No, no; this must not be!" said Godolphin proudly, and once more
conquering himself.  "Lucilla, I would give up every other dream or hope
in life to feel that I might requite this devotion by passing my life with
thee: to feel that I might grant what thou askest without wronging thy
innocence; but--but--"

"You love me then!  You love me!" cried Lucilla, joyously, and alive to
no other interpretation of his words.  Godolphin was transported beyond
himself; and clasping Lucilla in his arms he covered her cheeks, her lips,
with impassioned and burning kisses; then suddenly, as if stung by some
irresistible impulse, he tore himself away; and fled from the spot.





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